The Rev. Alberto Cutié, a national figure with movie star looks, was removed from his Miami Beach church Tuesday after photographs appeared in a magazine showing him frolicking with a woman in the sand on a Florida beach.
A wildly popular Catholic priest, newspaper columnist and radio and television personality, Cutié will no longer run operations or lead Sunday Mass at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
Word of Cutié's punishment came during a brief news conference in front of a small gathering of reporters at the Archdiocese of Miami headquarters on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami Shores.
"The vow of celibacy is part of the ordination," said spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta. "A man who is a priest is able to totally focus on the church."
Earlier in the day, Cutié spoke with Archbishop John C. Favalora, who said that the pictures of Cutié and the woman saddened him.
"Father Cutié's actions cannot be condoned despite the good works he has done as a priest," Favalora said in a statement. "I ask for everyone's prayers at this time."
Cutié also released a brief one-paragraph note, thanking those who support him and asking for the "forgiveness of those who may be hurt or saddened by my actions."
Local reaction to Cutié's removal and the 25 pictures that surfaced this week in the Mexican celebrity magazine TVnotas, was strong – and varied. While some church leaders say Cutié violated a vow of chastity, churchgoers and the public at large were more forgiving.
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