Celebrity priest undecided on lover

May 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM
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MIAMI, May 11 (UPI) -- A famous Miami priest who was recently caught on camera in a romantic embrace with a woman said he isn't sure he'll leave the priesthood.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie told CBS's "Early Show" Monday he wasn't ready to decide whether he would leave the priesthood for his two-year romance with Ruhama Canellis, a divorcee from Miami Beach, Fla.

The discovery of the relationship, made public in the pages of a Spanish-language magazine in South Florida, has kicked off a nationwide debate on the continued viability of celibacy vows for Roman Catholic priests.

A poll conducted for The Miami Herald published Monday reported that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they opposed celibacy for Roman Catholic priests. The poll surveyed 400 people and has a 5-percentage-point margin of error.

In his interview with CBS Monday, Cutie defended celibacy for Roman Catholic priests.

Cutie, who hosts weekly shows on GenTV and the Catholic Church's Radio Paz, became the focus of a church controversy when the Spanish-language magazine TVnotas published photographs of him last week cuddling Canellis on the beach.

The release of the photographs, which show the two individuals in romantic situations, prompted Archdiocese of Miami officials to limit Cutie's duties at his South Beach parish.

The Herald said the archdiocese's actions prompted more than 60 people to demonstrate Thursday at Cutie's church in support of the popular priest.

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