Writing what you know

by Heidi Schlumpf

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The priest author of "Real Life, Real Love: Seven Paths to a Strong and Lasting Relationship" (Berkeley Books, 2006) apparently was writing from experience.

Father Alberto Cutie, sometimes referred to as "Father Oprah" for being the first Catholic priest to host a television and radio talk show on secular media, has admitted to having a two-year affair with a woman after compromising photos of the two were released by Spanish-language media last week.

Although his name is pronounced koo-tee-AY, the handsome 40-year-old priest has no doubt been called by the non-accented pronunciation of his last name.

The Cuban-American "Padre Alberto" was removed from St. Frances de Sales Parish in Miami Beach and from his position as president and general director of Pax Catholic Communications, home of Radio Paz and Radio Peace in Miami. Miami Archbishop John Favalora said Cutie's actions "cannot be condoned despite the good work he's done as a priest."

Cutie says he still believes in celibacy, though he wishes it were optional. He is considering whether to leave the priesthood and marry the woman. He asked for forgiveness and continued prayers and support on his web site.

Given his celebrity as a rising young priest star on EWTN and other Catholic and secular media, one wonders why Cutie was so open about the relationship, kissing the woman in public on the beach and in bars. Still, some Catholics may be be more inclined to accept relationship advice from a man with some experience in a long-term relationship than from a celibate cleric.

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