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(RNS) A hugely popular Miami priest, who left the Catholic Church when he could no longer abide by his vow of celibacy and his romantic relationship became tabloid fodder, married his girlfriend of two years Tuesday (June 16).
The Rev. Alberto Cutie, 40, and Ruhama Canellis, 35, took their vows in front of a judge in Coral Gables, Fla., according to the Associated Press.
The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida has confirmed that a wedding “in one of our churches in the diocese” is in the works.
After photographs of the couple canoodling on the beach surfaced last month, Cutie was put on suspension and later joined the Episcopal Church. He currently serves as a lay pastoral assistant at Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park, Fla.
“We congratulate him and wish them all the best,” said the Ven.Thomas Bruttell, archdeacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida. “This was a motivating factor for him from the very beginning.
It was part of his agenda to be married and carry on his ministry.”
Episcopal Bishop Leo Frade has been in talks with Cutie about conversion for nearly two years but noted “the pictures of him kissing his now-wife really precipitated all this and put it at warp speed.”
The Southeast Florida diocese counts six former Catholic priests in their ranks, but none have generated the scrutiny of Cutie, said Frade.
“The road from Canterbury to Rome, and Rome to Canterbury, gets a lot of traffic,” he said.
Cutie’s public departure from the Catholic Church angered Archbishop John Favalora, and Cutie has yet to be formally defrocked by Rome, though he has been stripped of his duties as a Catholic priest.
Cutie’s Hollywood good looks and media presence earned him the title “Father Oprah.” But “he’s not just a pretty face,” said Bruttell. “He has some real gifts and talents at building community and we’re looking forward to his help.”
By Tiffany Stanley
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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