Updated with news links and CNN video.
The Rev. Alberto Cutié (KOO’-tee-ay), the celebrity priest removed from his Miami Beach church after photos of him kissing and embracing a woman appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language magazine earlier this month, will leave the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami to join the Episcopal church.
The small and private ceremony will happen early Thursday afternoon at Trinity Cathedral, the church’s South Florida headquarters in downtown Miami. Bishop Leo Frade, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, will officiate. ….
Cutié will initially be a lay person in the Episcopal church … not a priest. The process of a Catholic priest becoming an Episcopal priest takes at least a year, experts say.
While not having the same authority as a priest, Bishop Frade plans to give Cutié special status as a lay minister, meaning he can preach in Episcopal churches but not celebrate the Eucharist, the symbolic body and blood of Christ.
(Editor’s note in the last paragraph that the writer means that Cutié will not have the same authority as a priest, but what he has written is that Frade does not have the same authority as a priest.)
Anybody else have mixed feelings about this? One can oppose mandatory priestly celibacy and still feel uneasy about the Rev. Cutié jumping so quickly and publicly to new ministry in a new church after being caught in the act of breaking his ordination vows. No?
Press release from the Diocese of Southeast Flordia
FATHER ALBERTO CUTIÉ JOINS THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Cutié to preach at May 31 mass at Church of the Resurrection
Press Conference Today – Thursday, May 28 at 2:30 PM
The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida
525 NE 15 Street, Downtown Miami
(located across from the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay on North Bayshore Drive)
Miami, May 28, 2009 — Bishop Leo Frade, Episcopal Bishop of Southeast Florida and Senior Bishop of the House of Episcopal Bishops, announced today that Father Alberto Cutié, a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, has become a member of the Episcopal Church and will pursue the priesthood.
Father Alberto was received into the church earlier today at Trinity Cathedral, the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida. Formerly Priest-in-Charge of St. Francis de Sales Church in Miami Beach and the Director of Catholic Radio, Father Alberto, after a two year discernment process, decided to begin his ministry and the path to priesthood within the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church is a reconciling community, welcoming all who seek to know and be assured of God’s accepting and transforming love. Walking midway between Roman Catholicism and Protestant traditions, the Episcopal Church is a faith community that emphasizes sacramental worship and promotes thoughtful debate about what God is calling us to do and be as followers of Christ.
“We welcome Father Alberto into the ministry of the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Frade. “Our ministry has centered on spiritual growth, love, forgiveness, and a sense of community. Guided by a spirit of fellowship and understanding, the Episcopal Church remains a beacon of hope and faith for all.”
“I thank God for the many people in our community who have shown me their love and support,” stated Father Alberto. “Your prayers have truly sustained me at this time of transition in my life. With God’s help, I hope to continue priestly ministry and service in my new spiritual home.”
In welcoming Father Alberto, Bishop Frade notes that Father Alberto’s bilingual skills, evangelical voice, and cultural sensitivities are a natural fit to the Diocesan and community needs. “We believe Father Alberto has much to offer those in our church,” added the Bishop.
Father Alberto will assist Archdeacons Tom Bruttell, Bryan Hobbs and Fritz Bazin in their continuing work in the revitalization of the Diocese. Specifically, he will work with the Archdeacons on a special initiative by the Bishop providing emergency responses to Episcopal Churches in urgent need. This Diocesan initiative calls on Episcopalians to rally around a specific church and help fellow congregants work to restore it.
The first focus will be Church of the Resurrection at 11173 Griffing Blvd. in Biscayne Park, Florida. To launch the initiative, Father Alberto will deliver the sermon this Sunday, May 31 at Church of Resurrection beginning at 10:00 a.m.
As the slogan of the Episcopal Church aptly states, “All Are Welcome!” Keep the Faith!