The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of SE Florida just grew by two people this afternoon. Roman Catholic priest Father Alberto Cutie (pronounced koo-tee-'AY) and his girlfriend, Ruhama Buni Canellis, kneeled before Bishop Leo Frade and were received into the Episcopal Church. +Leo gave Cutie a special lay minister designation, giving him the privilege to preach, but not celebrate the eucharist. Cutie will have to undergo a year-long process before he can be licensed as an Episcopal priest.
Cutie had a falling out with the Roman Catholic Church when a Spanish-language magazine published photographs of him making out with Canellis. It caused a scandal for the popular priest, who earned the nickname "Father Oprah" for his charisma on Spanish-language television, and cost him a parish job. While Cutie doesn't bash the church for requiring celibacy of priests, he acknowledged that celibacy wasn't for him. As he told the Spanish-language media about his love for Canellis:
"There is no crime here. [Is there] guilt? Do I feel bad or horrible? No! I am a man. Under this cassock there are pants."
Cutie indicated he'd like to marry his girlfriend.