MIAMI – A Miami priest known as "Father Oprah" for offering relationship advice on the archdiocese's radio network is no longer broadcasting after photos surfaced that show him embracing a woman at a bar and at the beach, church officials said Tuesday.
Archdiocesan spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said the Rev. Albert Cutie met privately with his superior Tuesday, but it wasn't disclosed whether Cutie quit or was removed as head of the radio network and as pastor of St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church in Miami Beach.
Cutie issued a statement Tuesday evening saying he remains committed to serving God.
"I ask for the forgiveness of those who may be hurt or saddened by my actions," he said.
Agosta called Cutie a wonderful priest and said he is on a prayerful journey.
"He has consoled and celebrated and christened and been in contact with hundreds of thousands of people through his church and programs, and now it's time to ask for prayers for Father Albert," she said.
Cutie headed the archdiocese's Radio Paz and Radio Peace broadcasts, heard throughout the Americas and in Spain. The Cuban-American priest was born in Puerto Rico and previously hosted shows on Telemundo. He is also a syndicated Spanish-language columnist and author of the book "Real Life, Real Love: 7 Paths to a Strong, Lasting Relationship."
Cynthia Hudson, an executive vice president at the Miami-based Spanish Broadcasting System, said her company's Mega TV network was approached by a paparazzo about four to six weeks ago with photos and video purportedly showing Cutie and a woman. The paparazzo wanted more than $100,000 for the images, but she said the network was unable to verify their authenticity and said they posed an ethical quandary.
"There's an ethical line that you draw when you cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt," Hudson said.
The photos were published in the Spanish-language magazine TVnotas.
Earlier Tuesday, Archbishop John C. Favalora apologized to parishioners and listeners.
"Father Cutie's actions cannot be condoned despite the good works he has done as a priest," Favalora said in a statement. "Scandals such as this offer an occasion for the Church on all levels to examine our consciences regarding the integrity of our commitments to the Lord and to his Church."