MIAMI – The Rev. Alberto Cutie, in his first English-language television interview since photos surfaced showing him frolicking with a woman on the beach, apologized profusely Monday to the church and his fellow Catholics.

Though the photos have reignited the debate over priests and celibacy, he said he still believed in the vow.

“I don’t want to be the anti-celibacy priest,” he said. “It’s a debate in our society.”

Cutie appeared on CBS’ “The Early Show,” telling anchor Maggie Rodriguez he had a romantic relationship for about two years, though he had known the woman much longer.

Cutie sought counseling from other priests, who have helped him deal with his feelings and said he was motivated by love. Cutie said he’s in the process of deciding what to do next and that he is not yet ready to talk about whether he will leave the church.

After the photos surfaced, the archdiocese stripped Cutie of his duties at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church on Miami Beach, but said ultimately it’s up to Cutie whether he returns.

The archdiocese made no indication of Cutie’s future on Monday.

“Father Cutie has a decision to make and he is taking some personal time to do so,” said spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta.


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