We caught up with Padre Alberto Cutié to talk with him about his upcoming talk show on FOX, titled Father Albert (airing July 11 at 12 noon) in which he'll help people tackle their deepest and darkest problems. And Padre Alberto knows what he's talking about, a few years ago, while he was still a priest in the Roman Catholic tradition he was caught up in a scandal when a tabloid magazine photographed him canoodling with his current wife Ruhama Canellis on a south Florida beach.
Now, with a 7-month-old baby girl and a new perspective on life, Cutie hopes he can help people see that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Here's what he had to tell us about his new show, and be sure to check in tomorrow to hear what he has to say about Ricky Martin and the scandal that threatened to ruin his career.
How does it feel to be back on TV?
It’s interesting. This new show is very similar to the work I had done in the past in Spanish media really trying to help people with their everyday dilemmas. The people who come on the show are not going to be in front of a judge. There are lots of judge shows and talk show hosts from other professional arenas, but there’s no show with a priest. I think what’s unique about this type of program is people coming and opening their hearts to someone who will listen with compassion and understanding and not someone who’s going to judge them or confront them about their problem.
How do you think being a religious man gives you a different perspective?
I’ve always told people that if people want to hear a sermon, they can come to my church on Sundays, but if they want practical solutions, practical advice for their dilemmas, they can come on the talk show. I think the work I’ve done, especially in secular media, has always been geared toward everyone regardless of their religious tradition or background and whether they believe or not. I’m in a helping profession, so I want people to be treated like human beings and I want people to be able to come with their hearts in their hands and say, “This is where it hurts. This is the point.” I think that’s what makes it different, when you realize that the person in front of you may not share your religious ideas or your doctoral convictions, but they do come wanting help and understanding.
How do you think your perspective has changed since you were last on air?
I think the perspective has changed because of a personal experience. I fell in love, chose to get married, chose to continue my ministry as a married priest, as the father of a seven month old, you know changing diapers, also the step-father of a sixteen year-old who’s also discovering life and growing up. That changes your perspective.
Do you feel like you’re a happier, more fulfilled man now that you’re married with a child?
Definitely! Most certainly. I think every human being has been created to love and be loved. I think that makes us different from creation. In many ways, I think I lived a very lonely life in the past even though I was surrounded by a lot of people and crowds. I think when you allow yourself to love and be married and have the type of love I have in my life now, I think it changes everything. Love changes everything.
Do you think that the Roman Catholic church should reconsider the celibacy requirements for priests?
People debate that all the time, even at the highest levels. I have friends who are cardinals and bishops. I even heard one cardinal yesterday speaking about women priests. These issues are constantly debated. The truth is it’s more traditional for priests to be married. It’s actually a more ancient tradition. I think they should return to that tradition—I don’t know who will make that decision.
A lot of your work before was in Spanish-language media. Do you see any major difference between working now in English-language media?
I think the major difference is that as Latinos, we still tend to have a lot of taboos. Whenever I would get on Spanish radio and talk about sexual issues and all that, the whole concept of a priest talking about that made people very uncomfortable. I think that’s a very Latino situation. I’ve noticed when I go talk to English psychologists on the radio, television and I talk about that with the English-speaking world, it’s expected that you speak about these issues. As Latino’s we are a traditional community, and in some ways while we’re assimilating to American life and culture, we still hold on to what I call abuelita’s values. I think that’s changing, don’t get me wrong, but I think there’s more diversity in how we think.
What are your goals with this TV show?
I think that when my dilemma became so public in 2009 when they caught me on the beach with my wife, and the whole thing with the tabloids and the pictures and months and months of commenting on our case, I think a lot of people would congratulate me because I was able to conquer this with dignity, and you now have a family, you ought to be happy and proud of it all. People get that I went through a very public dilemma that other people go through privately. People who come on my show will not be in the tabloids, they’re not going to be on the cover of the newspaper, they’re not going to be in public scrutiny, but they will have the same dilemma, even deeper, darker dilemmas than I had. I think the point of the show is to try and help people because there is hope. There is a solution for things that seem like the end of the road for them. That’s the message I want people to understand. You may hit bumps in the road, but we’re going to help you get up and we’re going to provide you with experts who can help you live a better life.