Mardi Gras Miscue Topples Topless Priest

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Mardi Gras Miscue Topples Topless Priest

Memo to Catholic priests everywhere: If you plan on attending a future Mardi Gras, try not to be photographed shirtless next to a drag queen and some chiseled guys in biker shorts. Because that photo op just cost Rev. Thomas Bouterie his pastor's post at a church outside of New Orleans.

The 47-year-old Bouterie--unknowingly snapped at last year's New Orleans bacchanal--appears in "Masking and Madness: Mardi Gras in New Orleans," photographer Kerri McCaffety's vibrant study of the annual Crescent City celebration.

Following a meeting with diocesan brass, Bouterie announced Saturday (5/4) his decision to step down after 13 years as pastor of St. Louis Church in Bayou Blue, about 40 miles southwest of New Orleans. While no allegations of abuse have been made against Bouterie, a church spokesman said "these photographs could be a source of scandal for some and, thus, prevent Father Bouterie from effectively exercising his ministry."

Bouterie said that his resignation was not "reflective of the current problems" in the Church, but more indicative of his "personal growth as a priest." (2 pages)

Topless II: We knew that wasn't Anna Kournikova.

Photo Gallery: More images from our vault.