Colombian bishop reinstates priest suspended for opposing Communion for adulterers
PEREIRA, Colombia, February 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Colombian bishop who suspended a priest over his remarks against Amoris Laetitia has had a change of heart and reinstated him.
Fr. Luis Carlos Uribe Medina had insisted in a homily he would not give Holy Communion to adulterers, even if the pope wanted it.
Bishop Rigoberto Corredor Bermúdez subsequently suspended Fr. Uribe Medina from priestly ministry (a divinis) on January 16 for “publicly and privately express[ing] his rejection of the doctrinal and pastoral teachings of his Holiness Pope Francis, especially with regards to marriage and the Eucharist.”
The suspension was reported by the Spanish blog Adelante La Fe, which also recorded and posted the priest’s sermon. Fr. Uribe Medina stated he did not agree with the alleged "new doctrine" on Communion for adulterers that he said was “allowed" by Amoris Laetitia, the pope’s exhortation on marriage and the family.
An undated letter obtained by OnePeterFive and signed by Fr. Uribe Medina and Bp. Corredor Bermúdez states that the priest will “resume his priestly duties” as of January 31, 2017.
“The undersigned priest of the Diocese of Pereira, Luis Carlos Uribe Medina…after a fraternal dialogue with my bishop, Monsignor Rigoberto Corredor Bermudez, freely and voluntarily declare that I wish to remain under the obedience and in respect toward the Holy Father Francis and to my diocesan bishop, within the the Doctrine and Apostolic Tradition of the Church,” the letter states.
A Spanish website Secretum Meum Mihi reported that Radio Rosa Mistica Colombia aired a story stating that Bp. Corredor Bermúdez “now seems to have rejected Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s interpretation of Amoris Laetitia in favor of the orthodox view on marriage and the Eucharist,” reported Steve Skojec on OnePeterFive.
Secretum Meum Mihi contacted the radio station to verify its report, and the Radio Rosa Mistica Columbia responded that its source had been among a group Fr. Uribe Medina spoke to after his visit with the bishop.
Fr. Medina told the group that “the prelate recognized his mistake, accepted the arguments of the priest re-instituting the priestly magisterium and announced that he forbids in his diocese to give communion to the divorced and remarried in civil or free union. Also the bishop said to be obedient, first of all, to the Sacred Catholic Doctrine…,” wrote Skojec.
“Some observers are already speculating that this incident may demonstrate that public backlash against heavy-handed implementations of Amoris Laetitia may be having an effect,” Skojec observed.
“It is also possible that such public pressure provided a feeling of support for Bishop [Corredor] Bermúdez in following the traditional Catholic teaching and praxis on Marriage and the reception of the sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist.”
“As of this writing, no further verification of the bishop’s change in position has yet been published,” wrote Skojec.
The bishop had stated in his formal decree of suspension that Fr. Uribe Medina was first given a chance to explain his difficulties with the exhortation before he was suspended.
“Father Luis Carlos Uribe Medina, in this meeting, persisted in his posture against the Holy Father Francis. Therefore, for His Excellency the Bishop and the priests there present, it was concluded in a decisive manner that the aforementioned priest separated himself publicly from the communion with the Pope and the Church,” the decree stated.
This could have been the first time a bishop used the pope’s controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia as a litmus test for orthodoxy.
The exhortation, coming after the conclusion of the two synods on the family, was supposed to be a document that strengthened Christian families to live their vocation. Instead, however, its ambiguous teachings on crucial moral issues facing families have given liberal bishops license to allow civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery to receive Holy Communion.
The ambiguity in the document has allowed the Maltese bishops, the bishop of San Diego, and the Argentine bishops to issue pastoral guidelines allowing adulterers to receive Holy Communion. Rather than correct the abuse, the pope wrote to the Argentine bishops saying their approach was correct.
The Catholic Church, following Christ as well as the Sixth Commandment, has always taught that adultery is a moral evil. St. Paul teaches that adulterers will not “inherit the Kingdom of God.” The Catholic Church also teaches that only those may receive Holy Communion who are properly disposed, namely that they be in the state of grace, free from mortal sin.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, a canon law expert and former head of the Vatican’s highest court, has argued that the Pope’s exhortation is “not an act of the magisterium” but the pope’s “personal reflection” that is non-binding on Catholics.
Burke and three other Cardinals asked the Pope five yes-or-no questions (dubia) in September, in an attempt to clear up the confusion. They went public with their questions in November when the Pope failed to answer. They are now considering issuing what Burke called a “formal correction” of Amoris Laetitia if the pope does not set matters right.
Before his change of heart, Bishop Corredor had used every tool at his disposal to come down hard on the priest, quoting canon law to indicate that the priest was an “apostate,” “heretic” and “schismatic” for "the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff.”
Rotate Caeli called the bishop’s actions “startling,” stating: The “Bergoglian persecution begins.”