This Is How the Church Should Function
by Christopher A. Ferrara
August 1, 2017
Portrait of a good bishop
Readers may remember the case of Father Luis Carlos Uribe Medina, a courageous parish priest in Pereira, Colombia, who, this past January 16, was suspended from the exercise of his ministry by the Bishop of Pereira, Rigoberto Corredor Bermúdez, on account of his entirely reasonable and indeed morally obligatory objections to those passages in Amoris Laetitia (AL) which have opened the door to Holy Communion for public adulterers and fractured the bimillenial discipline of the Church forbidding it.
As Life Site News reports, Father Uribe “had insisted in a homily he would not give Holy Communion to adulterers, even if the pope wanted it.” But in thus declaring his stand against the corruption of the Church’s discipline and integrally related doctrine, Father Uribe was merely doing his duty as a pastor of souls, for not even a Pope can authorize what Pope Francis’ own successor, John Paul II, had rightly forbidden as “intrinsically impossible.”
Moreover, Father Uribe was only joining his voice to those of Catholics around the world in protesting the grave harm AL has inflicted on the Church, on souls, and on the cause of the Gospel. Indeed, four cardinals were impelled to publish to the world their five dubia whose essence is one question: Whether AL was intended to contradict the constant and infallible teaching of the Church on the absolute impermissibility of such intrinsic evils as adultery, to which there can be no exceptions based on “concrete circumstances,” contrary to what AL suggests.
Happy to say, however, the good Bishop of Pereira not only reversed his decision 15 days later, but also publicly declared that he will maintain the Church’s traditional discipline respecting the divorced and “remarried.”
For his part, Father Uribe was required to declare what was never at issue in the first place: that he would “remain under the obedience and in respect toward the Holy Father Francis and to my diocesan bishop, within the Doctrine and Apostolic Tradition of the Church.” Of course he would. For even the Pope himself must act “within the Doctrine and Apostolic Tradition of the Church.”
On the Bishop’s part, not only was Father Uribe rightly and justly restored to his priestly ministry, but the Bishop issued this declaration as part of a lengthy pastoral document (quoted in English translation by One Peter Five):
“Although the impediments of certain states in life (adultery, cohabitation and civil union) do not allow the reception of the sacramental communion, this does not therefore say that these people cannot still participate in other acts of the ecclesial life that we have pointed out. The Lord will give grace to return to full communion, through conversion.” [emphasis added]
I quite agree with One Peter Five’s Maike Hickson that “we have here the example of a bishop who — perhaps in humbly listening to one of his own candidly loyal priests — was able to change his former position and to distance himself from some of the troubling and confusing changes in the Church’s moral teaching that have come to us during the pontificate of Pope Francis.”
In so doing, Bishop Corredor, joining his courageous priest, is actually serving the papacy and the Church with true loyalty rather than descending to the mere sycophancy that marks a cult of personality. This is how the Church should function when a crisis arises: by defending above all else the Truth that makes us free.