Bishop takes away pastoral duties from priest who upholds authentic Church teaching on marriage

Bishop takes away pastoral duties from priest who upholds authentic Church teaching on marriage

Dorothy Cummings McLean

PALERMO, Italy, July 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest in Sicily was removed from his parish and had his faculties suspended because he defended the sanctity of marriage, his parishioners say.

Palermo Archbishop Corrado Lorefice has forbidden Don Alessandro Maria Minutella of St. John Bosco Parish to celebrate Mass, administer the sacraments, or preach, Italian journalist Marco Tosatti reported.

According to some parishioners, one of the official reasons for the measures was Don Minutella’s “not knuckling down to the teaching of this current pontificate.” The problem, they believe, is dueling interpretations of Amoris Laetitia. The priest does not believe the Post-synodal Exhortation allows the distribution of Holy Communion “to divorced people who live in an objective condition of sin.” Instead, he reaffirmed the teachings of John Paul II, saying ‘there being a lack of clarity on the part of Francis to the questions asked by the four cardinals,’ and has stuck to the age-old denial of communion to those in adulterous relationships.

Parishioners told Tosatti that there are other controversial priests in Palermo — “only these in the sense of being hyper-progressive and gay friendly” — and the rest of Italy, but they are “spared thanks to the compliance” of Church hierarchy. But for the pastor of St. John Bosco, “suspensions and anathemas struck like lightning.”

The parishioners are sad that Don Minutella is not even allowed to celebrate a last Mass with his “beloved faithful.” Meanwhile, Archbishop Lorefice has forbidden another priest of the parish, Father Leonardo Ricotta, to continue his Saturday night catechism class on “Radio Domina Nostra” to lecture or to make statements of any kind. Tosatti said this was “not easily understood” because Don Ricotta — unlike the outspoken Don Minutella — has always been very prudent.

In defense of the pastor, the Parish Council wrote to Archbishop Lorefice a passionate letter, pointing out that suspending a priest for upholding Church doctrine has international ramifications. “The whole of Italy is now closely following the issue,” they wrote. “In fact, it is not simply the future of Don Alessandro or of the parish that is at stake, but that of the entire Catholic Church.”

The diocese did not respond to a LifeSiteNews request for comment.

The letter, translated into English by LifeSiteNews

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