Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fr Corapi and Padre Pio

I have mixed emotions about the resignation of Fr Corapi from his priestly ministry. This comes at a time when I have been hearing from priests in Philadelphia about the huge injustice the men who have just been put on administrative leave are experiencing. The stories are circulating: one priest who claims he is completely innocent and that the allegations against him are from a very troubled kid he tried to help years ago who was simply a bad one, and who is sniffing a payout. Another story from Philadelphia is of a priest who is accused by a mother of a teenaged girl because the mother found the priest's cell phone number on her daughter's phone. It was there because he asked all the kids to put his number in their phones when they were out on a parish outing to a theme park in case they got lost. A third story is about a mother who reported that the priest embraced her son in an erotic way. But it was outside church after Mass in full view of everyone and the boy ran up to give Father a hug.

If these stories of innocent men being removed from ministry and persecuted and having their good names destroyed are only half true, then terrible injustices are occurring. The stories circulating are that in protest all of the Philadelphia seminarians have quit. From a human point of view who want to keep going. If someone made a false allegation against me and I was suspended--assumed guilty before being proved innocent the human side of me would also say, "Keep it. I'll get a job at McDonald's" So if Corapi is in this situation where he really is innocent, from a human point of view, I can understand how why he is just walking. "Life's too short. Fugeddaboudit. I'm outta here."

On the other hand, we are reminded of the example of Padre Pio. All sorts of allegations were made against him. He accepted every disciplinary measure with complete obedience and meekness. He continued his life of prayer and sacrifice. He went like a sheep to the slaughter. He accepted the false accusations, the calumny, the slander and the ruination of his good name. As he did so, he imitated his Lord.

I conclude therefore that the Padre Pio example is the one to follow, and every priest who in these terrible times is just waiting for the phone call saying he has been accused, should plan that route rather than the Corapi posturing and pride. One is the way of the cross --which we have all been promised. The other is the way of the world.

33 comments:

  1. I tend to agree (St. Gerard also steadfastly bore false accusations, irrc...and I'm sure many other Saints). I can only imagine how painful it must be to be falsely accused of terrible things, but I pray the innocent ones will be steadfast. St. Padre Pio, pray for them!

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  2. Leaving public ministry could be considered 'laying down and dying' only if you believe that is all you are called to. As a priest. Fr. Corapi and all others have been called to much more than just public preaching. Your hands have been consecrated so that you may lovingly hold the Body of Christ in the Eucharist. You have been given the faculty to absolve sins, so that in the person of Christ, you can spread his divine Mercy. You can baptize people into unity with Christ and his church. You preside over the vows of Matrimony in a sacrament that is as inviolable as the vows of Holy Orders which you took.

    Jesus called you to speak. Perhaps He is now testing your fortitude by calling you to silence.

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  3. I have to say, your response seems a bit more measured and reasonable than that of the Dark Lord Shea-ru-man. Your vow to not disparage your brothers in the ministry is now bearing good fruit.

    Fr. Gordon MacRae has taken St. Padre Pio as his patron, and as patron of his blog. Admittedly, he whines, which nobody ever mentions St. Padre Pio doing, but he also seems to be doing his best to gracefully accept the suffering that comes from being falsely accused.

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  4. I also feel there are great injustices being done to priests, many of them innocent. It also seems that the bishops are unwilling to subject themselves to the same consequences as accused priests.

    That said, I too have thought that the third option for Father Corapi was the St. Pio route.

    In the book Padre Pio: The True Story by Bernard Ruffin, he recounts that after Vespers on June 11, 1931, Padre Raffaele summoned Pio to the friary parlor to read the decree received, without comment:

    "Padre Pio is to be stripped of all faculties of his priestly ministry except the faculty to celebrate the Holy Mass, which he may continue to do provided it is done in private, within the walls of the friary, in the inner chapel, and not publicy in church".

    The saint's response:

    "God's will be done,"...then he covered his eyes with his hands, lowered his head, and murmured, "The will of the authorities is the will of God."

    That is the point. The will of God for a priest will come through his bishop and/or religious order superiors. God will often permit persecution of priests from within the Church, for reasons known only to Him. However, as we see in such cases as St. Pio, and even St. John of the Cross who prayed to be despised and suffered immensly from persecution from within, their response proved out heroic virtue.

    Next to accepting with docility a physical martyrdom, there can be no greater imitation of Christ for an innocent priest who is falsely accused than to accept with docility a fate that comes to him through those put over him by God, even if it involves an unjust system.

    What if Our Lord Jesus Christ had "quit" because he was falsely accused, and suffered injustice at the hands of those God had put over him?

    I have more quotes from that book by Ruffin, and from others about such persecution in a post I made which contrasted Nadine Brown, formerly of the now suppressed Intercessors of the Lamb, with St. Pio. I made the post because people were distorting and misapplying the St. Pio case to hers.

    Bottom Line: That persecution of innocent clerics and lay people happens is nothing new in the history of Church, including that which comes from within. What is most important is one's response to that persecution. Grace always leads us to imitate Christ, who was obedient unto death, death on a Cross.

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  5. It's useful to have Mark Shea's overreaction to focus on. Not helpful or relevant, since he has not commented here, but useful.

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  6. "On the other hand, we are reminded of the example of Padre Pio."

    My wife brought this up just a couple of hours ago at the dinner table.

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  8. Please keep in mind that Padre Pio has a parish to call home even when his public life was taken away. Fr. Corapi supports himself and without his public ministry, has nothing. He is not a parish priest who can fade into the background of his parish. If you take away his public priesthood, you take away pretty much everything he has in life including, eventually, his home, due to lack of income.

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  9. being 'disciplined' by pedopervpriests and 'bishops' rather beneath you

    Padre

    door's always open through the rend in the Iron Curtain

    we would warrant

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  10. nothing like A&W frosty mugs

    and

    FREEDOM

    GOD BLESS THE USA

    [beats smokin fags in bus shelters in the rain hands down]

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  11. I disagree with "ATL" that Fr Macrae "whines".

    If the priests you spoke about were indeed placed on administrative leave for the reasons you outlined, they could sue the Diocese for loss of reputation, pain and suffering. I just hate to think of their relatives who were so proud to have a priest in the family and probably all the neighbourhood knew that Mrs S's son was a priest and now his reputation has been tarnished perhaps for good.

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  12. Father Corapi's addiction CD helped me a few years ago, so I offer this prayer for him, now:

    God grant us the serenity
    to accept the things we cannot change;
    courage to change the things we can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as we would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if we surrender to His Will;
    That we may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.
    Amen.

    --Reinhold Niebuhr

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  13. What concerns me is that he seems to have chosen his freedom to give talks over being a priest. And yes, ordination does imprint an indelible mark on the soul, but if he is reduced to the lay state he will be considered a layman under canon law.

    *Sigh* All this does not bode well for his character, either. There are other avenues he could have taken that would have let him stay a priest (like retiring into a monastery, or doing priestly work secluded within his religious community). Instead, he has opted to continue to give talks, promote *himself* and his self-made image "the sheep dog", and seek ministry outside ecclesiastical supervision. All in all very sad.

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  14. Yes, that is the usual way of the saints. They believe that nothing bad can come from their Mother Church. And History has proven them right.

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  15. Let's remember too that whatever investigation that was being done was not even finished!

    Sadly, it seems to this Catholic, that "sales" and "fans" are more important than his priesthood and flock.

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  16. I do not agree with what Fr. Corapi is doing, but we do not know all the facts, now or never will. Him leaving and doing the Devil's Dance, ( I DID IT MY WAY)makes him look guilty. Once again the Catholic Church has lost a wonderful Priest. If what he claims is true, there are a few bishops want him gone and he is totally innocent. Then may God Have Mercy On their Souls. Please Pray for ALL PRIESTS. As the Great Alphonsus De Liguori said, Priests have 1000 times attacks from the devil than us regular folks.

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  17. Perhaps the Dallas Charter needs to be reviewed in order to give greater protections to the Priest, after all who decides what constitutes a 'credible allegation', what is the standard of evidence, is this simply a bad egg who is trying to cheat the diocese out of money, what do we do with Priest's whilst they are on trial, what training do we give to the investigators, how do you try and investigate an alligation against a Priest who is now dead?

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  18. It is true that Padre Pio, God bless him, accepted his cross of false accusations humbly and in the spirit of Christ. His choosen path was very different from where Father Corapi has set his steps.

    I contend, however, that this situaion has some differences. Among them, Padre Pio's situation did not happen during a time of deep crisis in the Church during which very credible reports of innocent priests being unjustly accused and punished from within became common. Please note: I am NOT saying that Padre Pio's acccusations and sufferings were any less tragic because he didn't have an ever-increasing amout of company.....I am simply saying that, in some ways, this is about more than one priest falsely accused and his pride. For me, it's about a very, very disturbing trend that appears to have developed in the Church and possibly with the complance, if not the approval, of some of the highest-ranking officials in the US Catholic Church. If this is so (and I know no better than any other lay person if it is), then Catherine of Sienna may have something to say about poor decisions in the Church hierarchy and be as applicable a saint to emulate in this situation as Padre Pio.


    Some honest questions that I am struggling with in the wake of this crisis of accusations: What do the lay faithful do when there is at least a credible chance that priests are being persecuted, not by the world, but within the very "protection" of Mother Church? NOthing? Something? IS the appropriate response to say "They are the leaders and so we must accept all they say or do without question"? Do we say "The men of the Church are infallible and we must, like them, presume guilt until innocence is proven, even when innocence is, under cannon law, not PERMITTED to be proven? Do we side with a "rogue" priest whose commitment to the priesthood is just slightly less than his commitment to what he sees as his God-given calling?(not to mention his need to make a living in the absence of support from the Church? It's not as if the Church is going to give him room/board and a stipend while he "fades away". Is becoming homeless and jobless the appropriate response?) Would he be a "better" example to us if he remained silent about what appears to be a seriously unjust system of punishment for those whose guilt not only hasn't been determined, but very possibly WON'T be determined?
    Again, these questions are honest and I in no way have my mind "made up" about this deeply distrubing situation.
    The one thing I CAN say with complete confidence is that God is in control, the fullness of His teachings are found in the Church and that John Corapi still has, and always will have, my prayers.

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  19. The irony of Corapi's situation is that it would have been less problematic if he had been accused of criminal rather than scandalous behavior. In that scenario he would have had some protection under the civil law by way of an investigation. At the moment he has nothing.

    What needs to be understood is the significance of the post-scandal procedures which have emerged in the last 10 years both in the USA and in the rest of the World. From what I can see their sole purpose is to give bishops complete veto over a priest or indeed a seminarian's vocation.

    Think then of the implications of this veto. If a bishop knows he can dump a priest or a seminarian at any moment, what incentives are there for a bishop to carefully select candidates for a seminary for example? In the possession of a 'red card' which he can issue any time, the bishop might as well except the candidacy of any 'old joe'. If the candidate proves to be a disaster, the bishop simply issues his red card to cover himself.

    This one strike and your out policy is dumb.

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  20. @ soblessed: I have the same questions.

    This is a different era. The abuses were covered up before, and now the pendulum has swung in the other direction (it would appear), with priests being guilty until proven innocent.

    IF the processes of dealing with an accused priest are as harsh as Fr. Corapi says, should they not be changed? Will they get changed in a timely fashion if ALL the innocent accused remain silent?

    I'm not sure what to make of the entire situation (who's is right, who is wrong, etc.), but it seems clear to me that Satan's fingerprints are all over it.

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  21. Paul, about your comment above about Father Corapi not having a place to call home is Father Corapi not a member of a religious order (SOLT)? If he is a diocesan priest with no vow of poverty, then he should be just fine given his income from his previous work and the lawsuit he won, unless he gave it to charity or something.

    I do hope that the Bishop of Corpus Christi or the superior of Fr. Corapi's order will clarify the situation soon. The first time we see Fr. Corapi in civilian wear will be disconcerting, to say the least. I picture the Black Sheep Dog not in a suit but a black turtleneck. Ugh.

    Thank you, Fr. Longenecker, for the best analysis so far.

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  22. I agree with Paul, I remember Fr. Corapi saying that he supported himself and didn't get a penny from his order. Padre Pio had a place to stay at least. Fr. Corapi is a bit of a maverick, a one of a kind and I've been helped by his preaching. I think if we'd had more muscular Catholicism preached from the pulpit it might have awakened the sleeping masses long ago, (me included). I wish him well, but I've decided to do something more. I've decided to write to Pope Benedict and ask him to make sure that priests accused of wrong doing are given a chance to defend themselves, and that accusations must have proof before they are acted on. (I won't mention any names) I haven't quite decided what I'm going to say, but something along those lines. I heard of one diocese where they are even talking about having open confessionals for priests when they hear confessions of a minor. I hate to see priests treated like criminals. I know St Paul said he rejoiced to suffer for Christ's sake, but Christians shouldn't be deliberately inflicting suffering on each other. I think St. Paul was talking about suffering inflicted by those outside the Church. The Church cannot preach justice to the world if it doesn't give justice to our clergy.

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  24. Fr. Corapi is a member of a religious order, the SOLT. Therefore, he avowed chastity, poverty and obedience when he joined them. Since he cannot own any property, his order would have an obligation to maintain him just like it maintains the rest of its members.

    I don't know for sure, but I find it impossible for a religious order in good standing, or one that wishes to remain so, would approve of Fr. Corapi's actions defying the episcopate charged with the care of the Lord's flock and virtually pitching his "fan-base" against the visible Church.

    Moreover, only Rome can dispense someone from his religious vows, and it's anything but a fast process, typically asking for a year of reflection on the part of the one asking for it.

    Considering all this, it is then possible that Fr. Corapi broke his vow of obedience to his superiors, a mortal sin. And committing a mortal sin is an awful way to start a new apostolate.

    As a friend put it very well, no doubt all that happened to Fr. Corapi was undoubtedly instigated by the devil, yet something that God allowed in order to achieve a holy end, if only Fr. Corapi would humble himself and embrace the cross. Instead, he refused this cross.

    Unfortunately, this is an old and stale course of action. Heresiarchs through the centuries took it before, setting themselves against the Church and her shepherds and arrogating themselves as more Catholic than them, as sheepdogs thinking of themselves wiser than the shepherd. It's a scandal and many in forums are already pledging alegiance to Fr. Corapi's "church".

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

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  25. I fear that fame, injustice, and greed (lawyers get 1/3) will transform a Holy Man from Dr. Scott:
    http://www.culturewars.com/1998/Hahn.htm into Epic Beard Man:
    http://tinyurl.com/CorapiGoneWild

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  26. For a guy who is supposed to be an example of Christian Humility, turns out he is a fake, an arrogant worldly filled with self-grandeur. Good riddance!

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  27. Today many Catholics seem utterly unaware of the sin of detraction. To quote a Sister of blessed memory: If you don't know all the facts, firmly apply your bottom lip to your top lip and keep your mouth sealed shut.". I imagine in today's Internet world she would advise we stop using our hands to type assaults on character, ad hominem attacks, et cetera and instead fold our hands in prayer.

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  28. Excellent analysis Father.Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos was also falsely condemned by his superiors and accepted it without complaint.He even lost the job he had at the time.He offered it with the sufferings of Our Lord and Saviour,Jesus Christ.Not my will Lord but your will be done-Very hard for all Christians to follow when under persecution for doing no wrong,but only by taking up our cross dailly will we find eternal happiness.

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  29. I am greatly saddened by Fr. Corapi's decision as I have been greatly inspired by his teachings. I do not know all the facts of the matter, although there are lots of opinions written about this based on speculation. As investigations have not been completed and the full facts from both sides are not readily available, I do not wish to speculate if he is innocent or guilty (or the gravity and extent of guilt). All I can say is that everything is quite subjective - what may seem inappropriate in one culture / circumstance, may not be inappropriate in another. Further, the procedure and method of investigation may or may not be appropriate for a priest of Fr. Corapi's standing and public profile. As I see it, whatever the outcome of the investigations, his reputation as a priest has already been somewhat damaged. Maybe it is the will of God that Fr. Corapi plays a greater role evangelizing Christianity outside the confines of the priesthood (given his private material resources to do so, whether personal or through the generous support by his "fans"). Whatever the case, I wish Fr. Corapi every success in bringing Christ to the hearts of everyone, everywhere. I pray that the Lord, through the intercession of his Blessed Mother, will bless Fr. Corapi and his new ministry. Once a priest, always a priest.

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  30. Thank you for you comments, Father. They are insightful. However, I would not be so quick to simply compare Fr. Corapi to St. Padre Pio. Padre Pio was living in Italy, in a culture generally supportive of Catholic Christianity (though infused w modernism), serving as a Franciscan pastor (I believe) and called to suffer as he did, in silence. Fr. Corapi has been called to Apostolic revival and evangelistic preaching and public apologetics in a largely hostile, secularist, pluralistic culture. I suggest that the Apostle Paul is a more apt comparison. If you read his letters you will see a humble yet forceful courage, a vigorous defense of his calling and a sarcastic rebuke of his opponents. And all of this from the Apostle to us Gentiles. If you consider St. Paul, I believe you will see John Corapi in a much different light.

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  31. I am troubled by Arkanabar's comment about a priest falsely imprisoned that "admittedly, he whines." That is very easy to say coming from someone whose freedom has likely never been threatened. Try spending 17 years in prison for a crime that never took place and see if you whine. When Padre Pio was accused of having psychologically induced his own stigmata, he became exasperated and said, "Go out to the fields and stare at a bull. Stare at him with all your might. See if you grow horns on your head."

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  32. All of you who are so eager for Father Corapi to imitate St. Pio, or other Saints mentioned here and elsewhere concerning this case...I'm thinking maybe it's time for y'all to show us all how saintly you can be then, given how quick and ready you are. If y'all are such saints, and eager to judge those who aren't living up to your expectations and standards, then why not set a good example, like another great saint, and find someone who is being killed unjustly and offer up yourself in their place, just like St. Max Kolbe.

    Now of course, I'm not really suggesting anyone do that, no matter how far gone y'all seem to be, so don't anyone take what I've written here as some kind of wish I have for you!

    All I'm saying is, for such a sanctimonious lot, I don't see any, really, of what they phrase in some circles as, "put up or shut up". Now, of course, again, I'm not saying that you should do that, but just hoping, however, that you'll wake up.

    Love you all, but please, give yer heads a shake. Really! And after that, if you're still standing by this kind of "what-he-should-do-to-be-a-saint"thing, then please go to realcatholictv.com and listen to the video there concerning those calling for Father John to be a good quiet little lamb.

    And by the way, St. Pio also had the gifts of bilocation, visions, ability to read hearts in the confessional, and so on and so on. Now y'all can correct me if you want to spend time doing that rather than taking a good look at how sanctimoniously you've been advising Father John, but the point is, I think there are a lot of sensible Catholics who are getting real tired of the posts by folks playing the ST. Pio card. If you're so keen on it, then give it a try yourself, please.

    Father Dwight's latest post of June 22, I think it was, is a much better response. Wish you'd come back and 86 this one here, Father Dwight. Okay, as Minny Pearl used to say, we're done singing now.

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  33. There is a time when we all will lay down our lives. Perhaps Fr Corapi's time is not now. He is accepting the will of his Bishop and has said he never left the church. For sure we are in times of great peril. Thank Fr D.

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