There appear to be a number of bloggers and commenters around wondering “what’s going on” as a prestigious blogger stops blogging with rather difficult to understand arguments, and apparently another one – I will not link to it – has now started to insult the entire Trad culture of Internet blogdom.
Some say it’s blogger fatigue, but I am not persuaded this arguments works.
It is true that Catholic blogging – if properly made – exposes the blog author to both a mountain of daily bad news and the criticism of the V II – or worse – crowd accusing him of being oh so uncharitable. It is true that not every blogger will find in him the energy or, if you allow me the expression, the grit to go on undeterred. Unavoidably, the one or other will simply stop blogging, or blog much less, and recover that serenity that was probably going away. What he will not do, is to suddenly start attacking those values he defended, and those people who still defend them. When this happens, it cannot be fatigue; it will, I think, only be one of three:
1. The blogger in question has discovered he lives in a state of continuous conflictuality, and sees himself becoming bitter in the process. Of course, to stop blogging is at this point clearly an option.
2. The blogger in question was never sincere, and blogged with a desire – more or less admitted – of self-recognition as his first motive. Slowly, he will get to hate those ideas garnering him exactly the contrary of what he wanted, and will start thinking about taking a much softer and “inclusive” stance, imagining this is where applause and blogging glory await. He is probably not evil, rather stupid. He will be disappointed, as criticism in blogdom is only avoidable if no one notices your blog, or your blog avoids taking a clear position, ever.
3. He has simply been wounded by Satan, and starts to think like the enemy. When the implosion comes, it will be spectacular. I think of the “black sheep dog”, and still shudder. Whilst I think Father Corapi has laudably recovered from Satan’s wound, this must not necessarily be the case for everyone else. When a blogger start to write about Catholics being “homophobic”, I start questioning the opportunity of wasting my time reading the devil’s propaganda.
In the end, I would say that whilst Catholic blogging, properly made, is a taxing and stressful activity – mainly because you see amounts of rubbish going on the average joe reader does not even imagine; and for the more sensitive among us, because they are told they are “uncharitable” and “hurtful” – it does not follow this unavoidable stress must lead one to attack the very values in order to defend which he started to blog in the first place.
Blogging is for people who know what they are writing about, and know why they write it; who are under no illusion as to the criticism, insult or mockery this will attract; who are willing to have their day sullied by the squalid miseries of the worst of the world, from sodomy to euthanasia; and who are willing to soldier on nevertheless, knowing that if they are not criticised they are either still at the insignificance stage, or else poor Catholic bloggers.
Before starting to blog, ask yourself why you are doing it, and ask Mary to give you a very robust shield against the miseries of the world, and the attacks of base men.
You will have need for it.
I had read several times about Fr Pavone and if you use the search function of this blog, you might find an entry or two about him. I liked his pro-life commitment and the way he engages to do that which too many clergymen do not want to do.
It would now appear that his Bishop has suspended him and has ordered him to come back to Amarillo, alleging that Fr Pavone has disobeyed him by not allowing the accounts of his 10-million-bucks-a-year charity to be audited.
One would say that this is (then) Father Corapi all over again (poor chap, by the way; what has happened to him? I see dark clouds there, but I digress…), but in this case the circumstances appear rather different because Fr Pavone obeys to the bishop (coming back to Amarillo as ordered) even when he is not obliged to (as he has already appealed, and the appeal allows him to wait for the decision; I am not an expert in canon law but I’d say that we have seen this in the case of bishop Nourrichard).
The matter here is rather disconcerting for a different reason: the bishop says that Fr Pavone doesn’t want to have his books audited; Fr Pavone says that the books are audited but the bishops doesn’t want to acknowledge that they are. As the matter of auditing of financial statements is heavily regulated all over the West and not much of a grey zone seems possible, I am sure that we will rather soon know who is talking without thinking here. If Fr Pavone picked his cousin to audit the financial statements because he happens to be an accountancy student, the books are not audited and I think he’s in trouble; if he had the accounts regularly audited I think the Bishop will have some explaining to do.
The other matter rather reminiscent of the Corapi affair is the bishop’s accusation about “persistent questions remained unanswered” regarding how the money is used (hence the great need for auditing, of course). Once again, either the books have been properly audited, or they haven’t. If they have, it should have been for the auditors to express concerns, if such areas of concerns had been established. If they haven’t, the problem is there irrespective of Pavone having being wasteful or not.
It is sad to see that once again, a famous priest makes headlines for the wrong reasons. On the other hand, if a scandal is really on the making (and be that one of careless administration) the Latin saying oportet ut scandala eveniant has once again deserved its excellent reputation.
As in Corapi’s case, Fr Pavone should be presumed innocent until found guilty.
I truly hope we won’t see him soon photographed in a motorcycle jacket, though.
Father Corapi has released a reply to the SOLT’s press release of some days ago.
On that occasion, I wrote:
SOLT must be aware that they are now exposing themselves to be sued for libel for a huge amount of money if the information they have given proves grossly incorrect. As we can reasonably exclude this case, the only reasonable assumption now is that what was stated by Father Corapi’s order corresponds to the truth.
For this reason, I do not see it fit to waste your time and mine by repeating Father Corapi’s (repeatedly stated) arguments. I’d be extremely happy to report one day that he was right and SOLT was wrong concerning his sexual misconduct, but I won’t hold my breath.
I will also not examine the facts about the alleged violation of his promise of poverty again. As I have written already, the SOLT’s position on this seems to me to be rather disingenuous.
What I would like to point out to, is that even in this situation, it turns out that Father Corapi did a very good job.
Many of his followers are people who had completely lost the faith, or had never been Catholic before. From their messages on Father Corapi’s new website it is very easy to see how many lives this man changed*. At the same time, what transpires from the vast majority of messages is their love for the Church and their absolute orthodoxy. There are, of course, people who continue to cling to him in a way that lets one be afraid that they had converted to him rather than to true Catholicism; but the amount of well-meaning, totally orthodox messages is, considering the nature of the forum, rather impressive.
What striked me the most is the fact that many of those messages do not focus on the matter of Father Corapi’s innocence or guilt; but rather, on the fact that by leaving his priesthood he causes to himself a damage bigger than any wrongdoing could have caused, and on the value and meaning of obedience in an ordained man.
The absurdity of the current situation is that Father Corapi has put himself in a position where he would be found guilty of very grave conduct (leaving the priesthood) even if he were to be found innocent with regard to all accusations. Guilty at the point that I would personally not hesitate in considering his leaving the priesthood, in himself, graver than every one of the accusations moved to him; one who has failed to behave as he should (in the end everyone of us does it to an extent; every day!) can repent and start again; but one who throws away his clerical robes is like the one burning the confessional because he is angry at the confessor.
Yet, this man now so severely tempted has put his followers in a position to resist the temptation of clinging to their idol at the expense of their loyalty to the Church; he has made* (as it seems to me) the vast majority of them immune from the lure of “black sheep dogs”; he has given them the instruments to see the truth in the midst of life’s troubles. Satan may be attacking him with great force now, but he has made so many people much more resistant to his attacks.
As to the matter, we must now wait and see whether Father Corapi uses some of the cards which, if innocent, he has at his disposal after his planned leaving of the order, like for example:
a) suing the SOLT for libel; this would trigger a trial in front of a civil court and force the order to release the evidence, thus allowing him to refute it.
b) provide a trustworthy, third-party medical certification of his not taking drugs in the last several months, which is easy and rather cheap to do (ask every professional athlete).
Please do not cease praying for this good soul in trouble.
* I use here the current way of speaking, as in “St John Vianney converted many souls”.
At this point, I do not think that there is much to be quarrelled about.
I invite everyone reading this to first stop a minute and say a Hail Mary – or three – for a man who has done so much for so many and who, as one so dangerous for the Enemy, has been attacked with an energy commensurate to the good he has done. During my dinner I stopped shortly to pray for the poor chap, and couldn’t avoid wondering whether I would be able to resist such an attack. A shiver went down my spine. Miserere mei, Domine.
I hate using words like “do not judge” as I find that in modern times they are mainly used to condone or encourage scandal. I cannot – much as I always liked Father Corapi – close my eyes in front of the scandal, and the shame, and the damage for Catholicism. This is very bad, and will be remembered in decades to come. The only way for us is to resolve to pray more, and to pray better; to show the devil that his plan will not work; to pray for Father Corapi, and for all priests, who are predestined targets.
On the matter itself:
1. SOLT must be aware that they are now exposing themselves to be sued for libel for a huge amount of money if the information they have given proves grossly incorrect. As we can reasonably exclude this case, the only reasonable assumption now is that what was stated by Father Corapi’s order corresponds to the truth.
2. It is surprising – to say the least – that a priest can have lived together with what would appear to be his concubine, and abusing of alcohol and drugs, without his own religious order having any sensible control mechanism in place; something like unannounced visits, inspections, perhaps even blood tests, and the like. Without knowing much of the rules of the order, I’d dare to think that his superiors were and are responsible for his spiritual welfare, and that the past history of Father Corapi would have justified – the more so, because of his privileged but isolated position – precautionary measures “under obedience”. It is rather easy and relatively inexpensive to see whether someone takes drugs; it isn’t so difficult to make unannounced visits to see whether everything is all right; it is reasonable to expect that spiritual care is given. I might be biased here because I liked the man, but I think that this doesn’t reflect well on the SOLT, either.
3. Similarly, the accusations to Father Corapi of having violated his vote of poverty seem rather disingenuous. They must have known where he lived, and whether this was all right or not. Moreover, a visit to Father Corapi’s old internet page was enough to understand that this was a well-organised, lucrative business. Whatever violation there has been, the order can’t say that they didn’t know anything of it without looking, in the best of cases, very naive.
4. It is clear, though, that the results of the finding have surprised the SOLT. It is otherwise not to be explained how Fr Sheehan could say, only some two weeks ago, that the order would “take steps to protect his good name”. Evidently, at this point they still believed in his innocence.
5. With the benefit of hindsight, it is to this limited intelligence nothing less than astonishing how Father Corapi could attack in this way, when he must have known that the truth must come out. I have written in the past that his clearly combative attitude was rather an indication that he had nothing to hide, but that a person who has left behind emails and was even (as the neologism goes) “sexting” about his activities should think that he’ll get away with it frankly surpassed my powers of imagination. I now remember a similar case in Germany, many years ago, of a famous football manager accused of taking drugs and denying with everyone even after the police had taken a sample of his hair, and even the day before the publication of the results. Cocaine does this to people, some expert said afterwards. “Realitaetsverlust”, they said, “loss of [the sense of] reality”. We must pray for Father Corapi.
6. I truly hope that this unfortunate case does not give anyone an excuse to continue with the utterly senseless policy of suspending a priest by the first letter of accusation. The fact that in this case the priest does seem not to have been slandered is certainly not proof that such a policy is right. On the contrary, the fact that the truth has emerged so rapidly is a clear indication that the best course of action is to proceed speedily to investigation, but to leave the priest in office until the conclusion of the investigation, as the bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi wisely suggests. Once again, here no misconduct with children was alleged.
7. This might seem a fussy remark, but I still do not understand how an accusation of drugs taking might not be a matter for an official police investigation. To take drugs is illegal in Montana, surely?
8. At the cost of being superfluous: the Church is more than one, or one thousand, Father Corapi of either the good or the troubled sort. The Truths that Father Corapi has so eloquently defended remain just as true today as they always were. Our allegiance is to Christ and to His Church.
9. To close on a chilly note: the disquieting black sheepdog with the lambs in his eyes has shown his true identity.That’s good for another shiver. We must pray.
I dread Father Corapi’s reply now. I dread even more the reaction of his (as it was unwisely said) “fan base”. It is truly time to accept the reality on the ground and start praying for him.
The best course for him would certainly be to leave all this mess behind him, go back to the order (or perhaps, to another order) and try to put his life in order again, away from the lures of sex, drugs, money, and fame. He found the energies the first time, he might find them a second one.
Almost time to go to bed. My Rosary is for him. I liked his ways, and his being so different from the toothless pussycats we see too often around us.
I hope that today, a huge number of prayers will go up to heaven for him.
Jimmy Akin has it.
Official SOLT Press release.
I will not comment at this time.
Strong tobacco for sure.
Please pray for him and all involved.
The blog of EF Pastor Emeritus reports about the “Pastor intiative”, a delirious heretical initiative of Austrian priests and deacons thinking that they can have their way because they are many. Those of you who can read German can check here that the points repeated by E F faithfully reflect (albeit in the third person plural) the points of the “Pastor Initiative”.
For your convenience – and hoping not to ruin your dinner – I’ll copy and paste them here:
1. In every liturgy they will include a petition for church reform.
2. They will not deny Communion to faithful of good will, especially remarried people, members of other Christian churches, and in some cases those who have officially left the Catholic Church.
3. As much as possible they will avoid celebrating multiple times on Sundays and feastdays, and avoid scheduling circuit rider priests unknown to the community. A locally-planned Liturgy of the Word is preferable.
4. They will use the term “Priestless Eucharistic Celebration” for a Liturgy of the Word with distribution of Communion. This is how the Sunday Mass obligation is fulfilled when priests are in short supply.
5. They will ignore the prohibition of preaching by competently trained laity, including female religion teachers. In difficult times, the Word of God must be proclaimed.
6. They will advocate that every parish has a presiding leader – man or woman, married or unmarried, full-time or part time. Rather than consolidating parishes, they call for a new image of the priest.
7. They will take every opportunity to speak up publicly for the admission of women and married people to the priesthood. These would be welcome colleagues in ministry.
It would be difficult – but not entirely amusing – to try to rank these points in order of heretical content, or stupidity. It is also clear that even a very bad Pope, let alone a good one, should see in around twenty-seven seconds the destructive potential of this and the necessity of swiftly suffocating the revolt in the bud inviting the men to immediate retractation or dismissing them from the clerical state. I want to hope – desperately so – that if the bishops don’t act, Rome will.
Still, I do have some questions:
1. How can it be that a letter from a perfect stranger is sufficient to suspend a priest (Father Corapi, and many others) from his priestly functions, but the written and public self-denunciation of a priest as a heretic – and one who not only openly rebels to the rules of the Church, but even openly invites other priests to do the same – is not?
2. If 313 priests an deacons are not enough to punish them and set an example, when will the right moment be? When they have become 1000? 2000? 3000?
3. If there is no courage to act when the rebellious priests/deacons are 313, what should let us think that this courage will be found when these priests are a multiple of that?
4. How can it be that the Austrian bishops (provided that they do not, in fact, collude with the rebels) do not see that to let such an open call to revolt unpunished can only achieve the effect of encouraging others to participate to the rebellion?
5. How can a bishop, in his conscience, tolerate that such a priest remains in his function as priest of the Catholic church? How can he tolerate such a scandal? How can he leave such a priest at his place, in full standing, knowing that he is both in open revolt and clearly heretical? The scarcity of priests is fully irrelevant here as it is clearly better to have no priest that an heretic inviting priests and faithful to rebellion.
Again: if one didn’t know how inefficient and weak bishops can be, collusion would be the only reasonable hypothesis for such scandalous failure to act (see below).
6. Why is the Vatican doing nothing? When do they think it will be the moment to act? Are 313 priests/deacons in the same little country not enough? If not, what is enough? A revolt of Arian proportion all over the German-speaking world? Or perhaps it is better to wait that France explodes, too? What about Canada?
Now don’t think that there has being no reaction at all. Oh no. There has been the usual verbal alleged “sharp” reaction with Bishop Kapellari making very clear to them, with a sharp blabla, that he sharply disagrees. You don’t say? Really? Are you sure you are not being too harsh here, Your Grace? By the way, the last link would seem to indicate that of the 313, 250 are priests. A lot of people with Freundinnen there, for sure.
And as we talk about about bishops, make no mistake: they are the main culprits as a revolt of such massive proportions could never have been even conceived if the bishops had worked properly in the past years. The revolt of the grassroots (Austria is a relatively minor country, and 313 priests/deacons would be an awful lot in every country) is a clear indication of the complete failure at the episcopal level: failure to instruct, failure to warn, and failure to punish.
Unless of course the bishops are colluded; which would explain a thing or two.
This scandal is rapidly reaching Dutch proportions. The Dutch schism is probably the darkest page of the already, let us say, not entirely luminous pontificate of Pope Paul VI. When I read the pages about the schism on Iota Unum I remember thinking “thank God, this madness could never happen today and if it did, the punishment would be swift and exemplary”.
I don’t know anymore about swift. We’ll see about exemplary.
The Regional Priest Servant of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) as well as father Corapi’s superior, Father Sheehan, has released the awaited official statement.
What in my eyes transpires is as follows:
1) Father Corapi was placed in administrative leave by initiative of his own superior, Fr Sheehan himself. It would therefore appear to be true that the administrative leave doesn’t originate, formally, from the Corpus Christi Diocese.
2) Father Sheehan felt obliged to do so to comply with the infamous proper canonical procedures, because – as they explicitly say – the Bishop advised them to act in accordance with them. This is going to give Bishop Mulvey some flak and it seems to me that the SOLT is here politely taking some distance from the decision. They basically seem to say “I didn’t want to do it, but I really had to”, which explains why Father Corapi seems to exclusively target Bishop Mulvey and/or the diocesan milieu. If you are in any doubt as to the fact that religious orders don’t feel like contravening the Bishop’s instruction, read what Opus Bono Sacerdotii thinks about it, and shiver.
3) The enquiry was still in its initial phase. This basically means that the enquiry had not even come to the point of deciding whether Fr Corapi’s accuser had any credibility or were just, say, a couple of drunkards who had failed in their blackmail attempt and were seeking revenge. This is going to give Fr Corapi more than some flak, particularly considering the short time occurred (Corapi’s letter announcing the intention to abandon the priesthood is dated June 3rd) and the fact that Fr Corapi’s civil lawsuit had slowed down the process in the first place, as written in a former blog post.
4) SOLT clearly states that if the complaint had been found worthy of further investigation, none of the injustices lamented by Fr Corapi would have taken place: he would have had a right of being fully informed of people, facts and circumstances, and would have had a lawyer at his disposal. More flak for him I’m afraid.
What I think – from the information emerged up to now – happened is as follows:
1. The two accusers target Fr Corapi by writing to the bishop.
2. The bishop writes to the SOLT and tells them to use the normal procedures (the zero-tolerance, zero-intelligence policy of administrative leave)
3. SOLT is more or less forced to comply to avoid incurring the ire of the bishop.
4. Fr Corapi is incensed that a letter should stop his ministry (and destroy his business), reacts strongly and thinks of revenge.
5. Still in the early stages, Fr Corapi reacts with civil lawsuits against the accusers.
6. The civil lawsuits makes the SOLT enquiries more difficult; they must now talk only with people indirectly informed. The procedure now threatens to drag for some time.
7. Fr Corapi has a business he doesn’t want to see fade away, and asks his lawyer how long will it take. “Possibly a long time and no one really knows”, is the likely answer.
8. Fr Corapi already has the looming issue of having to leave the order (not holy orders) or having to leave his accustomed way of life, as already written. He has therefore little interest (and I mean here: economic interest) in waiting for the end of a procedure (the pre-trial phase) which will end up with his being found fully innocent, but asked to hand over all the profits from his activity to the SOLT shortly after.
9. Fr Corapi therefore decides to give precedence to his “ministry” and to ditch his habit, which allows him to: a) continue his preaching activity; b) insert a huge suppository in his accusers’ lower regions, with the immediate end of the canonical procedure; c) go on with the profitable business, before the business fades away; d) avoid the alternative of having to hand over the profits of the business to the SOLT or leave the order, as he would probably have been forced to do at some point in the not-too-far future.
I might be wrong here. This seems to be to me the most probable chain of events. I am curious to see whether the readers agree, or where they disagree, and why.
In my eyes – and as so often in human things – here several motives mix. Fr Corapi is seriously attached to his business, but seriously offended at the way he was – as he certainly feels – thrown to the dogs by the bishop. I’d say that he is sincere when he believes in his possibilities to save souls through his ministry as much as he likes the popularity, and the money.
The SOLT has clearly desired to protect him from the brutal “proper canonical procedure”, but was told by the bishop not to think of it and had to cave in. They also have a parallel problem with Corapi in that his financial and otherwise autonomy was seen as increasingly problematic anyway.
The bishop doesn’t want to appear to give a privileged treatment to the “star preacher”, and clearly expects Fr Corapi to grit his teeth for as long as it takes. Probably not so long, he must have thought at the start of the affair, before Fr Corapi’s lawsuit.
In the end analysis, I see the roots of the evil in the following factors:
1) the “proper canonical procedure” is stupid beyond redemption, and is applied without proper consideration (no children involved here; no criminal offence; seriously, what the frock…).
2) Fr Corapi’s first consideration was always the preaching or, if we want to be a bit more realistic, the business; with the possible added spice of a great desire to get even with his accusers. His civil lawsuit (which very probably could have waited for a wee year or two anyway) and, most gravely, his decision to discard his habit cannot, in my eyes, have been founded than on the motive of not letting the business fade away.
3) If Fr Corapi’s first care had been the preaching, this could have waited a wee year or two. If it had been his reputation, he would have known that nothing damages it like leaving the priesthood. If it had been the desire for revenge (which is not very priestly anyway) this would not have been pursued at the cost of his habit.
The only thing that couldn’t wait here is, in my eyes, the publishing business; a business needing popularity, and sustained media presence.
Of course, everyone of us is more multi-faceted than that. In Fr Corapi, as in everyone of us, several motives certainly mix and interact. I believe in both his Christian sincerity and his desire to help. But there can be no justification for the abandoning of one’s priestly duties. Not after three months of inconveniences, not after three years, not after thirty.
Whatever Fr Corapi’s sincere desires and aspiration are, when these desires are allowed to be put before one’s holy orders something is seriously, seriously wrong.
Prayers for him on their way.
From my little collection of sayings under “the Quotable Catholic”, some intelligent quotes that would, I think, be very useful for Father Corapi.
Here they are.
When you crash against the rock, you will not damage the rock but you will hurt yourself.
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the truth.
Our arms are too short to box with God.
The definition of heresy is, ‘pick and choose’.
It is easy to praise the Lord when everything is going alright. Just let us stub our toe and see if the praise still continues.
If He went through torture and crucifixion, then how could we not put up with criticism.
Don’t mess with a strong man’s bride.
Matt and Pat Archbold show us a good way to deal with the sad Corapi affair.
This video is both extremely hilarious, and perfectly to the point.
Very late now, so yours truly will go to sleep and reflect on the message tomorrow.
Read on the Deacon’s Bench about an imminent announcement from Father Corapi.
The news seems credible because contained in an email sent to those on father Corapi’s mail list. Also, next weekend will mark the 20th anniversary of Father Corapi’s ordination.
On the other hand, the email comes from his media company, not from his religious order or from him personally.
The message will get out also on youtube and facebook.
The mail is very clear as to the fact that Father Corapi will announce his desire to continue to help deliver a message of hope to those who seek it.
Abwarten und Tee Trinken, says the German.
He is in my prayers and, I hope, yours.
On the Corapi matter there is a development and, if you allow, some reflections.
The development is that officials of the company publishing Corapi’s work have (rather too heavily, I would say) criticised the bishop for Father Corapi’s supension. The intervention is in my eyes counterproductive, as it turns out it was not the bishop who suspended Corapi but the superior of his religious order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. Besides, it doesn’t help when one says that the suspension is illicit under Canon Law, but doesn’t say why.
In my eyes, this Corapi’s defence is a bit too overzealous and should have been better avoided. More interesting appears the statement of the company’s official that the person writing the letter against Corapi was a disgruntled employee who has physically assaulted him, but we would have to know more details on this to be able to value the episode.
The other reflecion regards the fact that from one side, Corapi’s diocese stresses that the presumption of innocence is of the “highest importance” but from the other side, EWTN makes clear that they have suspended Corapi from their program because their internal policy is that no priest whose faculties have been suspended is broadcast, period.
One sees to what absurd consequences today’s praxis leads. He is presumed innocent, but the praxis is that when you are presumed innocent you are considered guilty until proven innocent, whilst your presumption of innocence is stressed everywhere. I fail to see the logic here: if presuming one innocent really means to presume one innocent, then the poor man should be treated, pending investigation, as one who is innocent of the accusations moved against him. It is not that he is in danger of taking an aeroplane to Burkina Faso, or that he spends hours alone with adolescents.
The mentality herein exhibited can be developed with some very interesting mind games: you don’t like father Z? Write a letter to a half-dozen of bishops accusing him of everything under the sun, pending investigation he’ll be certainly asked not to blog. Or perhaps Father Finigan is your enemy? What about Cardinal Burke? Pell, anyone? And really – I do have to ask this again – if a letter is enough to suspend a priest, why should the Pope not be asked to suspend himself should such a letter arrive?
I do not want to sound petulant here, but it’s weeks since this matter has started; when there are true facts behind the allegation, generally people come out offering an unstoppable flood of further circumstances and this goes very rapidly to the press. Think of Berlusconi, with the first facts more and more corroborated by the new elements which inevitably begin to emerge once these things become public.
Nothing of the sort here. Just a letter from a former, highly emotional and probably unstable (if the allegations of physical assaults are true) woman who is now, probably, scared to death by her own fit of hysteria (and she should be, methinks). In the meantime, the circus goes on, Father Corapi is still suspended, and EWTN still doesn’t have the decency to just apply basic common sense instead of rules clearly born for other circustances.
Truly, there are things that must be changed here. It can’t be that in the country that so much worships freedom of expression and religious freedom any popular priest can be silenced with a letter.
Truly beautiful contribution (on the Archdiocese of Washington’s internet site) of Msgr. Charles Pope. The contribution comes in two forms: the excerpt from the funeral sermon held by himself and the very insightful, crystal-clear reflections posted on the Internet site of the Archdiocese.
I allow myself to suggest that you listen to the sermon first. It is nothing shocking for those accustomed to this blog but certainly unusually clear for those who are not. For people not even accustomed to darken the doors of a church on Sundays – and told all the time that “their heart is in the right place” and therefore everything is fine – it must be outright shocking.
Msgr. Pope delivers truth in copious quantity and without any meaningful dilution. I will mention here only some of the many brilliant statements he makes:
[..] the usual approach at funerals has been to be “nice” and if sin, or purgatory, or judgment (or, God forbid, Hell), are mentioned at all it should be subtle, so subtle as to barely be noticed. Vague attestations of ”we at the parish will surely pray for Joe’s happy repose and for you the family.” Somewhere the doctrine of purgatory is lurking in the saying but only a trained theologian could really see it.
I had tried the more subtle approach for years. It didn’t really work and no one really took it seriously, if they even understood what I was “getting at.”
I think prophecy needs to be clear, strong and unambiguous. I get a much better result that way. I can surely attest to the fact that more have returned to Mass on a regular basis as a result of strong words than ever happened in the years when the usual reaction to my ministration was, “Oh Father, you’re such a dear. What a heart-warming and consoling message!
I have over 50 funerals a year. And for most of them the Church is packed with people I will only see once, or perhaps not until the next family funeral. I cannot wait for a “less delicate” time
Preaching is about saving before it is about consoling
A lot of times powerful preaching takes people through a cycle of: mad, to sad, to glad.
I think we have long enough tried the “nice guy” preaching that is extolled by many, as the model. But all through these past 40 years with that model largely operative, Mass attendance has steadily dropped.
Fr. Bill Casey defines superficial preaching as: “watered-down, filled with generalities and abstractions, devoid of doctrinal content and moral teaching, more akin to pop-psychology than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not scriptural, it does not move, it does not inspire, it generates no enthusiasm for Jesus Christ, his Church or the Gospel and it has got to change”.
The fact is, I think there is a general hunger for a return to vivid and strong preaching. I think this is more common among younger people, many of whom have had enough of polite but abstract sermons that preach ideas more than unvarnished Catholic and Biblical truth.
Mgr. Pope hits the bull’s head so many times that there’s no space for the darts left. Not only does he get the nature of the problem (as, I am sure, many others do), but he has the nerve to speak it out, and to do so when the majority of lukewarm priests with oversized political antennae would not dare to do it. He reports (and chastises) the thinking of colleagues of him who say that they wouldn’t be able to get away with talking as he does.
Get…. what?! Since when has a priest been ordained to reflect about what he can “get away with”? Since when has a priest seen it as his job to avoid saying what his parishioners don’t want to hear? What kind of priesthood is this? These questions seem to escape Mgr. Pope’s colleagues: you picture them smiling and saying “aahhh, I could not do that…”
If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle? In the modern age what we see is that many shepherds (often Bishops or Archbishops) are very well aware that their trumpet is barely audible. But you know what? They just don’t care! They’d never allow the Truth to come in the way of their popularity among the crowds, making them acceptable to vast cohorts of, often, non-Catholics or even non-Christians.
What a difference between Mgr. Pope and many of our shepherds.
I wish he were Archbishop of Westminster.
Short, interesting and as always very entertaining video from Father Corapi about the opportunity of trying to convert other Christians to Catholicism.
Besides the obvious wisdom of father Corapi’s words, there is an element I’d like to stress. The person implicitly accusing Fr Corapi of “wanting everybody to be Catholic” (and being “deadly serious” as he says that) was not a Presbyterian pastor, or a Protestant layman. This person, completely missing the grace imparted through the Eucharist and the Catholic sacramental life and totally oblivious of the role and function of the Church, was a Catholic priest.
The conversation clearly happened a couple of decades ago and it is reassuring to see that at the “wanting everyone to be a Catholic” moment the public understands the absurdity of the other priest’s position and happily laugh.
That Fr Corapi felt the necessity to instruct the other priest about the fact that “God doesn’t do useless things” (and we are talking here of Sacraments like the Eucharist and the Confession, not about a corkscrew or a safety-pin) really says it all about what was happening among the clergy of the Only Church.
I am rather confident that if would be, if not impossible, certainly much less probable to find a priest failing his vocation and his Catholicism in such a spectacular way today than it would have been some twenty years ago, particularly among younger priests. Still, it goes to show that the “education” and “intelligence” Father Corapi praises in his old interlocutor are not worth much if the faith is not there, or the intelligence has been used to pervert the teaching of the Church.
At the top of this page you will find a link called “The Quotable Catholic”, a collection of short and mostly easy to memorise phrases meant to be a handy Catholic armoury for yourself and your little, ahem, online confrontations. I re-read them regularly in order to let the wisdom of those great Catholics be slowly absorbed. Father Corapi (easily the most represented in this little collection) is there with a little gem I always found wonderful:
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the Truth.
One listens to the video and understands how right the man is.
A short but extremely instructive video from the excellent Father Corapi, whom I can’t avoid thinking to as the Fulton Sheen of our times.
Father Corapi illustrates the following points:
1) we can be accessory to another person’ sin by silence. We can be accessory to a genocide many times the scale of the Holocaust, just by silence. The possibility of being accessory to another person’s sin seems to have disappeared from modern catechesis. We see the result of that in the legislative activity of even traditionally Catholic countries.
2) We must bring our conviction regarding the above to the ballot box. It is a dereliction of duty to think that one can be a Catholic himself whilst doing nothing to avoid the Country he lives in to reject Christian values.
3) This dereliction of duty is a much greater crime in those who have positions of public responsibility. The likes of Pelosi, Obama and Schwarzenegger will be judged much more harshly than the individuals whose soul they put in danger.
Father Corapi imperious call of “Wake Up America!” is in my eyes particularly apposite now, with the mid-term elections looming and the recent events in California showing how far Catholic representative of the people can go in betraying their religion and stabbing their electorate in the back.