Father John Corapi, Hilton Omaha Nebraska Sept. 10, 2010, a photo by Caldeira & Co. on Flickr.
It seems like everyone has a blog post about Fr. Corapi and his stunning statement released on June 17th. Emotions are running wild and people are divided into pro-Corapi and anti-Corapi camps.
Fr. Corapi had a positive influence on many people and was able to break down church teaching in a very accessible way.
But what is the take-away now? What are we learning from the events which are still unfolding? I think it is still too soon to tell and too soon to be making any predictions. However, I’m a little saddened by what I’ve heard.
Anytime any priest decides to leave the priesthood, it is a tragedy.
Anytime a person is treated unfairly by systems which are supposed to discover truth and uphold justice, it is a tragedy.
Anytime people are more concerned with the latest gossip than with displaying love and compassion for another person, it is a tragedy.
Anytime someone stops following the ways of Christ and begins to follow the way of the world, it is a tragedy.
These statements may or may not apply to the current event, I do not claim to have any particular knowledge of Fr. Corapi’s situation. Sure, I have heard things… I think everyone’s heard something at this point… But as for the truth? I don’t think I will ever know that. And that’s fine. I don’t think I particularly need to know the details.
There are people rabidly defending him and people rabidly attacking him. There are people like Al Kresta, who don’t believe that he is acting in a Christ-like manner and think that he has been indulging in self-pity. As long as the discussion remains charitable, I think it is a good thing. We can discuss actions with which we disagree and still love the person(s) who has(have) committed these actions. We should point out right and wrong, so as to help inform the consciences of others. Charity remains the one attitude we need to keep in the forefront of our minds as we enter into these discussions.
Whatever your feelings are on the subject, I think the best attitude to take is the one expressed by my blog-friend, Jen Fulwiler. She notes in her post that Fr. Corapi was very helpful in her conversion to Catholicism in teaching her the faith. However, the important part, is that the Church is bigger than any one man. And God’s Truth is always out there for us to know and embrace.
I don’t care who your priest is, how well known he is, how close you are to him or how much he has taught you of the faith. Or even how betrayed and lost you might feel if your priest leaves the priesthood or begins to behave contrary to a life of holiness or preach something other than the Gospel. What matters is that the Church has been guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. And if we know anything about God, it is that He is faithful. Even when we are not. (Or perhaps especially when we are not.)
So, at the end of the day, I can only pray that the Lord’s healing and love envelop all those who are affected by these events. No matter what the truth was, there are people significantly hurt. And they deserve our compassion and our prayers. Also, we must remain vigilant in our own faith and not allow it to be weakened by doubt or scandal. The Church is our mother and will not lead us astray, and nothing can pry us from the hands of our Father, so there is nothing to fear.