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Pray For Our Priests!

Here’s a very nice prayer for priests, courtesy of Deacon Greg Kandra.  I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments that we need to pray for our priests more than ever!

Father Corapi – Just The Facts…UPDATED

UPDATE (5:48 PM) :  After listening to Father Corapi’s latest message this afternoon, I want to emphasize a few things:

1. Father Corapi and all affected parties DESPERATELY need prayers.  PLEASE PRAY!

2. Father Corapi is very angry and is lashing out at many people and the Church.  LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY to his messages, as they are very contradictory, not Christlike,  and are damaging the unity of the Church.  Could you picture the Lord using Father Corapi’s words?

3. I AM NOT JUDGING FATHER CORAPI or stating that he is guilty of any of the charges leveled against him.  I am, however, concerned for the souls that he is leading astray with his destructive messages.  Please stay close to the Church and you’ll never go wrong!

As much as I’d like to completely put the situation with Fr. Corapi to rest, I feel that I have an obligation to comment or present facts when appropriate.  Since there has been so much speculation about who’s being treated unfairly and the “flawed” process, here are 2 very good articles which contain some facts that may help to enlighten us. 

The first one contains some comments from Father Corapi’s superior and provides some new details about the investigation and the second gives insight into the Church’s investigation process.  I’ll let the articles speak for themselves.

In the meantime, please continue to pray for all concerned.

John Corapi – Where Do We Go From Here?

The past 24 hours have been very enlightening for me.  I’ve reached a new record for traffic on my website, which normally would make me happy…but I wish the circumstances were different.  My blog about Fr. Corapi’s decision to leave the priesthood generated lots of interest (to say the least).  I was called everything from a “fool” to “sensible”.  While it’s not fun to be attacked, I really do appreciate all of your comments.  I have to applaud you for caring enough about your faith to comment.  I spent some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and I reread my blog several times and I’d like to clear the air about a few points.  Although I’m very passionate about the Catholic Faith and sometimes get carried away, I’ve always considered myself to a fairly reasonable and charitable person.  I’d like to ask you to read the following statements and let me know what you think.

Why did I feel the need to write about this?– When the initial accusations against Fr. Corapi came up, I chose not to blog about them.  I did post a comment on Facebook asking for prayers for all parties concerned.  I didn’t know the details and I thought it best to remain silent.  On Friday, Fr. Corapi announced that he was leaving the priesthood, launching a new website and now referring to himself as the “Black Sheep Dog”.  Later that evening, I received a message from one of my readers stating that she is thinking of leaving the Catholic Church because of the unfair way that Fr. Corapi was being treated by the Bishop of Corpus Christi.

That was it…I HAD to write about the matter.

Let’s take a look at some of the facts in this case:

1. Father Corapi could be innocent – It is entirely possible that Fr. Corapi is completely or partially innocent of all charges and that the bishop and his superiors are treating him unfairly. If this is the case, he must be suffering terribly and that’s a great tragedy. What’s more tragic, however, is that by his decision to walk away from the priesthood, he is giving up the opportunity to clear his name.  However flawed the system may be, it is the only way for him to be cleared and return to active ministry as a priest.  I don’t see that as a good choice on his part.

2. Father Corapi could be guilty – As hard as it is to accept, Fr. Corapi could be guilty of some or all charges.  Assuming that there is only one accuser, there are only 2 people who know that answer for sure. By leaving the priesthood, the process comes to an end and the truth may never be known.

3. Father Corapi’s actions and statements bring division to the Church – Like it or not, I’m standing by this one.  Here are some of Corapi’s words – directly from his new website:

Suffice it to say that I love the Catholic Church and accept what has transpired. Unfortunately, the process used is inherently and fatally flawed, but the bishops have the power, apparently, to operate anyway they see fit. I cannot give a lengthy explanation of what has transpired, but I can tell you that the most likely outcome is that they leave me suspended indefinitely and just let me fade away. They can’t prove I’m guilty of the things alleged because I’m not, and they can’t prove I’m innocent because that is simply illogical and impossible. All civilized societies know that. Certain leaders in the Catholic Church apparently do not.

I did not start this process, the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas ordered my superiors, against their will and better judgment, to do it. He in fact threatened to release a reprehensible and libelous letter to all of the bishops if they did not suspend me.

They (the bishops) choose to selectively ignore or violate both Canon Law and Civil Law, as they deem appropriate and or expeditious. Once again, they apparently have the discretionary power to do this, and if that’s the way it is I have to accept that as reality.

In a time when the authority of the Catholic Church is under constant attack, Fr. Corapi chose to make statements that will turn people against the successors of the Apostles, the bishops.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at all of the negative comments on the Internet directed toward the Bishop of Corpus Christi.  The basis for these comments?  Fr. Corapi’s accusations. Could some or all of his statements be true?  Possibly, but even if they were, did he have to express it publicly, knowing what the reaction would be? Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to say that he’s leaving the priesthood for personal reasons and ask everyone to respect his privacy?

Could I have been more charitable? – Yes, and for that I apologize.  My comments about “extinguishing him from my life” were harsh and inappropriate.  My attempt to play off of Corapi’s words (“I’m not ready to be extinguished”), came across as cold and uncaring. While that was not my intent, I should have chosen my words more carefully.  The point I was trying to make is that because of his suspension and subsequent actions, I will not recommend or use his materials.  I stand by that position and would encourage others to explore the materials of Fr. Bob Casey, Fr. John Trigilio, Fr. Larry Richards, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Fr. Mitch Pacwa and other good priests who are not currently suspended. You can disagree, but that is my opinion.  I will never recommend the works of any priest who is under suspension or who speaks poorly of the Church hierarchy.

Where do we go from here? – I strongly recommend that you pray for Fr. Corapi and all involved in this tragic situation.  Please make it a practice to pray daily for all of our clergy and religious.  Satan is attacking them on a daily basis and rejoices when one of them falls.

To all of my new readers, I hope you’ll stick around as we walk together on the road to eternal life.  To all of my existing readers, thank you for your support and “keeping me honest” when needed.  If I offended any of you, I apologize and ask for patience as I try my best to proclaim the truth of our wonderful Catholic Faith in a truthful, but charitable manner.

I tried my best to be fair, without too much “sugar coating”.  Let me know what you think…

What Fr. Corapi Doesn’t Get

His supreme business was to be a Savior; but for the moment that included obedience to His earthly guardians. (A reflection on Luke 2:51 by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from his book Life Of Christ)

By now, many of you are familiar with Fr. John Corapi’s decision to voluntarily leave the priesthood due to his dissatisfaction with the Church’s handling of the allegations of misconduct leveled against him.  In case you missed it, here is the drama filled video from the man now known as “The Black Sheep Dog”, John Corapi:

As I’ve stated before, I was always a fan of Fr. Corapi’s and I loved to hear him preach.  His series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church was tremendous and helped me to learn and love my Catholic Faith.  The thing that I appreciated the most from his talks was his love for the Church and her shepherds.  Instead of criticizing them, Father Corapi reminded us to pray for our bishops because “they have the hardest job in the world”.  That’s not what I heard from the “Black Sheep Dog” last night:

“I did not start this process, the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas ordered my superiors, against their will and better judgment, to do it. He in fact threatened to release a reprehensible and libelous letter to all of the bishops if they did not suspend me.”(Fr. John Corapi, June 17, 2011 from his website)

I previously blogged about the fact that the Church’s message is always more important than the messenger.  That goes for Fr. Corapi, Mother Angelica, Archbishop Sheen or your local parish priest.  The minute we put all of our eggs in one basket and become a follower of any one individual instead of a follower of Christ, we are asking for trouble.  Over the course of the next several weeks, many people will side with Corapi and attack the Church for their handling of this matter.  We should remember that the decision to leave the priesthood is Corapi’s alone and not that of any Church authority.

I have no idea who is telling the truth in this case and there’s a good chance that I never will.  I have prayed for Fr. Corapi and his accuser every day since the story broke and will continue to do so.  What I do know is that the “Black Sheep Dog” is making a big mistake.  He is abandoning his vocation to the sacred priesthood because he feels that his message needs to be heard.  In other words, the mission of the Church can’t go on with out him.  Guess what?  It can and it will. 

If Father Corapi is innocent (and he may be), then he is being asked to carry a heavy cross right now.  Carrying that cross could have done tremendous good.  His followers would see an example of humility and of obedience to the Church he claimed to love.  Fr. Corapi’s suffering could have released many souls from purgatory and could have been used as penance for the many offenses against the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Instead, the “Black Sheep Dog” has chosen to reject that cross because “he is not ready to be extinguished”.  The practice of humility, obedience and acceptance of suffering was willingly embraced by Jesus and must be embraced by all of His followers.  Unfortunately, Father Corapi doesn’t seem to get that message.  Fortunately, there are plenty of good holy priests, religious, and lay Catholics who do “get it” and will continue to spread the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.  They do it by preaching the gospel and remaining faithful to the Church, even when it hurts.

Farewell, Mr. Black Sheep Dog.  I’ll continue to pray for you.  I have learned much about my Catholic Faith from you and I am grateful.  However, until you come to your senses, I’ll never purchase, recommend, watch or read any of your materials.  As far as I’m concerned, in my life…

you are extinguished.

So You Wanna Be A Priest? No Problem!

In my work as a Catholic lay evangelist, I often run into people who criticize the “restrictive” nature of the Catholic priesthood.  We often focus so much on the fact that women and married men (with some exceptions) aren’t eligible for this vocation, that we miss a key point…We are ALL called to participate in the priesthood of the faithful.  By virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, we are not only priests, but prophets and kings!

Don’t believe me?  Here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)  has to say about the topic:

Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.”  The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.” (CCC 1546)

The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ. This participation is called the “common priesthood of the faithful.” Based on this common priesthood and ordered to its service, there exists another participation in the mission of Christ: the ministry conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head in the midst of the community. (CCC 1591)

Pretty neat, huh?  Although lay Catholics are not members of the ministerial priesthood (reserved for the clergy), we are all called to be not only priests, but prophets and kings as well.  While this should make us feel really good, we have to remember that we are allowed to participate in these roles only through the merits of Jesus Christ.

So now that we’re all priests, prophets and kinds what does it mean?  Is there something that we’re supposed to do?  In reality, it’s relatively simple.  Let’s take a brief look at our three-fold role: 

Priest – Unite ourselves with the Lord as He offers the perfect sacrifice to the Father.  All of our works, all of our suffering, everything we do should be brought to Mass, united with the Lord’s sacrifice and given to the Father.

Prophet – We must proclaim the word of God to everyone.  We do this not just with words, but also by our actions. 

King –  If we follow the commandments of the Lord as taught by His Church, we will one day live with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

There you have it…Not only can you be a priest, but also a prophet and king!

Feel better now?