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.