Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, John Corapi, Baby Bodies in Ireland and Letting the Facts Sift Themselves to the Top

Sampleno looking back corapi

Father John Corapi was just a smidgeon (and a very small smidgeon, at that) this side of Jesus to a lot of people.

I liked himself myself for quite a while. Then, one day, I was watching him on EWTN. He was talking about his escapades from his past and it occurred to me, “He’s not confessing. He’s bragging.” I noticed the way he almost leered when he talked about himself from what he was pretending he thought were his bad old days, and I realized, they weren’t bad old days to him. Not at all.

In short, I realized that this was a man in love with his sins and in love with himself. He was not the great priest he was pretending to be. He was something else, altogether.

I stopped watching him after that. A few months later, when the story broke that he had been credibly accused of all sorts of things, I wasn’t surprised. I’d seen it in his face that night.

I went to a meeting later in the week with a group of devout pro life Catholics. We were planning a pro life event. The talk was all about Father Corapi and the “lies” that were being told about him. The focus was on his accusers and what morally bankrupt people they were.

I listened for a while, then said, “I’m going to wait and see how it turns out.”

I didn’t say anything one way or the other about Father Corapi, just, “… wait and see how it turns out.”

There was a stunned silence and then one lady in particular fell to glaring at me. She glared throughout the meeting, and, so far as I can remember, has never spoken to me since. In fact, she still gets a case of the glares when she sees me.

Despite the silence and the glares, what I said was good advice, born of many years in the public eye and having been lied about over and over again by lying pros.

That was going to be my message about the wild story concerning the bodies of children that were found in Ireland a while back. Don’t believe the things the press is throwing around, and don’t disbelieve them, either. Just … wait and see.

My colleague, Frank Weathers, wrote a sterling post Saturday in which he gave us a few calming facts about that story to juxtapose with the hysteria in the larger press. You can read it here.

I am also going to suggest the same attitude toward the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Sgt Bergdahl was the last American prisoner of war from the war in Afghanistan. He was ransomed from captivity in a prisoner trade a few days ago.

He’s being trashed by all sorts of people. I don’t know him or them. I do believe that at least some of the trashing is a tactic in the partisan political wars. I take everything that is said in that context with about 20 pounds of salt. When it involves attacking someone who can’t fight back to score points against one political party by the other political party, I add another 50 pounds of salt to go with it.

These people — and I’m not talking about Sgt Bergdahl — are absolutely ruthless. They’ll destroy anybody to get what they want. Destroying the life and reputation of one soldier to gain a few points would be like snapping a toothpick to them.

It does not matter whether you are talking about the Rs or the Ds. Their only concern is getting and keeping power. Everything else they say is a lie.

A good deal of the press has become aligned — primarily through the interests that own them — with one side of the partisan wars or the other. They’re not trying to inform you. They’re trying to persuade you. And the persuasion is aimed at concentrating power in the hands of one side or the other of this political divide for purposes of making money for those same interests that own the media outlets.

So, my advice about Sergeant Bergdahl is the same advice I would give about the bodies in Ireland, which is based on the same thought I had when John Corapi was accused. Wait and see how it turns out.

I’m not trying to persuade anyone as to whether they should be an R or a D. I’m convinced we need Christians in both parties. What I am saying is don’t be too quick to join the lynch mob for this soldier. He’s a person, not a political opportunity.

I’ve seen cattle get run all over a field by a German Shepherd dog who was just having fun. The dog would send them one way, then the other. The cattle ran and the dog had the time of its life.

Don’t be like those cattle. Stop letting yourself get tossed around by a media that’s mis-using its power. Wait and see how it turns out. Give the facts on this story and all the others like it time to sift themselves to the top.

Don’t let yourself be herded from one outrage to the other by gossip that’s posing as facts, propaganda and sensationalist lies. If you know a news outlet is literally owned by a set of interests, remember that when considering the news they cover.

Trust God, and Him only.

And wait and see what happens when the facts sift themselves to the top.

 

Princes, Human Beings and Doing the Things We Hate

 

John Corapi shook people’s faith.

The bishops who repeatedly transferred child-abusing priests shook people’s faith.

I tremble to think of it, but I imagine that if I fell into some deep disgrace, that would shake a few people’s faith.

I can’t speak for other people, but I want everyone who knows me to understand that I fall flat on my spiritual face on a pretty regular basis. Don’t look to me for salvation, or even a good example. If you look to me for anything, it should be proof that God’s love is greater than all our sins and weaknesses, that the only thing we have to fear is living by our own understanding rather than His.

Despite the love and forgiveness God has showered on me, I still sin. I will always sin until I go home to Him.

St Paul said it best: “I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate.”  

That’s one of the greatest saints talking. If he couldn’t manage to live sinlessly, why should I expect that of myself? How can I expect it of anyone else?

I am not asking anyone to “forgive” these failed priests and bishops. I am offering an admonition, a plea, for people to stop confusing them with Christ the Lord.

“Do not put your faith in princes and human beings, who cannot save.” the Psalmist tells us.

Do not worship your spiritual leaders or expect them to be more than the fallen human beings they are. Priests and bishops are our spiritual leaders. They are our teachers. They are men who have consented to be conduits of God’s grace by way of the sacraments. They bring us Jesus in the Eucharist, which makes them precious to us. God can and does reach through them and into us to deliver healing and help.

But they are also made of dust, just like the rest of us. They can and will betray you and hurt you and, yes, betray and dishonor the vows they’ve taken and the trust people place in them. They can do this. And they will. They will, because that is our common human fate as co-inheritors of original sin. Yes, we are also co-inheritors of eternal life in Christ. Yes, we are forgiven this blight on our souls, washed clean of its eternal smear by the blood of Calvary. But so long as we live in this fallen world and eat of its fruits we will be subject to our own fallen natures.

“I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate.”  

That’s all of us, including these fallen priests and bishops who have betrayed themselves and their own souls along with the great trust that was placed in them. That is why we should never confuse these men with the God they serve.

I try to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church because I know they are inspired by the Holy Spirit. I respect the work that priests do because I know that they, however weak they may be as men, are conduits of grace in the sacraments, and that this grace is freely available to all of us through them. But I do not worship them or expect them to be anything other than the ordinary people they are.

When they fail, I do not doubt Christ because of it for the simple reason that they are not Christ. I know whom I have believed, and He is not them.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me,” Jesus told us.

Trust in me,” He said.

Not John Corapi. Not any bishop or priest.

Do not forfeit your eternal salvation over the weaknesses of other fallen human beings, no matter how exalted they have become in your eyes. Trust in Jesus and Him alone and no matter how you fail, or how others fail you, you will never lose your way.

 


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