I have mixed emotions about the resignation of Fr Corapi from his priestly ministry. This comes at a time when I have been hearing from priests in Philadelphia about the huge injustice the men who have just been put on administrative leave are experiencing. The stories are circulating: one priest who claims he is completely innocent and that the allegations against him are from a very troubled kid he tried to help years ago who was simply a bad one, and who is sniffing a payout. Another story from Philadelphia is of a priest who is accused by a mother of a teenaged girl because the mother found the priest’s cell phone number on her daughter’s phone. It was there because he asked all the kids to put his number in their phones when they were out on a parish outing to a theme park in case they got lost. A third story is about a mother who reported that the priest embraced her son in an erotic way. But it was outside church after Mass in full view of everyone and the boy ran up to give Father a hug.
If these stories of innocent men being removed from ministry and persecuted and having their good names destroyed are only half true, then terrible injustices are occurring. The stories circulating are that in protest all of the Philadelphia seminarians have quit. From a human point of view who want to keep going. If someone made a false allegation against me and I was suspended–assumed guilty before being proved innocent the human side of me would also say, “Keep it. I’ll get a job at McDonald’s” So if Corapi is in this situation where he really is innocent, from a human point of view, I can understand how why he is just walking. “Life’s too short. Fugeddaboudit. I’m outta here.”
On the other hand, we are reminded of the example of Padre Pio. All sorts of allegations were made against him. He accepted every disciplinary measure with complete obedience and meekness. He continued his life of prayer and sacrifice. He went like a sheep to the slaughter. He accepted the false accusations, the calumny, the slander and the ruination of his good name. As he did so, he imitated his Lord.
I conclude therefore that the Padre Pio example is the one to follow, and every priest who in these terrible times is just waiting for the phone call saying he has been accused, should plan that route rather than the Corapi posturing and pride. One is the way of the cross –which we have all been promised. The other is the way of the world.