“God knows full well all that is happening and if Father Corapi is innocent as he claims, then perhaps the priest is being used as a poster child to fix a broken process. “
— Diane Korzeniewski, TeDeum Laudamus Blog
Those are the sanest words yet written about this story, which is producing a lot of sound and fury in some quarters, signifying not-much, and producing little-to no light.
I can’t remember if it was a comment or an email but someone actually wrote these words:
This man is pretty much America’s lone voice of the Church’s Truth.
What astonishing nonsense; what an untruth! What a slanderous and diminishing insult to the thousands of fine, orthodox faithful priests and religious, deacons, seminarians and lay people who put their whole hearts and souls into serving this church and its truth with fervor, courage and complete fidelity. Fr. Corapi is a very fine preacher and a priest who has worked with the Holy Spirit to bring many souls back to Christ or to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of his Bride, the church. To say anything more than that is to betray something unhealthy beneath all the admiration. Corapi, I am sure, would be the first to refute that bizarre claim as the unloving, uncharitable, un-church-serving slander it is.
Let us recap what we do and do not know, so far:
What we do know: Whether it is a constructive or — as Gerald Nadal suggests — destructive decision, Fr. John Corapi, a fine priest and preacher, with a large following of Catholics who have gained fervor for the church through his orations, has been placed on administrative leave, in the face of accusations which all of us hope are untrue.
What we do not know: Who has put him on leave, whether it was his bishop or, as seems more likely, his religious superior.
What we do know: A religious superior is in charge of the good and welfare of the hearts, minds and spirits of those in his or her charge, so there is a good-faith presumption that whoever did this must have thought it a good thing, in some measure, for Corapi – even if it is meant, only, to give him time to pray.
What we do not know: Why that superior/bishop has chosen to do this; good-faith assumes the best.
What we do know: Old Scratch has his hand in all of this, because — whatever the real story is — someone is lying, so the Father of Lies must be a part of it, in any case. And it’s Lent.
What we do not know: No matter how fervent our respect, no matter how dear our hopes, none of us can possibly know what the story is.
What we do know: Corapi is certainly not “guilty by association” with some beard dye any more than he is “innocent by association” with his priesthood and the church.
What we do not know: Whether EWTN has suspended Corapi-centered programming.
What we do know: Writing letters insisting that EWTN “defend” Fr. Corapi is unrealistic; it is fairly common procedure for institutions of all sorts to take a step back when an investigation of any of its members is ongoing, for the sake of the organization’s own exposure to liability, and (more importantly) its credibility. EWTN is not, suddenly, a “bad Catholic” organization, any more than anyone else who is choosing to “wait and see” is a “bad” Catholic.
What we do not know: Where the line blurs between honoring and respecting a fellow human being — which involves acknowledging the fullness of his/her gifts and faulty humanity — and slipping into the sort of hero-worship that will brook no human wondering, without lashing out; only God and our own consciences can know that.
What we do know: Better to take refuge in the Lord than to put one’s trust in mortals. Better to take refuge in the Lord than to put one’s trust in princes. And our “princes” are anyone we love to such excess (family, co-religionists, politicians, entertainers) that it gets in the way of seeking Christ and his will, first and foremost.
What we do not know: the state of anothers’ soul – not even of those we love, or do not love.
What we do know: “wait and see; pray for all concerned” is good counsel. Venting may be cathartic but hysteria, name-calling and misidentifying enemies serves nothing but the Father of All Chaos.
What we do not know: why God allows things to happen.
What we do know: all things ultimately work for the Glory of God, even if we do not always recognize how, while we’re in the midst of events.
UPDATE: Frank Weathers writes about When St. Macarius the Great was accused
Deacon Greg: Fr. Corapi likely already has a good team in place
Fr. Dwight Longenecker: Writes of once being mistaken for Corapi and what lessons he took from that
Mark Shea makes some salient points:
Naturally, I presume innocence until guilt is proven. But come on: If it were any other priest and these charges were brought we would be *screaming* at the bishop or superior in charge of the priest to pull the guy out of action until an investigation could be made and screaming hysterically at the preferential treatment of priests over victims if they didn’t. So let’s show some consistency here, okay? Amy Welborn noted way back during the Long Lent that even when priests had *gobs* of evidence against them (as Fr. Corapi does not at this point), their congregations would rally to them and say, “Oh, not *my* beloved priest! Other priests are bad, but *my* beloved priest is being treated meanly by the Church”.
So we need to make up our minds. Are we going to demand rigorous investigations and accountability for clergy–except with Fr. Corapi because we happen to feel–on the basis of no actual knowledge of the man other than what we see on TV–that he is one of us?
It’s difficult to excerpt, but it should be read.
Julie at Happy Catholic on both Fr. Corapi and Archbishop Dolan
Pat Archbold has the statement from Corapi’s superior