Fr. Corapi and the Limits of Tragedy – UPDATED

In an earlier piece, Max Lindenman admitted to spending more time reading internet comboxes than is probably healthy for any human being.

In this week’s column, he clearly has spent a good deal of time reading the various postings and musings, here at Patheos, and elsewhere, about the ongoing (although not actually progressing) story of the investigation and suspension of Father John Corapi, and all of this has him wondering about both Irony and the limits of Tragedy:

I have to confess, I like these stories. Believing so firmly in the complete innocence of a total stranger, even a compelling and gifted one, takes real nobility of spirit. It demands a willingness to trust, to risk the kind of disappointment that tosses a person into a state where, as Didion puts it, none of the scripts make sense.

I see this with special clarity because I lack those qualities. Stunting their growth is a residual attachment to irony. When I speak of irony, I’m not using the debased, hipster definition, meaning a belief in meaninglessness. No, I mean the stubborn sense that Fate gives us exactly the opposite of what we expect in order to teach us how foolish we are to expect it. Looking for a guru? Of course he’ll turn out to be a bum—and he’ll do it at the worst moment imaginable, in a way that will feel like a dart between the eyes. Drag yourself out of the muck, and you will, by virtue of your very gifts and talents, find some way back in.

Even as a small child, I had a basically ironic view of God. I saw Him as the grand monkey’s paw, a Being who would trip you up not for failing to be good, but for failing to appreciate His subtlety. For example, when I was about 6 years old, I had a consuming fear of vampires. I decided that I could protect myself best by sleeping in a small space between my bed and the wall, where I would be harder to get at than meat from a picked-over crab shell. For good measure, I shut my door; since it scraped against the carpet, no vampire could possibly enter my room without waking me up.

Before shutting my eyes each night, I would pray: “Please, God, don’t let any vampires get me.” Then, smirking, I would add: “And don’t let me get stuck here in case there’s a fire.” I could picture God gnashing his teeth, sputtering, “Curses! Foiled again!”

His appreciations for irony and tragedy do manage to evolve as life does to him and his family what it does to everyone. You’ll want to read the whole thing.

UPDATE:
I read a week
or so ago that the investigation into all of this had not yet started, but I’d have thought by now it would have begun. Seems it hasn’t:

Marty Wind, director of communications for the Diocese of Corpus Christi, disputed Ruffatto’s claim that Bishop Mulvey placed Father Corapi on leave. He said the action was taken by officials of the priest’s order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity in Robstown, Texas.

“We have been clear from the beginning that the bishop of Corpus Christi was notified by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity that the administrative leave was imposed by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, not the bishop of the diocese,” Wind told Catholic News Service March 25.

(Via Deacon Greg)

I wish they’d get a move on, with the investigation, already, and get this thing resolved.

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