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.

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.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bill

    Heather King and Max Lindenman have become indispensable to me. And you too, dear Anchoress.

  • Bill

    Heather King and Max Lindenman have become indispensable to me. And you too, dear Anchoress.

  • Lnsilva

    Fr Corapi has stand firm on the word of God and the teaching of the Catholic faith. When you are strong in the Lord these attacks will come against you, but Fr. Corapi will get his strength from the Lord to endure and may God have mercy on this person who are accuser. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. If God is for us, who can be against us? Roman 8:28, 31

  • Patti Day

    I’ll continue to stand with Father Corapi. Let the superiors or the dioces or whomever get on with their investigation, and let them be as quick about it as they were to remove his priestly faculties.

  • Kate

    It is possible, I suppose, that religious superiors and diocesan officials are colluding to delay the investigation and keep Father Corapi out of public ministry for as long as possible, even permanently. But I think it is also possible that the delay is caused by seeking to obtain the best and fairest investigating team, gather and verify as much evidence as possible, and give both accuser and accused a fair chance to state their respective sides. The fact that both society and diocesan officials must be involved will inevitably make the situation more complicated and time-consuming. It seems to me they have got to take their time and proceed carefully and cautiously, in order to be fair to everyone concerned.

    (BTW, this comment formula is awful. I can’t even see two lines that I have typed, and have no opportunity to preview and check for typos.)

  • Kayla Polak

    Catholics are being abused and persecuted all over the world, before and now, however, for some reason nobody seams to care for it. And, of course, some people, most of the time the persecutors, do not believe in God, and in many cases, consciously or subconsciously, serve the Devil. To my understanding, many of the “priests abusing children” stories are simply made up by greedy people who trusted their lives to evil. Evil or devil is the first enemy of God and His Church, and devil will do anything and everything to destroy the Church. So, those who worship Devil listen to it and do exactly what the Devil tells them to do. In this case it is destroying the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ. Devil desires to destroy as many people as it only can. Devil wants everybody, us, to fall out of the Church, so that we would not be rescued from the sins and be granted Salvation. And the God’s Apostles, our Priests, on the other hand, bring people to God and to Salvation through the HOLY SACRAMENTS, such as Baptism which washes us from the original sin, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick. These Sacraments wash our daily sins and purify us, make us stronger in our faith, hope, and love, teach us forgiveness and mutual love, and open for us the gaits to eternal happiness with God in Heaven. And the Sacrament of Marriage through which God brings together two people, man and woman, and blesses them to love each other and bring to life children, the miracles of life. And also the Sacrament of the Holy Orders which is Priesthood, through which we can receive Jesus in the Holy Sacraments, and through which God can rich us and grant us Salvation. How amazing is that. However, the Devil hates that. It does not want us to go to Heaven to live in eternal Happiness with God. It wants us to go to hell and suffer eternal condemnation like It is suffering. Devil knows that it can achieve that by, first, destroying the Pope and the Priests, and then, by spreading a hateful and malicious lies all over the world that there is no God. It uses the technique as the Bible says, “Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered” Zechariah 13. 7. However, thanks to God, the Church will prevail. “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build My Church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” Mt. 16, 19.

    Because of Priests, Devil fails to destroy the Holy Catholic Church and to bring the entire world to everlasting condemnation. It hates God and God’s Church. It hates everybody who in the name of Jesus Christ is doing Good. Using its malicious lies, Devil wants to bring the entire humanity to eternal death. Nonstop, Devil develops different and, each time, more treacherous and deadlier forms of attacks on Catholic Church. It wants to destroy the Priests, and through that bring the Catholic Church to an end.

    We have to open our eyes and see what is happening! We cannot let ourselves to fall into devil’s trap. Evil is tricky, it will devour in no time those who sttay away from God and will overcome them far before they even have chance to recognize it. It does not matter how strong these people think they are; without God they are week, they are helpless, they are nothing.

    I beg all of you to pray a lot. Pray Rosary which is the biggest weapon against evil. Rosary contains in It the entire Gospel – The Good News of Salvation. Plus, Devil fears our Holy Mother Mary because She broke it. She is pure, great, and with no sin. Let’s go to Daily Mass and get strength from God Himself. Allow Jesus Christ feed us with His Holy Body and Blood; allow Jesus feed us with His words of eternal life and light. There is nothing as strong and powerful as the Holy Mass at the Catholic Church. And if we do not have Priests, who will celebrate the Holy Mass and bring us Holy Sacraments, who will? The attack is carefully thought and planed; evil knows what it is doing. Evil tries to tell us that there is something else out there that can fill our hearts; however that is a lie. There is nothing out there but emptiness, grief, grudge, hatred, evilness, envy, anger, lack of forgiveness, darkness, and death. Evil leads nowhere but to hell, to eternal condemnation and, eventually, to eternal death when Jesus Christ comes to Earth the Second time.

    There is so much anger, greediness, grudge, and hatred in us and in the world that produces wars and death. We have to return to God; we have to pray for forgiveness, for love towards each other, for hope, and for the faith in One True God. God will listen to our prayer and He will grant us Salvation. And please, let’s do not watch too much TV; there is nothing good on there. TV teaches us egoism and jealousy which leads to anger and hatred, which consequently leads to killing. Let’s rather turn to God to be fed with His Holy Body and Blood. Let’s fill our hearts with his Holy words; the words that are full of Love and Hope. Listen to the Gospel. And then we will be able to do good, to love one another, to forgive. And then, the world will become a better place to live. Our future lies also in our hands.

  • Clark Johnson

    Every year we take up a collection at our parish to support men studying to be priests. Once they are ordained we celebrate their ordination to the priesthood. Then, when an allegation of misconduct is charged we immediately “throw them under the bus” before allegations are even found to be credible. If these allegations are found to be false we tell them “Glory day! You can now continue your pastoral duties.” They are then told “when the bus ran over you it damaged your target.” A new target is put on the back of the priest. It is a miracle that we have any priests at all.

    I do not know if any of the allegations against Father Corapi are true. Apparently, neither do church leaders. There is certainly doubt about the woman making these allegations. My understanding is when she was fired she threatened to cause trouble. Some bishops and other Catholic leaders immediately suspended Father Corapi. This casts doubt on his character, honesty, and morality. Where is your loyalty? How would you like to be treated this way? Hundreds of people have voiced support for Father Corapi. These people have more loyalty and “spine” than some of the church hierarchy

  • My2sense

    Based on Fr. Corapi’s facebook page, 47,000+ people are praying and supporting him during his trial including myself. These likely reflect only a sampling of the number of people who support him as many people may not have facebook accounts. Having this kind of influence definitely makes him a a pretty big target both inside or outside the church for those who don’t like him or his message.

  • mary johnson

    I do like the saying at the heading of this column. But I would add I’m sure the good Fr John knows who his enemies are as well as his friends. We are all subject to this world and the forces in it. It is one of the sins of our First Parents. When they ate of the fruit that the Lord had forbidden them, their eyes were opened and they saw the real world. Scripture says they realized they were naked and they made coverings out of the fig leaves for themselves. I would also like to tell the Father that in the immortal words of Sophocles; “Gentle time will heal our sorrows”. In other words, this too shall pass. God bless you Father always. Mary Johnson

  • Earl Roberts

    It was inevitable that this or some similar situation would eventually arise. When one speaks out against evil one can expect that evil will move against them. “If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is no greater than his Master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John15:19-20)
    Guilty or not Fr. John is intelligent enough to realize that he would probably find himself in some such situation. Either way he needs our prayerful support, hopefully, not those for forgiveness.