Quote of the day: "The only true Holy One is the Lord"

Quote of the day: "The only true Holy One is the Lord" March 22, 2011

“An accusation leveled at a priest is a horrible thing, because it is nearly impossible today for a priest to have a fair hearing. There is no perfect justice or charity in this world, but these days falsely-accused priests don’t get anything like even the world’s “justice”.  But even when priests are guilty of that by which they are accused, it doesn’t surprise me that priests are sinners or in the worst cases commit bad crimes.  Yes, priests and bishops should be held to high standards.  After all, even the devil holds them to high standards.  The devil hates priests and works tirelessly to trip them.  Holy Orders doesn’t make a man less human.  Should I be surprised that priests are sinners?  I am a sinner.

The bottom line is that you cannot depend on the personal holiness of priests or bishops for your own personal holiness.  The only true Holy One is the Lord.”

Fr. Z.  I urge you to read the rest.

More on the Corapi case here.  Elizabeth Scalia has some thoughts that seem apt, too.

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22 responses to “Quote of the day: "The only true Holy One is the Lord"”

  1. With all due respect to Father Z, and his excellent article (and I mean that sincerely, couldn’t agree more as well as being a big fan of Father Z; just don’t find it relevant to Father Corapi), he, like 99% of the rest of the Catholic bloggers, is clearly missing the point.

    Let me start by saying that I find it beyond fascinating that most of the Catholic ”elite” (for lack of a better word to describe well read Catholic bloggers) fully admit that they know nothing to little about Father Corapi. Yet, like Bill O’Reilly cashing in on “All things Catholic” when it’s good for ratings, most aren’t missing an opportunity to keep the story going, complete with flippant remarks (the latest that Father Corpai’s declaration of innocence is worth at best a Starbuck’s coffee) while certainly not missing the chance to call us all a bunch of idolizers. The reality is, most who are now doing all the blogging, would be hard pressed to find even a handful of articles, if even that, they posted over the years on Father Corapi.

    Does anyone see a “disconnect” here? How is that the most read Catholic Bloggers could be so clueless to the greatest teacher of the catechism in our lifetime? Before comparing us all to a bunch of crazed Brittany Spears fans, it would helpful to consider the fact that maybe we “little people” out here are just starved for truth. Yes plain in your faith truth, sans million dollar words and tippy toes.
    Many may not realize that Father Corapi was declared the gift of Apostolic Teaching by the Vatican, sent out to continue the work of Bishop Fulton Sheen. Just as many grew to know and love Fulton Sheen, many of us have grown to love Father Corapi. If this exact thing had happened to Bishop Fulton Sheen, would the Fulton Sheen fans be labeled “idolizers”, or would they share the many stories of conversion and hope that have also come about by Father Corapi. Most of all, who would think that if Bishop Fulton Sheen had been in the same situation, he would lie about it? I doubt many, as its one thing for a holy person to fall, but quite another for a person of real faith to lie, especially publically.

    I seriously doubt that Father Corpai is guilty of any of the charges. I say that not because I don’t think he is incapable of serious sin, but more that he would sin and subsequently lie about it, anymore than we would have expected it of Bishop Fulton Sheen. And if he is found to be guilty, as disappointing as it will be, I can live with that, because that won’t change the truth that he taught, especially the power of the cross.

    I only ask that all the “rush to judgment” about the idolizers be considered in the light of simple souls starved for the plain and simple truth of Jesus Christ, the hallmark of Father Corapi’s teachings. If that’s being “cult-like” and an idolizer, by all means, count me in!

  2. I mean, doesn’t everyone already understand what Fr. Z is saying? We all know that priests are sinners like everyone else. The last vestiges of clericalism in the United States were destroyed by the sex abuse scandal.

    I don’t know of anyone who follows a priest around as if he were Jesus Himself or “depends” on his holiness. I know I don’t.

    No one is worshiping Father Corapi; they are responding to the truth he conveys. And which many have been starved of in the wake of the false spirit of Vatican II.

  3. I think Jeff and Klaire are right in saying that Catholics today are starved, and I do think Fr. Corapi meets that need for many. But still, I’d be hard pressed to call him the greatest catechizer of his time, and even harder pressed to compare him to Archbishop Sheen.

  4. Have to agree with Pat McNamara; he’s very good – he is not (as someone wrote me yesterday) the “equal of the apostles.”

    I guess what I don’t understand through all of this, Klaire and Jeff, is this: people like Greg, Fr. Dwight, Fr. Z and I who are basically being told that if we do not say “it’s impossible; he cannot have done it” we MUST be saying “he’s guilty! guilty! I tell ya!” None of us are saying either of those things, because we do not know. We certainly HOPE none of the accusations are true, and we pray for Corapi and all involved, but NO ONE CAN POSSIBLY KNOW with absolute certainty you seem to want to hear, that it is “impossible” for it to be true. Good heavens, if we’ve learned nothing else in the last 25 years, it’s that priests who seem to have it all together and develop large, very credible followings, sometimes fall. I watched too many people have to eat crow about Marciel, when they defended him vociferously, only to find out every accusation made against him was true.

    And if that justifies people telling us we are “bad” Catholics and that we’re going to hell, because God and Mary “love Corapi” well…God loves us, too. 🙂 I would never presume to know the state of others’ souls. It is amazing to me how many fans of Corapi seem to.

  5. “An accusation leveled at a priest is a horrible thing, because it is nearly impossible today for a priest to have a fair hearing. There is no perfect justice or charity in this world, but these days falsely-accused priests don’t get anything like even the world’s “justice”. ”

    I disagree with Fr. Z on this point. As a former member of a diocesan review board, I can attest that we looked at all the facts, listened to the statements of alleged victims and of the accused priest, and then made our recommendations to the bishop. Too often, the reaction to an allegation of clergy misconduct is that the priest has been falsely accused, and that the ensuing investigation is a “witch hunt”. As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, I was told that I had an “axe to grind” and that I was “out to get priests”.

    Too often, an allegation against a popular priest is the spark that sets aflame a firestorm of invective against the priest’s accuser in particular and against victims of priests’ sexual misconduct in general. Vehement statements that the victims are “just after money”, or that they should “just forget it and move on” usually abound. Staunch support of the accused priest is published in newspapers (or in this case, the blogosphere).

    I would like to remind everyone that for every alleged priest perpetrator, there is an alleged victim. Coming forward with an allegation of misconduct by a priest is a very terrifying thing to do. To be met with a storm of hatred by the accused priest’s supporters makes it doubly difficult for the alleged victim.

    May Christ, Who heals all wounds, be with Fr. Corapi and the individuals who have accused him of misconduct.

  6. Some time back (Lord, has it been almost twenty years?) I was teaching in a nearby diocesan lay ministry program when the Jimmy Swaggart sex scandal blew up. One of the questions I raised to my cohort was: “Where are we — as Roman Catholics who believe in the saving power of the Risen Lord Jesus — when such a horde of folks are screaming out in pain because their “messiah” (they may not have called Jimmy Swaggart that but — in essence that’s what he was to them) has positively established himself as a sinner. A lot of these folks believe their own salvation is threatened because they fell into Swaggart’s teachings. Are we going to offer those hurting folks (‘like sheep without a shepherd’) some sense of redemption or not?”

    No one offered a response.

    Then I asked: “What happens to our pastoral ministry when that same situation hits our Catholic Church here in America.” One guy in the class replied: “Ain’t gonna happen!”
    So I asked “Why?” He said — in so many words — “We don’t have anyone who acts like that!”

    It’s now 2011. Bottom line, I am not worried about Fr. Corapi; I do trust the Living Lord Jesus to make sure everything shakes out alright.

    BUT I am very worried about those wonderful and loving and caring Roman Catholics who were passionate about Fr. Corapi’s ministry and now have become the “sheep without a shepherd” of our twenty-first century church. Are any of them beginning to doubt their own conversion experiences at his hands? Those are the folks who really need our help.

  7. Deacon Norb:

    Twenty or so years ago, I would have responded about the possibility of clergy scandals in the Catholic Church just like your student: “Ain’t gonna happen!” But over the past years with the revelations in Philadelphia (my home town) and in dozens of other dioceses as well as the Maciel disclosures, nothing surprises me.

    I just recall what Merton said in his last talk at the monastic conference in Bangkok a few hours before he died. He told a story of a Tibetan monk who was separated from his monastery during the Chinese invasion of Tibet and who asked another monk for advice. The monk told him: “From now on, Brother, everybody stands on his own two feet.”

  8. some good advice from an old Catholic spiritual guide:

    “Don’t think it a matter of great importance whether So-and-so agrees with
    you or disagrees with you; act in such a way as to make sure, whatever you
    are doing, that God is on your side. As long as you have a clear
    conscience, God will keep you clear of harm … Not a doubt of it, if you
    will make up your mind to suffer in silence, you will find that he comes to
    your aid; he knows just when and how to bring you deliver ance; you have
    only to put yourself in his hands. How you are to get out of this or that
    difficulty, this or that embarrassing situation, is God’s business, not
    yours. After all, what harm can it do, other people knowing about your
    weaknesses and taxing you with them? Often it’s the best possible thing for
    you; it helps to keep you humble. If a man will only be humble about his
    own short comings, how little it takes to disarm ill-feeling, how little it
    costs to put things right! It’s humble people God protects and preserves,
    God loves and comforts; he stoops down and gives his grace lavishly,
    raising the humble man to heights of glory, as soon as neglect has done its
    work. Such a man he chooses for his confidant, beckons to him gently and
    calls him apart. Only a humble man takes it calmly when he is put to the
    blush; what does it matter? It is God, not the world, that gives him
    countenance. Never think that you have made any progress, till you have
    learned to regard all men as your betters.”

    (from the Imitation of Christ) !!

  9. Anthony,thank you for that.I am not Catholic,but I have that book Imitation Of Christ.It has helped me so much in my walk with God.There is so much I love about the Catholic faith.

  10. @a_scalia, yes those attacks were of course totally misguided, and the product of deeply hurt hopes and feelings. no calm Catholic shares any of those sentiments. as Father Groeschel once said, the thought of anyone going to hell, even my worst enemy, is simply too much to bear. i was not pleased to see those comments as they did a huge disservice to everyone involved.

    having said that, it’s no secret that there is, as i remarked before, an anti-Corapi and anti-EWTN camp out there. and I suspect that there were some who no doubt were pleased that this event transpired. you could hear that in some of the comments coming from the other side of the 50 yard line.

    As to whether he is the equal of Bishop Sheen, de gustibus non disputandum. As someone who listens regularly to both on CDs, however, I have to say that it’s a little bit of a false comparison. Their styles are different. Sheen was more polished, clearly, but Corapi can be very compelling. His emphasis that we are in a state of war with “powers and principalities,” and his overall “military” analogy is very effective and inspiring. It is also music to my hears, and I think the ears of millions of male Catholics who grew up listening to kumbayah.

  11. Dear Elizabeth Scalia. In response to your post, I will try to make my point one more time. It isn’t that you or anyone else needs to “declare the innocence of Father Corapi”, only that he deserves a little more respect for what he has done and sacrificed for so many. At least for someone like me (and I suspect I speak for many), Father Corapi could go down in flames and I would STILL be indebted to him for teaching me my faith. Nothing can change that.

    As beautiful, interesting, and as edifying as your blog is, (as well as some others), without knowing the basics of my faith, it would be no more than a “fun read” without my understanding of Catholicism. For my entire life until my early 40’s, everyone failed me (despite good intentions and efforts of some), in the teaching of the Catholic faith: my parents, my Catholic school nuns, my priests, and my bishops. It was only because I stumbled upon some old Bishop Fulton Sheen tapes and subsequently Father Corapi that I finally not only learned the faith, including the “whys”, but also feel in love with it.

    The biggest problem with American Catholicism is lack of catechesis. No one has taught it in as much detail or with as much passion as Father Corapi. He is also the only priest I’m aware of who gave up his tax exempt status years ago. consequently, he courageously teaches rock solid, unwatered down truth. And that needless to say, is what people like me are drawn to.

    If it turns out that Father Corapi is found guilty, it will only confirm what he often taught, that we are all at the risk of the power of satin. The good news is, he also taught much on the unfathomable Divine Mercy of Christ, which is why, I for one, take him at his word. I could believe that a man like Father Corapi could fall, but I find it very hard to believe that he would fail to seek the great mercy of God, especially after all that he has sacrificed for so many.

    Maybe for you and others who fail to understand that we really aren’t crazed idol worshipers is to understand that we love him like you love Pope Benedict. If Pope Benedict were to be accused of the same, would we be as quick to say his not guilty was worth only a Starbuck’s Coffee, or would we discount all that he has taught us? I think not. While I’m not trying to make Father Corapi into a pope, I make the point to show that when we know someone well from their teachings, it’s their teachings we are usually in love with, and that also includes those who tell us what we want to hear.

    Make no mistake. It’s the truth and teachings of Jesus Christ, for which we are starved, that keeps the ‘fans’ of Father Corapi coming back for more. And if the worse becomes the reality, rest assured, the students of Father Corapi are well taught in redemptive suffering and the power of the cross.

  12. Ok, so… What I’m getting from this is that Jesus is the only true Holy One… But Mary is the All-Holy One… at least according to CCC 2677. So, one is truly holy and the other is all-holy? Am I getting this right?

  13. So well said. Funny but I also stumbled upon the tapes of Bishop Sheen in the late 80s when in college and it was like water in the desert. I could not get enough. Same thing with Father Corapi’s spiritual survival guide. I listen to it frequently and even if the worst turns out to be the case i would still continue to listen to it just as we continue to read the epistles of Peter even though he denied even knowing Jesus.

  14. He gave up his tax-exempt status? What does that mean? I thought he was a member of a religious order. Does he not have a vow of poverty? I would think his earnings from tapes, videos, books, conferences, etc., would be signed over to his order, and that the order would be a tax-exempt charitable organization. Has he somehow opted out of that arrangement?

  15. Cant believe the critics. Atleast I believed in what Father Corapi teaches and advise everyone who has been and still is his fun to take whatever he has been preachinbg as the truth and nothing but the truth. He gets all from the living Book in which we all believe. If we already believe in whatever he has taught us, then whatever he is being accused of (Guilty or not), should not change our ways of thinking. I grew up knowing that a Priest should never be criticised but we should continue praying for him. Where did anyone ever read that once ordained, you stop being human? Its only Jesus and the priests are just fighting to follow His steps. I believe they have done that more than we, lay people and have come much closer. Lets wait and see, God will surely intevene.

  16. How swift the wheels of the USCCB (United States Cadre of Corrupt Bishops) grind to mete punishment (suspens a divinis — or “away with your priestly faculties”) on an orthodox teacher of the Catholic faith, while profligate pedophiles are shifted from parish to parish to continue to do their evil while their bishops scramble to cover up.

    The Catholic Church in America is done for unless the remaining few good bishops speak up for those like Fr. Corapi and refuse to put him on “administrative leave” and invite and bring him in to their Sees.

    I couldn’t have put it any better than what Klaire and others have stated.

  17. Gotta disagree with Klaire’s post #12 here: “The biggest problem with American Catholicism is lack of catechesis. No one has taught it in as much detail or with as much passion as Father Corapi.”

    I have been involved in adult faith formation for most of the 33+ years as a deacon. My experiences are quite different. (1) In local farm country, a summer school programs designed for CCD teachers at local smal parishes that attracts over 150 folks from as far away as two hours driving. (2) A small town parish-based adult faith program attracting 100-125 every week during Lent. (3) Similar programs in both Fall and Spring at a local university that attract nationally recognized Catholic speakers and typically have over 500 folks in the audience.

    Sometime I am the presenter — sometimes not — but no one who has ever been in my audience has ever doubted the detail of my scholarship or the passion that I use in proclaiming it.

    I am not at all sure it is wise to make assumptions about the rest of Roman Catholic Christianity based solely upon your own limited experiences.

  18. Dcn Norb I have no doubt of your ability to teach meaningful catechism, only that people like you are few and far between (often simply for lack of time). I was referrring more to a larger scale, as Father Corapi’s catechism series (up until last week), ran 24/7 WORLDWIDE on EWTN.

    Factor in also all of his tapes. I buy my Catholic family and friends his catechism series for their wedding gift, and to be honest, they are stunned and most appreciative.

    Kate, I may be wrong, but I don’t think priest are required to take vows of poverty. Also, Father Corapi is “self supporting”, as in no money from any part of the church, no retirement, no health insurance, no living expenses, and the most expensive thing, his security. Again I remind you that he was designated, from the Vatican, as an “apostolic teacher”, sent forth to carry on the work of Bishop Sheen. Truth be told, he’s a Carmalite at heart.

    Actually, it’s pretty impressive that he supports himself and does so much good. This is only a guess, but I would wager that of all the American Catholics who actually DO know the catechism, the majority of them know it because of Father Corapi. That would be a very interesting survey.

  19. Klaire,

    Fr Copari is final professed religious priest of a religious community.
    Which means he has made the vows of religious life (including poverty) and as a member of the community they will provide for all his medical and personal needs.

    This is why the suspension came not from a Bishop but from the superior of his community.

    If you search SOLT your will find information on his community and his biography on his web page states he is a final professed member.

  20. I was educated by the Redemptorist Fathers in the late 50’s. This was a time when the Redemptorists were principally missionaries and good retreat masters. Then came the “upheaval” — the “new” Pentecost, and all the priests I was personally acquainted with suddenly went along with the changes. First went the soutanes with the hanging rosaries on their belts. Then everything else went along with the modernity. Catechesis, from which we all learned of the Catholic faith, gone with the wind.

    Like perhaps the majority of Catholics (my contemporaries), I became dissolutioned, left the Church, but for the grace of God, I reverted and came back. But not to the Church which brought in everything NEW: New Mass, new CIC, new Catechism, new etc.

    Having been gone so many years (at least 40) I, and many others, had to re-learn Catholicism, as we knew it. We hungered and sought for teachers who could impart the true Catholic ethos and all its values. Slowly, teachers like Fr. Caropi came along. And now he has been silenced. But can the other orthodox teachers of the Catholic faith be silenced too? There are priests like Fr. Bill Casey of the Fathers of Mercy.

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