Sunday, June 19, 2011

Something unexpected happens with Fr. Corapi

Fr. John Corapi has announced that he is leaving the priesthood on the 20th anniversary of his ordination. He will now start a new "ministry" called Black Sheep Dog, which he says will be broader in its approach targeted to not only Catholics, but people from all walks of life.

The reason for this abrupt plan is that Fr. Corapi thinks he is being treated unfairly by his superiors and that he is being silenced. He says in the Church legal system, a person is considered guilty until proven innocent when accusations of a sexual nature are made. He said some people do not want him in ministry, and are thus leaving him to linger until he eventually fades away into oblivion.

Fr. Corapi is fighting this perceived injustice by leaving the priesthood and thus becoming a free agent, not restricted, to teach and preach in whatever way he sees fit. Fr. John Corapi, now or soon to be simply Mr. John Corapi, however, wants to make clear that he does not hate the Church and he is in full obedience to her. He also says that he fully accepts the authority of bishops in this matter, regardless of his personal opinion.

There are many different attitudes in this case, basically ranging from supporting Corapi to seriously opposing his actions. Some say he is right to step away from the priesthood if they are silencing him. That he must continue his important ministry no matter what. Others, however, are saying he should follow the example of Jesus and not fight his accusers.

I've heard similar stories and how certain saints reacted to them. St. Gerard Majella, a Redemptorist, was falsely accused of impregnating a woman. Although he was persecuted for this, he remained silent, until eventually the woman confessed that it wasn't him. Ever since then, Redemptorists have decided not to defend themselves against accusations, but rather suffer through them.

Another case is that of St. Padre Pio. When his fame started to grow, his bishop became worried and put him out of sight. He did not like the attention, and this may have been a legitimate concern. But Padre Pio did not fight against it, he simply did whatever the bishop told him.

So, I have given the examples of Jesus Christ, St. Gerard, and Padre Pio and how they reacted to persecution. I think they provide a great example. However, I am not willing to say what Fr. Corapi did was completely wrong. I have nothing bad to say about this man, and he has taught some very good things over the years. In his estimation, this is his best course of action, and I will leave the judging up to God on that one.

Fr. Corapi does some things which are very good. For example, he forgives his accuser and wishes her well. He says he is still obedient to the Church and respects the decisions of the bishops. He has not abandoned his faith. Perhaps his new ministry will reach a lot of people and create a lot of good.

I wish John Corapi all the best whatever he decides to do.

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