Sunday, June 19, 2011

The tragedy of Fr Corapi

I don't intend to give a history here of the tragedy of Fr Corapi, when Fr Jenkins has already done a fair, and detailed job on his blog.
The best of priests fall short. If he were sincere then he should fight for his priesthood, no matter how much time it might take to be restored to ministry or good standing. However, such must be done within the system and among the fraternity of his brother priests. He should hold his tongue about how he feels about the process and treat the bishop, his superiors and the Church with trusting respect. A priest who caricaturizes the Church as the enemy is burning his bridges. These latest remarks have ignited a fiery inferno. Fame and fortune should mean nothing to a good and humble priest.
I merely want to chime in as a loyal supporter of Fr Corapi who watched him regularly on EWTN and quoted him often on my blogs. I was in his corner when I heard his speech about being a 'black sheep dog', after all I know the sordid history of many Church saints who have been suppressed by a corrupt hierarchy. I wrongly assumed this was the case, UNTIL I read this news from the National Catholic Register. It totally changed my opinion of Fr Corapi, and I began to see a familiar trajectory in his career.
Then I realized that his case resembles that of Thomas Merton, another famous Catholic convert whose tragic death by electrocution while exploring Eastern Mysticism in India was preceded by and equally tragic fall from grace. Why? Fame ruined him, making his pride swell and his superiors allowed him many privileges not given to other, less famous members of his order. Dr Alice Von Hildebrand's excellent talk on tape, "The Tragedy of Thomas Merton" details how his ego over his worldwide fame ultimately led to heresy and death. I think the same fate is being suffered by my former favorite preacher.
Fr Corapi is living on a ranch in Montana, NOT in  community within his order SOLT. He was ordained when members of the order were allowed to live separately, but when he was later asked to join them he refused. When we see a religious who doesn't want to submit to his own order, its highly probable we are looking at an out of control ego.
We have to remember Fr Corapi has a seriously dysfunctional past. and now  he is showing classic signs of an addictive personality, what we called in my training in Alcohol Rehab social work, "grandiosity" .Its when an addict thinks that rehab is fine for the other slobs, but he can cure himself, thank you, he just doesn't want to stop drinking just yet. He's fooling himself, and ruining his life by thinking he's too good for the humility necessary to submit to the 12 Steps. They require an examination of conscience and confession of wrongdoing, very much like confession in the Church.
 Just my paraphrase, but a grandiose Fr Corapi's internal monologue would go this way,  ":Those other lowly members of my order can live in community, but I'm special, I have a multi-million dollar enterprise and my own ranch,  I don't have to submit to their rules. Bishop, Mulvey, who does he think he is, I'm  world famous Fr Corapi, I'll show him by rallying my fans under a new ministry name, they love me, they'll stand by me, who needs SOLT or the bishop anyway?" That sounds a lot like Martin Luther. Or Henry VIII. It isn't the inner workings of the mind of say, St Faustina and St Pio, whose apparitions were suppressed and who were criticized as frauds, or other saints who were mistreated by the Church and quietly offered their sufferings for the good of the souls of their persecutors. That is the mark of true humility. Those saints knew God would sort it all out for the good of souls in the end, and that their own 'ministry' is of no consequence. God operated in the world before them and His Kingdom would exist without them.

I once heard Fr Corapi say "don't be surprised if you hear one day I died face down in a crack house, don't think it couldn't  happen". I think this is what we are seeing in this complex and upsetting turn of events, a man whose past patterns of behavior overcame the enormous gifts and grace he received, and for the moment at least, the devil has him in his hands. Whenever you are being used mightily for the salvation of souls, the enemy has you in his sights, and he enters by your weak spot. A man with a past like Fr Corapi has many vulnerable points, former experience with women, drug addiction being the first to come to mind but they all boil down to ego. I am in control.  Non servium. That's how the brightest angel in Heaven, Lucifer, became the Prince of Darkness.
I am not pointing fingers at Fr Corapi, just posing a possible scenario based on my experience in the psychology of addiction. I have to remain humble, it may happen to me as my book gets published, if its successful,  I will come under  attack. Spiritual attack to induce me to take full credit and allow my ego to become bloated, forgetting it was God's project in the beginning and has to remain His, even if that means never writing another word to save my soul.  I have to remain humble because pride is the way the enemy gets most of us to fall. The hallmark of a holy person is humility. The Lord can only work within humble souls. Thank God I have a pastor who helps me focus on that virtue and loves to recite the
Litany of Humility. 
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,Hear me.
Fromthe desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
Fromthe fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should
Read more here
No matter what you feel about Fr Corapi's situation, does this litany sound like it would come from the same man who spoke in the pompous language we heard in his speech? If not, we are talking about a sick soul of a priest, and one who desperately needs our prayers.
That is what our energies should do now, not protest injustice, but  pray him out of whatever mess he is in, whether it be by his own design or that of those trying to silence him, pray for his salvation and for his return to his vocation of the priesthood which he so eloquently defended. May Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity on this Feast of the Holy Trinity, pray for him and for all of us.

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9 comments:

jacquelineparkes said...

Hear hear ..

Allison said...

I believe most of us struggle with the same flaws and weaknesses we've always had throughout life. The evil one knows our triggers.

Father Corapi had an inspiring delivery and like all humans he had faults, too. I wish he had received or accepted more supervision and protection from this day because it seemed to be coming...signs were there...

Our priests SO NEED our prayers. http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/2011/06/when-priests-accused.html

Anonymous said...

I'm a little curious why you waited so long to post such a blog. If you really truly loved brother John you would have posted this log much sooner. Brother John's teachings on the Catholic Church and the followers that love to hear him speak would have loved to of seen this blog soon. The damages would have been less than what it currently is today. I've noticed you have zero comments. I sure hope you're able to reply to this one.

kathleen Riney said...

The American Bishops are the ones who need to spend time in front of the Eucharist. I've watched them do nothing while the Homosexuals & modernists took over the church for the past 40 yrs! The Bishops owe the Laity in America an apology for the Banal at best, & heretical Masses & homilies. Why do you think the Pope asked his priests to go on the internet & use all means possible to get the "Authentic" Gospel out?

SadClown said...

Best post I've read on the matter- hands down. Pithy and insightful- I fear you are correct. Thanks.

Leticia said...

Thank you Jackie, Allison and SadClown for your comments. Kathleen, I understand your frustration about the lack of leadership by the hierarchy, I made mention of it, but they are still our leaders, as set forth by Christ. We convert them by humble obedience and good example, especially when they are corrupt. We allow the Holy Spirit to convict them by our patience, just as St Paul recommends a believing woman convert her faithless spouse.
Anonymous; why are my harshest critics on this blog always called anonymous? I could just forbid anonymous comments and make cowards like you who take cheap shots come out and identify yourselves, or I could delete all rude comments, as a matter of policy. But I will answer you, though your tone doesn't imply you are looking for a rational discussion. I may regret it.
Unlike many who leapt to John Corapi's defense, as I initially did when I heard his YouTube announcement, I read every post out there, especially Joan Desmond's excellent piece in the Register, before giving my opinion.
I have been know to be too quick on the draw, and since I am a great admirer of John Corapi, I wanted to give him the benefit of a doubt.
I had no idea of the type of moral and spiritual crisis John Corapi was suffering, I thought it was merely a case of false charges which would eventually be cleared, and yes, I was praying for him.
I don't like to comment on scandals within the Church, I hate to fan the flames of controversy, there is enough wrong with the Culture of Death for me to focus on. But the way some of John Corpai's followers were attacking me on FaceBook, like you with gratuitous insults like "I see you have no comments on this blog" I figured that the scandal was harming the faithful, and dividing good Catholics, and for the good of the Church, I had better chime in. These five comments were waiting for moderation, I have a large family whose needs come first.
Now, I have responded, and I invite all of you over to my friend Gerard Nadal's blog "Coming Home" to join in the Divine Mercy Novena already in progress for John Corapi. I pray he regains his understanding of how a faithful son of the Church reacts to persecution, and is able to continue as a priest and religious. He has much to teach us.

Mary Jo said...

Leticia,
Thank you for the printing the "Litany of Humility." When I first read it, I thought, "Well, it doesn't really apply to me. Unlike Fr. Corapi, I'm not well-known or influential. In fact, as I am currently unemployed and my family is struggling financially, humility doesn't seem to be a problem. But then I remembered: we are all called to humility, regardless of our current situation. I have printed out the litany, and will include it in my prayers. I thought I would also share an example of beautiful humility: One day after Mass, I commended the visiting priest on his excellent homily. He smiled and thanked me, then said, "I pray that it was pleasing to our Lord and to the Blessed Mother." I was struck not just by his humbleness, but also by his lack of false humility (eg "Oh it wasn't that good, etc.) Thanks for your blog. This was my first visit, but it won't be my last!

Leticia said...

Thank you for sharing Mary Jo. I admit, being unemployed and frequently broke does give you plenty of chances to practice humility (don't you hate buying $4 gas?)
However, since pride is the most difficult of the capital sins and the one most likely to lead practicing Catholics to hell, its better to err on the side of humility.
That priest is a wonderful example of humility, his priesthood must be very fruitful.

elgregcor said...

I'm NOT giving up on Fr. C!

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/30/3737877/former-sacramento-priest-files.html

Go to URL to see his battle plan! You GO Fr. Corapi!! OSV made sure the highlighted "WALKS-AWAY" (so negative to the reading audience, I almost gave up on him until I read your article!) I am so happy he is taking a stand in the civilian court! Pretty smart is you ask me. Too many so called "church leaders" are biased and "soiled in their sins"...