A few weeks ago, Father John Corapi resigned as priest over the process of having to be indefinately suspended from ministerial priesthood due to allegations of misconduct from a former co-worker who he claims was a woman he tried to help. Many admirers are saddened and upset with Father Corapi's decision. Some prominent Catholics members of the media have voiced rather strong opinions questioning Corapi's decision and his integrity--even if he is innocent of the charges of misconduct.
This is big news as Father Corapi has become sort of the "Billy Graham" of the Catholic world. So I felt the need to speak up on the issue and wanted to wait until I could reflect a bit before commenting.
First, many Catholics feel that Father Corapi needs to show obedience as Padre Pio did during his life as he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct and internally attacked within the church over the validity of his stigmata. Padre Pio's faith and obedience eventually made him a saint. Many feel that Father Corapi should demonstrate the same obedience with the following scripture in mind:
Romans 13:1: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Many have quoted the following scripture that once someone is ordained a priest it leaves an indelible mark on one's soul that cannot be undone just as our baptism does, so once a priest, always a priest:
Psalm 110:4: The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
My feelings are that we need to not get caught up in all the details. Everything happens for a reason, some of which we may not understand at the time. Just like Christ's crucifixion, bad things happen to bring a greater good out it. Bad things happen to test our faith. The greater good that can come out of this is that this humbling experience will give us an even greater Father Corapi and the whole process of dealing with allegations against priests can be improved. When unproven allegations can put a priest on indefinate adminstrative leave and effectively shut down someone like Father Corapi, can anyone see here how Satan wins?
This issue has caused ill-feelings and some division within the Catholic faithful. Remember God loves Father Corapi and his accuser. He loves us all. When our world gets turned upside down, we need to look up and not horizontally looking to blame or for avengement.
We also need to remember that we are not Father Corapi. His greatest charism is preaching and teaching, not necessarily administering the sacraments like your parish priest. The Catholic faith is one of the most misunderstood religions and Corapi is a brilliant theologian that is needed in the media to help others understand our faith and lead others in the fallen world to Christ.
It has been said that there are no bad people in the world, only people with bad ideas. We are all made in the likeness of God. So when you are ready to judge Father Corapi and his decision, remember what Jesus said about getting caught up in the law:
Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
God's law is higher than any state or federal laws. None of us are Father Corapi or God. Ultimately, Father Corapi answers to God just like the rest of us. So trust that God is control here and pray for everyone involved. Even though Satan's influence is at the heart of this whole ordeal, there is no doubt in my mind that God allowed this to happen for a reason. Trust that Father Corapi knows what his situation best and what he was called to do and that he will receive an even greater blessing from God at the end of it all. That is the loving God that I know.
And remember: All fall short of the glory of God but by being closer to God, we experience His glory.
Peace be with you,
© Michael J. Cox