As an avid Catholic News follower, it’s hard to escape the coverage of Father Corapi and the drama that has played out over the last, rather short span, of days. There was the initial onslaught when he announced the accusations that had been brought against him, in which many bloggers that I usually enjoy reading were suddenly transformed into, well… less than charitable versions of themselves (see the Vortex take on the spectacle here)… while the rest of us prayed that it would be resolved quickly and that Father Corapi would be proven innocent of any wrong doing and would be back to work in a matter of weeks.
I knew that the dream was unrealistic, but still, hope isn’t easy to squash, and so I clung to it and waited for news, which was really all that any of us could do.
I’ll admit, I tend to be skeptical when I hear accusations, until proof is presented. I’ve seen too many addicts (meth is what’s popular in my area) think that they could make a quick buck by accusing an innocent, hard working citizen in a community of something evil, to give too much credit to any accuser before the accused has their day in court (and have learned that an addict’s lies usually fall apart in depositions… because… well… the brain cells required to keep lies straight don’t usually survive and addiction very well…).
Then came Fr. Corapi’s latest (major) announcement. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure exactly how to take his words. I was reeling when I posted the link so that any of you who hadn’t heard the news could read it for yourselves and make of it what you would. There was one thing that I did know, however. I knew that the same bloggers who were so ready to throw Fr. Corapi under the bus when this all began, were going to be more than ready to continue their earlier work. In fact I had an inkling that they were salivating over the latest announcement.
The way many of the Catholic-media articles I read spoke of Fr. Corapi lacked charity altogether. The way they spoke of people who learned from him was nearly as disturbing. It was as if they thought enjoying Fr. Corapi’s programs, or learning something from them, was some sort of horrible character flaw, and that those who watched his programs regularly were mindless drones.
I understand that his style of speaking may not suite everyone and that’s fine. We all learn in different ways. But the outright condemnation and the onslaught of “I always knew there was something wrong with him and the masses who listened to him…” comments said far more about the writers who typed the words than they ever did about the man of which they spoke.
My heart ached for him when I heard his latest announcement, and I’ll admit that I was torn when I read his words. Paul told me that I should blog about it, but I just didn’t feel ready to put my thoughts into words. And besides, what do I know? What can I say? I’m not in Father Corapi’s shoes. And I pray that I’m never in a situation when the basic pieces of my vocation are torn from me.
So here are my somewhat scattered thoughts.
My initial reaction, after reading and hearing Fr. Corapi’s words, was that I wished he had reacted a bit differently. Paul pointed out that saints are saints, but that they still often reacted to the situations that they were in according to their personalities, and that this was very much in keeping with Father Corapi’s personality.
I responded that I just wished he could have waited longer before making this announcement in which he no longer referred to himself as “Father” and that he had bore the accusations as Saint Gerard Majella and Saint Padre Pio had, silently, despite the unfairness of the accusations made against them.
Yet I couldn’t really say those words with much conviction… because, while I know what I “think” is the right thing for a priest in this situation to do (because of what the saints in the past have done) I’m not sure I could remain silent if my name was being dragged through the mud and slandered. Actually, I’m pretty sure I would be protesting that I was innocent at the top of my lungs and would tell anyone who would listen the story of the injustice done against me.
The life that Father Corapi had is over. Are the decisions he’s making the right ones? I honestly don’t know. But I do know that the answers aren’t as cut and dry as they’ve been made out to be.
Maybe the writers who are condemning Corapi are so incredibly advanced in their journey towards sainthood that they’re able to easily make the decision to bear any burden without so much as wincing… or maybe their just fortunate that they’ve never been tested (or seen a loved one tested) in such a painful way, and as a result they lack the compassion and empathy that we should have for everyone involved in this awful situation.
Whatever the reason, the reactions that many have had to this situation aren’t reactions I can imagine any of the saints I can think of having.
I guess we all have a little more work to do on our own paths towards sainthood…
Saint Gerard of Majella, pray for everyone involved in this situation that they may be drawn closer to God.