Archive for the ‘detachment’ Category

Brief comments about the Corapi controversy

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Many of you may be familiar with Fr. John Corapi, a priest who had a very public speaking ministry. After a dramatic conversion, he traveled the world preaching the Gospel, inspiring many to come back to the Catholic Church with his orthodox teaching.

Recently however, a terrible scandal emerged. A woman accused him of sexual impropriety and he was suspended from his priestly duties. A few months after this suspension, Fr. Corapi took it upon himself to discontinue any public ministry as a priest, dropping “Father” from his name. He became his own entity,¬† known now as The Black Sheep Dog. On June 16, the following statement was released on his blog in written form and as a video.

This statement created much confusion among those who had supported him and many condemned him for leaving the priesthood. Others sympathized with his reasoning. A tidal wave of responses poured in, many frankly quite judgmental and vitriolic. Well-known Catholic bloggers such as Mark Shea and publications such as the National Catholic Register and Our Sunday Visitor published pretty harsh commentaries on the situation.

I used to enjoy watching Fr. Corapi on EWTN for he spoke with such authority. When the scandal broke, I shook my head in disbelief, not just over the charges and his actions, but also over the harshness of the response from fellow Catholics.

I chose to wait and see, preferring to discern from the fruits of his actions. I believe now that the fruit born of this scandal is confusion, and confusion is not of God. It leads me to back away from Fr. Corapi. It’s never good to attach oneself to a personality – it’s only safe to attach myself to Christ.

Recently SOLT, the order of which Fr. Corapi was a member, released a statement which, in effect, pronounced Corapi guilty. This was the final straw and I knew I had to back away.

These scandals just don’t seem to let up. I live in the Boston area, ground zero to the eruption of the sexual abuse scandal which began to rear its head in 2001. We’re talking about 10 years of relentless scandals. What really hurts is hearing Fr. Corapi himself talk about being spat upon by strangers in airports when he wore the collar. And all along, he may have been scandalized himself.

I have known many wonderful, dedicated  and holy priests. My own husband is a deacon. I still believe that most priests are faithful to their vows,  in their love of God and His people. Hero worship is akin to idolatry and that the only safe course is to keep my eyes fixed on Christ alone for He is where my hope lies.

In lieu of that, I wrote a song back in 2001 called “Still the Same” in which I remind the listener that our Lord never changes but always remains the same. You can listen to it on the player below (lyrics follow), along with a song I wrote about forgiveness. I find myself praying for Fr. Corapi and asking God for forgiveness.

 

My good friend Nick Alexander (who himself says that he is a “faulty vessel” as we all are) said it best: “Be grateful that the Truth of the Gospel came to you, even if it came from a faulty, hypocritical vessel. And don’t let that vessel take up any more of your time, if such becomes that enormous a distraction from that very Truth.” Amen.

Still the Same

CHORUS:
Jesus, He will never change
Ageless, everlasting, still the same

VERSE 1
Yes He died (yes He died)
But forever now He lives
We may sin and do wrong
But He always will forgive
If we turn to Him

VERSE 2
Though our world (though our world)
Is spinning out of our control
And it seems that our pain
Is getting harder to console
He is here for us, He is here for us
He is here for us

VERSE 3
Though your trust (though your trust)
May be broken and betrayed
And the ones that you counted on
You find have feet of clay
You can count on Him, you can count on Him

BRIDGE
The wounds will heal, His church grow strong
We are His Body, in His love we will go on
And every person we must embrace
The poor, the broken
And the fallen in His grace.

CHORUS
Jesus, He will never change (His love flows forever)
Ageless, everlasting, still the same (Through His wounded Body)
(Through His Body)

VERSE 4
You can find (you can find Him)
In the breaking of the bread
He in us, we in Him
And His healing love can spread
Spread forever

 

Overcoming emotion before it takes over – a followup

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

You may recall in a previous post the story I shared about how anger and aggravation overcame me beginning with the task of vacuuming the pool. I shared that story with my spiritual mother who advised me to say the Jesus Prayer before I begin, and during the task. It worked like a charm! I vacuumed the pool yesterday and the prayer lifted me outside of myself so that I could remain peaceful throughout the task. It had all the elements of being just as aggravating as the last time, but this time I was armed with prayer. Yet another lesson in the idea of detaching from emotion through prayer.

You would think I would then immediately apply prayer to any other time when emotion would overtake me but I still have a long way to go with this lesson. Letting go of aggravation and anger was easy in comparison to letting go of grief and self-pity.

Holidays lately have been a little difficult. I still haven’t grown totally into the empty nester role and therefore miss the kids terribly. I grieved the loss of our family together over the 4th of July holiday. Add to that a dose of self-pity because our efforts to go kayaking were thwarted yet again, this time by my husband’s back pain. I felt very badly for him, but felt sorry for myself too.

It took all weekend to turn to prayer but I finally did as I waited for a fireworks display. I had asked my husband if I could go and he said that was fine. I went and found myself feeling especially lonely and nostalgic for past days when we would go as a family. Seeing other families around me just added to the pain. I felt totally alone, until I realized I wasn’t ever alone – God was with me if I would just call on Him.

I began with the Jesus Prayer and quickly turned to the rosary. At first I looked up at the sky, thinking of heaven. Then I turned my gaze on all the people around me, asking God to bless them, and I began to see Christ in all of them. The feelings of loneliness, grief and self-pity slowly began to dissipate as I became aware of the presence of my very best Friend, the one who will never leave me, deep in my heart, and all around me too in those people.

The fireworks display seemed extra lively and bright now that I felt surrounded by friends. Maybe next time I won’t wait so long!