Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fr. Corapi: How did we get here?

I personally do not really get what has got people up in arms with the Fr. Corapi saga.

I mean, I get it, I do. A hero has apparently been slain. A martyr for the "cause," whatever that might be. I'd simply recommend praying for Fr. Corapi and all those involved in the situation, that the truth will come out, and justice (tempered with mercy) be served.

The circumstances do raise a question, though. How did we get here?

In my mind, it is in the disillusionment of the Faithful.

The days of the parish priest being the hero seem to be long gone-- films such as "I Confess" are a bygone era, to be replaced by sick films, such as "Primal Fear," "Doubt," etc, that portray priests and the Church in an unfavorable manner. Oh that every parish priest could indeed be a hero to their parishioners. For the parishioner not to have to worry about heterodox sermons or liturgical innovations, or to temper everything they hear being taught with the thought in the forefront of their mind being "is this compatible with Church teaching?"

So perhaps that is how we arrived here-- the disillusionment with our clergy, the dissatisfaction with our parish life, forcing the faithful to look toward some bright and shining star of hope, of "true Catholicism" to be found elsewhere.

Here's a reality check: that place doesn't exist in this world, so you can stop searching.

The New Media is full of these personalities, these "beacons of light"-- I can tell you that I have only ever personally met one of the bloggers that I read regularly, and I only have met him in passing. I'm not sure I could say I really know him. He seems on the up and up, but I couldn't tell you for sure... One thing I do know is that he is a sinner, just like me, in need of God's grace and mercy to persevere in this life.

Perhaps the mission, then, of the New Media in Catholic life should be to promote and encourage personal holiness within the context of lived relationships in ones' own community. To do anything otherwise seems to implicitly promote a sort of escapism into a virtual world.

In the exchange of ideas, everything that is read on the New Liturgical Movement won't become a reality in every parish in 2011. Everything that Fr. Z. says (partly tongue-in-cheek) about simply using the Latin if the new translation isn't your cup of tea won't actually happen in most places. The dream of the Chant Cafe' to have the Propers sung at every Parish Mass won't be realized in many places. Or maybe they will for a few years, until the new pastor is appointed, who sells the organ and hands out guitars to the choir...

The ideas on these blogs can be a source of inspiration, just as the words of a Fr. Corapi, or Scott Hahn, or Msgr. Pope, etc, can be for those who follow them. I'm sure we could spend hours listing and discussing our 21st century Catholic heroes. Maybe we could even print up baseball cards!

But I think that what makes a real "hero" here is that we would take their words of inspiration, combined with the example of their deeds, and apply them in our lives, in our families, in our parishes, in our communities; rather than simply escape into this perfect idealized church that doesn't actually exist.

If every dad did that, if every sacristan or reader or catechist applied these ideas in their parish, then the "hero," if there were one, would be that volunteer who, inspired by these great icons of the New Media, spent the extra afternoon helping teach the Act of Contrition to someone preparing for their First Confession, or the person who grabbed a coffee or a pint with an RCIA candidate confronted with worries, or took a meal to the overworked priest of the parish-- those people would be the real heroes.

And something tells me that Fr. Z, Jimmy Akin, Fr. Finigan, and Matt and Pat Archbold, etc,  would be all the more pleased with that lived faith in their readers' lives, more so than whether they got a religious blog of the year award to post on their site.

My hope and prayer for Fr. Corapi, and those who followed him, is that through all of this, they can remember that it is Christ who is the font of Christian life, and the summit toward which it is directed, and seek to take that Gospel message and apply it to their own lives. And that you do, too.


  1. Thank you! I got so frustrated and tired of being angry all the time with the less-than-ideal reality on the ground in our (actually pretty conservative) parish, after doing way too much reading of Fr. Z's blog and Chant Cafe and all the New Liturgical Movement type folks. After learning about the "ideal", now, I skip reading about it all the time and just focus on doing all the little concrete things I can and encouraging friends to do the same. My charity and love of neighbor is much improved!

  2. Thanks for your comment!

    I hope that my intention was not misconstrued... I think there is great value in such blogs-- they do give us some hope as to where the Church is going... I love all of those sites! However, it is when we stop participating in our parish life around us, or that we become so dissatisfied with our own parish life because of reading about these ideals that we unfortunately don't have in our local community, that it can, as you have pointed out, become a stumbling block.

    I think that, somewhere in the middle is the common ground-- get fed from places that feed us, but pray for the grace to use that nourishment in our local communities.

  3. My hope is that Fr. Corapi considers the impact of his huge ego on those who revere him. He is not above the Holy Mother Church. My advice to Fr. Corapi is PRAY THE ROSARY and pray for humility. My pray for Fr. Corapi is that he reconsider his rash decision to resign his CALLING.