When I first saw the story on Pew Sitter, I immediately gasped. There are almost no words for the injustice that has been foisted upon many good priests and now, it looks like we can add Fr. John Corapi to that unfortunate group.
From the blog, The Black Sheep Dog:
All things change, only God stays the same, so I have to tell you about a major change in my life. I am not going to be involved in public ministry as a priest any longer. There are certain persons in authority in the Church that want me gone, and I shall be gone. I have been guilty of many things in the course of my life, and could easily and justifiably be considered unfit to engage in public ministry as a priest. The present complaint that you have heard about is, as far as I know, from the one person that I can honestly say I did more to help and support than any human being in my entire life. I forgive her and hope only good things for her. I am not going to get into a back and forth or argument with the Church or anyone else about this matter.
There are many reasons why this issue saddens me.
First, there is little recourse a priest has when he has been accused of any wrong-doing. Immediately, in our "post-abuse" culture, the priest seems to be seen as guilty. Whether he is or not doesn't matter. He's been accused and for many, the assumption is "where there's smoke, there's fire."
Second, the Roman Catholic Church is a highly politicized organization, as far as organized religion goes. And within that organization, there is a high amount of scheming, strategery, and spin that would make a hardened Washington D.C. lobbyist blush. It's no surprise to anyone that Fr. Corapi was loathed by many in the Catholic Church because of his traditionalism and stubborn obedience to the Magisterium.
Third, and this is a truth I discovered myself when I was more heavily involved with ministry - the ones who are the enemies of the truth are often sitting right next to you in the pew. When the Bible talks about them, I used to think it referred to unbelievers in the world. Now I think it mostly pertains to other believers in the Church.
Many don't think of themselves as opposed to truth. Some do. But how I've finally found my peace about this is to realize that all of us, especially me, are on a journey toward holiness. That journey takes our entire lifetime.
Fr. Corapi is a man whose heart burns for the truth. If you've heard his homilies and teachings, you can quickly see that he is not about to lie down and let people deny the truth or mock it. At least not on his watch.
I remember one of the things he often would say, "I'm not going to hell for any of you!" And you know what? I felt loved and protected when he said it. Because that's why we need our priests. To tell us the truth. To keep us on the straight and narrow. To let us know when we're on the edge of a cliff and about to fall off of it. They keep us headed toward heaven.
I have no idea what his ministry will look like, but I believe Fr. Corapi is a very gifted man and one way or the other, God is going to continue to use him.
So, a goodbye to you, Fr. Corapi. My heart is breaking but I understand why you're making this decision. All I can say is that there are still going to be plenty of Catholics who will follow you and I'm sure you're going to be preaching the same things to encourage them.
For those who love Fr. Corapi, please add his new blog to your RSS feeds and websites: The Black Sheep Dog. God bless you.