Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fr. John Corapi

To know the will of God is the eternal challenge. To do the will of God is the challenge of every man while on earth.

Thoughts of Fr. John Corapi weaved through my prayers this morning.

Accusations of immoral conduct were made against him, but what would you do? Your child becomes angry at you and tells his teacher you have abused him and the police are called, and your child taken away “pending review of the charges”. What would you do? Spend your time berating the child, protesting your innocence? Spend your time berating the police, for not enforcing the law as you see it should be? Spend your time berating God: “Surely this is not Your will, so I shall seek to chastise the child in love, and work to change the laws, with all my heart and all my will.” Spend your time praying, waiting?

Is this the will of God? Would this be doing the will of God?

Every man lives under the law, the law of God and the law of man. When they are in conflict, we must obey the law of God, but the law of God is not totally personal --- “Just follow your conscience.” Revelation gives us the commandments, and Jesus Christ gave us their full meaning, in His word and example. And His Church helps us to fulfill those laws, in her teachings, in her example, and primarily in her sacraments. The sacraments bring God to us, both His eternal will and the fortitude to follow it. The sacraments are great gifts, but like all gifts they must be accepted. And within the rites of each sacrament are words and/or actions which demonstrate our commitment: I will accept this blessing, this gift. I will use it as a blessing, to help me to do the will of God.

And like any gift, once accepted and opened, it cannot be given back. It is ours to use, or throw away. And if we choose to throw it away, we do so to the great disappointment of the Giver.

One of the acceptances of the sacrament of Holy Orders, the acceptance of the gift of the priesthood, is the individual’s vow of obedience. “I will obey.” Many wonderful words have been written on the challenges this vow presents, especially when the one to be obeyed is commanding you to do something which is contrary to your own will. And then, so often, you convince yourself of the goodness of your will.

Isn’t that the way Adam and Eve obeyed?

Fr. John Corapi put forth his document explaining why he will not obey, why he will give up the priesthood, and his vow. Such things are no longer nailed to a church door; they are posted on the internet. And, sadly, it came to my mind something I wrote here a while back, a commentary in a book about how some of the holiest men on earth were among the Church’s greatest heretics. In seeking to know and fully commit to the will of God, some of these great, wise, and holy men became confused, thinking that in this earthly life they could fully know and understand the will of God --- but that can never be --- and so they confused their will and understanding with what they thought was of God.

I read a great commentary to Fr. Corapi’s letter by Al Kresta, head of Ave Maria Radio. You can read it here

And as for me: What are my thoughts? Well, I will obey. In today’s readings I read how David went to take up arms against Saul, and “he was joined by all those who were in difficulties or in debt,” i.e., those who saw him as a solution to their problems. Despite all the good he had done, the average person probably saw David as someone now seeking to overthrow the king, a good person turned lawbreaker. How should people have judged David? In Scripture we read where God rewards the one who obeys Him, and we also read that He chastises the one He loves. So how do you judge which one a person is? From my viewpoint, you don’t --- judge the person, that is.

But I will choose not to follow those who proclaim “I will not obey” the Church, or her teachings, or those who proclaim a new meaning to her sacraments. To do so is to reject Christ and why He came to earth and established His Church. But, you might say, the Church is made of men, they can sin and err! Yes, that is true. And so I will look at the fruits of all those who teach, saying they are teaching the truth of the Church: Do they generate greater numbers of souls dedicated and totally loyal to and obeying God and His Church on earth, or like Arius, do they generate greater numbers of souls dedicated to them and their teachings and their church? Or do they just fade away? I won’t judge the men, but I trust that God’s will may be shown in the fruits of their labor. Men err in their judgments; they cannot fully know the mind of God. Men can reject God’s will for them and perhaps yield what appears to be good fruit, but perhaps so much more, better fruit could have been yielded if they had obeyed. And men can be misunderstood by other men -- perhaps my understandings of the heart of Fr. Corapi are in error.

And so if their fruits are good, I will praise the fruits and give thanks to God. And even if their fruits are bad, I will give praise to God, for in ways in which I do not understand, He makes good of all things.

And for all men who teach contrary to the Church’s teachings, I will not judge, but neither will I follow.


  1. And as for me: What are my thoughts? Well, I will obey

    You might also wish to meditate upon the deadly sin of pride.


    adly sin of pride.

  2. Ah, Maria, meditating on the sin of pride is something we all must do, as I have written often here. And as for my thoughts, well they are as the header on this blog explains: they are "not to voice my opinions, seek converts, or convince you of anything."

    I'm not looking for great numbers of followers or readers here. As my sidebar explains, my words are "answers I have perceived to calm my own anxieties, my worries, my stresses." If they upset you, please laugh at them, then at least they will have achieved my reasons for posting them for others to read, that they might be less anxious.