More than Meets the Eye
I have followed the saga of (Father) John Corapi for some time. I confess that I was never particularly a fan of the good father, not because his teaching was not solid and beneficial to those who were blessed with hearing it. Something else seemed to hold me back from becoming interested in his work.
When all hell broke loose for Fr. Corapi, I did not doubt the veracity of his own claims about what transpired, and I have no doubt now that he is innocent of all charges. But, more is in play here than what we see at first blush.
(Father) Corapi is not the first priest to be falsely accused. If we go back a little in history, we find that Padre Pio was falsely and seriously accused of things beyond his capability of doing. Padre, now Saint, Pio was able to submit to his superiors, and eventually by the Grace of God, he was cleared of all wrong doing, and returned to his priestly faculties.
More recently, Father Gordon MacRae was falsely accused, abandoned by his bishop and diocese, and has spent over 16 years in prison as a guest of the state of New Hampshire. Father MacRae is the author of These Stone Walls, and you can read about his case there, and also the many thoughtful things he has to say about the faith and about the Roman Catholic Church, which he so loves. He has been forced by circumstance to be submissive to a system that has treated him very badly.
There is also Father Mark Gruber, about whom I have written. Father Mark is a well known retreat master, and beloved for his faith and his communication skills. In what amounts to the weirdest set of circumstances, he has been falsely accused of something that is first of all, not illegal, though it would be sinful, if he did it. But, the SODDI (some other dude did it) defense applies here, not by innuendo, but by fact. Some Other Dude confessed to doing what Father Gruber was accused of. Father Mark, in his defence, originally commenced legal proceedings to protect his good name.
I summarised some of where they are at relative to those of us who are free to roam the earth in this posting.
Father Mark Gruber put into perspective his situation, in one of the most humble and humbling comments yet on situations such as these, when he said:
“No man is just, except Jesus our Savior, and while I’m certainly not guilty of this crime, we all deserve any sufferings short of the fires of hell, simply for being a sinner on this earth."
But, Father Corapi was only able to take 3 months of being pilloried, by some, though still revered by many, until he cracked. I have no doubt that he is under tremendous emotional strain. There were reports that Father Gruber was cracking for some time under the strain of false accusation, and I hope that has passed for him, and that he is able to bear his cross with equanimity. Father MacRae has also born his cross nobly, though he has worked on his defence, and documented it and made it available with the help of supporters.
Father Corapi has handled his situation differently. He has passively aggressively proclaimed his innocence, and done so with bombast and counter charges, and in reality, as a man falsely accused, he legally has the right to so do.
As one who has been recovering from a brain injury for over 7 years, I have a perspective that I think is somewhat different on this situation. Father Corapi's behaviour, particularly of late, both in written and spoken form has appeared to be erratic to at least this casual observer, causing at least one commenter to suggest that he is on drugs. This particular comment, which I believe was way out of line, begat a fiery response from Father C, when it needed none. What I have discovered is that when one's emotional response to a particular situation is bigger than the situation warrants, then there are likely issues involving brain chemistry and function at play, and help is required. This is not just from my own experience, but also from the training and experience of one of the foremost psychiatrists in America and probably the world today.
Doctor Daniel Amen, whose clinic I attended a few years back, specialises in brain imaging as a diagnostic tool, and has been particularly successful in situations where behavior has been erratic, even to the extremes of being criminal. The brain is the center of our thoughts, moods and actions. In a recent posting Dr. Amen wrote about Brains Acting Badly. The focus of this article was the sexual misdeeds of some of the recent miscreants highlighted in the MSM, but the conclusions that our brains take the lead in our lives is valid, and must be dealt with if we are to lead lives that are filled with truth and which lead us to holiness.
I believe that Father Corapi is in desperate need of our prayers, and love as fellow travelers on the journey of faith.
It has been my belief for some time now, that we must provide prayer cover for all men who have a vocation to the priesthood. The mantle of "alter christus" is too heavy for these dear men to carry on their own. They need us to draw alongside them, in prayer and fellowship, where that occasion arises.
Do not abandon Father Corapi, but lift him up. He is one of us, and if he hurts, we hurt.