See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

"For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God?"



"And if the righteous one is barely saved, where will the godless and the sinner appear?" - 1 Peter 4:17 - 18
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The Corapi fall is a big one.  Somehow I doubt it is THE big one however.  It could happen that one of these days there may be breaking news about a very high placed churchman - and maybe not a liberal one either.  If that happened, it will be THE big one.  There are actually some people wishing and hoping for such a drama - and these folks are not the so-called 'professional Catholics' who so many have been accusing of rushing to judgement on the Corapi case.  There exist people who claim to be more Catholic than the pope and the post-counciliar Church who are just waiting for what they call the "Novus Ordo" Church to fall.  For instance, I know of at least one Trad/Sede site which has had a sort of bounty out on a certain Cardinal in Los Angeles for years - 'anyone with incriminating evidence of whatever kind on Cardinal Mahony email us'.  I'm not sure, but I think there was some sort of monetary reward as well.  Every one likes the money.
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Yet this is what happens and has happened in the Church since the beginning - since Judas, since Simon Magus - right up to our own day.  In modern times we have come to know the infamous Rasputin, the Russian monk who deceived the Czar and Czarina.  We have seen Evangelical Protestant preachers and healers fall with great regularity throughout the 20th century, from Aimee Semple McPherson to Jim & Tammy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, to Ted Haggard and Albert Odulele.  And that's just the Protestants.
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Not too many years ago during the priest scandals, the boy's club of Sebastian's Angels made the headlines - an organization of gay playboy priests.  And while the Bishop's scandal unfolded - the biggest, worst case scenario seemed to be the Fr. Maciel and the Legion of Christ scandal - though at first vehemently assailed as lies by supporters of the Legion and devotees of Maciel.  Indeed, Maciel was a favorite of Bl. John Paul II.  Amazing.  Then came Fr. Cutie - the famous 'Fr. Oprah' priest, as well as the other EWTN priest defectors.  In the past eleven years there have been dozens of cases of priests living double lives - priests in important positions and ordinary parish priests. Gay and straight.  And now of course, there is Fr. Corapi, whose case demonstrates it is not always just about sex either. 
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People we have to wake up however - we have to quit putting men on pedestals.  Respect and reverence their priesthood, and their status in the hierarchy, in so far as they represent Christ and His Church - but just remember they are flesh and blood - men tempted in the same way we are.  Just because someone wears a habit or a cassock, or sports a a tonsure or a biretta, or says Mass like Padre Pio, and preaches like St. Paul, or whatever your criteria is for holiness - don't attach too much importance to the man.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  "Do what they say, not what they do."
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It's amazing how easily we canonize our priests and religious and expect perfection from them.  I've read it on blogs numerous times - 'Cardinal so and so is a saint because he wears all the regalia and celebrates the Extraordinary Form of Mass.'  Or,  'Fr. so and so is a saint because he promotes the reform of the reform, or the TLM, or he wears the cassock to bed'.  Or, 'This monastery is the true monastery - the holiest monastery - because they celebrate the Liturgy in Latin and wear the habit and tonsure'.  Really?  Check the guest cabins.  And don't forget the people who attach the title "great" to everyone they admire.  (Nope - I'm not referring to JPII either.)
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I know a novice who slept with her spiritual director and was amazed when he got up in the night to go keep his hour of adoration.  (Although that is not bad - even if you are steeped in sin - do not stop praying: 'prayer is the trap door out of sin'.)  A friar once told me a story of two other friars engaging in mutual something right in from of the monstrance during their hour of adoration - when they thought the chapel was empty.  There are so many stories of holy people sinning it would make your head swim.  But I digress. 
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There for but the grace of God...  O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.
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"Never take a man for your example in the tasks you have to perform, how ever holy he may be, for the devil will set his imperfection before you.  Imitate Christ, who is supremely perfect and supremely holy, and you will never err." - St. John of the Cross
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"Reflect that many are called and few are chosen and that, if you are not careful, your perdition is more certain than your salvation, especially since the path to eternal life is so narrow." - Ibid
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"Anyone who trusts in himself is worse than the devil" - Ibid

8 comments:

  1. Excellent post Terry..Amen to that!

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  2. Very fine indeed, and terrifying. Thank you.

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  3. Anonymous4:01 AM

    "A friar once told me a story of two other friars engaging in mutual something right in from of the monstrance during their hour of adoration"

    Good God! Makes you wonder about the malice of it all...

    But we're all capable of such horrific sins, aren't we? There but for the grace of God and all that...

    I can't tell you how many times I've fallen into sin despite believing all the truths of the faith - heaven, hell, purgatory etc.- even considering the presence of God who is everywhere, it didn't matter at that moment. It's pretty terrifying in retrospect what we personally are capable of.

    It doesn't matter in the long-run how orthodox or traditional one is, either. It's all about the grace and mercy of God lifting us out of this mystery of inequity despite ourselves.

    And oh, God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud...I think that's the key right there.

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  4. Anonymous5:29 AM

    There is probably more here than just another fall. This man has had psychiatric issues for years, long before he ever went into the seminary. Indeed, Corapi himself used to talk about how psychiatrists recommended he not be accepted into the seminary because he wasn't "all there". Of course, Corapi was using this as proof of how persecuted he was for loving Jesus, but the reality is that these shrinks saw the big red signs screaming "Warning, warning!".

    Writings from Corapi before he was ever even ordained clearly demonstrate he was suffering from grandiosity, messianism, and persecution complex.

    While psychiatric issues do not excuse his behavior, they certainly might help explain some of it.

    The sad part is that nobody protected Corapi from Corapi---and the few who tried were ingorned or marginalized as persecuting the holy man because he was "orthodox".

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  5. What a wonderful post. I know that other people (usually non-Catholics) sometimes perceive me as being good or devout, and I hasten to remind them that knowing a lot about the history of the Church or liturgy or anything else does not make one a saint. If anything, I think it's easier for those of us who are naturally academically inclined to spend all our time reading about God and forget that we also have to pray.
    I try not to take priests, religious, and lay evangelists for granted, just as I try to make sure my non-Catholic friends who think me good know that I am really just a sinner like any other.

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  6. Good post, Terry (and comment, Jane). We all need to keep in mind just what we're capable of. And if you ever catch yourself saying "...oh I'd NEVER do THAT," think again. You just never know. Been there/done that and it's truly frightening what depths one can sink to if given the right set of circumstances. Satan knows us better than we know ourselves.

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