Tuesday, July 5, 2011

John Corapi, brussel sprouts and bacon don't mix

It seemed like the perfect combination -- to me. Everyone else had to wonder about my decision to mix brussel sprouts -- a not so favorite veggie -- with bacon -- a much beloved and coveted meat product. The blending of flavors, I thought, would be a match made in heaven, add a little garlic and voila, perfection!

My family had a different reaction. There was no amount of bacon and garlic that could make a brussel sprout taste better. And in that reaction, I saw a connection to recent events in Catholic culture.

Everyone who follows Catholic news outlets and blogs knows about the Black SheepDog and his bizarre escapades. John Corapi in reacting, or over-reacting, to an allegation of sexual abuse, drug use and other scandalous behaviors on his new blog, is calling more and more negative attention to himself on a daily basis.

In his last post of 30 June, John Corapi rages against the seeming injustice of his circumstances and those he believes to be the perpetrators of his current situation:
In twenty years of preaching and teaching in the Catholic Church I ran into many who should know better that did not believe that wolves existed and that there was no need for sheepdogs. They scoffed at the idea of either. They are not leaders, they are delusional oxygen thieves—taking up the space and breathing the air that a real leader should occupy fill. [sic]
There is evil in the world; there is evil in society, in politics, in all of the places where men are to be found.
There are sheep, there are wolves, and there are sheepdogs. It is an undeniable fact. This Independence Day thank God for the freedom we have, but remember that it wasn’t and isn’t free. Be watchful that your country, your state, your church, and your friends and family don’t get eaten by wolves—who very often come clothed as sheep.
Today, in an apparent response to these continuous rants, SOLT (Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) issued a statement making quite clear that they had sufficient information to place Fr. John Corapi on administrative leave. The statement read:
SOLT's fact-finding team has acquired information from Fr. Corapi's e-mails, various witnesses, and public sources that, together, state that, during his years of public ministry:
He did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute; He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs; He has recently engaged in sexting activity with one or more women in Montana; He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society.
But, it doesn't stop there. This statement makes an appeal, one that should give pause to everyone who loves both faith and reason. Christ said "love your enemy, do good to those who hate you." (Lk 6:27-28) Understanding this to be an ideal to which all priests should aspire, the question arises as to which party is best living up to this standard of forgiveness? It isn't difficult to answer.

Corapi continues to lash out, making not only his situation, but that of other brother priests more tenuous. His SOLT community is taking the higher road, the approach that is called for under the circumstances and probably more difficult for secular culture to understand. Instead of leaving its statement pointing out only the allegations, SOLT open its hearts and calls its brother home, ordering him to live obedient to his promises.
SOLT has contemporaneously with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.
This may sound harsh to some, but it is truly loving fraternal correction from a Society of Apostolic Life of Diocesan Right that sees one of their own suffering. They will not allow Fr. Corapi to be eaten by the wolves of his disobedience when the only SheepDog he is relying on at the moment is himself.

John Corapi can't sugarcoat the truth with angry rhetoric. Nothing he is currently doing will lessen the impact this is having on the hearts of those who want to believe him. He can't hide the brussel sprouts in this recipe for disaster, and everyone can taste them.


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