By Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
I haven’t written much about Fr. John Corapi, because I honestly don’t know much about what is going on. I don’t know the details. But I am sad to read that he is leaving active ministry. I am profoundly sad.
Fr. Corapi and I were ordained together, by John Paul II, in 1991. I didn’t know him at that time. After ordination I think I only ran into him twice, at conferences were we were both speakers. So, I don’t know him. I don’t know what is up with his life or situation and I won’t speculate. Nevertheless, by that tendril connection of our ordination, I have imagined a kind of bond with him and all the other men scattered across the world, even though I didn’t know most of them personally.
So, I don’t have much to say about Fr. Corapi. I do have a few things to say about the circumstances surrounding this sad announcement.
From the email I am receiving and a few blogs I have read reacting to Fr. Corapi’s video message, it strikes me that a lot of people are doing neither themselves nor Fr. Corapi any good. Charity requires us to consider the good of others. I can’t see how the way some people are talking about Fr. Corapi does anyone any good.
We are in difficult times right now concerning ecclesiastical relationships. The Church has sustained horrible wounds because of her own churchmen and, during this time of healing, there are bound to be painful moments. When you receive a blow upon a bruise, the pain can be great. I suggest that we avoid poking the bruises are much as we can.
Given what I have been seeing and experiencing, I believe the verse many priests pray every night during Compline in the older form of the Office (Tuesday in the Liturgy of the Hours) is being realized in a particularly intense way right now:
“Be sober and vigilant: because your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is roaming around seeking whom he might devour. Strong in faith, resist him knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. ” 1 Peter 5:8-9.This is certainly the case in my life right now and I think it is also going on in the life of many priests and bishops who are on the more conservative side of things. The attack is on.
This is one reason why I have been earnestly asking the support of your prayers.
The enemy hates priests and bishops. Let me say that again. The enemy hates priests and bishops. When priests and bishops start making inroads, they will be attacked with intensity.
But priests and bishops remain men and remain sinners. We need the support of prayers especially regarding the primary goal of saving our souls. We must, for the love of God, help each other.
I will keep Fr. Corapi on my prayer list, and will remember him in a special way, hoping that through the help of the Holy Spirit, who bends the rigid and heals the broken and consoles those who are in pain, he will have some peace whether he is able to return to active ministry or not, whether he wants to or not. He is a priest forever and he is my brother in that indelible mark received from Christ the High priest. And because he is a priest forever, the devil will not relent in attacking him until he dies. Nor will the devil relent in attacking anyone who has authority over him.
It is what we signed up for, but sometimes it can be very hard.
Please remember, please, that all priests are human beings and subject to the afflictions of the world the flesh and the devil. If you look at them in some other way, you do them and yourselves a disservice.
In these difficult times, when we are seeing the and hearing the lion roaring around even more, I ask for your prayers for myself and for all the priests you know, whether they are in active ministry or they are for whatever reason not active, whether they have been exemplary according to how you think they ought to be, or whether they have made mistakes and are suffering the consequences.
They have immortal souls and they, like you dear lay people, are working out their eternal salvation with fear and trembling with the additional burden of knowing that they will be priests forever, in heaven or in hell. Ask St. john Vianney for help. And, since St. “Padre” Pio has been on my mind with increasing frequency lately, perhaps ask him as well.
Please don’t write to me anymore about Fr. Corapi. Please. Even though I didn’t know him, right now for me this is like a blow upon a bruise.
Please find it in your hearts to pray, daily and often, for priests.