Monday, 27 June 2011
The Power of the Cross
For a few weeks now it has been known that Fr John Corapi, the popular TV evangelist who often appeared on EWTN, and who was suspended from ministry due to an abuse allegation, has decided to resign from priestly ministry. This will be a shock to many, and I haven't read enought to know all the details, but the gist of it seems to be that he feels he can be more effective if he resigns from ministry and takes up an apostolate as an evangelist on his new website, Black SheepDog. In this way he refuses to "crawl under a rock and die" because he still believes he has "something to offer".
I don't want to criticise Fr Corapi, not knowing the ins and outs, and I know other seminarians and I have been encouraged by his witness to the faith in his preaching. But it is sad to see a priest resign from ministry, even if his faculties were already suspended. Surely the Cross is most present in the priest's ministry when he is helpless, and the power of the Crucified most evident in his weakness. That is not the same as "crawling under a rock to die", though this is how the world, without a supernatural perspective, is bound to see the situation. Rather, it is to be "odedient unto death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2) as Christ was, and to imitate the martyrs who "loved not their lives even unto death" (Revelation 12).
In an article in the Catholic Herald this weekend there was a quote from Sue Ryder to the effect that, "Our tragedy is not that we suffer, but that we waste suffering". Only someone with faith can understand this. I suspect that Fr Corapi's fidelity to his priesthood in the face of suffering would be inestimably more fruitful that any number of autobiographies or apostolic websites.
We cannot know if Fr Corapi is in fact innocent, but we can pray for Fr Corapi, as well as for all priests who feel powerless and abandoned.