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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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SOLT Press Release on Father Corapi

The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity has put out an official press release on the FATHER CORAPI SCANDAL. Fr. Gerard Sheehan, the superior writes:

“While SOLT does not typically comment publicly on personnel matters, it recognizes that Fr. John Corapi, through his ministry, has inspired thousands of faithful Catholics, many of whom continue to express their support of him. SOLT also recognizes that Fr. Corapi is now misleading these individuals through his false statements and characterizations. It is for these Catholics that SOLT, by means of this announcement, seeks to set the record straight.”

While I can appreciate the need for a statement, I must admit that I am surprised at the bluntness and the depth of revelation. He remarks about the investigative process and what they discerned from emails, witnesses and other sources that has been going on during the time of the priest’s public ministry:

  • Fr. Corapi already handed in his resignation in early June.
  • He paid $100,000 to silence the woman making charges.
  • Other witnesses were similarly silenced and Fr. Corapi refused to release them for testimony to the investigative team.
  • He had violated his promise of poverty by holding legal title to over one million dollars in real estate, luxuary cars, boats, etc.
  • He cohabitated in two states with a known prostitute, recently began sexting one or two women and resorted to repeated drug and alcohol use.

I would not normally even post about such matters, but I can well appreciate the frustation of his superior.  Fr. Corapi is a powerful communicator and people love him.  If he is guilty of such things and is falsely placing the blame on the leadership of the Catholic Church, then public correction needs to be made.  Having said this, I think that the leadership in SOLT must be faulted for allowing this situation to grow so out of hand.  They should have reigned him in years ago.  Their passivity has now made for a far worse and more scandalous situation.  The press release continues:

“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.”

A letter of resignation would not release him from his priestly promises and those made to SOLT. A good priest does as he is told. This is a bad situation all around. I wonder how Fr. Corapi will respond? I suppose die-hard fans will contend that the evidence is contrived and that the priest is innocent. And indeed, I would still argue that if he is innocent then he should make his case and work with the process. It is unfortunate that Fr. Corapi has forced this whole matter and scandal into the public forum. But souls are at stake and this delicate situation is about more than one man. If he is guilty, then he should demonstrate sorrow and contrition, placing his ministry and future into the hands of his lawful superiors. It would be a wonderful teaching moment and maybe the highpoint of his ministry.  Christ is speaking to him through his superiors.  That is how priestly obedience works. But will he listen? Will he fight for his priesthood?  This battle cannot be won with militant rhetoric or tactics of subterfuge.  He can only find victory by being a faithful son of the Church and a humble priest.  He must be courageous and forthright about any revelations exposed by the truth.  He must reckon himself as any confessor to be the first among sinners, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.”  Things will never be the same but God may not be finished with him yet.  I pray that Fr. Corapi will make the right choice and work with God’s grace in this.

An element which really upsets me about this situation is how one segment of the Church is set against another. Father Corapi comes under investigation and the priest comes out with a statement that the bishop and his superior have a right to do what they do; but next he talks about the real enemies of the Church and we all know he is targeting those who put him on administrative leave. Then he claims obedience but his personal corporation makes a statement that they are under no one’s thumb and the ministry media business will continue as if nothing has happened. By the beginning of June he submits his resignation and tells his fans weeks later that the Church has forced him out. Bishop Michael Mulvey and his lawful superior, Fr. Gerard Sheehan, SOLT, seek to clarify matters but then there is the public intervention on his behalf of the founders of SOLT, Father Flanagan and the Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Bishop Rene Gracida. Critics and fans of the priest can now take their pick and decry the other side as wrong-headed or evil. The impression is given that the Church is fighting with herself. Despite the lament of Fr. Corapi that this is a plot of the liberals who are out to get him, the battleground that emerges is between very conservative or orthodox churchmen and laity. Liberal revisionists are no doubt having a delight in watching the so-called “religious right” of the Church rip itself apart over the media priest. This has all the makings of a new voyeuristic television program called THE BATTLING BISHOPS. Since the clarification released from SOLT, I notice now that Bishop Gracida seems to have shifted somewhat from supporting Fr. Corapi to attacking SOLT for allowing the situation to develop in the first place. However, it seems to me that the stage was set by those who initially allowed Fr. Corapi to set up his independent operations. In other words, there is blame enough to go around. It is troubling that Bishop Gracida took a public stand against a man’s lawful superiors even though he admits that he has not talked with the priest for years! Now Fr. Corapi is telling his fans on Twitter to look forward to an important announcement on Thursday.  Enough already!  I discern a manipulation of good men behind all these tensions that is due to evil human machination and/or to the intrusion of something devilish.

Phil Lawler at CATHOLIC CULTURE succinctly tells it as it is:

Like the late Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legion of Christ, John Corapi has worked for years as a celebrity priest: encouraging a cult of personality, setting his own agenda, raising large sums of money that he spent at his own discretion, and—most dangerous of all—accountable to no one. It was a formula for disaster, and now the disaster has occurred. Again.

I would beg people to separate the truths Father taught from the possible failings of the messenger. All are tempted, but the devil delights in targeting priests; while he could not seduce the high priest Christ, he often settles for corrupting those men who participate in his priesthood. Pray for priests, pray for Father Corapi and pray for “the little ones” who might despair of their faith.

I am done with this topic, but will give Father Corapi the last word:

FINANCES…”From the earliest days (more than twenty years ago) the Founder of the Society of Our Lady, Fr. James Flanagan, encouraged me to support myself and the Church as well.”

IMPROPRIETY…”I have never had any promiscuous or even inappropriate relations with her.”

INVESTIGATION…”As standard practice, my legal counsel advised me not to cooperate with the investigation until I was able to determine that the Commission’s process was fair and I had adequate rights to defend myself.”

HUSH MONEY…”I never paid anybody off to remain silent.”

RESIGNATION…”I resigned because the process used by the Church is grossly unjust, and, hence, immoral. I resigned because I had no chance from the beginning of a fair and just hearing.  As I have indicated from the beginning of all this, I am not extinguished!”

CLICK HERE  to read the SOLT press release.

CLICK HERE  to read my post on this matter last month.

A good friend feels that this topic and the argumentation associated with it is not good for me. It is true that I find it very upsetting. I love the priesthood and the Church. I get defensive when they are threatened. I also worry deeply about the good of souls. It is true too that the plight of a brother priest is always felt very personally. Many of the comments, moderated and mostly not posted, are unreasoning and angry. So I am going to end it here.  Orignally I posted a video here that gave Father Corapi the last word, albeit with an advertisement tagged to it.  However, he has liquidated his business and removed all signs of his web presence.  He is gone from sight, but maybe not from our minds and hearts.  Keep him and the people he impacted in prayer.

Holy Family Parish Picnic, July 3, 2011

Many thanks to all you made the parish picnic a success! I hope everyone had a good time.  Here am I with the “fan dancers.”  Is the bishop watching?

The kids certainly seemed to enjoy it. Hum, are we sure that the dyes for the face painting were not permanent?

Happy Fourth of July Weekend! God bless America!

The Holy Spirit & Magisterium Say No to Priestesses

While some conservative critics would disparage all forms of feminism, I am of the opinion that a distinction can be made between a Christian and Catholic feminism and the more radical or liberal or Marxist variety. The days are long gone when women were denied the vote and found the doors to academia and business closed to them. I think most sensible people believe in equal pay and benefits for men and women doing the same job. I would also contend that men and women should be held to the same moral standard. Of course, I would raise the bar for men instead of lowering it for women. The many sins that afflict our culture are no step forward. Further, the rights of women who become mothers should not be deemed as automatically cancelling out the rights of fathers or of the children they carry in the womb. There are also occupations that are gender specific. Men might enter the field of dance but all eyes are upon the graceful ballerina. Motherhood and fatherhood are distinct. Various occupations and vocations may share similarities but they are not the same. Women can enter religious life as nuns or sisters. Men can become monks or priests. It is the contention of Catholicism that priesthood is gender specific.

Some critics of a male-only priesthood might argue that they are not in league with the radical feminists; and yet, their basic assumptions are embraced to get to the revisionist conclusions. Freedom of choice, equal rights in all things, unencumbered self-possession and self-determination, an indeterminate sexual nature, an arrogant presumption of the will of God as identified with their own narcissistic goals, pragmatic reasoning from utility that disregards ontic questions of reality, interchangeable gender, avoidance or reinterpretation of unsupportive data, anger and belligerence– all these are elements in their opposition to the status-quo, be it regarding women’s ordination or any other topic.

The late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II writes in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope:

“I think that a certain contemporary feminism finds its roots in the absence of true respect for woman. Revealed truth teaches us something different. Respect for woman, amazement at the mystery of womanhood, and finally the nuptial love of God Himself and of Christ, as expressed in the Redemption, are all elements that have never been completely absent in the faith and life of the Church. This can be seen in a rich tradition of customs and practices that, regrettably, is nowadays being eroded. In our civilization woman has become, before all else, an object of pleasure” (p. 217).

Do we see the irony in all this? Remove the unique significance of gender and its all important difference to our personhood and we begin to make impersonal objects of one another. The radical feminists, by their calculated destruction of structures and customs deemed as sexist, have created a situation in which the truly feminine is disfigured and the woman is knocked from the pedestal of the sacred to be profaned as but a source of transitory pleasure. Objects can be interchangeable, human persons cannot. There was a time when good women called forth what was best in men. Now that things have been reduced to mathematical equality, we are worse off than cattle. We can see the gender differentiation on the level of genitalia but refuse to admit that such distinction goes any deeper. Our technological world has, in a sense, reduced the human to identical mechanical parts. Such runs contrary to the Christian teaching that everyone is irreplaceable and precious. A woman is desired for her flesh, not for her soul. This should not be. To some extent, the same derogation of our nature can be seen in many women’s preoccupation with men’s back-sides and hairy chests. The radical feminists talk about personhood, but they have essentially redefined it. For them the person is not who you are but what you want.

These feminists of the wrong kind must displace the marriage analogy of Christ the groom to the Church his bride in both the Mass and in the way we understand ecclesial structure and dynamics. This runs contrary to revelation and tradition. If signifying Christ’s full identity, including his maleness, is not important in the Mass then gender is logically qualified as insignificant. This is the contention of moral separatists who acknowledge a role for the two genders in mutual physical “recreational” stimulation; but, who disavow that it signifies any communication of core identity. Capitulation on this issue, allowing priestesses, would be the most controversial change in Church teaching since her foundation two millennium ago. More than a new reformation, it would signify the beginning of a new faith and a new cultus.

In May of 2011, Pope Benedict XVI removed Australian Bishop William M. Morris from office for suggesting that women should be ordained priests. Not only would such ordinations go against 2,000 years of sacred tradition, guided by the protective hand of the Holy Spirit; the bishop entirely dismissed the solemn declaration of Pope John Paul II. The late Pope said as universal teacher that the Church does not have the authority to change the priesthood by opening it up to women. Indeed, the current Pope spoke about the teaching as settled and infallible. The case is closed.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis).