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Father Corapi and Praying for Priests

June 6, AD2013

\"Matthew

Last week the Church celebrated the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and later this month, on June 24th, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. This time of year, as the Church celebrates these liturgies I am reminded of one of the most excellent homilies I had the pleasure of hearing just four years ago. On the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist I was fortunate enough to hear Fr. John Corapi preach as he said Mass not in some large arena or auditorium but rather in my own parish, St. Charles Borromeo in Whitefish, Montana. He wasn’t in town to preach a mission or give a talk. He was simply saying Mass at our local parish, at the invitation of our pastor, as our pastor was out of town for a few days.

During his homily he referred back to the gospel passage that recounts the Visitation and proceeded to give a beautiful, moving and powerful (as only Fr. Corapi could do) pro-life homily. It was a typical weekday Mass like those celebrated in thousands of parishes around the world every day. No cameras were rolling and no marketable products would be produced for sale. But I, and the couple hundred others who heard him preach and say Mass that Wednesday, received a wonderful gift.

Much has changed since that day though even more has remained unchanged. One thing I have come to appreciate far more is the absolute necessity of praying for our bishops and priests. They are under attack and in desperate need of our fervent prayers and vigorous support.

Not long after my wife and I moved to Montana we had the opportunity to get to know Fr. Corapi and over the years we were fortunate to share meals and good conversation with him on a few occasions. What struck me about him at the time was his shy, quiet and unassuming manner that stood in such stark contrast to his style and demeanor I witnessed when I watch his taped talks. In person he was a bit different than the Fr. Corapi I’d seen on television. Nevertheless, the message was the same. He preached the gospel unwaveringly and professed a great love for Christ and His Church.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say I was one of his close friends but I did come to know him, see firsthand his generosity and appreciate the unique gift his priestly ministry provided to Catholics (and non-Catholics). Even just two short years ago my wife and I were blessed to celebrate Easter and his birthday with him just before all hell broke loose.

I am aware of some of the events that transpired when things seemed to fall apart for Fr. Corapi and there is much more that I do not know. During those days it seemed like the Catholic media and blogs were spilling over daily with reports and wild speculation. Some of what was reported was no doubt true but it certainly seemed to me we were witnessing a sort of Catholic tabloid frenzy where the line between fact and irresponsible speculation was blurred. I believe very few do have all of the relevant facts.

I think it’s safe to say something went terribly wrong and many suffered as a result as tends to happen when human weakness and sin seems to prevail for a time and those we’ve admired fall from the pedestal upon which we have elevated them. Thankfully, we are able by God’s grace to endure in faith as we anchor our lives to Him secured firmly to His Church. Most of those I know who looked up to Fr. Corapi as an inspiration and confirming voice have remained close to the Church and seemingly grown in faith, understanding well that it is God alone we worship not those he has sent to draw us closer to Himself.

We know priests are people too and subject to human weakness and temptation. I tend to think that our priests and bishops are uniquely targeted by Satan in order to erode proper reverence for the ordained ministry, tear down the Church and strike at the very source of sacramental grace. There is a lengthy list of priests and bishops who have wavered and fallen throughout the Church’s history. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that the “presence of Christ in the minister is not to be understood as if the latter were preserved from all human weakness, the spirit of domination, error, even sin” (CCC, 1550). This truth should not so much cause us to embrace a suspicious stance when it comes to our priests and bishops (though at times that might be proper and prudent) as much as it should compel us to provide ALL of them our support. I think most of us know this to be true but we need to be reminded frequently lest we neglect our duty and fail to build up our priests and cherish the great gift God has provided to us in the ordained priesthood.

Within the communion of saints, God has invested certain men with power and authority in service to the Church. Fr. Corapi is one of them. God no doubt provides these men with all the grace necessary to faithfully live out their vocations as ordained priests and bishops. However, we also must understand and appreciate the role we play in bringing God’s grace to them. Consider the story of Israel’s battle with Amalek recounted in Exodus 17:6-16 when Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ raised hands in order that the Israelites claim victory over the Amalekites. We have to ask ourselves how well we are “supporting the hands” of our priests. Do we pray for our priests at least daily? Do we befriend our priests and include them not only in our prayers but in our lives? Do we refrain from burdening them with petty matters and disputes which draw them away from the serious spiritual care of their flocks?

I can’t help but think that the Church is a bit poorer absent Fr. Corapi’s prophetic voice. His was a style and tone that understandably did not appeal to all but certainly struck a chord with many. He played a significant role in the conversion and reversion of many as he helped draw many into the Catholic Church. Even as he was engaged in his struggles he insisted that the fullness of the faith was to be found in the Catholic Church. I haven’t seen Fr. Corapi since he morphed into the “Black Sheep Dog” two years ago but I pray he is well and hope he perseveres in faith. I pray not so much in the hope that he returns to his former ministry but because I desire for him what I desire for myself and for all persons—that when he dies the Lord grants him eternal life.

Please join me in praying for Fr. Corapi and all of our priests.  They are depending on us.

© 2013. Matthew Brower. All Rights Reserved.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Matthew is a practicing attorney in Montana where he lives with his wife, Miriam. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in History and Theology, he worked at a large Catholic parish in West Michigan for 7 years where he coordinated various faith formation programs, RCIA and assisted petitioners seeking declarations of nullity. He then attended the Ave Maria School of Law obtaining his Juris Doctor (cum laude) in 2004. He is admitted to practice in Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and the U.S. District Court of Montana. In addition to running his own law practice, he enjoys hiking in Glacier National Park, cheering on the Fighting Irish, and trips back to the Midwest to visit family.

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  • Geraldine

    Seriously!! You really believe that Fr corapi did these things. Father is isn’t, his accuser is a drunk and a drug addict. I have info about his accuser and know for a fact she is lying. Instead of believing all the lies, why not try and prove his innocence.

    • Geraldine

      I meant to say innocent not isn’t.

  • Emmanuel

    It is truly an agony to see that how people waste precious time attacking religions. How is it that they don’t have anything better to do…….constructive, productive, putting in work! It is a sad sad thing in seeing that people are trying to change the world, change people………a little advice, a postulate, that we are wasting precious resources, energy, what belongs to our all mighty creator in fighting these wars that will never be won…….by man that is because like a Saint once said to me “son God always wins the war he always has it won” and I said “Amén yes he does but here, on earth man is going about it all wrong do to wanting it quick and easy, instant result…looking for instant gratification not wanting to invest time, time which in time will be for the long run the future of our children, a better world for them because my fellow brother and sisters we have to accept the fact that things realistically, times this world we are living in today is harder for us youth, it hasn’t been easy because that’s the way it’s intended to be for all of us nothing is to come easy….life is not easy….we are never to get too comfortable God wants us grow up, grow strong towards the sky like that of a plant in extreme conditions, winds, rains scorching heats from the sun but yet it reaches and grows towards it and it only becomes stronger and in case of it’s end it bares its fruit so that in that it protects the seeds…..the seeds that will bare life from life that is…the soil and not all will produce that is in those conditions but in time it will adapt! Invest in educating the YOUTH FOR THEY WILL BE LIVING IN THE FUTURE AND PREPARE THEM FOR IT FOR THAT IS HOW THE BATTLE WILL BE WON BY GOOD FOR THE OF MAN FOR GREATER GLORY! PEACE AND LOVE.

  • Emmanuel Marquez Hurtado

    Que viva Christo Rey!

  • Dolen

    Why don’t you folks write Father Corapi at 555 Walker Meadow Road in Whitefish, Montana and ask him questions or call him at 406-862-3112. It is all public record in Flathead County Montana.

  • I can vouch for one falsehood being made agains Corapi. He never said he was a Green Beret or in Special Forces. He said he was in training for such until he got injured and then medically rejected. A very similar thing happened to me. I know he’s been truthful about this.

  • ron

    fr. corapi brought me back to the church 14 years ago because of him I now have inner peace and love for our lord. I truely feel this at mass. thank you fr. you are always in my prayers. ron