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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father? Where for art thou?

Interesting that today, Father's Day, is also the Feast of the Holy Trinity on the liturgical calendar.  It is interesting because St Augustine used the example of the family - father/mother/child - as a teaching tool when trying to explain the concept of The Holy Trinity to the Catechumen.  The father loves the mother who loves him in return - both of them giving fully of themselves to each other.  That love for each other creates a distinct person - the child - who loves them both in return.  That mutual love is what creates the family. 

St Augustine likened that love that makes one thing - a family - to the love that is God; self-giving, unselfish in all ways, constant and complete - creating unto itself the three distinct persons that are Our Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And of course the analogy is weak because all our attempts to understand that which is infinite, all powerful and all knowing will fall short.  What was it St Thomas Aquinas said about his writings on The Trinity?  That they were all straw?

So on today's Feast of The Holy Trinity, we celebrate our love for our Father and our love for our fathers - good, bad or indifferent.

We also look with troubling eyes on the ongoing struggles of Father John Corapi.

Ash Wednesday of this year an announcement was made by Father Corapi that he was being suspended from his preaching duties, restricted in his ministry (no public Mass, no hearing confessions) while allegations of sexual misconduct with an adult female were investigated.

We were all saddened and shocked and I have no doubt the accusations are false.  I thought of St Padre Pio and the ban he was put under by his Bishop.  My friend Dan reminded me of Solanus Casey who endured YEARS of abuse within his own community....and I was sure Father Corapi would endure this hardship with grace, dignity and his head held high (but with humility...as appropriate for a Catholic priest).

Yesterday, the day before his 20th anniversary of ordination, Father Corapi announced he was going to leave the priesthood. 

He wrote on a new blog: blacksheepdog.us is where I think it is....and it is the saddest, strangest, angriest, announcement - it was not what I expected from him and I am troubled.  Deeply troubled.

I know exactly how hard it can be to endure false accusations - I was cyberstalked for a long time by GM and I was falsely accused at work and had to prove myself innocent (a very difficult task...how do you prove you did NOT do something?).  If I had walked away from my job during that time I would have simply been walking away from a job...not a VOCATION and certainly not something as important as the priesthood.

Look, I am not judging Father Corapi - I do not know the details and I do not know what he has endured these past weeks.  Maybe he just realized he cannot be exonerated and this truly is the best thing for him to do...but it feels weird and hinky and like a big ol' tantrum and Golly, I hope I am wrong in my assessment.

What I hope is that, with time for prayer and reflection, he may cool down a bit.  He is a hot tempered Italian guy...I know the type.

I have a slew of them in my own family.

Happy Father's Day everyone....may God shower you with grace and love!

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