Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fr. Corapi Leaving Priesthood

Fr. John Corapi, an ultra-conservative Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity priest, announced plans on June 23rd to leave the priesthood. He has had a radio program on Relevant Radio and was a featured personality on EWTN. He was known for his conversion story from rich drug parties in Hollywood, to homelessness, to becoming a priest. His Bible was the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the teaching of the hierarchy.

Therefore, it is strange to hear him talk about the problems with the leadership of the Church. From his time as a radio personality, I thought the leadership of the Church could do no wrong. All that changed when an allegation of sexual abuse came forth. His order was attempting to check the validity of the allegation, but Fr. Corapi would not cooperate, citing his "civil and human rights."

If he really is leaving the priesthood because of the stress caused by a false allegation, then I truly feel for the man. But at the same time, assuming he is innocent, he should realize that the mistakes of church leadership in the past concerning sexual abuse warrant a greater transparency on behalf of bishops and clergy to rebuild the trust that has been lost. In any case, I will not miss hearing Fr. Corapi's voice over the airwaves. His theology was the pre-Vatican II pray, pay, and obey... which not even he wants to follow anymore.

A Faithful Catholic

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Document on Preaching

During the first day of their spring Assembly, the U.S. Bishops approved the writing of a 50 page document on preaching for next year. Based on input from bishops at this assembly and from when the topic came up in previous meetings, it can be assumed that this document will shift the focus of preaching from a reflection on how God is acting in our everyday lives as seen through the eyes of scripture to an emphasis on doctrine.

In one sense, this may be necessary. The average post-Vatican II Catholic's knowledge of the faith is not something to brag about. But I hope that this document does not bring us back to pre-Vatican II sermons that prooftexted a Gospel in order to catechize on an element of the Catholic faith, usually with the desire to cover the basics of the faith during a one year cycle. I can almost see it now: Week 1 - Abortion; Week 2 - Birth Control; Week 3 - Marriage (anti-gay); Week 4 - The Sacrament of Penance, etc.

Although Catholics are less knowledgeable about their faith, they have computers and information at their fingertips that was not available before. With a move towards catechesis in preaching, I hope that there will be an emphasis on inspiring the faithful to learn more about their faith outside of Mass by illustrating how the truths of the faith are meaningful in their everyday lives - particularly the truth of Jesus Christ. People are thirsting for spirituality, which I define as doctrine in action. Preaching needs to touch on both aspects of spirituality to move people.

A Faithful Catholic