Program #0076 for Thursday, June 23, 2011: Fr. John Corapi; Cardinal Seán’s on St. Cecilia’s; local saints; adoration as a remedy

June 23, 2011

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Susan Abbott

Today’s guest(s): Fr. Roger Landry, executive editor of The Anchor, the newspaper of the Fall River diocese; and Gregory Tracy, managing editor of The Pilot, the newspaper of the Boston archdiocese

  • The Anchor
  • The Pilot
  • Some of the stories discussed on this show will be available on The Pilot’s and The Anchor’s websites on Friday morning. Please check those sites for the latest links.

Today’s topics: Fr. John Corapi; St. Cecilia’s confusion; praying for more local saints; adoration as a remedy

Summary of today’s show: Scot and Susan Abbott talk with Fr. Roger Landry and Gregory Tracy about Cardinal Seán’s latest statement on the controversy at St. Cecilia’s parish in Boston; Fr. John Corapi’s decision to leave active priestly ministry; a call for more devotion to local potential saints; and Pope Benedict’s remedy for secularism and idolatry.

1st segment: Scot welcomes Susan back to the show. This past weekend, Susan was able to spend time with her son, his wife, and their baby who were in town visiting. They’re expecting again in October and she’ll go out to visit them. She has four children, six grandchildren with one on the way. She’s also teaching a course on catechetical methods in West Concord that ends tonight. It’s a great group of people, she said.

Scot said the end of June is a busy time at the Pastoral Center, with a lot of regular committees meeting for the last over the summer. The Presbyteral Council met today with a discussion of the results of the Catholics Come Home campaign.

2nd segment:vScot welcomes Fr. Roger and Gregory back to the program. Fr. john Corapi is one of the most recognized priests in the United States. He has decided to end his priestly ministry. Gregory was quite surprised. He first heard about it in Corapi’s YouTube video. He expressed a lot of frustration at the investigation of allegations against him would take too long, that certain people in the Church wanted him gone. Scot said it was certainly his decision to stop exercising his priestly ministry.

Susan said she knows he has a large ministry and many people credit him for their return to the faith. She was concerned that stories said the process of clearing his name was too sluggish. She knows of other priests under investigation in Boston who have lingered for years while investigations of allegations proceeded. Many waited for years while their innocence was proven. Scot was surprised that Corapi only waited for 3 months before quitting. He was stunned because he too had heard so much about Corapi’s influence on people’s faith.

Fr. Roger said he was saddened and was moved to pray for him. He said that Fr. Corapu is violating many of the pricniples that attracted people to his ministry in the first place, including his strong masculine approach to the Christian life, manning up in difficult circumstances. When the going’s getting tough, he’s leaving the greatest gift that he has. The Father Corapi that so many people know would never have given up his vocation. It’s a sure sign of spiritual desolation.

He said that priests under investigation often don’t want to get back just their name, but also to be able to minister with their people with the sacraments. Fr. Corapi said that this part of his priesthood was only 10 percent of his ministry in recent years, which is already a sign of problems. It’s akin to a husband in a divorce saying that because it’s taking too long, he’s abandoning his kids.

Scot said Corapi’s superiors in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity had said that they asked him to return to live with them in community. Corapi has lived alone in Montana, far from the community in Texas. Scot noted that Cardinal Seán says that discipleship is lived in community. Even diocesan priests have other priests that they surround themselves with. If you don’t have close peers surrounding you, able to correct your destructive decisions, then you are in danger of throwing away all that Fr. Corapi has.

Gregory said the quickness of the decision makes one wonder whether the loss of public affirmation that he might have become used to played a part as well as the financial loss of the sales of books and tapes for his ministry. Scot said he started to see his primary ministry wasn’t the sacraments, but his public preaching and teaching. Fr. Roger pointed out that there’s a difference between public teaching and priestly preaching. Priestly preaching is intimately connected with the Liturgy of the Word. Part of what made Corapi’s speaking so powerful were the black clerical clothes he wore that showed him as an “alter Christus” (another Christ). He hopes that the collective power of all our prayers, together with the Holy Spirit, will bring him back from the precipice.

Scot said he interviewed Corapi just weeks before he was put on leave in the Pilot in preparation for a then-planned conference in Boston. He found him extremely articulate on the Gospel. He was a great friend to the Station of the Cross, donating his speaking at conferences in 2009 and the planned conference this year.

3rd segment: Cardinal Seán published a statement in this week’s Pilot about the recent events in St. Cecilia’s Church in Boston.

  • Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley issued the following statement June 22, in response to recent events at St. Cecilia Church in Boston.

The philosophical and political agenda of Gay Pride in relation to marriage and sexual morality is incompatible with the Church’s teachings. For that reason, Father Unni rescheduled a Mass of welcome for all his parishioners to a time that would not associate the Mass with the Gay Pride agenda.
I realize that Catholics who have same-sex attractions are often criticized by their friends for coming to Mass and that the parents and friends of homosexual members of our Church are distressed that their loved ones feel rejected by their Church. We want all baptized Catholics to come to Mass and be part of our community, but we cannot compromise the teaching of the Church rooted in Scripture and tradition.
We hope that all Catholics will come to experience the love of Christ in our community and that in that love they will find the courage and strength to embrace the cross that is part of the life of discipleship.
It is regrettable that there has been so much confusion about this matter. I hope the statement on my blog of last week and The Pilot editorial “A teachable moment” will help people to understand the Church’s teaching. We must be a community that reflects both the love and the truth of the Gospel.

Gregory said the Cardinal here is trying to underscore the Church’s teaching on the love for all people, while not everything they do may be acceptable. His impression is that the Cardinal is hoping to dispel the confusion that continues to swirl around this issue. Scot said the request of the archdiocese was always to postpone the Mass so it wouldn’t be confused with the Gay Pride events in June. The Mass is open to all, but is extended in a particular way to people with same-sex attraction. That isn’t undermining the Church’s teaching because all are called to return to Christ, with all their burdens.

Scot said his last sentence brings the Catholic community together. There is a sense out there that if we’re truly a welcoming Church, shouldn’t we welcome everyone, almost with no standards; while others are saying we have to preach the Catechism strongly. Fr. Roger said love and truth always go together. In order for charity to be loving, it must be grounded in the truth. We can’t just be grounded in sentiment and efforts not to offend people.

Fr. Roger said one of the concerns of critics of the Mass was that excerpts from Fr. Unni’s preaching didn’t seem to be adhering to the fullness of the Gospel. He encouraged Fr. Unni to clarify his preaching. The impression for some people is that the gay idea of sexuality is being celebrated as opposed to sacrifice of the Mass.

Scot said at the recent US bishops’ meeting in Seattle, there was a discussion of the use of language when defending marriage. Bishop Salvatore Cordileone said the words “human rights” and “hate” are being misused, that there’s a manipulation of language.

“To be considered and labeled a ‘bigot’ or ‘discriminator’ by the government and by law has serious implications for the religious liberty of both institutions and individuals and their freedom of conscience,” he said. “The video will seek to demythologize popular claims and call attention to what is really at stake.”

He also said there is an attempt to make it seem that same-sex marriage is inevitable.

“The good news is often undermined or covered over, but the facts remain,” he said. “The myth of the inevitability of same-sex ‘marriage’ remains just that — a myth.”

Fr. Roger said Bishop Cordileone is a real leader in the movement to defend marriage. He’s very positive about culture and clear in his teaching. He’s very strong in noting that in 31 of the 32 places where people have been allowed to vote about changing the definition of marriage, it has been roundly defeated. The only way it has passed is either by elites in the judicial system or elites in the legislatures who are heavily lobbied by special interests. There is a conspiracy between some of the media, the gay lobby, and other proponents of gay marriage.

Susan said words are important. She recently went to an exhibit on eugenics experiments in Nazi Europe and it was clear to her how words were used to advance horrific things. She also said the Church has to find better ways to get her message out, without relying on the mainstream media.

Gregory said in Massachusetts we’ve had a front-row seat to this issue. The gay rights lobby has been effective in using this language of human rights. He recalls Dwight Duncan gave an interview during the marriage debate in Massachusetts. He said marriage by itself is not a right. The state can restrict marriage, for example between siblings. The state doesn’t care if people love each other. The state intervenes in this issue because it has an interest in the stability of marriage for the sake of family and a stable society. Civil marriage gives an incentive to families to raise the next generation in a beneficial manner.

4th segment: In both the Pilot and the Anchor this week is a syndicated column by Dwight Duncan, an attorney and professor, saying that there needs to be local saints, citing recent news about local causes for canonization.

Duncan notes a number of local people with reputations for holiness and encourages people to pray to them for any needs in hopes of a miracle that would advance a cause. He ends his column by saying that we can learn from them and if we obtain a miracle we gain, but they are also highlighted as witnesses to Christ.

Fr. Roger said only God can work miracles, but as we see in the Acts of the Apostles, He often does it through human agency. Sometimes while they are alive, but if God grants a miracle through praying to someone who is died, we take it as a sign from God that He wants other people to pray to that person and that He is lifting them up as an example to emulate. Fr. Roger notes that in Italy he remembers the thousands of saints, which contrasts with our small number. He also notes that we live in a celebrity culture, and our saints are the ultimate celebrities. They are the ones we should make our heroes and role models in the eternal hall of fame. It’s a sign that holiness is possible in Massachusetts and miracles can happen in Massachusetts.

Susan said she is quite devoted to Fr. Peyton, whose cause is moving forward, partly because of his promotion of the rosary. He also founded the Family Theater Productions back in 1947 and she has used many of the productions for teens. The article notes the completion of the local investigation of his cause.

Moving on to other topics, Gregory noted that the annual hiatus of the Pilot for the next two weeks. While the paper is not printing, the offices will be open. They are not going on vacation, but instead as a small organization they need some time to catch up on important tasks like computer upgrades and other work that can’t take place. They don’t have much downtime otherwise.

He also mentioned a recent story about a graduate from a local Catholic student who will serve as national leader for Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Fr. Roger’s editorial this week also talks about Pope Benedict’s radical remedy against secularism and idolatry: Adoration. Not just once in a while, but a life that adores the Lord in practical existence. If we recognize that Jesus is truly in the Eucharist and He is in a church nearby us, and all we do to respond to the King of Kings presence is to see him for an hour on Sunday, that’s living practically as if He’s not present in our life. Thirty years ago, Pope Benedict described Corpus Christi processions in his hometown and how all the families would decorate all their houses and the road. The entire military arsenal in the town was brought out and fired into the air. His father explained to him that such displays are made for a head of state and Jesus Christ is the ultimate head of state. Fr. Roger said if you’d make the effort to see the President of the United States, then make the effort to go out to visit Christ in a Eucharistic procession.

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