21 March 2011

More Clergy Allegations? Strike the Shepherd - The Sheep Need to Pray

at Catholic Online

It is written, ‘Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.

Consider the crisis of sin and failure the Church is presently walking through and the reactions often fall into one of two camps.  Either there’s a predator in every priest, the Church is an evil villain and celibacy is surely to blame, or there’s nothing to do but weep and wring your hands, and perhaps leave the Church, disgruntled and demoralized, looking for perfection somewhere else.

There is a third response – a much better one – but it requires a lot more trust and courage.  It is the response of the faithful who have not lost faith.

I hope that the unspeakable betrayal of a few clergy in our midst has caused us to also become very protective of our good, holy priests and deacons.  May the stark reminder of how easy it is to fall from grace propel us to our knees on behalf of our shepherds.  We need to do a better job covering them with our prayers.  We need to get our dander up a bit and say to Satan, “Not my priest!  Get away!”

I can’t recall the last time our parish publicly prayed for our pastor at mass.  I wonder if we ever have.   I mean prayed for his heart to remain pure and humble, prayed for his service to remain holy and righteous, prayed for his protection against the schemes of Satan, who is on the prowl and eager to destroy a good priest.  Our holy servants are prized targets and sexual accusations are the weapon du jour right now. 

Most recently, the sad news has come that Fr. John Corapi is facing serious accusations from a former female employee.  The rumor mill is already abuzz with theories and conjecture.  Another priest, one who has done so much good, is under the weight of scandal, even though no proof has yet been offered.

My thoughts upon hearing the news about Fr. Corapi were about us – the faithful – not him.  (I will presume his innocence until proven otherwise.)  Are we doing our duty?  Do we expect our priests and deacons to be superhuman and inexhaustible and forget to shield them by our prayers?  They have big, flashing neon targets on their heads.  Have we forgotten?  They feed us the Bread of Life; they loose our sins and usher us into God’s mercy; they baptize us into the Body of Christ.  This makes them a most sought-after trophy for the enemy to hang on his wall.

Like any of us, they are human and weak.  That doesn’t justify or excuse their sin any more than it does our own.  But it’s time we remembered that they are on the front lines of a fierce battle for souls, and Satan really, really wants theirs.  Who’s got their backs?  We must.  For starters, let us plead for the intercession of St. Michael and the Blessed Mother on their behalf constantly, not just when another scandal is brewing.

I hope we are also willing to demand justice for them and believe the best of them.  The horror  of the abuse of children by priests is a knife that still remains in the heart of the Church, so now the merest mention of a possible sexual allegation against a priest is handled severely (even if the charge involves adults, not children).  The danger is that we seem to presume guilt rather than innocence, and vindication never quite restores what was taken.

It’s distressing to witness how the accuser is permitted to remain anonymous while the charge is made public and the priest’s name and reputation are unprotected from speculation and insinuation.  To say the least, such a system is inequitable.  Even if the accusations are proven false and the matter against the priest is dismissed, the damage to him and his ministry has been done and cannot be undone.  The false accuser remains protected by privacy, while the priest is forever clouded with the wisp of suspicion.  That seems highly unjust.  Is that really the right way to treat the sons of the Church?
 
What the secular world will never understand is that the faithful, those who have faith in the Church as God’s plan to reach the world with the Gospel, those who trust that the gates of hell will not prevail against Her; we are angry about the sin in our House and we groan with despair at the filth and we are nauseated at the foul stench.  We want the House cleaned from top to bottom and we want it cleaned now.  Open the windows and doors and turn on the lights!  Expose the rot!  Clean out the infectious wound.  We want the Body healed and whole again.
 
We do not shrink from the cleansing even though we are wearied at the endlessness and severity of it.  But while the world would just as soon burn the House down, the faithful know that the Church is spirit and mud, flesh and divine, made up of mortal men who will fall again and again.  The Church is our Mother, living and breathing; praying and serving; singing and weeping.  We are unwilling to just throw our Mother to the wolves.

Christ’s promise of hope to us is that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church.  Satan cannot – will not – ever, ever, destroy the Church.  The shocking sin of a few shepherds has certainly dealt some horrifying blows and we now have to endure the deserved chastisement and purification, but the sheep need not scatter in despair or disillusionment. 

Jesus promised He would never leave us and He entrusted us with the eternal mission.  It is His truth, His power, His blood, His love, His mercy, His grace, and He has not changed. 

While we have every right to expect our clergy to be holy, virtuous men, we cannot leave them to live and fight alone.  Perhaps we should examine carefully whether we have left them vulnerable because of our lack of prayer for them.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host – by the Divine Power of God – cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.

Lord Jesus, guard Your priests.  Preserve them in purity and humility, strengthen them to resist temptation; fill their hearts with Divine love and a passion for souls.  Protect and defend, Good Shepherd, our shepherds here on earth, and let their faithful service bring You glory and honor and praise.  Amen.

8 comments:

Gail said...

I love your spirit! The Lord has told us in the many Messages to Vassula, Debra and others that He is cleaning up His Church starting at the sanctuary. Our turn is next! Coming soon! Satan rages against our holy priests - false accusations are a normal part of his tactics! Our Blessed Mother and Jesus constantly ask us to pray for His chosen sons, the priests and to love them. Good advice. If the accusation is false, I hope the woman involved is sued for defamation.

Anonymous said...

I am praying that this accusation will soon be proven false and we can once more hear the words of truth that Fr. Corapi gives to us. We NEED him!
There is no way I can believe this accusation is true. I love you and pray for you Father.

Anonymous said...

The evil one hates Father Corapi and is desperately trying to destroy him. Father has saved so very many souls that the devil is frustrated and wants to take him out! NO WAY, SATAN...get behind him!!! Father is innocent and I am so very sure of that! God bless him and keep him, and send him back to the Faithful asap. He is much NEEDED! Pray all...pray!

Jeni said...

BEAUTIFUL! bravo!!!

Anonymous said...

In reading about the accusations against Fr Corapi, I am reminded of Cardinal Bernadine,where he was falsely accused and his accuser later recanted the allegations and said they were a lie, we hope the same for Fr. Corapi. We must all storm heaven with our prayers for resolution to this situation.

Anonymous said...

We should expect holiness and virtue from our priests, and we should pursue it with conviction and heroism in ourselves. I agree the Church is the Holy Bride of Christ. When you realized what the Church is you can never leave her, no matter what. Yet the putrid stench of corruption is bleeding out of her pores because as Pope Benedict said in his book, Light to the world, 'too many (in context, Bishops) are making their living off the Catholic Church and the flow of faith is but a trickle. Our sacrifices are the new blood of martyrs that will cleanse the Church, but how many of us that will truly put on sack cloth and ashes and beg God for mercy for the sins of the body? I know I cant say I have so I must start right here. This does not let those off the hook who have failed , they should receive their reward. But we must do our part. Offer up many sacrifices to heaven for the purification of the Church. Kris

Christopher said...

Great article and as you stated Father John is innocent until proven guilty and all of our Clergy needs our Prayers.

Anonymous said...

Can we Pray a Novena for the protection of All Religius in all the Parishes. The story on Fr. John has really hurt my heart. I don't believe it! Ft. John said on one of His shows "To kill - you must cut of the Head." Satan is thying to do just that. We must tell Satan to back off and a Novena sure would help. Pray the Rosary daily. Michael

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