Since becoming a young adult, I have avoided making idols of men and women. Well at least I don’t make heroes or saints out of the earth bound ones no matter how saintly an individual my appear. This is especially true of priests. As I wrote in this post about Fr. Corapi, Look Through the Priest and See Jesus,
Although we do not know if the accusations against Fr. Corapi are true, we should be careful not to put Priests on pedestals. Yes they represent Christ, but they are human. Becoming another Christ is something that Priests have to grow into.
I have avoided commenting on the controversy, because I don’t want to indulge in speculation or, worse, gossip. But I found the level of adoration bestowed on Fr. Corapi disturbing. Right now we do not know if the accusations are true or false.
But we do know, despite Fr. Corapi’s faithful witness and teaching, he is a mere human being who sins. Catholic News Agency, has a thoughtful post up by Rebecca Ryskind Teti:
Another Lent, another dispiriting round of Catholic heroes brought low by their own sins, either actual or alleged.
It seems we are always confronting anew the wisdom of the Psalmist’s admonition “Put not your faith in princes,” to which St. John Chrysostom would add, “…even princes of the Church.”
We know this in theory. Each Lent our congregations swell with people eager to receive ashes and be reminded they are dust. Why are we always so shocked to see the truth of it?
Let me not be misread in what follows to be dismissive of the marvelous variety of Catholic ministries nor anything but admiring of the dedicated people who make them work.
Nor am I suggesting that “do as I say but not as I do” is sufficient morality for catechists, evangelists and consecrated souls. Of course Christians should make every effort to behave in ways worthy of the Savior they proclaim. Those are givens.
Reading through peoples’ strong reactions when persons we’ve admired are shown to have feet of clay, though, I’m wondering what good might be drawn out these negative situations. And might there be something to learn from the rapid succession of cases in the past few years?
Do we place a weight of expectation on our Catholic heroes that is more than a human being can bear?
It’s obviously not unreasonable to expect a priest to uphold his vows: more like a bare minimum! But if we are looking to human beings to be perfect, aren’t we looking in the wrong place? Why do we think a gift for exegesis or catechesis equates to personal holiness? Do our own personal gifts prevent us from being tempted or falling into sin?
St. Claude Colombiere advises:
“Really humble people are never scandalized: they know their own weaknesses too well; they know that they themselves are so close to the edge of the precipice…that they are not at all astonished to see others do so.” Continue reading here.
Yup. As I have written here,
We are all frauds before God.