First came the notice that not enough people have signed up for either of our CRHP retreats to make them viable. The March retreats are being postponed until October. We were asked to pray and to ask God to guide us in the future of the retreat at the parish. The decision was given with regret and only after much deliberation, but it prompted many emails in support of action, immediate action. That is a very understandable response as we are, of course, Americans which means that immediate action fixes many ills and is the first thing we think of. Sometimes, though, there is no helpful action to take. We must practice patience, prayer, and obedience. Ouch! The triple threat, but such a needed reminder, especially during Lent.
There was a young woman in the pew next to me on Sunday who quietly wept during a good portion of Mass. She had been whispering about the retreat to her friends before it began and my surmise was that she felt, as Tom thought must be the case for those who had gone through CRHP recently, "as if there were a death in the family." I felt sorry for her, but also hoped that she could take those feelings into the desert with Christ ... it can be a blessing though it never feels like it at the time.
Then came the news that Father Corapi, a much admired priest by many people I know, announced that he has been accused of sexual impropriety, among other things. Read about it at The Anchoress where there are many other good links and good reflections, with which I agree.
I myself have no particular feelings about Father Corapi either way, except to be quite surprised at his angry comments about the Church immediately putting him on administrative leave. Has he read the news for the past few years? What does he expect? I think of how many saints were, to use modern terminology, put on administrative leave for various attitudes and "offenses" against the Church. They took it in a spirit of obedience. Quite a contrast. Perhaps this is part of God's provision of Lenten silence for the good father. I pray for his accuser and for him, that justice and mercy may be meted to both as needed by the authorities and by God, especially in this time of Lent.
Finally, Tom happened across Archbishop Dolan's interview on 60 Minutes (watch it or read the transcript here), a show we never normally watch. He was very impressed and reported a lot of it to us over dinner. Luckily, it pushed The Amazing Race back far enough that my taping of that show caught most of the interview and we were able to watch it for ourselves. If he is the new face of the Church, then we are blessed. (Read his telling of an airport encounter here to see how much.) He seems not only well spoken but to understand real people, which is key. Some of my favorite bits:
He is unwavering on what he calls the "settled" questions: abortion, birth control, ordination of women, gay marriage and celibacy.What does that have to do with Lent and silence?
"No question that you're conciliatory, that you like to have dialog, but underneath that you're an old-fashioned conservative. I mean, in the sense that of right-wing conservative," Safer remarked.
"I would bristle at being termed right wing. But if somebody means enthusiastically committed and grateful for the timeless heritage of the church, and feeling that my best service is when I try to preserve that and pass that on in its fullness and beauty and radiance, I'm a conservative, no doubt," Dolan said.
"Do you fear that aftereffects of these [sex] scandals are just gonna live on and on and on?" Safer asked.
"In some ways I don't want it to be over because this was such a crisis in the Catholic church, that in a way we don't wanna get over it too easily. This needs to haunt us," Dolan said.
Dolan says he wants people to celebrate the beauty, charity and timelessness of the church, and not focus so much on what the church prohibits. "Instead of being hung up on these headline issues, let's get back to where the church is at her best," he told Safer.
"But the headline issues are where people are living their lives. And an awful lot feel that the church is going down the wrong road," Safer said.*
"Yeah, I guess, you got two different world views there," Dolan replied.
"And you ain't gonna change," Safer remarked.
"I'm in one world. You're in the other," Dolan replied, laughing. "I'm glad you're visitin'."
This statement: In some ways I don't want it to be over because this was such a crisis in the Catholic church, that in a way we don't wanna get over it too easily. This needs to haunt us.
We like to forget that we are fallible, that we don't know the best way, that we have to turn in humility to God. Sometimes only prayer, patience, and obedience are what we can do. Lent forces us to contemplate true perspective, true reality, and let it sink into our souls. We may not recognize it as a blessing, but it is one indeed.
- Mark Shea says what needs to be said about Fr. Corapi and about any other accused priest and the process of investigation. He essentially says what was the initial reaction at our house. Good common sense.
- Meant to link to this updates post as well as to The Anchoress's post above. More good common sense.
- Fr. Dwight Longenecker has an excellent reflection on Priests and Pedestals, based upon once being mistaken for Fr. Corapi.
Hannah was trying to think of the name of the saint whose story she told us ... a priest or monk who was accused of sexual impropriety and reacted in a praiseworthy, Christ-like manner, as she told the story. I don't think it was Desert Father, St. Macarius the Great, but he is a wonderful example ... and we can thank Frank at Why I Am Catholic for telling us his story. I meant to link to this yesterday, actually, but got sidetracked ... shame on me! Go read and let us all reflect upon the times when we could have been more Christ-like and ask for God's grace to do so in the future. Which is the point of Lent, right?
*Note: this took us aback and was a real insight into how journalists think. We, actually, are evidently not in his world view because we do not live our lives by headline issues. What a dreary world that would be.