By Dan O’Connor
I write this as a plea to the brethren to be of one heart and one mind. I also write this partially as a response to the Corapi issue – not to comment on it specifically but to comment on the comments. Finally, I write it as an exhortation for the few faithful left on Earth to unite, in dire necessity, to prepare for future (and response to past) unprecedented attacks on the Church.
I cannot help but constantly be reminded of Romans 3 when I see the words of so many faithful Catholics today “Their throats are open graves… the venom of asps is on their lips; their mouths are full of bitter cursing. Their feet are quick to shed blood… and the way of peace they know not. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” This is the dishearteningly common demeanor that leads to division. Do you recognize how seriously Jesus takes this? ”Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and t hen come and offer your gift.” (Mt 5:23-24) While I am no theologian I would venture to say that Jesus here intends for us today to interpret this as his demanding that we not receive Holy Communion if we have unjustly divided ourselves from a Brother in Christ.
Unless there is a clear and explicit heresy or evil, why do you so harshly, quickly, and confidently denounce? Has your own understanding of doctrine undergone no development over the years, even since you made that fundamental act of submission to God and His Church? If it has not, you are not alive. If it has, why do you condemn your brother for being perhaps at a point where you have been, or perhaps at a point where you may arrive in the future? In so doing, you condemn yourself with your own words.
I will not here attempt to convince you of the validity of any private revelation. But why do you so readily condemn them? Medjugorje, for instance, has been scrutinized by the Church for many years and she has not yet found any need to condemn it. The fruits are astonishing, the endorsements are ringing, and the miracles testify. Yet I have seen people, with great vitriol, denounce the alleged visionaries as malicious frauds or demonically possessed people. Not only that, but they do so with such great perceived certainty in their own conclusion that one would think they were reciting the Nicene Creed. They say they are “absolutely certain” it is a false apparition because some associated Franciscan was disobedient or the visionaries didn’t enter the religious life. Why not permit a healthy fear of the Lord to give you wisdom from the example of those seemingly confident Catholics who denounced as evil St. Faustina, St. Padre Pio, St. Joan of Arc, etc.?
Nor will I attempt to convince you of my opinion on the John Corapi matter. I will not deny that his actions may have been less than saintly nor will I argue that his actions are entirely unjustifiable. But let us take a deep breath and recollect ourselves: He has been one of the greatest defenders of Truth in the world, has never endorsed a heresy, and is now following a path that countless people before him have followed and not received the vitriol of the “blogosphere.” Are we his judges or is God? All devout souls ought to limit their publicized words on Corapi to a sensible statement like EWTN’s. But instead we have well known faithful Catholics spewing great venom at him. Dc. Kandra, in the first paragraph of his article on the subject, abandons common manners by calling Corapi’s statement “bizarre” and “rambling.” Then Dc. Kandra unjustly concludes, from Corapi merely relaying how he spent his time, that to Corapi the sacraments “… really didn’t matter so much.” Mark Shea (also extremely well-known and highly regarded), in his post, declares that Corapi “Sets world record… for most passive-aggressive manipulative self-aggrandizement ever squeezed into 8 and a half minutes.” and continues to lambaste him in the following paragraph (Shea apologized for his attitude but stopped short of deleting his post which continues to pile on views.). What is going on here?
This same vitriol pervades the speech of too many who proclaim their faithful, orthodox Catholicism. They unknowingly direct it against mystics, visionaries, future saints, and just about any Divine Intervention that God in His Mercy graces our world with. They oppose His efforts usually on finessed and flimsy subordinate grounds, since they lack the firm arguments that any demonically-inspired or downright-fraudulent effort would certainly provide them. Their over-confidence in their own knowledge of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium causes them to think themselves capable of rendering inerrant judgment on all happenings in the modern world, and in so doing they become, God help them, greater obstructions to “His Will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven” than even many of the formal vicious enemies of the Church. Oh would that they could learn the truth in the old adage “Silence is Golden!”
Not only that, but in this over-blogged, over-tweeted, over-emailed world, it seems that even Catholics quickly resort to the type of sarcastic, snickering, arrogant, mocking, lecturing, or condescending attitude that should under no circumstances be within a thousand miles of their lexicon regardless of to whom they are speaking.
I do not say that all disagreement must cease; that is impossible, and I myself have strong opinions for and against particular stances permitted within the boundaries of the Magisterium. For example, It would be nice for the Traditionalists to gently remind the Charismatics that the objective nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is of infinitely more importance than our subjective experience of it, and it would be nice for the Charismatics to gently remind the Traditionalists that the Church is a living body and therefore grows, making Traditionalism a fundamentally insatiable appetite lest we could re-enter the Garden of Eden. It would be wonderful if they could both do this recognizing the other as a shipmate on the Ark that is the Catholic Church, voyaging through the deluge of modern society together. Instead they spew venom at each other, describing the other sarcastically, making each other the butt of jokes, and in general treating them as if they were the greatest evildoers alive.
May Almighty God and you, my brethren, forgive me for the many offenses I have committed against this advice I have here given – for I am indeed the worst offender. Permit me to offer this prayer from the Precious Blood Devotion to those who, like me, struggle with this sin. Please pray it for me as well.
Dear Holy Spirit, My God. Teach me to speak wisely.
Let me avoid useless thoughts and useless conversations. Help me to speak often for You. Grant that my words may never hurt men of goodwill. May My words always bring consolation to those in sorrow and guidance to those in need. Take my lips and make them Yours. Take possession of my mind and make it an instrument of Your goodness and a channel of truth. I hope to become a man of silence, who prefers to talk to God then to men. In my human conversation, may I always bring them closer to You and You closer to them. I ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen
Our Father. . . Hail Mary . . . Glory Be
I am unworthy to teach in detail on these subjects, but I would urge you to read more from some great sources: