Fr. Corapi – Second Talk

August 31, 2009

 Fr. Corapi’s DVD of this conference is here with a note that the estimated shipping date is September 2, which is this Wednesday.

Fr. Corapi started the second talk by mentioning the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 (probably verses 3b to 11):

And no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

(This translation grates on me; I can’t wait til there’s  a decent translation of Scripture.)

Fr. Corapi continued that the Holy Spirit is the gift that contains all gifts.

The next section concerned sin. 
“Divorce and all divisions relate back to sin.”

Fr. Corapi quoted someone who said, “live holy, believe in sin” and a connected thought of moral theology in the light of Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on The Splendor of Truth),  and the Catechism.

Fr. Corapi  gave several examples of times when clergy have not preached on sin and/or avoided doing so, such as saying it’s a bad choice, but never sin.   One time was when Fr. Corapi was asked to speak (apparently early in his preaching before his reputation became known).  The priest who invited him, who said, “I have good people, so don’t talk about sin. … (instead) talk about love.”

 Fr. Corapi’s aside: “Lack of love (covers?) a lot of sin.” 

The priest inviting Fr. Corapi: “Speak only of positive things, not negative things.”

Fr. Corapi’s to the Buffalo audience: What happens to an electrical current if you have only a positive (unreadable)?   The lights go out and darkness falls.

The only ordinary means of forgiveness of serious sin after Baptism is the sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation, whichever name, my note)

Fr. Corapi returned to the topic of excellence:  moral excellence and spiritual excellence.

Be in a state of grace: do all you can do to be in a state of grace.

There is a difference between committing a sin and living in sin, shackled by sin.  If you fall, go to Confession.    

If you don’t believe in Satan, fallen angels … you’re a heretic

Speaking of the sex abuse scandals that made the news in 2002, Fr. Corapi told of a time when a woman approached him in an airport and said how angry she was at (priests).  Fr. Corapi said, “You think you’re angry?  I’m angry.  You don’t have to dress like this in public.”

He continued that for a while, (unreadable) embarrassed to be in public, but you can’t have that attitude.

The context of the preceding is:  Preserve yourself in a state of grace.  There are two kinds of people: people who make excuses and people who make it happen (winners and losers).  The essential principles to make it happen are the same whether in sports, business, or being in a state of grace.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Fr. Corapi started by saying a person receives the Holy Spirit at Baptism, not at Confirmation.

(The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in Isaiah 11:2-3a:  The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.)

Wisdom  is seeing God at work in our lives and in the world.  Events have a deeper meaning.  (unreadable) judgment become more clear.

 Fr. Corapi segued into abortion because my next not is: “What else would it be in the womb, except a human being? … not a potential human being, but a human being with potential.”

If you can rationalize and justify abortion, you can rationalize and justify anything.

 Be soft-hearted, not soft-headed.

Weak leadership (in the Church today) because the laity didn’t demand (strong leadership).  The laity must strive for excellence.

 Understanding:  The gift by which self-evident principles are known.

Fr. Corapi said that a better translation of the verse “Do not judge so that you will not be judge.”  (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:36) is “Do not condemn so that you will not be condemned.”  We must make moral judgments.  When one is about to cross the street, if there is traffic coming, you make the judgment not to cross the street.

“Situation ethics” is bankrupt.  Intrinsic evil can’t be justified.

 Counsel: The only statement I have for this gift is:  In philosophy, you can only know causes by their effects. 

 Strength/Fortitude is the ability to overcome fear and willingness to take risks, to stand up for what is right in spite of rejection.  Doing good and enduring evil especially if difficult. 

 Guilty silence not okay.  The world would be different if we lived our faith.  Western Europe debilitated because they left their faith.

 Fr. Corpapi said his audiences know what they are in for, and that someone said he is preaching to the choir.  But Jesus confirmed the brethren and Fr. Corapi’s talks are to confirm the brethren for them to go out into the world.  He said those in authority are too embarrassed to talk about the battle aspect with Satan and his crew.  Jesus said, “I am who am.”  Satan says, “I am who am not.”

 An older woman once told Fr. Corapi that his greatest gift was not preaching, leaving him momentarily puzzled.  Then she said that his greatest gift was, “You don’t give a fat rat’s a- –  what people think.”  Fr. Corapi said we’re like salt that’s lost its taste if we’re worried about what others think.

 Knowledge:  Fr. Corapi talked about ”public divine revelation” and the three elements of Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium.  Sacred Tradition has equal weight with Scripture.  Scripture is the written word of God; Sacred Tradition is the oral word of God.  Jesus under inspiration of the Holy Spirit passed it on to Magisterium, the authentic interpreter of spoken or written word.

Fear of the Lord/Piety:  deep respect for Christ.   (unreadable) before God with humility.

 Fear of the Lord: wonder and awe.  Realization that God is the perfection of all our heart’s and mind’s desires. 

Filial (son) fear is not servile (servant) fear.  It’s respect, the respect a son has for his father.  Don’t have to agree, but do have to respect.

Fr. Corapi wrapped up his talk by saying that we know the last chapter of the book, for us to begin to live that reality, then begin to radiate (—).  The darker the night sky, the brighter the stars shine.  You are those stars.


Big Brother, Redux

August 31, 2009

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009.  Huliq news is reporting that

The new version of the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 changes the wording to allow the President to “declare a cybersecurity emergency.” As with the original bill, the revised bill does not explain what a cyber security emergency is.  (emphasis is mine.)

The implantable chip provision in the Health Care Reform bills (maybe there’s a reason why it’s on page 1000, way in the back of this doorstop):   Read the comments at Free Republic for a discussion – the “read more at gpo” link doesn’t work and at least on my computer, led to a “does not respond” screen.

Several websites list the red flags about HR 3200, one of the “health care reform” bills.  One of them is here.


August 29, 2009

Two Catholics died this week.  The first death generated much controversy among U.S. Catholics; the second probably won’t even be mentioned in the MSM.

Much debate this week has been about whether or not, given his advocacy for legislation contrary to Catholic teaching, Kennedy should have a Catholic funeral.  A “benefit of the doubt” decision would suggest a simpler, private Requeim Mass, but given the prominence of the Kennedy family in the country’s politics for decades, today’s public Mass was more likely.

As stated in an earlier post, Obama giving a eulogy at that Mass was inexcusable and unacceptable.  In allowing Obama to speak,  the primary purpose of a Requiem Mass – “Christians affirm their hope of everlasting happiness … profess Paschal faith” (Dictionary of the Liturgy, Rev. Jovian Lang, page 218) glossed over.   What will most reverberate in this country for quite a while is the misperception that Catholic teaching and Obama’s extreme pro-abort stances  – and even the manipulations and evasions of the current health care bills – are somehow compatible.  They are not.

The second person who died this week had also been part of a national controversy about life issues.  But his death will not prompt non-stop coverage for days, nor will his Requiem Mass be broadcast and live-streamed.  Robert Schindler, the father of Terri Schiavo, has died, according to LifeNews.  His family became the faces of the battles ahead. 

In the end, all the hoopla and controversies won’t matter.  The only thing that will matter will be one’s accounting to God.  Let us pray for the repose of both souls, and under the surface of this week’s hoopla, ponder the juxtaposition of the life and death of these two Catholic men.


August 28, 2009

There’s been much discussion on whether or not Ted Kennedy,given his pro-abortion stance, should receive a Catholic funeral.

Patrick Madrid discusses a Wall Street Journal article on how dissident Catholic priest theologians targeted and coached the Kennedys into rationalizing acceptance and then advocacy of abortion.  It’s a worthwhile read, if only for the historical context.  Where I would disagree is that the Kennedy culpability was in buying into the proffered rationalizations.  Granted, it was a time when nearly everything that was once unquestionable was indeed being questioned and re-examined.  However, one has a choice in how to respond to rationalizations.

Given his recent pro-abort record, should Kennedy be denied a Catholic funeral? Ed Peters, a canon lawyer, says no and gives his consideration here.

So there is basis for at least giving Kennedy the benefit of the doubt.

What is beyond debate is that Obama giving a eulogyduring a Catholic Mass is totally, completely, and absolutely unacceptable.  It’s no wonder ObamaCaths think it was okay to vote for the most pro-abortion candidate in history.  The appearance of Catholic acceptance, much less endorsement, of Obama’s pro-abortion actions needs to stop, and needs to stop now.

Eulogies are not in the rubrics for funeral Masses. I know local custom differs on this and I’ve attended funeral Masses where a family member has said a “good word” (the translation of the word eulogy) at the end of Mass, but even in that stretch, Obama certainly is not the one to do it.

When will the Catholic bishops start acting Catholic?  When will they begin to take seriously their charge to shepherd their flock?  How long, O Lord?

On Obedience

August 26, 2009

Fr. Henri Nouwen is a mixed bag for today’s Catholics.  He was a prolific and popular writer, authoring some 40 books between 1966 and 1996.  Today’s orthodox Catholics would look askance at most of those books and indeed, I’ve heard disparaging comments generically about the concept of “the wounded healer.”

One book of his that I’ve read and re-read was his diary on the seven months he spent at the Abbey of the Genesee, a Trappist monastery about an hour’s drive south of Rochester.  My interest was partly because I’ve visited that monastery –  eaten Monks Bread, seen the fields, and heard the deep silence that was backdrop to Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours – and partly because Fr. Nouwen’s introspective inquiring during his time in the monastery resonated in my own spiritual life during a time when I found myself returning periodically to Madonna House.

The following is from the entry for August 26, in which the topic for Nouwen’s meeting with the abbot (John Eudes)  is about obedience. 

So we talked about obedience.  It was helpful  because John Eudes made me see that the problem of obedience is a problem of intimacy.  “Obedience becomes hard when you have to be vulnerable to the other who has authority.  You can play the obedience game in such a way that you never disobey any rule while keeping from your guide and director, your abbot or superiour those things about which you do not want to hear a ‘no.’  You need a lot of trust to give yourself fully to someone else, certainly to someone to whom you owe obedience.  Many people adapt very quickly but are not really obedient.  They simply don’t want to make waves and instead go along with the trend.  That is not obedience.  That is adaptation.”

If I were able to trust more, to open myself more easily, to be more vulnerable, then obedience would not be so hard.  I would be able to disagree without fear of rejection, to protest without resentment, to express different viewpoints without self-righteousness, and to say after all arguments: “If I am still asked to do something I do not like to do, perhaps I must be open to the idea of God’s preparing me for something greater and more important than I can imagine.”

With that attitude, life in obedience indeed can be quite exciting since you never really know what is next.  But I have a long way to go to develop that attitude in my innermost self.

For this post, I’d like to stick with authority in one’s spiritual life.  Whether one’s master is Christ or Caeser is fodder for another discussion.  For all that could be said on this topic, mainly I’ll make the observation that we could probably all identify times of adaptation rather than obedience and that it’s a good topic for self-examination.

As for examples, what first comes to mind are probably the “large” examples and most of them are the opposite of obedience: large numbers of Catholics not attending Mass, those who do attend Mass but practice birth control and vote for pro-abortion politicians, Catholic politicians who publicly support positions contrary to Catholic teaching, clergy and religious in open dissent.

A “small” example of obedience has really stuck with me.  During my long-term stay at Madonna House, I worked in the main kitchen, which like the kitchen of any family, often attracted activity other than food preparation.

As I was slicing piles of zucchini into zucchini sticks, one of the senior staff,  herself the head of a department crucial to the survival of the community, asked permission to buy a cup of coffee in the car trip she was about to take. What impressed me most was that it wasn’t a big deal.  Actually, it blew me away that someone that senior asked permission for something I would have just taken for granted.

When I returned to the States and recounted the incident to a priest (non-DoR diocese), his reaction was, “Oh, that’s too strict.”  Yet, shortly afterwards, an earlier example of his  less than exemplary behavior surfaced, causing heartache to his parishioners. 

Obedience in small matters is a discipline, but it seems to me that it makes life much easier.  The trick is to be truly obedient, rather than simply adapting.

2 + 2 = 5

August 25, 2009

Continued from Prelude
When I returned to Rochester, it seemed as if I’d stepped into the midst of a civil war.  There were two distinct “sides,” each with a high level of guardedness and each with disparaging comments about “the other side.”  The large amount of reactivity on each side was/is taking energy from the work of the local Church. While those who have been here for the duration have reason for the reactivity, I wanted to not add to it, but simply focus on (non-reactive) Catholic topics.

Two relatively recent events this past April were exceptions to that and indeed, my not being having a blog to post about them was the primary reason for starting this blog.

Chrism Mass 2009
The first April incident was the Chrism Mass.  Easter is basically new life.  The Easter Vigil is the traditional time of receiving people into the Church and the Vigil begins with the blessing of a new Paschal Candle.  The Paschal Candle is present in the sanctuary during the Easter season and in the rest of the year, at baptisms and funerals.

The sacramental oils to be used for the following year are also newly blessed; that blessing takes place at the Chrism Mass earlier in Holy Week.  These oils include the Oils of Catechumens used at baptisms; Chrism oils used for Confirmation, Holy Orders, the consecration of churches and altars; and the Oil of the Sick, used in the Anointing of the Sick.  In short, the Chrism Mass is uniquely Catholic and is a large part of the sacramental life of a diocese. 

That was why I was mortified to learn of the intrusion of non-Catholic elements in this year’s Chrism Mass to the extent that it wasn’t good enough for Catholics to bring the gifts up to the altar, but the Offertory gifts were handed to a non-Catholic “liturgical dancer” –  an activist who publicly advocates for legislation (“gay marriage”) contrary to Catholic teaching – and this non-Catholic brought the gifts to the altar.

Someone present said that the “flamboyant male dancing around altar … did more to detract from the Mass than add to it. In short, it was distracting, strange, and otherwise unpleasant.” 

What a slap in the face to the diocesan Catholics as a whole that they were not allowed to bring the gifts to the altar.  What does it say when such a prominent role in a Mass so central to the sacramental life of the Church is given to a non-Catholic who actively works against Catholic teaching ?

 “Interfaith Dialogue”
The second April incident was a 4/20/2009 article (abstract) in the local newspaper about “interfaith dialogue” between the diocese and the local Jewish community. 

Interfaith dialogue in itself is a good thing.  What bothered me was that one the two deacons involved cited inaccurate statements usually used by anti-Catholics to blame the Holocaust on the Church. I was astounded to read him say, “Christians must … ask, “Where was the Church?”  My immediate reaction was “underground and in the concentration camps, that’s where the Church was” and wondered if he had forgotten Fr. Maximillian Kolbe and that Pope John Paul II had to attend, at great risk, an underground seminary.  I looked up the deacon’s “interfaith” talks and his sources were, without exception, people either outright anti-Catholic or dissident Catholics.  The deacon’s one-sided comments did not acknowledge the rebuttal put forth in Rabbi Dalin’s book The Myth of Hitler’s Pope.  Here is a review of Rabbi Dalin’s book.

It was only when my astonishment had somewhat subsided that I noticed that the person who did the planning for the “interfaith” presentations was a local abortionist.  No wonder the diocese is so quiet about abortion when the diocese is collaborating with an abortionist.

In June, I wrote a letter to Bishop Clark, asking why the deacons cited only anti-Catholic sources, why didn’t they provide rebuttal to same, and astonishment that the diocese was collaborating with an abortionist, asking if the diocese was willing for interfaith efforts to come at the cost of violence done to the most vulnerable.  I have not received a response to that letter.

Other Concerns
Other discrepancies have been noted.  Most recent are the questions regarding the Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group.  The questions sound valid to me, yet those raising the questions have been called ‘negative’ and ‘unChristian,’ and still they have not received answers to those questions.

It’s been noted that dissident speakers are frequently invited to speak in the diocese.

Returning to the topic of interfaith dialogue with Muslims, the deacon involved with that has given at least one talk and one homily blaming the audience for being “the ones with the problem for being fearful.”  He listed every international conflict from WWII, yet completely skipped over 9/11. I thought that since his talk was on fear, he would mention Jesus as the antidote to fear, but no such luck.  Yet, I know from the reviews of his book(s) on Islam, that he can be quite vocal on Islam talking points.

What’s the Scoop?
That leaves me with a lot of questions:
Why the “in your face” non-Catholic elements on one of the most uniquely Catholic occasions of the liturgical year?
Is the diocese willing place “interfaith dialogue” at the cost of violence to the most vulnerable?
Why do the Catholic deacons involved in “interfaith dialogue” sound like apologists for the other religion?
Will those involved in the Irondequoit parishes get their questions answered?
Is the diocese, which is so keen on “dialogue,” be willing to provide answers to these questions?

Answers would settle my curiousity because as the title suggests, in this diocese, something doesn’t add up.

Lord & Giver of Life – Fr. Corapi’s first talk

August 23, 2009

Fr. Corapi said that a DVD of the conference will be made and I imagine will be available through his website.  I took fairly extensive notes, but even if all my scrawls were decipherable, they’re a bare-bones skeleton and convey only a fraction of what Fr. Corapi said.

The speakers and Mass were on a raised stage with a backdrop of a large banner with the conference title: Lord & Giver of Life. As it was the feast of the Assumption, there was a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during all the talks. I and several thousand others were seated at the “Floor” level, where the ice would be during a hockey game and the three tiers of seating were pretty much filled with people. I found it easier to look at one of the large screens flanking the stage or the overhead thingie with a large screen on each of four sides.

No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit
Fr. C walked in carrying a hockey stick, tribute to the Buffalo Sabres, and reportedly said (I didn’t catch it), “Let the games begin.”

The laughter and applause was the first of many responses by the thousands of people; the day punctuated by applause, sustained and at times, thunderous. At times it seemed like rallying the troops. Later in the day, Fr. Corapi said his purpose was to “confirm the brethren” and that it was up to the brethren, those present to reach out to others. In his early comments, Fr. C quoted a statistic that only 20% of Catholics attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and that (my paraphrase) that 20% had their work cut out for them.

“The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey, not to the disobedient” was the first statement on the topic of the Holy Spirit. This was one of the underlying themes of the day.

“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” was the next statement (Catholic Catechism paragraph 683 quotes 1 Corinthians 12:3)

A second theme, or perhaps they were all variations of one theme, was that when one is out of touch with God, one is out of touch with reality. In other words, insanity. If you eliminate God, it’s no surprise there are problems. Twenty years ago, his seminary instructor said if (unreadable) get rid of religion, and replace it with the religion of secular humanism, you’ll see a death wish.

Ask yourself, “Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit?”

Don’t use (the imperfect behavior of those in the Church) as an excuse or cop-out to do nothing.

The definition of theological virtue of charity: the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake and love our neighbor as a (didn’t catch) out of love for God.

Love of God is vertical, empowering you to love your neighbor, which is horizontal. Vertical and horizontal are the Cross.

Love is a decision, not a feeling.  We may not always feel like loving.  Similar to marriage.  Jesus is the bridegroom, the Church is the bride.  A priest is espoused to the Church.  Sustained through the Holy Spirit. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit.

St. Augustine: (the) heart is restless until it rests in God.

Do so in your own place and your own vocation; you don’t need to be a street preacher. (Whether or not Fr. C was referring to them or this was already in his talk and they just happen to illustrate it, one can’t help but think of the stridently anti-Catholic “street preachers” outside the arena.)

One of the worst consequences of sin is the removal of leadership.  Good, enlightened leadership is removed. 

The Founding Fathers wanted God in this country.  The country has been hijacked by a secular humanistic philosophy.

Fr. Corapi talked about the ten cities with the highest poverty levels. He said, “I am not a politician but (unreadable) but I will engage in my mission.  Fr. C said he gave up his tax exempt status and that tax exempt status is used as a lever to keep mouths shut.  … masquerade under prudential judgment.  …  You can not be Catholic and be pro-choice.  (thunderous applause – this marks the beginning of the day being punctuated by sustained applause. The applause wasn’t for Fr. Corapi himself, as much as people like him, but for proclaiming the Good News.)

We have a crisis of faith, morality, and leadership.  There is no proportionate reason (to vote for someone) so forcibly allied with the forces of death.

Fr. Corapi mentioned Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical about the “the most serious duty of transmitting human life” which has reverberated ever since.  He also mentioned the Winnipeg statement in which the Canadian bishops rejected Humanae Vitae.

(I can’t read my scrawl of the next sentence – something about priests leading astray.)  Fr. C said he’s making not a political but a moral statement.  And that people will misconstrue what he says anyway. Fr. Corapi then returned to the topic of the ten cities with the highest poverty level.

The moral demise of a nation always precedes the ultimate demise.  …(unreadable) … To change that is to be open to the Holy Spirit.  He quoted Albert Einstein’s definition that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  The poor elect those who keep them poor.  Fr. C then attributed “the Ten Cannots” to Abe Lincoln, but when I looked it up, it seems that’s a misattribution.  It was written by Rev. Boetscher as described in this Lincoln Presenters post.

“The 10 Cannots”

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Written by Rev. Boetscher

Fr. Corapi continued:  All the problems are because out of (unreadable) with the Holy Spirit.  How can you see when in darkness (sin).  (unreadable) one person at a time.

Fr. Corapi quoted St. Jean Marie Vianney who said (this is mostly from my memory, something along the lines of) “I’m delighted to be your pastor; I’m scared to be your pastor” and went on to say, “You don’t go to heaven alone.  You’ll take others with you, up or down.”

Strive for Excellence 

Work hard.  Fr. Corapi related that when he was young, he learned to box and that he was scared not to be good at boxing, not so much to be good at boxing, but going home if he didn’t do well.  Strive for excellence.  Be the best (at what you do).  If you’re a plumber, be the best plumber you can be.  (unreadable) thinks the world owes them a living.

The pendulum (unreadable) too much to either extreme – capitalism to socialism.  In 1891, Pope Leo XIII wrote Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical on Capital and Labor.  (If) you think socialism will help the poor, it will reduce everyone to the same level of poverty.  All the extra money goes to the government to expand power.  (missed segue) The Holy Spirit is power and courage.