Over the past week, I have read about two faithful priests in the Church who have been more or less blackballed by some bishops with fragile egos for different reasons. Both of these godly priests are wonderful men of God whose ministries I have supported for many years, and to be honest the Church needs more of them. The first is Fr. Frank Pavone, who is the national director of Priests For Life, a wonderful organization that has done more to champion the pro-life cause with the possible exception of Operation Rescue. Fr. Pavone is a conservative priest with very traditional values, and he is a godly man with a heart for saving unborn babies from the evils of the abortion mills. Yet, on September 9th, Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo, TX, decided to suspend Fr. Pavone's ministry activities outside his diocese, and the reason the "good" bishop sought to do this was of course one of the easiest to try to hang people on - money! However, upon closer examination, the real reason for Zurek's actions came to the light quickly - he says that Fr. Frank's "fame" has caused him to "see priestly obedience as an inconvenience to his own ministry" which if interpreted means the bishop has a fragile ego, is a control freak, and cannot seem to understand that the pro-life cause is something that is a national issue, and Fr. Frank is doing what God called him to do. As I progress with this, I am going to show how Bishop Zurek, as well as other bureaucrats in mitres sitting in dioceses all across the country, are hypocritical in doing what they are doing when they have issues in their own backyard that they casually close their eyes to and are potentially more serious than the godly work that Fr. Frank and others are doing. However, another priest has made headlines recently for similar reasons, but it has been far more uglier due to the fact the attacks were vicious and unfounded against a man of God who is a great priest and defender of the truth.
Fr. John Corapi is a powerful minister of the Gospel and probably the closest thing I have ever seen to a "hellfire-and-brimstone" preacher in the Catholic tradition, and regular viewers of EWTN often can hear his messages - many of which pull no punches when attacking some of the moral ills that plague our society today - and benefit from his sound teaching on the Gospel. Yet, Fr. Corapi, like Fr. Frank, has come under fire from some ungodly bureaucrats in the ranks of the Church, and some of the allegations leveled against him (which I do not believe personally are true) are reminiscent of the attacks against some Protestant ministers over the years who took a stand, such as Mike Warnke and Bob Larson, against things that made some church stiffs feel uncomfortable. Of course, this too comes as no real surprise - in his 2002 book Goodbye Good Men (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing), journalist Michael Rose notes that orthodox candidates for the priesthood these days are often screened out by those he dubs the "Gatekeepers," who are by and large secular psychologists who may not have any Christian convictions whatsoever, much less Catholic, and in general they have a liberal agenda (Rose, 31). Rose notes a couple of pages earlier that often if a postulant for ordination or seminary applicant even expresses the slightest view of orthodoxy, they can be blackballed from the priesthood. Apparently, this does not just extend to seminarians and candidates for Holy Orders, and I cite a couple of examples. The first, of course, is the way some fragile-egoed bishops are going after godly priests who are doing the Lord's work, while the second is much more personal. Back in 2005, I was considering the possibility of becoming a permanent deacon in the Maronite rite (my chrismated rite of choice in the Church). My priest was very supportive of this and tried to put a good word in for me, but unfortunately the eparchial vocations director, a man of Roman-rite background by the name of Fr. James Root, said I was "too conservative," which I thought was ridiculous. You would think that a Church as staunch on dogma and Holy Tradition (or at least it's supposed to be) would welcome people of staunch convictions, yet they don't because of a deeper problem that came to light very recently, and now let's address that.
Vatican II, for better or worse, opened up a lot of things in the Church. Some of them - particularly acknowledging other Christians outside the Roman Church - were good, but others were not so great. Many liberals in the Church, seizing some ambiguities in the Vatican II documents, took great liberties to redefine what they viewed as the "Church," and the results were catastrophic, in particular regarding seminaries. Many diocesan seminaries today are hotbeds of homosexuality and apostasy, and many who end up graduating from them are now in positions of authority in the Church as parish priests, religious, and even bishops in some cases. One seminary in Ohio, I believe, as even been dubbed by its detractors "The Pink Palace" due to the rampant homosexuality that is going on behind its doors, and this is to me unthinkable as it defies Church teaching and Biblical injunctions against such behavior. Unfortunately, even like some in the Pentecostal Bible college I went to, many of these people don't have a calling of God on their lives, and many of them do not know the Lord personally as their Savior either - they are, in essence, "mama-called and daddy-sent" brats that are too lazy to commit to anything, and only seek to use college to indulge and justify their own lusts. What I find ironic though is that bishops, such as this Zurek fellow in Texas that is crowing on Fr. Frank, are strangely silent about that, yet they are so insecure that when one of their diocesan clergy does something truly for the Lord, Satan enters these bishops' hearts and uses their authority to destroy men of integrity, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the real issues. And, due to that hypocrisy, the fruit reaped from that filthy harvest culminated in the priest scandals that happened back in 2001-2002, many of which were covered up, bought off, and hushed by those who were supposed to be in spiritual authority in the Church - Cardinal Bernard Law, for one, will have a lot to answer for on Judgement Day due to his complicity in such activity. Yet, again, this is a sign of the times, and here are a few Scripture references to show that.
II Corinthians 11:14-15 talks about the deception of Satan, who often transforms himself into an "angel of light" to deceive, and in verse 15, it mentions that "his ministers" (here, meaning earthly counterfeits among the clergy as one type) do the same. Matthew 25: 32-34 states the various contrasts between the Remnant and deceivers, such as sheep/goats, good fish/bad fish, wheat/tares, etc. Other verses in II Timothy speak of deceptions, "itching ears," and not enduring sound doctrines, and these are just a few to note. Bottom line is, there will be a falling away from the faith in the latter days - the Bible foretells it, and over the centuries many great men of God have seen it as well. What we see happening in the Catholic Church is but one example of this, as the Church is rapidly apostasizing - we see that also among the laity, as I work with several professed Catholics who often shock me at the unbiblical things they say that contradict the official teachings of the Church. However, God is preserving a Remnant Church, and thankfully I have chosen personally to be part of it - and, I believe men of God like Frs. Frank and Corapi are part of it too, because as the Bible says, "by their fruits ye shall know them." That being said, I urge you to seek out orthodox men who uphold the truth, and give them your prayers and support, because they need that more than ever; the enemy is working overtime to destroy those who truly serve the Lord, and he even uses his "angels of light" and "gatekeepers" within the ranks of the Church to do that. And, we as the Remnant must stick together. God bless you until next time.