Monday, October 10, 2011

Musings about Frs. Euteneuer, Corapi, Pavone, and Rodriguez

These are all priests I knew of before their problems with their respective bishops were made public, and the news of each one was shocking to me. I am still mulling it over...

Fr. Euteneuer was accused, and did not deny wrongdoing - though he asserted that he was not guilty of all the allegations. Where is he now? I've been told he is spending time in a monastery somewhere, but I have no idea whether or not that is true. I have a soft spot in my heart for him simply because I wrote a "My Favorite Priest" article about him for Homiletic and Pastoral Review some years ago. He strikes me as a good priest who made a mistake, got caught, admitted it, expressed remorse, and is doing penance. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm right. I hope I'm right.

Fr. Corapi, on the other hand, announced that he was going to be accused, and then was, and he denied the allegations with every ounce of strength he could muster, it seemed. We, on the outside looking in, may never know whether or not he is guilty, but we can observe his behavior, which has been less than admirable. He said he wasn't going to "crawl under a rock and die" and that he had no choice but to leave his order and strike out on his own. In other words, he said he had no choice but to disobey. That rings hollow with me. The true test of obedience comes when obedience is difficult, when it seems unfair to expect it, when it seems like one is being treated unjustly.

Fr. Corapi argued that his attorneys had told him he had no chance of a fair hearing. Hmm. Prophets, are they? Maybe they were right. Many of us know of priests who have been treated unjustly, and our hearts ache for them. We might like to say, "Just tell the bishop to shove it!"...which is essentially what Fr. Corapi did. But is that the right thing to do? I don't think so. That doesn't mean that the victimized priest need be a doormat; there are steps that can be taken. Is the system flawed? Almost certainly, if for no other reason than that the leadership of our Church consists of human beings. Jesus was well aware of that, too.

At any rate, despite his protestations about not crawling under a rock, Fr. Corapi seems to have done just that. Have you looked at his website? It's little more than a storefront. The most recent "personal message" from Fr. Corapi is dated September 30. The "weekly newsletter" page continues to say, "We are preparing our latest newsletter and will post for for [sic] you with access to download from this page." His twitter updates were last "updated" on September 5. You can check out his Face Book page, but it consists mostly of his friends and foes insulting each other.

And somehow it just bothers me that at the bottom of the "About" page we are told that:

The new website: will allow his fans to begin establishing a ‘home’ where they can be in touch with him, directly. A member from his media team shared “this is a very exciting move for John and his fans, as for the first time, in a long time, John will be directly in touch with this fan-base by way of social networks.”

How many times do they have to say "fans"? And "John" is not directly in touch with his "fan-base", as far as I can tell. I followed the website and the FB pages for a while, but they did not bear too many personal messages from the Dog himself, and the comments were...less than edifying. Sad. I continue to pray for Fr. Corapi...but not "The Black Sheepdog".

Moving on to Fr. Pavone...well, this case seems complex to me. I think his bishop made some stupid comments, and Fr. Pavone did the same. Dr. Ed Peters at In the Light of the Law has done an excellent job of analyzing what was going on there. It does seem to me that Fr. Pavone covered the questions of the alleged mismanagement of funds pretty thoroughly; the bishop seemed to back down on that point, and if he really has, perhaps some statement of apology or retraction is in order. For his part, Fr. Pavone seemed to be at best begrudgingly obedient to the bishop, and seemed a little arrogant about it - e.g., "Since I respect this bishop, I'll obey his order". What if he didn't respect him? Shouldn't he still obey? At this point, though, Fr. Pavone's blog page at the Priests for Life website seems to be full of informative pro-life articles and exhortations, and I think that's a good sign. Whether or not Fr. Pavone returns to the type of ministry and freedom he had become accustomed to enjoy, I think an important point is that Priests for Life should be able to carry on the work they do with or without Fr. Pavone; the organization's success should not hinge on one individual's active and prolonged involvement.

And last but not least, Fr.Michael Rodriguez. Now here is a priest who is a hero, in my book. He spoke clearly and eloquently and humbly to defend the teachings of the Church in his town (I watched some of the videos); I think his actions were important in educating the faithful of his parish; I think he talked the talk and walked the walk. His bishop didn't appreciate it. That's too bad, because I think Fr. Rodriguez set an example that other priests and bishops would do well to follow.

Now Fr. Rodriguez has been shunted off to a remote parish in the middle of nowhere, apparently. (And the people in that parish should be thanking God for the gift He has given them!) But from what I can see, he's not complaining. He's looking forward. He seems to feel that no matter where God places him, he should simply do his best as a priest. I think he knows that the people in that middle-of-nowhere parish deserve his full attention, just like the ones in his previous parish. I love this quote from The Big Bend Sentinel:

“Obedience to my bishop is essential to the priesthood,” Rodriguez said. “My bishop has transferred me to another assignment, and I intend to be obedient. The priesthood is my greatest joy. In the present circumstances, I intend to try even harder to be a good, holy priest.”

Fr. Rodriguez discussed his plans for his new parish - plans to introduce the extraordinary form of the Mass. Why? Because he's trying to "regain the Catholic faith".

“We’ve lost a great deal of Catholic faith,” Rodriguez said. “Marriage is looked upon differently. Many young people and children don’t know how to pray. Many don’t know about Judgment Day. A lot of elements have been lost, and that’s what I’m going to concentrate on.”

You rock, Fr. Rodriguez. You are probably the least well-known among the priests listed here, but I think you are the brightest star and the best example of what the priesthood is all about.


  1. Well, given the motu proprio, Fr. Rodriguez may be sent someplace else, but he doesn't need his bishop's permission to celebrate the EF. Transferring an EF-friendly priest elsewhere can't keep the EF down.

  2. Thanks for the update and comments on all these priests .

    I do pray for all priests each and every day . They need our prayers because the enemy DOES want to destroy the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
    It is this simple : NO PRIESTS NO EUCHARIST
    God help us all if that ever happens!


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