The Expendables: Our Culture’s War Against Catholic Priests

Every year since 2002, the Catholic celebration of Holy Week has competed for space with a story of Catholic scandal in the secular news media.

“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not stand.” (Mark 3:25)

I hope I’m not the only one to notice the timing of some news accounts of scandal in the Catholic Church. For about a decade now, Holy Week and the weeks leading up to it have been the backdrop for embarrassing news stories about Catholic priests. Just after Holy Week two years ago, I wrote “Breaking News: I Got Stoned with the Pope!” My suggestive News of the World type headline was meant to get readers’ attention with a hint of something sordid. I wanted to see if it works as well on Catholic blogs as it does in the supermarket tabloids.

If you read that post, however, you know that the real sordid story was about the press itself, and not the Pope. He and I really did get stoned during Holy Week that year, but neither of us inhaled anything illegal.

Then last year, CNN chose the middle of Holy Week to re-air some unproven scandal excavated from the Pope’s own diocese in Germany from decades earlier. By emphasizing just the right elements of the story, while omitting several other factors, CNN slapped together a one-sided report apparently meant to unjustly slander both the Pope and the priesthood.

In my post, “Cable News or Cable Nuisance?” I suggested that if there is to be any consistency at CNN, it will air its 9/11 special during Ramadan. Alas, that did not happen of course, but that’s what first got the attention of Jamil Malik about whom I wrote recently in “Accommodations in the Garden of Good and Evil.” As Jamil pointed out in one comment, the news media could not treat the Muslim community as it does the Catholic community. Muslims would put their faith first, and would not tolerate it.

FATHER JOHN CORAPI REVISITED

father-corapiCloser to home, the story of Father John Corapi was also all the rage in the Catholic on-line world at this time last year. After hearing from many people asking me to comment on it, I wrote about it in “Good Bye, Good Priest! Father John Corapi’s Kafkaesque Catch-22.” Over at Scott Richert’s Catholicism page on About.com, I too was dragged through the mud by a few hostile Catholics threatened by my alternate view of the story of priestly scandals in America.

The point I tried to make in that controversial post was made against the tide of strong Catholic emotions on both sides of the Father John Corapi story.

There were those who thought he was being railroaded and those who thought he ran and hid from both the priesthood and the truth. Many readers have asked me which of those versions I think is the truth, but I’m not going down that road. That is a matter between Father Corapi and the Church. The point I made has little to do with whether and how much he was really tainted by scandal. It was about whether any legitimate right of defense was ever afforded to him and whether the mere fact that he is a priest contributed to his undoing. When a priest is accused, he is instantly suspended, and unlike the plight of any other defendant in American justice, a priest is silenced by being unable to speak, write, or otherwise defend himself as a priest.

I just read a terrific article by Catholic author, George Weigel, long associated with First Things magazine and a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. I have quoted George Weigel many times on These Stone Walls. The article I just came across is entitled “The Priest: Icon of Christ, Enabler of Sanctity.” It was an address by George Weigel to the priests of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina on April 15, 2004. It’s an article that I think every Catholic concerned for the priesthood should read. Every bishop and priest should read it twice. Consider these two excerpts which channel clearly the thoughts of George Weigel’s very good friend – and mine – the late Father Richard John Neuhaus:

“If crisis-as-cataclysm is to become crisis-as-opportunity in the Catholic Church in America, then we must recognize that, at the bottom of the bottom line, today’s crisis is a crisis of discipleship, a crisis of fidelity. And the only remedy for a crisis of fidelity is … fidelity.”

“Sanctity is living in the truth about the human condition revealed by Christ. Living in that truth, we become the kind of people who can live with God forever. That is why the Holy Father, speaking to the cardinals of the United States just a year ago this week, said that today’s crisis grew out of a failure to live and teach the fullness of Catholic truth. When we fail to teach the truth and live the truth – when we substitute what we imagine to be our truths for what Christ has revealed as the truth . . . we do not live as the saints we are called to be.”

THE FATHER MARCEL GUARNIZO STORY

The truth is that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church whose origins I described in “Inherit the Wind: Pentecost and the Breath of God.” However, as I pointed out in that Pentecost post last year, the Church was barely ten minutes old when scandal broke out. The Apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, were accused by the crowd of being drunk at 9:00 in the morning on a day of ritual fasting. Saint Peter, the Church’s first Bishop and Pope, stood before the crowd in a vigorous defense of his brothers, instructing the crowd that the scandal they have spread was entirely false (Acts 2:15).

But alas, in the public relations debacles of the present, has the Sun set on the day when a priest facing injustice could look to his brother priests and bishop for a defense? On its surface, at least, the story of Father Marcel Guarnizo does not bode well for fundamental Catholic support of priests in the trenches of controversy.

Father-Marcel-Guarnizo

Fr. Guarnizo has been vilified in the news media, and more recently was stripped of his faculties by the Archdiocese of Washington, after withholding Communion from a woman at a funeral Mass. According to Father Guarnizo’s published statement, the woman came into the sacristy before Mass, introduced herself as a Buddhist, then introduced a woman accompanying her as her “lover.” Father Guarnizo wrote that, like all priests, he presumes good faith when any person comes forward for the Eucharist, but this woman and her companion reportedly made a militant point of presenting themselves as living publicly a lifestyle that placed them in opposition to the Church.

Note the word, “publicly.” She made a point of divulging to Father Guarnizo before Mass the source and substance of her public separation from the Church. Then the woman went to a newspaper with her story of being denied the Eucharist by Father Guarnizo. Coming in the middle of Lent, it made just the sort of story the secular media loves to use to slam the Church.

Eighteen years of wrongful imprisonment have made me naturally suspicious – though those who know me in prison tell me that I’m not nearly suspicious enough. Has it occurred to anyone else that Father Guarnizo was set up, that he was going to become a news story no matter what he did? The woman’s revelations, it seems to me, could just as easily have resulted in a story about Father Guarnizo’s tacit approval of her issues and lifestyle had he accommodated her when she presented herself for Communion after making those flagrant revelations. The failure of the Archdiocese of Washington to defend Father Guarnizo in this is a far greater scandal for many.

cardinal-donald-wuerl

This story has some painful echoes with one of my own. After priesthood ordination in 1982, I was assigned to a wonderful parish, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Hampton, New Hampshire. However, just months before I arrived there, officials of my diocese fired four nuns who had taught for a decade in the parish school. The dispute between the Diocese and the sisters had grown over time, and it was badly handled from every angle. After being told their contracts with the parish school would not be renewed, the sisters declined to leave quietly in the night. In successive public displays of dissent from the authority of the bishop, they filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in civil court, then went to the local and statewide secular press with their story.

For a year, the sisters barricaded themselves in the parish convent while an organization of concerned parishioners and activists quickly grew in solidarity with them. The parish became divided with supporters of the Diocese on one side of the church at Mass, and supporters of the sisters wearing large “SOS” buttons (“Save Our Sisters”) on the other. It was, to say the least, an unusual first assignment.

The parish staff was solidly in the middle, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Sunday Masses in my first assignment as a priest were marked by the celebration of Mass inside the church, and a gauntlet of picket signs, reporters, and TV cameras outside. I’ve told this whole ugly story in a painful and rather tedious document posted on TSW entitled “Affidavit of Rev. Gordon J. MacRae.”

On Christmas Eve in 1982, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the sisters’ religious ministry in the parish school did not terminate their contractual rights. The court defined their right to sue in a precedent setting case not unlike the one I described in “A Treacherous Descent: Religious Freedom is Put to the Test.”

By Holy Week of 1983, the lawsuit was nearing its court date. The other parish priest and I had nothing to do with the lawsuit. We simply sought to minister to the good people of this sadly divided parish without taking a side. By the very nature of our priesthood, however, we were seen by some activists as agents of the bishop, and subjected to constant negative attention, accusations, anonymous threats, and false witness, and even an occasional brick through the rectory window.

Perhaps the most shameful form of that false witness came at Easter in 1983. A woman who had become part of the “Save Our Sisters” organization came to me in the sacristy before Mass and angrily accused me of siding with the Diocese and bishop in the dispute. I calmly reminded her that I had gone to great lengths to minister in this parish without becoming part of its divisions.

The next day, the local newspaper carried a front page story reporting the woman’s accusation that after her confrontation with me, I refused to give Communion to her two young daughters at Easter Mass. The little girls, the newspaper reported, went home in tears, devastated that I had denied them the Body of Christ. The parish anger seethed to a lynch mob frenzy after that story.

There was just one problem with the story. It wasn’t true. Nothing like that had ever occurred. But the most devastating part of the story for me was a statement from my Diocese that the reporter obtained without ever seeking a statement from me. A Diocesan spokesman, without even asking me if the story was true, presumed my guilt and capitulated to the mob, saying that I should never have done such a thing without first consulting with my Diocese.

I was bruised and furious, of course. I waited a few days to calm down, then repeatedly called my bishop who was not in and never returned my calls. Then, when I was calm enough, I called the woman who was the source of the story. I asked her why she would say such a thing, but to my amazement, she apologized . . . well, sort of. She said, “I’m sorry, Father, but this is war, and sometimes in war one has to do and say certain things.”

In his great article, “The Priest: Icon of Christ, Enabler of Sanctity,” George Weigel wrote that “Catholics today are capable of spiritual and moral grandeur.” That is the truth. But some Catholics today are also capable of spiritual and moral grandiosity, treating their causes as superior to the truth. Just consider the tactics of SNAP. Consider the ways VOTF has used the priesthood scandals to further their goal of forming an American Catholic church. Consider the militancy of some gay activists who have used the Sacraments to mock the Church and demand sweeping changes in Catholic moral teaching to accommodate their cause.

When I look at the story of what has befallen Father Marcel Guarnizo today, one Gospel passage comes immediately to mind: “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” (Matthew 10:16).  George Weigel is right. Priests must be enablers of sanctity. But we must also be able to trust that our leaders will not be enablers of the wolves.

 

About Fr. Gordon J. MacRae

The late Cardinal Avery Dulles and The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus encouraged Father MacRae to write. Cardinal Dulles wrote in 2005: “Someday your story and that of your fellow sufferers will come to light and will be instrumental in a reform. Your writing, which is clear, eloquent, and spiritually sound will be a monument to your trials.” READ MORE

Comments

  1. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Another excellent post Fr. Thanks so much.

    The Church and some of her priests and bishops have been so set up. For how long?Maybe from the very beginning. Satan was unleashed. But let us not forget that Christ has entered the world and overcome evil and death.

    Many have suffered martyrdom and I believe many more will. Fr. MacRae, and Fr. Corapi, and now Fr. Guarnizo have spoken the truth. Any priest or bishop who speaks the truth will be targeted.

    It must be part of a young man’s discernment process to determine whether or not he can withstand such betrayal and be the same kind of victim that Our Lord Jesus was at Calvary. Without his full consent, he should not think he has been called.

    I am in awe of, and always be so, of my priests. Their courage and their love of Christ and His flock touch my heart and my soul. I could not be without the priest, who lays down his life for me and brings me the Body and Blood of the Risen Christ.

    I know that the priesthood is a vocation where many subversives have been planted, at least in the past, in order to bring down the Church. I believe that those who really did bad things could have been plants. They did a good job of planting doubt in ignorant and innocent lives. This is how they could set up the good faithful priests and make them all look bad, so that a mere accusation would mean a current day lynching.

    How else can we explain the failure of bishops and the faithful Catholics to defend their priests until guilt has been proven?

    We must not be surprised if such a thing is true. We can look at the sinful organizations formed within our Church. How were they allowed in?Why would a bishop worth his salt allow dissident groups to run dioceses and carry out unorthodox activities? One need look no farther than the CCHD. There are others.

    Priest such as you have mentioned and I have admired and been privileged to hear, as well as you Fr. MacRae, have been directly hit with lies and betrayal. How could these good priests have been led to banishment and imprisonment? Why would their bishops not immediately come to their aid and do all in their power to defend them?

    We do not deserve good priests. But God in His goodness and mercy has allowed us to have them, at least for a little while. I fear for all good priests and bishops, and I pray, and I pray and I pray for you all.

    God bless you. I am in your debt.

  2. Barbara Edsall says:

    I don’t see how Father Guarnizo’s bishop (that is, his bishop in this country) can advocate so articulately for religious freedom and then not back up his priest when he exercises it!

    As a new Catholic, this is very sad, but at least now I know what to do with sadness. I still believe that ultimately, the gates of hell will not prevail against God’s Holy Church.

  3. Jim says:

    Dear Fr Gordon,
    This matter has always bothered me.
    I believe in “innocent till proven guilty”.
    I hope our Catholic leaders will come to believe this too.

    As an example, if a customer walked into a bank, went to a teller to conduct a transaction, then went to the manager to complain about the teller. Would the manger immediately dismiss (fire) the teller without trying to find any validity to the complaint or without cause? What if, the complaint was based on some personal and irrelevant event with no bearing on the teller? What if, the teller was an honest, loyal employee and has been serving the bank faithfully? Would the bank find reason to come to the teller’s defense? I would think so.

    In our Catholic society, I believe a priest takes an oath to God to obey and serve Him faithfully in all his priestly duties. Thus, a priest would be answerable to God alone. Certainly not to the media or to some of our leaders who prefer taking the easy way out!

    I believe the Catholic Church should make every attempt to defend priests against false accusations in the same manner that a bank would defend a valuable employee from a complaint that is without basis of proof.

    I somehow feel there is something wrong here and this lack of support opens our door and encourages wrongful accusations against our priests.

    May God Bless you Father Gordon and I look forward to your freedom
    after 18 years of wrongful imprisonment.

    Mahalo,
    Jim

  4. Phyllis Seitz says:

    Dear Father, You are so helpful, for you are not controlled by the media and are able to tell us from a very knowledgable place. I find your writings so very enlightening. Thank you.

  5. Debbie says:

    O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests, for Your unfaithful and tepid priests; for Your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Your tempted priests; for Your lonely and desolate priests; for Your young priests; for Your dying priests; for the souls of Your priests in purgatory.

    But above all I recommend to You the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priest who absolved me from my sins; the priest at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. Jesus, keep them all close to Your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

    -St Therese of Lisieux

  6. jamil malik says:

    The truth you tell is an inconvenient truth for some. I have been searching the Catholic news media and Catholic blogs. The results are strange. Many Catholic bloggers cite you, link to you, and even re-print what you write. Most of the Catholic news media, however, seems to shun you like a modern day leper. I do not understand this at all. Is there anyone out there who could explain this to me?

  7. Frank Dias says:

    Again a great post, Fr. Gordon. I believe the Media is paying for all of this false attacks against us and the catholic church. one by one
    they are being fired from their cushion jobs.. liberalism has its end soon or later. Truth in God,s time will prevail.. where is the outrage
    of all our public school teachers doing worse and the principles don,t get fired or attacked by the media. Adoration today for you and pornchai. keep the faith and (Jesus i trust in You) always, just finished reading sister faustina,s book.

  8. Jeannie says:

    My comment is awaiting moderation and I can see why. My opening line is ambiguous and misleading:

    “The church hierarchy is not The Church”.

    I didn’t mean to imply that the leaders of the church are not part of Christ’s body, but just to point out that we have fallible humans helming the church and they have been raised with the influence of the world in these times. These times are not God’s time. He is timeless, which is why the notion that the Church needs to change to keep up with ‘the times’ is ludicrous. God’s laws are as timeless as His love and mercy are infinite.

    Our church leaders? Education, government, media and society in general in contemporary times raised them and made them vulnerable. Just as the priests, who gave in to their homosexual tendencies to molest young teen boys, were the product of an age when sexual license is the ‘correct’ purpose of life and procreation an inconvenience or a luxury ‘option’ , so the church leaders, who are throwing priests to the wolves, have given in to the correctness of the times in succumbing to media pressure and surrendering in the face of financially threatening intimidation.

  9. Sheila Ryan says:

    “The gates of hell will not prevail against our Church.” It comes to my mind that the devil doesn’t need to do much as many Catholics are doing what they please and love what they do.

    I think our biggest problem is that we have many Catholics who do not know their faith. As a CCD teacher, of Juniors in High School for years, my middle son, age 45, recently said that he doesn’t know a lot about his faith. (he didn’t always listen to me. ) He told me that had he not been in my class, he would have learned NOTHING in CCD. Many other students of mine said the same thing. Go to a “Catholic” book store and look at the CCD text books and you can see the problem quickly. There is no respect for the Priesthood. It is left wing.

    When I was growing up, we were taught that people in some Countries, kiss the hands of Priests who hold Jesus at the Consecration. What happened to that high esteem for the Sacrament of Holy Orders? Now, it is if you don’t like a Priest, sue him, have him arrested with false accusations. Why not go to your Bishop about him and he disappears.

    I know one thing we can do and that is to GO to your “Catholic” book store and take a look at the text books. They are out in left field, secular, and other adjectives. We need to push our Cathechism of the Catholic Church. We have to know our faith before we can teach anyone else. Oh, one last thing, I promise…,If you get a newspaper, call it what it really is….a bird cage liner.

    God bless you Father. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have your “blogues” to read.
    Sheila

    God bless you!
    Sheila

  10. Carl says:

    Dear Father, you can replace my pastor any time!!

  11. Veronica says:

    Robyn, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  12. Dismas says:

    The thesis/antithesis dialectics present in the cases outlined in this article are some of the things that trouble my conscience most these days. It’s so difficult to know how to be an obedient grazing sheep in the pasture of our Church any longer. The pressure of false witness from wolves both within and without our Church to make rash judgements and take sides is tremendous. I’m constantly tempted and scandalized by this false witness that not to choose is to choose.

    In the final analysis, however, I realize I don’t know all the truth and most likely never will regarding any of the parties actually involved. Ergo, I must put my personal feelings aside. It seems to me I must submit myself to and trust the judgment and leadership set forth by our Head, Jesus Christ, in our Church though His Hierarchy our Bishops.

    “If we deal with the Lord in prayer, we will go forward with a clear gaze that will permit us to perceive the action of the Holy Spirit, even in the face of events we do not understand or which produce sighs or sorrow.” (In Love with the Church, 13)

    Yes, obedience vs. justice, sheep vs. wolves are some of the things that trouble me most these days. Thank you for this article, surely shining this light on and rationally discussing these issues helps.

  13. Father Gordon!

    The words you cite so well are a magnificent testimony to hope instead of bitterness, the cross of truth in all charity instead of the cross of despair in all loneliness:

    “If crisis-as-cataclysm is to become crisis-as-opportunity in the Catholic Church in America, then we must recognize that, at the bottom of the bottom line, today’s crisis is a crisis of discipleship, a crisis of fidelity. And the only remedy for a crisis of fidelity is … fidelity.”

    When we can say the words, “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?!” — which is such a prayer! — it is then that we see His economy of salvation, dragging all to Himself as He is lifted up on the cross. And that is a joy to see.

    Fidelity provides this vision. We trust our Lord to keep us faithful, for on our own we cannot. But our Lord is just so good, just so kind.

  14. James says:

    Talking about fairness to priests, in the comments section on Yahoo, there are always ferocious denunciations of pedophile priests as typical of the Catholic Church, so I tried to post this one: “Let’s face it, the worst form of child abuse is abortion, millions killed by their own mothers!” Would you believe that they would not print this. Try for yourself, I failed twice.

  15. Lupe K. Gwiazdowski says:

    This is crazy!!! What a good and holy priest. Please come to my diocese, Fr Marcel.
    Now I will add you to the growing prayer list that TSW engenders.
    Let us all try to pray more and judge less. I know, it’s hard.
    And the Church is getting to be a scary place…
    Lupe

  16. Robyn says:

    I agree that Fr, Guarnizo was correct in denying the Eucharist to that woman and I agree that no matter what he did, it would have ended up in the papers.. He was put in a no win situation as far as the media and public is concerned so he chose to do what was correct and he still pays.. What I can not understand for the life of me is WHAT is the deal with these Bishops who so easily and carelessly just keep throwing our good priests under the bus without any thought.. WHAT is going on?.. We Catholics have become more and more distrustful of the bishops and can they REALLY blame us? Our church needs to get back to it’s roots and the further it strays the worse things will get .. It’s heart breaking.!

  17. Antoinette says:

    Strike the shepherd, scatter the flock. It is so cutting what is happening to our priests. I just cannot understand how the Church is so deficient in its processes to permit such injustice.

    And how can we change this?

    Jesus gave us the remedy to all problems. Eucharistic adoration. Are there any good people left in this town?

    It is our fault these problems exist.

    All we have to do is pray, fast and adore!

    My heart is broken for our priests. Even if they were guilty – so what! They can reform, throw the stone if you have no sin. Their hands bring us Jesus! They give us heaven.

    But how much heavier is the hurt when they are innocent. I am so sorry.

    Dear Father, I carry you always in my thoughts on the other side of the globe.

    Take comfort in the fact that you are where the Master is! And His kingdom is not of this world.

  18. Hidden One says:

    The antidote to all of the problems of the world is virtue. I should work on acquiring some of that. The method of acquiring it is prayer. I should work on that.

  19. Veronica says:

    Forgive me again, but I’m on a roll…and very, very worn out and tired of all of this.

    Hasn’t anyone else noticed that anyone effective in the Church is sent up the stream without a paddle?

    Sometimes I feel like I am losing my sanity.

  20. Veronica says:

    Forgive me if my comment is out of sync with your article. I got as far as this: “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not stand.” (Mark 3:25)

  21. Veronica says:

    I have to admit that I didn’t read all of your latest article, Father, nor did I read most of the comments. Why? I already concluded what the media is trying to do – trying and succeeding. If you can make your voice heard above the ruckus, by all means, try to warn our fellow Catholics that they are being used.

    Go ahead – take a gander through the various Catholic fora (including the SSPX sponsored ones). There is not a faction (it goes without saying that we shouldn’t have any factions at all, but such is our present day reality in the Roman Catholic Church) in the Church that hasn’t turned on each other.

    If they keep us battling one another, we’ll be too tired to effectively fight the true enemy. Isn’t there already enough hatred in the world? Must we add to it?

  22. Jeannie says:

    One wonders if the Archdiocese of Wash D.C. is revisiting some of their behavior. Certainly gratitude should be in order. The good Cardinal happily reported that, after years of teaching priests who were coming in ‘of a certain age’ who did not need full college education, they were building a full college to educate the large influx of young men coming in to the priesthood.
    These young men are coming in because of grace and even a very fallible cardinal, falling under the pressure of PC, would know that allowing these young men are coming in courageously and deserve real doctrinal teaching.
    There cannot continue to be this ‘wink wink’, ‘our’ cardinal is a great guy, not like all those outmoded types. We are blessed to have such a plethora of enormously educated and almost certainly well intended bishops and cardinals, but the result of their capitulating to the modern day equivalent of the worship of the golden calf, is a threat to all the world’s humanity. Being liked and not making any waves is NOT part of their sacred responsibility.
    When the shepherds are letting other shepherds get devoured by the wolves they then are feeding the wolves and certainly will not be looked upon with any trust by the sheep.

  23. Rita Blaize-Watson says:

    Amen, to Trish’s comment and I think that Fr. Marcel Guarnizo, like Fr. MacRae and Fr. Corapi, has made powerful assaults against Satan and his kingdom. We need to increase our prayers because evil has and will continue to make powerful assaults against them and all holy Priests.

    If these Priests had only preached love and happiness they might have been able to coast through this life but now that won’t happen.

    Well……maybe they can still coast if they just give up the fight but we need to pray that they be given the strength to never give up the fight.

    Pax Christi

  24. Bob says:

    Dear Fr., I have a story I’d like to share… a true story… I had a dream one night… In the dream I awoke – because of an incredible growling and snarling sound – right in my bedroom!! I awoke, sat up in my bed – and saw an incredibly large white and grey wolf – in bold three dimensions hovering over my bed, and poised to attack!! I calmly rolled over (turning my back to the vision) and said a brief prayer to Jesus… “If this be the end you wish for me, let it be, if not please allow me to go back to sleep”… I am tired of fear… I’m tired of self-pity… I’m tired of unhappiness – with anything, and everything… This life is an amazing opportunity granted to me by someone greater than myself… I just want to live in peace, be grateful for what I have, and praise God in all things – that I perceive to be good… and bad…

  25. Domingo says:

    I wrote my letter of support to Fr Guarnizo and thanked him for what he did. I am echoing here what many said who supported him: that he was doing her a favor! St Paul says that he who partakes of the Communion unworthily brings condemnation on himself. But maybe, the lady wasn’t aware of that.

    Father G, what I don’t understand is how your ‘woman’ could callously say that she did it because it was a war.

    ‘as we forgive those who trespass against us…’

    Jesus knew indeed what prayer to teach us!

  26. Ted says:

    Dear Father,

    I do not know where one’s own evil ends and Satan’s begins as the source of temptation in regards to the massive amount of sins of detraction and calumny that occur today. The more I stay away from the media the more obvious the amount of this type of sin becomes. It prompts me to also reflect on how I contribute to this problem. In the case of Fr. Guarnizo, I have to resist the rush to wonder what possesses the Archdiocese of Washington throw Fr. Guarnizo under the bus. I hope he appeals to the Vatican. However, I hope we find out the truth some day and in that process I have to resist the temptation to condemn the Archdiocese.

    Thank you Father for recounting what happened at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal parish. When I reflect on the degree of conversion that our priests undergo as part of seminary training and ongoing prayer with our Lord, to have parishioners say such things after a false story must be shocking. And to have the diocese add to your suffering … Years ago, a priest friend of mine clued me in that fellow priests and nuns, and superiors including bishops are also human and not immune from rushing to judgement and casting fellow consecrated people to the wolves. He said this in the 1990s, in pre scandal years. There is a kind of detachment that we need to avoid this rush to judgement which is almost like an addiction for us. Our Lord’s relative silence, or at least an economy of words, is instructive. It is often too much to contemplate on perfection Himself, carrying the cross and being crucified, to pay the debt that we owed and among that pile of suffering the enduring of false accusations being flung at him which culminated in the salvific act.

    Ted

  27. Jeannie says:

    I may comment as well but first off I needed to thank Trish for her comment, it was very very good.

  28. I pray also for father Marcel.Guarnizo,as I do after every reception of the ” Eucharist” for the sacerdotal Amen.

  29. We”l father Gordon, I’m not going to teach you scripture!.But know I always remember you in prayer,especially before the “Eucharist”.Invoke St Michael I will too.Unfortunately some of us Catholics succumb to baiting of Satan minions.Some of your article is cultural,so it’s beyond me.Rev Benedict.Groeschel CFR,wrote the church iltreats it’s own.prayer,prayer&more Prayer.I wish at this time of writing I could offer financial assistance,by the grace of God I will,yours in,Jesus,MaryJoseph& St Michael,Gabriel,Rafael.

  30. Ellen says:

    Thank you, Father. I agree with Trish. Of course, you must ask for St. Paul’s intercession constantly since he, too, was frequently imprisoned. I am appalled by the rancid behavior of some Catholics, but there are still a few of us who offer prayer, sacrifice, and Holy Hours for our priests. Like St. Francis, I would kiss your hands if I could because you bring us the Holy Eucharist not to mention absolution. Thank you for your faith and fidelity. We’re with you in the Spirit.

  31. Mary Ellen says:

    Dear Father Macrae,

    I began reading your column at the beginning of the Father Corapi issue. I continue to read your column with great interest, and inspiration. But, I must admit, (and, call this weakness and/or character defect), I have, in the last year, become so angry at “the church” that it has created a huge conflict in my inner life. It is simply unbelievable to see how the church has treated its priests, and in recent years these high profile crucifixions are just too much. If the church does this to its priests, what does it care for anyone? The ridiculous arguing between factions of the Catholic Church are equally disturbing. There is no center, no identity, no this is who we are. I know it is my responsibility, but I really cannot sit in a Catholic Church and feel anything but anger. I will have my own private relationship with God as I understand God, which is not interrupted by a narscisstic and corrupt bureaucracy. Father Corapi was the best thing that ever happened to “the Church.” He has now literally disappeared, and no one is addressing this. Really!? Un be lieve ab le. “The Church” did this. I am not going to sit here and pretend to pray for the church, and Father Corapi, etc., as so many are able to do. I was devastated by what happened to Father Corapi. The church needs to VIGOROUSLY defend/support its priests. The church is nothing without her priests. Talk about the Heart of Darkness. Here we are.

    Thank you for your work and spirit.

    Mary Ellen

  32. Trish says:

    Well said, Father Gordon! I think we all would do well to remember St Paul’s words: “Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power.
    Put on the full armour of God so as to be able to resist the devil’s tactics.
    For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the principalities and the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world, the spirits of evil in the heavens.
    That is why you must take up all God’s armour, or you will not be able to put up any resistance on the evil day, or stand your ground even though you exert yourselves to the full.
    So stand your ground, with truth a belt round your waist, and uprightness a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace
    and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to quench the burning arrows of the Evil One.
    And then you must take salvation as your helmet and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the word of God.
    In all your prayer and entreaty keep praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God’s holy people,”
    Ephesians 6:10-18

    We are fighting a war, that is for sure. God Bless you and Pornchai. Never give up! Praying for you and all faithful priests and Bishops. And for the not-so-faithful ones too…..

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