To abstain from self-justification under accusation
The focus of the uproar over the accusations against Father Corapi seems to have shifted away from speculation on his guilt or innocence. Most people seem to have accepted the fact that we just don’t know what happened with Father Corapi and we should wait for more information.
Of course that realization has not stopped people from buzzing and blogging about Father Corapi. The focus now seems to be on Father Corapi’s statement defending himself and the details of Father Corapi’s relationship with Santa Cruz Media and the propriety of Santa Cruz Media’s defense of Father Corapi.
Father Corapi has been quite aggressive in his own defense and has dragged Santa Cruz Media into the commotion which has (in my opinion) just added fuel to the fire.
Someone, on one of the dozens of blogs posts devoted to a discussion of these issues, characterized Father Corapi as “feisty.” Feisty! Based on what I have seen on television and heard on the radio, that would be an understatement.
I actually had a difficult time getting used to Father Corapi when I first started listening to him. I loved everything he preached and was moved and inspired by his personal story but, at first, I could hardly stand to listen to him because of his manner. I am a quiet, soft spoken older woman and I was very put off by this big, loud, aggressive, angry, scary-looking, deep voiced priest. I used to feel like he was in my face, YELLING AT ME! It took me quite a while before I was able to get past his manner and really focus on what he was saying.
So, given Father Corapi’s personality, it is probably unrealistic to expect him to refrain from defending himself.
However I have been reading Father Thomas Dubay’s wonderful book Fire Within and I was thinking of the section on page 121 where Father Dubay summarizes Saint Teresa of Avila’s advice that we should abstain from self-justification under accusation when we are innocent.
I confess that I find St. Teresa’s writings to be pretty tough reading. I rely on Father Dubay to explain it to me. But here is a link to St. Teresa’s original writing on the subject: Treats of the great advantage which comes from our not excusing ourselves, even though we find we are unjustly condemned.
Father Dubay explains that St. Teresa gives seven reasons why we should not speak in our own defense:
1) The example of Jesus in His Passion where He made no defense.
2) This penance does not harm the body as other more severe practices might.
3) Silence under accusation can be practiced in small matters and accustoms one to “gain great victories.”
4) We all have criticism coming to us for other things and can make some reparation in this way.
5) Silence gives a good example to our accuser and other especially when our innocence is eventually revealed.
6) Our silence may induce others to speak in our behalf, as Jesus twice defended a woman unjustly accused.
7) Silence gives us a great freedom from concern as we cease to worry about the opinions of others.
I have no idea how Father Corapi would respond to the advice of St. Teresa but I think that, especially now during Lent, this is a beautiful topic for prayer and meditation.
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