By: Holly Green
I read an article recently on this blog about Father Corapi and the allegations against him of “improper conduct with an adult female”. He is a priest and in our modern day Catholic religion, they are to abstain from sexual contact of any kind. I believe this goes against human nature. God made us with these desires and to discount them is only going to cause problems. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about this.
In Genesis, God made man and woman. He gave the woman to the man to be a helper. (Gen. 2:19-25) Verse 24 says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
God intended man and woman to be together from the very beginning.
The book of Hebrews talks about priests and compares the Law of Moses to the new law. In the Law of Moses, priests were necessary to offer sacrifices to God for the people. Only the priests could enter the Holy of Holies-the back part of the temple and most holy place.
Hebrews 2:17- “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
Jesus became our high priest when he ascended into heaven after his resurrection from the grave. In Hebrews 3:1, it says this of Jesus: “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;” We can confess our sins to Christ and he will intercede for us. In chapter 4:14, Paul says it again: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
The apostle Paul then begins to compare the priests from the Law of Moses to Jesus and how they are different. We pick up the reading in the next verse. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Heb. 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Heb. 5:1 ¶ For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;
Heb. 5:2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;
Heb. 5:3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.
Heb. 5:4 And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.
Heb. 5:5 ¶ So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,
“ YOU ARE MY SON,
TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”;”
Back then, they needed a priest because there was a barrier, of sorts, between them and God. They could not approach God directly but 4:16 tells us that we can approach God on our own. Heb. 7:19 “(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”
With the new law, the law we are under now, we have one high priest in heaven. “Heb. 7:22 so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Heb. 7:23 ¶ The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,
Heb. 7:24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
Heb. 7:25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Heb. 7:26 ¶ for it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
Heb. 7:27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”
When Jesus died on the cross several things happened. The earth shook, rocks were split, tombs were opened and bodies of the saints were raised but something else happened. (Matt. 27:50-53) The veil of the temple was torn in two. The veil had been in place to separate the most holy place, where the presence of God dwelt. Only the high priests could enter that part of the temple; however, the moment Jesus died, it was torn from top to bottom. This signifies the barrier being broken between God and man. Man can now approach God, himself in prayer to Him. The only person who needs to intercede for us is Jesus.
So, do we need any other priests? I Peter 2:4-9 says that we are priests, “being built up as living stones as a spiritual house for a royal priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession…”.
Do priests have to be unmarried? The Bible says no. God created marriage for the release of those desires and created those desires, themselves in us. It is OK to have those desires. It is how we react to them. Should this man have been involved in premarital inappropriate conduct? No, but the situation could have been avoided in the first place. Withholding those desires from ourselves will cause them to come out eventually in some form, whether appropriate or not. In I Timothy 4:1-5, we read about the Holy Spirit saying that some will fall away because of lies and deceitful doctrines, whose consciences have been seared to where they do not feel anything at all about their actions. What were these people teaching? Verses 3-4 tell us that they were, “men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected.”
Paul does talk about whether to marry or not and bases it on self-control. He does say that he chose to stay unmarried and wanted others to do the same. A man can choose to be single but he should not if he cannot control his desires. He is depriving himself of what is naturally within us. I Corinthians 7:9-“But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.”
I believe this is why so many priests are getting into inappropriate situations and acting unbecomingly. They are sort of putting themselves in an impossible situation. God does not require us to go this far to be more holy.
Father Corapi seems to be one of those who falls into the category of having less self-control than others. I think we should all forgive him, for he is just a man, a fallible man. As I pointed out earlier, Jesus was the only man who was without sin. Everyone sins. (Rom. 3:23)
Peter once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother. In Matthew 18:21-22, he asks, “Up to seven times? Jesus said to Him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”
This does not mean that we need to literally multiply seventy times seven and put our limit there. Jesus is saying keep forgiving him time after time, which is not easy to do, but we are also told that, “God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others.” ( Matt.6:14-15)