The above link is, in my mind, as complete and fair summary of the scandalous activities of Msgr. Luigi Capozzi at the Vatican, much of which came to light last week as a result of his arrest by Vatican police. The secular media, never concerned about being accurate when reporting on Church matters, got some important details wrong. But, the basic story, that Msgr. Luigi has influential friends at the Vatican and those ties allowed him to secure an apartment at the CDF building and a car with Vatican license plates that allowed him to secret in drugs and that he engaged in sinful and scandalous activities, apparently thinking himself untouchable because of his influential contacts — well, that part is true.
Jesus never promised a Church without scandal. In fact, He explicitly warned us that there would be weeds among the wheat. He also warned that the devil, the prince of darkness and of lies, would try in every way, shape, and form, to delude and discourage His followers away from fidelity to the gospel and toward a life dedicated to serving the darkness. The history of the Church is stock full of sinners who exploited their positions of trust and confidence for nefarious purposes. The child abuse crisis of the mid-60s to mid-80s, the consequences of which the Church still suffers today, is only one of a continuous round of children of Satan and siblings of Judas betraying Christ and His Church. Msgr. Capozzi will hardly be the last in this line.
So, how to respond to this latest horror, one so close to the upper echelon of Vatican leadership that took place mere blocks, a short walk, from Pope Francis’ own residence?
I recommend the following:
Pray! Pray for the Church. Pray for Pope Francis. Pray for those given the responsibility of leadership in the Church of Christ. It isn’t an easy job, and they are constantly besmirched by a hostile world and attacked by the designs of the devil and his minions. Pray for Msgr. Luigi Capozzi. He apparently has been sent to a monastery for retreat. Pray that his heart and those who participated with him in theses sins are turned toward Jesus and that they are able to successfully renounce their sins and the patterns of sin to which they have given themselves. Pray for all those who may be scandalized by his actions and who may even be considering abandoning the faith of Christ and His Church because of them. St. Francis de Sales said, “While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder, those who take scandal – who allow scandals to destroy faith – are guilty of spiritual suicide.”
Arm yourself! To protect against the spiritual suicide of which St. Francis de Sales warns, arm yourself with a knowledge and understanding of the faith, with a knowledge of the Scriptures and the Catechism, and with a knowledge of Church History. Those well prepared with a defense against the arrows of the devil and the world will stand better against their attacks. As well, arm yourself with a dose of humility, that is: a clear and honest understanding of yourself and your own struggles. We are all sinners whose only hope is the Cross of Christ and the judgment of God, which is mercy. Mercy triumphs over justice! Recall the story of St. Jean Vianney, who begged the Lord to show him the state of his soul. The Lord finally relented. Well, St. Jean was so disgusted that he never asked for this favor again! We are all of us beholden to the mercy of God. Were it not for Jesus, we would all be lost.
Do Penance! A clear and honest understanding of one’s own struggles ought to properly lead to the need to do penance. Perform an examination of conscience, then go to Confession. Offer sacrifices for the sins of others. They don’t have to be big. Sacrifice the extra donut. Sacrifice the time spent watching TV and read the Scriptures. Sacrifice a pray or two for those persecuted for the faith. When St. Ignatius of Loyola couldn’t stop his room mate from leaving for a night of debauchery, he took action. As his room mate was crossing the bridge over the stream that flowed through the town, he heard a splash. He looked down and saw Ignatius in the water! “Are you crazy? What are you doing?” his room mate demanded. St. Ignatius responded, “While you go off to commit your sins, I will be here doing penance for you!” Needless to day, the room mate was moved to turn from his sin. Who knows what hearts may be moved by our small sacrifices, even those done in secret, known only to us and God. Penance!
Rejoice! Knowing that mercy triumphs over justice, knowing that our penances are efficacious against the stains of our own sins and those of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and having confidence in the promises of Jesus that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church, we have the audacity to rejoice even in the face of scandal. Our lives are not our own. We are slaves to Christ, and we gladly serve Him and His Church, even at the cost of appearing foolish to this world. “We admit to being fools for Christ,” Servant of God Dorothy Day said, “and wish that we were more so.” So, rejoice in God’s mercy. Rejoice in the promises of Jesus. Rejoice! I say it again, Rejoice!
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.