On The Father Corapi Affair.
I have already written about Father Corapi. I truly like the man. I think he is one of the finest preachers around. In my “The Quotable Catholic” section he is rather well represented, though probably much less than he deserves.
Father Corapi has now been put on administrative leave. At this point (and this is what makes it rather difficult to write about it) we don’t know much about the exact circumstances. What we know, though, from Father Corapi himself is that a former employee has written a letter to several bishops accusing him of misconduct on a vast series of accounts (drugs and women seem to be prominent, though) and that as a result he has been suspended pending investigation.
Just for the record, please note that:
1) No misconduct on minor is involved in any way and 2) no criminal offences are involved in any way (which sound strange to me, considering that drug use from the former drug addict Corapi would seem to be part of the accusations).
I would like to point out, here, a very important concept that, it seems to me, is too often lost when such events are discussed. A man is a good Catholic preacher when he succeeds in properly communicating the Catholic Truth and thus helps others on their way to God. Whether he is a saint or a sinner (better said: in what degree he is a sinner, as we all are) is something which will impact his own soul at the moment of death, but certainly does not impact the Truth he goes around preaching, nor the good he spreads around by doing it.
I don’t need to believe that a person is a saint to feel encouraged to do as he says. If he is able to encourage and motivate me, this is enough. If he is also a saint, good for him, but this doesn’t make the truths he says any more true.
Corapi is – as a preacher – a fine pearl of Catholicism. Besides his life being a beautiful witness of Catholic courage (a fact that, as I have said, is not in the first line here), his way of explaining the Catholic teaching is what makes him so rare and such an effective help to Catholic evangelisation.
We must always separate the Truths a preacher talks about, from the degree in which he is able to adhere to them. First of all no one will ever be able to completely adhere to them, and secondly the truths would become not one iota less true even if the preacher should, say, turn out to be a homosexual child rapist who earned a second income in a brothel whilst selling crack to fund his alcoholism.
If your excellent history teacher at school turned out to be an alcoholic, this didn’t make him any less good at teaching history, nor history any less true because he drank.
Having said that, we don’t know and pending an investigation, I think that even Father Corapi wouldn’t be angry at us for saying “I like you a lot but as I don’t know you personally, I can’t start screaming your innocence right now”.
Others have made a comparison with Maciel, but as I like Corapi a lot I prefer to make a comparison with Padre Pio, more or less horribly slandered (and certainly seriously damaged in his reputation) not for days or months, but for years. A famous episode concerned his being accused of profiting of his role as confessor to get sexual favours from a certain woman; it turned out that the accusation had been motivated by the jealousy of another lady, who subsequently confessed her grievous sin.
Frankly, I do see some parallels here, but again: I wasn’t there.
Corapi might be more Padre Pio or more Maciel (come on, we know the first hypothesis is by far the more probable and he is innocent until proven guilty anyway). Still, my admiration for Corapi (whose sincere inspiration I do not doubt for an instant, however little or however big his faults and private sins may be) as a fine preacher is undiminished whatever the outcome of this affair.
I didn’t want to write about Father Corapi as I don’t like to use this blog to speculate about things I don’t know, but I have read things whose general tone (and possibly general spirit) I didn’t like and thought it fitting to express my admiration for the man’s sincerity and ability once again.
Here is wishing him all the best; he is in my prayers and, I do hope, in yours.
I hope to see him roaring from the pulpit again very soon.
Posted on March 24, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged Administrative leave, Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Conservative Catholic, conservative catholicism, God, John Corapi, Religion and Spirituality, Substance dependence. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
I have no inside information on Fr. C., but I have a couple of bits of data and an upbeat peroration. One, I have met him briefly. The course of our conversation, about the course of the course and how his preaching related to that, was entirely consistent with his being then and now utterly dedicated to following the Lord. Two, I heard of him relatively early on after his conversion. Although it’s surely around (it may even be among the CD’s the K of C are handing out), perhaps not so many of heard his conversion story–I may, in fact, have heard that in person, too. Anyway, a background like his woud leave plenty ammo for the forces of evil to shoot at a soldier of the forces of Good who was becoming effective.
There is, as you point out and address intelligently, a possibility he has fallen. I think of Jimmy Swaggart, the U. S. evangelist-country singer (he was a cousin of somebody quite favous, it might have been someone in Jimmy Carter’s family). He kept getting in trouble, but his song, “Looking for a City” is still sincere and inspirational. Here’s a two tapping video that’s also an interesting look at red-state America:
I can’t remember if this song came before or after most famous fall, but he was fully in each. My bet’s on Corapi’s being framed, but, if things prove otherwise, it’d be fun to see them do this number together–now that’d be ecumenism!
I fully agree and without wanting to sound too “italian” (that is: not puritan enough 😉 ) I have immediately thought abaout his past and how this might be a special source of temptation to him.
At the same time, frankly I generally require more than a letter written in anger by a woman with obvious axes to grind before I begin to seriously consider that something might be seriously wrong. To write a letter is not really difficult (particularly if correct spelling is not required) and to plant a short-lived mess is then rather unavoidable seen the paranoia assailing the church hierarchies everytime they might be accused of “covering up” things.
My pint is on Corapi coming back greater than before. Should this not be the case I will, frankly, pray for him even more. Even David and Salomon had their own obvious weaknesses and whilst i am not condoning them both, I try to understand what havoc temptation can do to the best of us; besides, as you rightly say the best of us are the ones most cruelly tempted.
Unfortunely, I do have some inside information that was shocking. Somehow a lady on Facebook posted on Fr. C’s Facebook page and I confronted her about it because even it were true her methods were unethical and over the top. She worked for Fr. C and so did her mother. She accused her or the dirty deed with her mother, yet neither ever admitted to it. She said a settlement was made and the lady (her mom) no longer works there. True be told, no one really knows for sure. Fr. C is an adict. If he fell off the wagon, climbing back on would be very difficult and people would really know.
He’s a good preacher. If he had an affair it would have been consensual based on the information I have. But it’s questionable at best, unless he admits to it to his superiors. Unless its “illegal” then we really ought to keep our judgements to ourselves. The daughter of the lady was very angry and is the one that wrote the letters. The daughter appears to be emotionally unstable and is divorced with 4 children. So I can say that the investigation should be short based on my information. I believe Fr. C will be exonerated on the charges. However, if the mother of the woman is a beautiful as the daughter, then I could see the attraction. I just hope that Fr. C was able to keep to himself. I seriously doubt he fell off the drug addict wagon. But then only time will tell. I plea innocent, even if he fell from grace and returned. The story sounded like he already “fixed” the affair. I just doubt that its true based on the emotional state of the only accuser – a jealous daughter.
So, what we apparently have here is an unstable woman saying that her mother went with Fr. Corapi, when even her mother denies the accusation.
If he really had some hanky panky with the lady this would be more than questionable, though obviously not illegal.
The woman’s story, if it was really made, seems to me absurd out of the following grounds:
1) Corapi & co. all say the woman who wrote the letter is the one who got fired. Therefore we have an unstable woman with a private agenda.
2) That the mother doesn’t work there anymore says nothing. That there was a settlement, too. Note that the mother, in this case, didn’t say a word and even denies the fact.
3) Corapi himself has said that there is nothing in the accusation. Now you can say whatever you want of the man, but no one can deny that he is very intelligent. Unless the world has changed, he would not insist on something he knows will, sooner or later, prove a lie.
4) Drugs seem to me, to me, utterly out of the question as I find it impossible than an ex-addict (the operative word here is ex) could start taking drugs again without people everywhere noticing, from his superiors to the people at the TV station.
5) I can imagine nothing easier than an unstable woman saying “the man slept with my mother”, after having been fired.
Summa summarum, it doesn’t seem to me that anything new has emerged, beside the fact that the woman who would have slept would be the mother of the former worker.
Still, I was not there. But this doesn’t mean that I refuse to use my own brain in the matter. Father Corapi is and remain innocent until proved guilty.