Father Corapi, Padre Pio, And The Clerical Garb

Not my kind of sheep.

I have posted before going to sleep the video of Father (I’ll still call him that way, as long as he is) Corapi. I would now like, after some hours of sleep, to write a thing or two about this.

Let me say beforehand that I continue to believe in his innocence from the allegations, for the following reasons:

1) a priest should be considered, by anyone, innocent until proved guilty. This is valid even if the priest in question is a very successful preacher with an entrepreneurial hunch. I am sorry to say that this is, googling around, not really the case. You try that happening to you and then tell me how it feels.

2) this move seems, among other things, motivated from the desire to be able to defend himself seriously against the lady accusing him. When Father Corapi is John Corapi again, the trial will be – if any takes place – a civil one, and then the lady must come up with something to substantiate her accusation, or shut up, or be massacred in court. Corapi says he has “forgiven” her, but even in the Papal States you got forgiveness before getting on the scaffold, so his forgiveness is certainly not one with any legal effect.

Let me also say again, before every discussion, that the current way the Church deals with priests accused of misconduct is a damn shame. This is the stupidity of the pedophile years all over again, in the contrary direction. It is a mistery to me how a young man can now decide to pursue his vocation, unless his vocation is to have his name and reputation destroyed at the command of the first person with some grievance against him. This is just a disgrace and I truly hope that this senseless praxis will change soon. Read here what not Corapi, but the bishop emeritus of Corpus Christ, Gracida, thinks on the matter. What is happening here is pure madness.

But after saying that, I must say that many questions remain open and paint a picture that is, to put it mildly, not entirely flattering for Father Corapi. Let us see them.

1) Priesthood. Here is not clear yet whether he will be defrocked; whether he has himself asked to go; and what his order thinks about the matter. When one leaves the priesthood himself (by far the most probable answer) I am sorry but I do not think that this can be downplayed as “a major change”. A move is a major change, or falling in love, or getting a new job. Holy Orders are not something one takes and leaves according to convenience. Last time I looked, to leave the priesthood was not a choice but a grave sin and a shame and the fact that the Church has after V II accepted to make of this a current praxis doesn’t make the matter less grave. Sacraments (and the duties that go with them; obedience, say) cannot be disregarded because a “major change” is now more convenient. If he is going to “defrock himself” as it appears this is very, very bad.

2) Publishing empire. I wonder whether the reaction would have been different if he had not had a well-oiled publishing operation. Corapi clearly always had an entrepreneurial hunch and I find this not bad at all; but if the publishing empire goes before the clerical habit then yes, I find this entirely bad. Let us also consider that, beside the obvious talent of the man, his success was in part due to his being a priest, with the authority and holy orders that go with that. He cannot think that things will stay the same with the only difference of “John Corapi” written on the DVD boxes.

3) The black sheep. In the simple world where I live, one claims his innocence or he confesses his guilt. If he is innocent, he should avoid self-commiseration and self-styling as a victim. I don’t like black sheep. I want my sheep white. I also don’t like the smell of “we are a group apart” that this seems to imply. To play renegades should be forbidden to everyone older than seventeen.

4) The half words. At times, the message is outright creepy. 1) He accepts what has “transpired”. What is this? Does this imply some imprudence, or inappropriate behaviour from him? Is he hiding something that will come out soon? 2) He “perhaps deserves” to be thrown out. Really? Really really? Why the fuss then?

5) Clearly the biggest problem here: the pride. We are all human and I am the first one to say that I truly like the though guys like Corapi. He clearly sees himself as the victim of an injustice and gets in reaction mode. All fine in itself, if you ask me; he is certainly not supposed to be slaughtered without defending himself, and I like a combative priest like the next man. But at the price of his habit? At the price of leaving the priesthood? Pride is playing him a very bad trick here. And pride it is, as by simply shutting up his reputation would have remained forever intact among his very many followers, which is much more than every priests on the planet risks, by the idiotic system currently in place, every day.

I have never thought that Father Corapi was a “living saint”, as I think that “living saints” are very rare. But I did think that he was a great man besides being a brilliant mind and a sincere Christian, and am now left wondering what tricks economic interests or, more probably, pride and desire to get even with the lady accusing him are playing to him. I will not make a cruel comparison with Padre Pio, a man who was accused of the same behaviour, and of other horrible things besides,  and accepted years of humiliations – and a life of always rehashed slanders afterwards – in perfect obedience and perfect humility. I’d never be able to do it myself, and I will not say to Father Corapi that Padre Pio is the standard. But what I would ask of a priest, is that he defends himself and does whatever he can compatibly with his remaining a priest. To say that this is “not possible” is to negate one’s role as a priest in the first place. Priests are victims, not heroes.

The comparison with Padre Pio, or Fulton Sheen, might be too hard. But the comparison with the thousands and thousands of priests who get slandered, threatened, insulted and perhaps harmed or killed in many parts of the world, bearing a heavy cross that the world doesn’t even see, can certainly be drawn.

I cannot see any of them reacting in this way. I also cannot see any Father Zuhlsdorf, or Father Finigan, reacting in this way.

A line has been crossed here. A sacramental one. And this is not even a matter of weakness. If he had said “I have been week and have been with a hooker” this would have been bad, but merely a weakness, not a rebellion. If he had said “I have been overcome by stress and have started taking too many pills, so that now I don’t even know whether I am a drug addict again” this would have been bad, but one would have understood the pressure, and the snares of the devil.

But this here seems to me cold-blooded rebellion to his habit, an all-pervading desire to continue to be the hero of the masses or, much more probably, to defend his name and reputation at any cost. But this is self-defeating, as one cannot defend his reputation in ways that must perforce damage it.

Father Corapi is and remains a brilliant mind. Many of the quotes in my “quotable Catholic” section come from him. They will remain there, make no mistake. He will have my prayers, but certainly not my support in his new activity. And our prayers he truly needs, because in him a brilliant mind and a sincere heart fight against clearly present self-destructive tendencies, and an ego that wants too much. If he thinks that after this move his situation will improve he is, in my eyes, sadly mistaken and a slow journey to self-destruction, sorry as I am to say this, appears to me a more likely occurrence. Satan is clearly circling around a good soul, whispering in his hear sweet words of celebrity, intact reputation, adoring crowds, if he just…… abandons his habit. Abandon his habit! One is almost reminded of Doktor Faust. Best wishes to him, and let’s keep him in our prayers.

He wants, I think, to become another Michael Voris. Perfectly orthodox of course, but free to talk and to defend himself. But there’s a fundamental difference between Michael Voris and John Corapi.

Michael Voris never left the priesthood.


Posted on June 18, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Given that Father Corapi was placed in an administrative limbo I am not sure what else he could do. He could not function as a priest. I would have done the same if I were him. There is being submissive and then there is doing what is right. What would be the point of continuing to be in essence in prison? The church did wrong to the victims of abuse by NOT taking action against the priests involved and now has gone 180 degrees the other way by convicting any and all priests who are accused of ANYTHING regardless of how ludicrous the accusation. They are convicted without trial by way of no action by the church. The church needs to get its house in order and stop this wishy washy behavior.

    • Lee Anne,

      whilst I agree with you that things have become absurd, I must disagree with the rest.

      “He could not function as a priest”
      He was suspended, not kicked out. It happens to the best. St. Ignatius and St. Francis even got a taste of the Sacred Inquisition. Every priest must know that this can happen.

      “I would have done the same if I were him”
      You haven’t received Holy Orders and it seems to me that the gravity of this escapes you. This is very grave, not “resigning” from some position.

      “There is being submissive and then there is doing what is right”.

      There is being submissive and there is being rebellious. A priest has no right to leave the church because he is wronged. A priest has no right to leave the Church because he is killed. I know, easier said than done, but that’s what it is. A priest is alter Christus also in this, that it is required of him to suffer and die – if must be – because of men’s injustice as Jesus suffered and died because of men’s injustice. This is the mark of the priest.

      The priest is victim. In him, bearing the cross of Christ comes before thinking of what is just.

      Again, I wouldn’t be able to do this. Again, I do not have holy orders.

      Sacraments give sacramental grace. Father Corapi has, when he has received his orders, also been given the strenght, if he collaborates with Jesus, to bear every trial.

      What would be the point of continuing to be in essence in prison?

      1. He was not in prison. He was free to go and move however he pleases.
      2. Many priests are or have been put in prison.
      3. The point of being in prison is to *bear Christ’s cross*. To bear it in the unjust accusations, in the humiliations, in the condemnation of the world, in the jail, in the torture, in death. This is the point. This is, in fact, the whole point of being a priest.

      Father Corapi puts his being a *preacher* (and let me add: his being an *entrepreneur*) **before his being a priest**. But this is the entire mistake. He belongs to Christ, not to his “fans”. By becoming a priest, he has accepted to put on him a burden that can’t be discarded when he is (as he, I think, is) treated with injustice. The Church has never promised any priest that she would treat him with justice.

      I can certainly understand where he comes from. But I would be giving scandal if I would say that he is right in doing what he does. ***One is never, ever, right in discarding his priesthood***.

      The man is certainly well-off. He doesn’t risk starving, not even poverty. He could have employed his time praying and writing. Not, I mean, writing autobiographies meant to justify his rebellion to holy Orders (make no mistake: that’s what it is), but writing on every possible subject, waitign for his time to come or for his work to be published posthumously; knowing that not men’s opinion is important, but God’s.

      In doing so, he would have been assured of the affection of the many people loving him. His submission would have been a wonderful example of priestly ministry. Still, he would have had all the administrative ways the Church puts at his disposal, as no one required him to march to the slaughterhouse himself.

      I am sure that his heart is good. I am also sure that he sincerely desirous to continue to do good. But it is not to be denied that in doing so he is looking on earth, not to heaven. He is also clearly thinking of continuing the business. He is, as I have said, wrong in considering himself a preacher first. He is a priest first.

      He gives away Christ’s yoke, to continue to be an acclaimed preacher. It can’t be right.


  2. Great essay, I totally agree. However there are many out there who totally support Fr Corapi;s probable leaving the priesthood and totally support him. There is a fb page supporting Father that will not permit any comments other than total support of his decision. I did leave the group because I do not support his decision – if indeed he has made it – to leave the priesthood for the very reasons you list. So, what I am seeing and what I am trying to say is there are people who will follow blindly – a person’s decision regardless of law or explicit e reasons why they ought not be doing such a thing. And that bothers me!!!
    And again I thank you because you have put i nto actual words and backed them up in a way I could not do.

    • Thank you, Judy.

      I think there is – particularly in the United States, accustomed to the Protestant ministries – a rather worrying ignorance as to what the sacrament of Holy Orders is, and regarding the role of the priest. Therefore there are a lot of people who follow him as they would follow Joyce Meyer, or Joel Osteen. Very sad.


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