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.