Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When a Priest Becomes a Problem

I suspect more than a few of you know the respect and admiration I once had for Fr. John Corapi (he of the many EWTN broadcasts), he has since managed to sabotage the respect I had for him, while coming close to ensuring an excommunication for himself. 

Corapi, was suspended of his priestly faculties earlier this year while an investigation was launched to determine the validity of claims made against him in a letter to the bishop of Corpus Christi. He initially professed his innocence and maintained that it would all come out in the wash. In the wake of so many scandalous events involving priests in the last decade seeing Corapi linked to scandal was a shock, but perhaps a lesser one than it might have been 15 years ago.

Recently, Fr. Corapi has resurfaced with a new website, calling himself the Black Sheep Dog and saying he can now minister more effectively to a wider audience. In his initial launch of the new domain he announces that he is renouncing his priestly vows and essentially turns around biting the hand that fed him and made his name. He suggests that certain shadowy figures in the church hierarchy want him gone, when in fact they want him merely to return to community with his priestly order, rather than his self-imposed exile in his spendy Montana compound.

Some bloggers have compared the initial speech/announcement to Richard Nixon's Checkers speech. Nah, the Checkers speech at least had some humor to it. This speech is more closely aligned to Nixon's resignation announcement, and his whole conspiracy addled mind-set at that time.

It seems that opening announcement was merely the diving off point. I wasn't able to even finish it but has released several others evidently (h/t: Mark Shea) and he apparently continues to remove himself further from the church with each one.

It is interesting that today's Gospel reading is Matt. 7:15-20. Jesus warns us of false prophets in sheep's clothing (or in this case is it sheep dog's?). Corapi's claims of wrongful persecution are in fact leading people astray, many of his fans are so wrapped up in his neat little tale of woe, that they are allowing themselves to be led away from The Way, The Truth, and the Life by this ravenous wolf.

Certainly there have been and continue to be many false prophets. Men like Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, Harold Camping and others continue to damage the Body of Christ by leading good people astray. Perhaps though the greater damage to the Body of Christ is done when it is someone who should be leading souls to Christ instead pulls them away.  

Corapi is doing a masterful job of talking out of both sides of his mouth. On the one hand declaring the Magisterium to be full of honorable men, while at the same time bemoaning how he is being cheated by those in authority. Sorry Father, but it can't be both. Either nefarious men exist in the Magisterial authority of Holy Mother Church and they are evilly preventing you from using your priestly faculties or you aren't as innocent as you profess and they are merely attempting to do their job. The job you so willfully gave up; protecting the flock from wolves.

Meantime any of his comments about his suspension being somehow unfair are so patently absurd as to almost not bear mention. Many occupations that ultimately deal with caring for people have suspension stipulations during investigations into wrongdoing. So that tune falls flat as well.

Ultimately John Corapi gave up his vows willingly, and under no duress from the bishop or the diocese of Corpus Christi, his new identity as the Black Sheep Dog was trademarked more than a year ago. It all smacks of someone who knew that the defecation was perilously close to the ventilation system so he began to form an escape plan.

What is saddest in all of this to me is that I enjoyed watching Fr. Corapi, he was a gifted speaker who certainly helped to illuminate the faith in simple terms. Now he is a lost soul who threatens to take others with him. Let us all strive to keep in mind St. Paul's warning against factions from 1st Corinthians 1:12-13.

In closing I would just like to say that the Enemy holds a special hate for the people who guard Jesus' flock. So take a minute or two today and lift your priests/ministers up in prayer asking God to give them the strength they need to continue their battles.


Joe Heschmeyer said...

What a sad situation. I think the best thing we can do at this point is pray.

Michael said...

Indeed, I hope the Spirit moves him to realize the error of his ways and to mend his relationship with Rome.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't think that defecations and ventilations systems had much to do with the thing; rather that he already planned a series of autobiographical books about "how the former black sheep became a world famous sheep dog" and that the trademark was considered fitting to the new situation.

The extremely creepy dog was, hopefully, unplanned one year ago.


mom62 said...

What has happened to Fr. Coropi reminds me of Matthew 12:45 which could happen to all of us especially if we are not vigilant.
I will continue to pray for his reversion.