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Father Corapi

What Concerns Me The Most About The Corapi Scandal…

Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?  What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul?  Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.  Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth.  The one who plants and the one who waters are equal, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor.  (1 Cor 3:4-8)

On Tuesday, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) issued a press release detailing numerous allegations directed toward Fr. John Corapi.  A few days later, Corapi issued a response.  While the emerging details concerning the popular Catholic preacher are extremely alarming, there is something that concerns me even more – the willingness of some of Corapi’s followers to defend all of his recent words and actions, even when they may be at odds with Church teaching. 

As someone who always enjoyed his preaching, I remember Fr. Corapi warning us against criticizing bishops because “they have the hardest job in the world”.  He instructed us that we don’t have the right to gossip about anyone – even if what we’re saying is true.  He spoke about the power of the priesthood and the importance of remaining obedient to Holy Mother Church.  Sadly, his recent messages have been peppered with some of the very practices he cautioned us about.  And his decision to walk away from the priesthood after 3 months is stunning, to say the least. 

I make no secret of the fact that I love and will defend the Church.  Why?  Because the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ as the vehicle for our salvation.  I am not an ordained minister nor am I employed by the Church.  I’m a regular lay Catholic who loves Jesus and His Church.  People who read my blog or listen to me on the radio do so because they believe that I’m sincere.  What if someone did some research and discovered that I didn’t attend Mass on Sundays or was involved in an extra-marital affair?  Would you still listen to me preach about my love for the Church and the importance of living by the commandments or would you find a new messenger?

While I agree that the latest SOLT accusations are alarming (as is Corapi’s lack of response to many of them), they don’t change the way I think about the Black Sheep Dog one bit .  In reality, Fr. Corapi lost me the minute that he announced his intention to leave the priesthood and starting hurling allegations at the Church.  In my mind, that killed his credibility.  If he’s going to preach about obedience to the Church while lashing out at that same Church, I’m not going to listen.  If he’s going to have a DVD sale in honor of the 20th anniversary of his ordination AT THE SAME TIME he’s walking away (don’t be confused by his misleading wording, he IS walking away) from his priestly office then how can I take him seriously?

The words of St. Paul to the Corinthians (see above) remind us that the messenger can never be more important than the message.  Throughout his career, Fr. Corapi was a faithful messenger for the gospel message of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.  Many of us have learned much about the Faith from Corapi and the recent developments don’t “undo” that knowledge.  However, his  recent words and actions contradict the “Good News” that he preached for so many years. 

Folks, it’s time to find a new messenger. 

Fortunately for us, there are plenty of them out there.  It might be a famous Catholic priest,  lay evangelist or your local parish priest.  You may opt to read the Catechism, Vatican documents or the Bible.  Whatever you choose, I recommend that you do it without John Corapi.  Continuing to follow “The Black Sheep Dog” is a mistake and will only drive you further away from Our Lord and His Church.  By all means, continue to pray for Corapi  and all affected parties, but don’t let him convince you to turn against the Church.  Father Corapi is NOT the Church.  Father Corapi is NOT Jesus.  Father Corapi is not (nor ever was) the “only game in town”.  He is simply a messenger who did his job well for many years.  

The vast majority of us don’t know Fr. Corapi or his accuser personally.  Therefore, it’s not wise to accept EVERYTHING he says as the gospel truth, especially when there are some major red flags emerging.  Hopefully, we do know Jesus Christ and we acknowledge the fact that He founded a Church.  This Church is protected by the power of the Holy Spirit and has Our Lord’s assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail against her.  The same protection and assurance does not apply to Father Corapi.  If you’re still not convinced that you should stop following Corapi, consider the message issued by his own religious society.  Even if you choose to ignore the accusations and assume that he’s totally innocent, the following statement speaks volumes:

“Catholics should understand that SOLT does not consider Fr. John Corapi as fit for ministry.”

You may question why I’m devoting another blog to this matter.  Am I looking for publicity?  Am I judging Corapi?  Do I want to kick a man when he’s down?  Am I angry and trying to punish him?  The truth is that I’m concerned for the souls that he could potentially lead astray.  Everything I do with Following The Truth is dedicated to helping promote the Catholic Faith.  I want to help Catholics and non-Catholics know Jesus Christ and learn about His Church.  I have received numerous emails and messages on the Corapi situation and I can assure you that people are affected by this matter.  One can only listen to so many unfair criticisms of the Church and her bishops, threats to leave the Catholic Church, and expressions of betrayal before doing something.  This blog is my latest and (probably) final attempt at preventing further damage.

I urge you to pray for Fr. Corapi, his accuser and all affected by this scandal.  Please also pray for all of our clergy and religious DAILY, as they are under serious attack by the evil one. 

John Corapi (a.k.a. The Black Sheep Dog) is now preaching a message of division.  It is not the same message preached by FATHER John Corapi for so many years.  It is a deceptively worded message contrary to the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.  It is a message that should be avoided at all costs.  Take the advice of St. Paul and don’t become too attached to any one messenger.  Continue to follow Jesus as He works through His Catholic Church.  As I always say, “Stick with the Church and you’ll never go wrong”.

The Cost Of Discipleship (And Knowing When To Shut Your Mouth!)

Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.  But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.  “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.  For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’   “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;  and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.  (Matthew 10: 32-40)

As many of you know, being a follower of Christ has a price.  If we are to fully live and teach our Catholic Faith, we’re bound to ruffle some feathers.  Our Lord makes this fact very clear in the above “pep talk” to the Apostles.  What sometimes gets missed is the fact that the Lord is most likely using hyperbole in order to make His point.  Rather than telling us to “go out and make enemies of your family and friends”, He is reminding us that the Gospel message can be challenging and will often cause division.  We can’t be afraid to proclaim the “Good News”, but we also have to know when to “shut up”.

Father John Corapi’s recent decision to leave the priesthood has been discussed “to death” on many blogs, including mine.  I’ve made my point (and I won’t rehash it here) and there’s not a lot left to say except “please pray for all concerned”.  While some people agreed with me, others vehemently (and I do mean vehemently!) disagreed with my comments.  I tried my best to respond charitably and I apologize if I failed.  In an attempt to  “stop the bleeding” and get people focused on the bigger picture, I made some folks angry.  While there’s a time for boldly proclaiming the truth, there’s also a time to shut my mouth and for me…

the time is now!

Until something significant arises, I’m going to reiterate that we should pray for Fr. Corapi and all concerned and I really mean it!  Don’t think for a minute that God can’t fix this whole ugly mess.  I’ve recently been getting the feeling that this situation could still have a happy ending.  Will it?  Not knowing all the details and the mindset of the players, I really have no idea.

I’ve learned a lot over the past few days.  Many of your comments really caused me to think.  Was I being charitable?  Was I causing division?  Was my pride getting in the way?  Should I have spoken out?  When should I stop speaking out? 

Now I’d like to ask you a question.  Has there ever been a time when you needed to defend the Catholic Church or caution someone about sinful behavior, even though you expected to be met with resistance?  What was your approach and how did it work out?

I’d really like to hear your comments.  I think it would help many of us as we try to spread the “Good News” of Jesus Christ in a bold, but compassionate way.

Father Corapi – Just The Facts…UPDATED

UPDATE (5:48 PM) :  After listening to Father Corapi’s latest message this afternoon, I want to emphasize a few things:

1. Father Corapi and all affected parties DESPERATELY need prayers.  PLEASE PRAY!

2. Father Corapi is very angry and is lashing out at many people and the Church.  LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY to his messages, as they are very contradictory, not Christlike,  and are damaging the unity of the Church.  Could you picture the Lord using Father Corapi’s words?

3. I AM NOT JUDGING FATHER CORAPI or stating that he is guilty of any of the charges leveled against him.  I am, however, concerned for the souls that he is leading astray with his destructive messages.  Please stay close to the Church and you’ll never go wrong!

As much as I’d like to completely put the situation with Fr. Corapi to rest, I feel that I have an obligation to comment or present facts when appropriate.  Since there has been so much speculation about who’s being treated unfairly and the “flawed” process, here are 2 very good articles which contain some facts that may help to enlighten us. 

The first one contains some comments from Father Corapi’s superior and provides some new details about the investigation and the second gives insight into the Church’s investigation process.  I’ll let the articles speak for themselves.

In the meantime, please continue to pray for all concerned.

John Corapi – Where Do We Go From Here?

The past 24 hours have been very enlightening for me.  I’ve reached a new record for traffic on my website, which normally would make me happy…but I wish the circumstances were different.  My blog about Fr. Corapi’s decision to leave the priesthood generated lots of interest (to say the least).  I was called everything from a “fool” to “sensible”.  While it’s not fun to be attacked, I really do appreciate all of your comments.  I have to applaud you for caring enough about your faith to comment.  I spent some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and I reread my blog several times and I’d like to clear the air about a few points.  Although I’m very passionate about the Catholic Faith and sometimes get carried away, I’ve always considered myself to a fairly reasonable and charitable person.  I’d like to ask you to read the following statements and let me know what you think.

Why did I feel the need to write about this?– When the initial accusations against Fr. Corapi came up, I chose not to blog about them.  I did post a comment on Facebook asking for prayers for all parties concerned.  I didn’t know the details and I thought it best to remain silent.  On Friday, Fr. Corapi announced that he was leaving the priesthood, launching a new website and now referring to himself as the “Black Sheep Dog”.  Later that evening, I received a message from one of my readers stating that she is thinking of leaving the Catholic Church because of the unfair way that Fr. Corapi was being treated by the Bishop of Corpus Christi.

That was it…I HAD to write about the matter.

Let’s take a look at some of the facts in this case:

1. Father Corapi could be innocent – It is entirely possible that Fr. Corapi is completely or partially innocent of all charges and that the bishop and his superiors are treating him unfairly. If this is the case, he must be suffering terribly and that’s a great tragedy. What’s more tragic, however, is that by his decision to walk away from the priesthood, he is giving up the opportunity to clear his name.  However flawed the system may be, it is the only way for him to be cleared and return to active ministry as a priest.  I don’t see that as a good choice on his part.

2. Father Corapi could be guilty – As hard as it is to accept, Fr. Corapi could be guilty of some or all charges.  Assuming that there is only one accuser, there are only 2 people who know that answer for sure. By leaving the priesthood, the process comes to an end and the truth may never be known.

3. Father Corapi’s actions and statements bring division to the Church – Like it or not, I’m standing by this one.  Here are some of Corapi’s words – directly from his new website:

Suffice it to say that I love the Catholic Church and accept what has transpired. Unfortunately, the process used is inherently and fatally flawed, but the bishops have the power, apparently, to operate anyway they see fit. I cannot give a lengthy explanation of what has transpired, but I can tell you that the most likely outcome is that they leave me suspended indefinitely and just let me fade away. They can’t prove I’m guilty of the things alleged because I’m not, and they can’t prove I’m innocent because that is simply illogical and impossible. All civilized societies know that. Certain leaders in the Catholic Church apparently do not.

I did not start this process, the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas ordered my superiors, against their will and better judgment, to do it. He in fact threatened to release a reprehensible and libelous letter to all of the bishops if they did not suspend me.

They (the bishops) choose to selectively ignore or violate both Canon Law and Civil Law, as they deem appropriate and or expeditious. Once again, they apparently have the discretionary power to do this, and if that’s the way it is I have to accept that as reality.

In a time when the authority of the Catholic Church is under constant attack, Fr. Corapi chose to make statements that will turn people against the successors of the Apostles, the bishops.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at all of the negative comments on the Internet directed toward the Bishop of Corpus Christi.  The basis for these comments?  Fr. Corapi’s accusations. Could some or all of his statements be true?  Possibly, but even if they were, did he have to express it publicly, knowing what the reaction would be? Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to say that he’s leaving the priesthood for personal reasons and ask everyone to respect his privacy?

Could I have been more charitable? – Yes, and for that I apologize.  My comments about “extinguishing him from my life” were harsh and inappropriate.  My attempt to play off of Corapi’s words (“I’m not ready to be extinguished”), came across as cold and uncaring. While that was not my intent, I should have chosen my words more carefully.  The point I was trying to make is that because of his suspension and subsequent actions, I will not recommend or use his materials.  I stand by that position and would encourage others to explore the materials of Fr. Bob Casey, Fr. John Trigilio, Fr. Larry Richards, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Fr. Mitch Pacwa and other good priests who are not currently suspended. You can disagree, but that is my opinion.  I will never recommend the works of any priest who is under suspension or who speaks poorly of the Church hierarchy.

Where do we go from here? – I strongly recommend that you pray for Fr. Corapi and all involved in this tragic situation.  Please make it a practice to pray daily for all of our clergy and religious.  Satan is attacking them on a daily basis and rejoices when one of them falls.

To all of my new readers, I hope you’ll stick around as we walk together on the road to eternal life.  To all of my existing readers, thank you for your support and “keeping me honest” when needed.  If I offended any of you, I apologize and ask for patience as I try my best to proclaim the truth of our wonderful Catholic Faith in a truthful, but charitable manner.

I tried my best to be fair, without too much “sugar coating”.  Let me know what you think…

What Fr. Corapi Doesn’t Get

His supreme business was to be a Savior; but for the moment that included obedience to His earthly guardians. (A reflection on Luke 2:51 by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from his book Life Of Christ)

By now, many of you are familiar with Fr. John Corapi’s decision to voluntarily leave the priesthood due to his dissatisfaction with the Church’s handling of the allegations of misconduct leveled against him.  In case you missed it, here is the drama filled video from the man now known as “The Black Sheep Dog”, John Corapi:

As I’ve stated before, I was always a fan of Fr. Corapi’s and I loved to hear him preach.  His series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church was tremendous and helped me to learn and love my Catholic Faith.  The thing that I appreciated the most from his talks was his love for the Church and her shepherds.  Instead of criticizing them, Father Corapi reminded us to pray for our bishops because “they have the hardest job in the world”.  That’s not what I heard from the “Black Sheep Dog” last night:

“I did not start this process, the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas ordered my superiors, against their will and better judgment, to do it. He in fact threatened to release a reprehensible and libelous letter to all of the bishops if they did not suspend me.”(Fr. John Corapi, June 17, 2011 from his website)

I previously blogged about the fact that the Church’s message is always more important than the messenger.  That goes for Fr. Corapi, Mother Angelica, Archbishop Sheen or your local parish priest.  The minute we put all of our eggs in one basket and become a follower of any one individual instead of a follower of Christ, we are asking for trouble.  Over the course of the next several weeks, many people will side with Corapi and attack the Church for their handling of this matter.  We should remember that the decision to leave the priesthood is Corapi’s alone and not that of any Church authority.

I have no idea who is telling the truth in this case and there’s a good chance that I never will.  I have prayed for Fr. Corapi and his accuser every day since the story broke and will continue to do so.  What I do know is that the “Black Sheep Dog” is making a big mistake.  He is abandoning his vocation to the sacred priesthood because he feels that his message needs to be heard.  In other words, the mission of the Church can’t go on with out him.  Guess what?  It can and it will. 

If Father Corapi is innocent (and he may be), then he is being asked to carry a heavy cross right now.  Carrying that cross could have done tremendous good.  His followers would see an example of humility and of obedience to the Church he claimed to love.  Fr. Corapi’s suffering could have released many souls from purgatory and could have been used as penance for the many offenses against the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Instead, the “Black Sheep Dog” has chosen to reject that cross because “he is not ready to be extinguished”.  The practice of humility, obedience and acceptance of suffering was willingly embraced by Jesus and must be embraced by all of His followers.  Unfortunately, Father Corapi doesn’t seem to get that message.  Fortunately, there are plenty of good holy priests, religious, and lay Catholics who do “get it” and will continue to spread the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.  They do it by preaching the gospel and remaining faithful to the Church, even when it hurts.

Farewell, Mr. Black Sheep Dog.  I’ll continue to pray for you.  I have learned much about my Catholic Faith from you and I am grateful.  However, until you come to your senses, I’ll never purchase, recommend, watch or read any of your materials.  As far as I’m concerned, in my life…

you are extinguished.