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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…

15 Comments

  1. Alison McCutchen says:

    Well Said Gary! I could not agree more. Humility, humility, humility. How precious and necessary for Eternal Life is the gift of HUMILITY!!!!!! A priest should strive to exemplify this very gift so as to teach and direct the flock! Pride is the opposite of humility.

    You expressed humility when you received negative feedback rather than blasting a negative response back, and you turned to the Blessed Sacrament for strength before answering. Pride would have done the opposite.

    You are correct in saying all that you said about Fr. Corapi. He indeed needs prayers and is indeed under attack as we all are. Know thy enemy!!! We should all seek humility and not run from our crosses so as to be examples to others and a shining example of Jesus’ precious love for us. Through suffering (with humility) Satan has no power. I pray that Fr. Corapi remembers this and fast. Otherwise, he runs the risk of bringing souls away from God and directly into the hands of Satan. The new “title” he is marketing….”Black Sheep Dog” is very troubling indeed. I would never want to call myself black anything!!! I am worried as to who or whom is directing him or advising him to think in such a way. Very troubling indeed.

    I will leave with this prayer that I pray everyday for Priests….

    “God Our Father; please send us holy priests. All for the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus; All for the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with St. Joseph.”

    God bless you and keep you and your family free from harm as you assist Our Lord in directing souls to Him.

    -Alison McCutchen

  2. lisa says:

    the church doesn’t hurt people. people hurt people, we must help them all, the hurters and the hurting

  3. Robyn says:

    Hi Gary,
    Wonderful post…I am troubled though with how this case is being handled. Father Corapi,right or wrong, showed us all just how things are handled when a priest is accused and from what I see there, it’s a mess. There is no “procedure” put in place it seems for the accused to help themselves. It seems that the accused is believed guilty until proven innocent. Thats just wrong. This so called “process” needs to be fixed so that the accused can at least defend themselves. The way things are now they can not build a defense because they are left in the dark to who it is that is making the accusations and what the accusations are.. I would like to know how, for the life of me a Cannon or civil lawyer can even prepare to defend an accused with a ‘process’ like this? As I stated before, whether Father Corapi is wrong or not to have spoken out about how these cases are handled or not handled the point is, now we know.. The questions are, if we never knew it would never be fixed, how is this good for the priests, bishops, etc, the church as a whole? Who will finally break the silence (which I guess father did) and since it’s now out there what will be done about this horrible flawed “process”? I just read today about Father Gordon MacRae who has been in prison for almost 17 YEARS and he’s an innocent man. I have read the specifics about the case and this priest is innocent but, because of the railroading he got with civil law and in the civil court along with the bishop of his diocese at the time just before his trial he was convicted. It’s a HORRIBLE injustice. His diocese for lack of better words, threw him under the bus, abandoned him and has left him to rot in prison and they KNOW he is innocent because it has been admitted to in documents that have been published….. As lay people are we to sit back and let things like this keep happening? As much as I love the church, and I do, there is corruption in the ranks that MUST be cleaned out and when we as lay people follow blindly, “those in power” who are corrupt just keep getting away with it ruining lives of priests and it never stops.. So what is the answer?

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Robyn – I understand where you’re coming from, but we have to first remember that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ as the vehicle for our salvation. This perfect Church is comprised to sinners like you and me. Keeping that in mind helps put things in perspective. We also need to remember that, in the Corapi case, the accusations against the bishop and others in charge are coming from Fr. Corapi alone. You and I have no way to substantiate the charges. While there are probably flaws in the system, here is a very nice post from someone who was actually involved in the Church’s judicial process:

      http://pilgrimsfootsteps.blogspot.com/2011/06/fr-corapi-soft-you-word-or-two-before.html

      I can’t really address the process in this or any other case because I don’t have enough information. I would suggest lots of prayer!

      God Bless,
      Gary

  4. Diego says:

    Gary, you are a gentleman. Not because Fr. Corapi is “untouchable” but because you looked inside yourself and asked the Lord to show you, you. You faced your mistakes and then you fixed them in the humblest of manners. I believe that you did not only do it to “make nice” with the public, but because that’s what being a Christian is about.
    My prayer and hope is that the same thing happens to Father. That God will show him, him and the consequences of his actions. Same with me and my faults, and all of us as well.
    You have responded well to the scandal. Change starts with each one of us…You, and instead of “waiting” for him to come back, you exemplified the essence of his messages. “Preach it whether in season, or out of season!” and ultimately it is not about the messenger, but the message, right?
    Nevertheless, lets keep praying hard for him. I STILL agree with you, as much as I love him as well.

    God bless and Mother Mary keep you,
    Diego

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Diego – It’s amazing what some time before the Blessed Sacrament and some charitable correction will do :-) I have said what I felt “needed to be said” and now I’ll move on. I agree that we need to pray for Fr. Corapi and all affected, as well as all clergy and religious. Thank you for your insightful comments. Please keep in touch!

      God Bless.
      Gary

  5. Laura says:

    Thank you, Gary! I am a new visitor to your site and I must say that because of this post, I will be reading more. Thank you for your charity, your humility and your honesty. How refreshing in an increasingly cynical and angry society!

    One thing that has been milling around in my mind regarding Father’s decision on June 17 is that Father spoke the Truth in his previous talks before the proposed scandal was announced. I listened to him because of that Truth that does not change and that cannot change because it is the Truth of Jesus Christ. I had learned much from Father Corapi and I can put what I learned into action right now. I am extremely sad at what has transpired, as I know you are too, but we must carry on. We must be faithful, prayerful and united for the sake of Our Lord and Our Lady. I am grateful to God for what I learned about my Catholic faith through Father, and now, I move forward from this, still praying for Father, not kicking him aside, but moving on for my Jesus. I must always keep my eyes on Him. He is everything. God love you, Gary!

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Hi Laura – Thank you for the kind words and WELCOME! I hope you’ll stick around. I learned a lot about the Faith from Fr. Corapi and I’m also very sad. Let’s just keep praying for all concerned and for all of our clergy and religious. As you said, keep your eye on Jesus and His Church and you’ll be fine!

      God Bless,
      Gary

  6. katherine cairns says:

    Gary, I don’t believe Fr. Corapi’s decision to leave the Priesthood has anything to do with whether or not he is guilty of the accusations being made against him. I do believe him when he says he is innocent though. Arent we all suppose to be considered innocent unless proven guilty? This has not been the case with Fr. Corapi’s treatment from the Bishops and others in the Church.

    Fr. Corapi’s decision to leave the Priesthood is about the way his Superiors has treated him through this process. Fr. Corapi feels betrayed by those he felt should have supported him most, during this difficult time, and I agree. How can Fr. Corapi trust his Superiors if they werent there for him when he needed them the most? How can there be a relationship if there is NO trust. Trust in any relationship is critical.

  7. angel says:

    Thanks for more input, gary. I’ve been thinking more about the issue. I made a very heart-wrenching decision last year and left my job as a youth minister because of my boss’s irrational behavior to his employees…actually we all were made to leave, one by one – the DRE/nun, Deacon, & the busines manager, music minister, etc… Who would want to stay and endure mental and verbal hostility on a daily basis? We had no choice but to leave. Now we just try to move forward through the pain of our treatment by him. Hopefully, we are where God needs us to be. I thought about Jesus-He was innocent but He was still convicted. He let his convictors do what they did to him knowing it was for the good of humanity and God’s will for us to be a part of His full kingdom for eternity. He endured horrid suffering for us to live. If we & John Corapi & the church make our decisions with prayer, discernment & even before the Holy Eucharist, with the help, love & trust in God then we make the right the right decisions…sometimes we don’t see the effects of this for a long while. Remain faithful and we will be faith-filled.

  8. sform says:

    Mr. Gary Zimak, because your comments are difficult to put into a reasonable context, I must ask who pays your salary or consultation fees? Disclosing this would at least discount any of the biases noted in your opinions and put them in a proper perspective. By providing the infor, we can better judge the trustworthiness of your opinions.

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Thanks for your comment. In realilty, I’m just an ordinary lay person who loves the Catholic Church. My salary comes from working as a project manager for a commercial company. I am not employed by the Catholic Church in any way.

      God Bless,
      Gary

  9. Cherish says:

    Gary I think you are on the mark. I have listened to Father Corapi for years. I never in my life thought he would ever leave the priest hood or back down. It’s unfortunate no matter if he’s guilty or innocent. I just can’t imagine giving up being a priest so easily. I know salt ask him to come back to the order and he refused which I find strange. I have read many stories about several saints and they all had severe trials but didn’t quit. I really thought Father Corapi would have eventually been a saint. I have to be honest I did get turned off a few months ago after watching Father Corapi saying to watch his Sunday homily which you had to pay to watch. This struck me ask very odd. I love our Catholic church and if your going to be Catholic you have to love all of it. We cannot pick and choose what suits us. Gary keep your chin up you really gave the honest truth. God Bless Cherish

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Cherish – Thanks for your words of encouragement! I’m still praying for Fr. Corapi and all concerned. I am still hopeful of a “happy ending” to this situation. Things have been very quiet for a few days and there is always the possibility that Father’s comments got the attention of someone influential who could be speaking to him in order to come up with a less destructive solution. However, no matter what the outcome, you hit the nail on the head with your loyalty to The Church. That has to come first!

      God Bless,
      Gary

  10. mary says:

    I am so very up set over this whole thing. I truly felt fr corapi was preaching from his heart. I guess we will never know for sure. I will keep praying for him. Only God knows, and fr Corapi and the woman who started all of this. If she is lying God help her.

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