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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”.

12 Comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    Gray,

    I am not Catholic, but I do follow you on facebook and I did listen to Fr. Corapi alot. The allegations brought against him are dishearting to say the least to include his response. However, what concerns me the most about this has little to do with Fr. Corapi. My concern is the great attention given to this over things such as the cases against children. My concern is the priority given by the Church or atleast the percption thereof. If these allegations are true they are certainly inexcusable, and his response is definitely inappropriate. I suspect three problem runs deeper than the actions of astray priests. See the priests are following the tradition of man by forced celibacy. It is certainly noble and no doubt what some are called to such as monastics. However, priests arw probably not in this category. St. Peter was married, and the Church openly says it’s just a discipline, but it is forced on those called to priesthood. Some of our suffereings are given us so we can have compassion on those in those states. How can a forced celibate priest properly shepard a flock when he can not relate? He still has the same temptations as the rest of us and is seperated and alone most of the time, it’s easy to falk with no support. His nature has been perverted by the denial of it,ie forced celibate. Sure it works when you are called but when forced it is not Gods will for you, although the priesthiod still may be that persons call. If the Apostles and a great number of yhe fathers and priests early in the church could be married and effectively shepard a flock,many are saints, who are we to improve it? It was not divinely instituted or it would be Dogma not tradition. Perhaps its time to return to the early roots and allow married priests and drastically reduce the onslaught of sexual misconduct committed by the priests. Fr. Corapi is just another example of why following the tradituon of man ends badly.

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Jeremy – Thanks for your comments. The purpose of my post was not to determine the guilt or innocence of Fr. Corapi, but rather to alert people that his recent actions and statements are in conflict with the “Good News” of Jesus Christ that he preached for so many years. Aside from the obvious red flags, his criticism of the Church is reason enough to avoid his preaching. As far as celibacy goes, it seems to get brought up any time a priest gets into moral trouble. I don’t want to debate who was married and who wasn’t in the early Church, especially in the case of St. Peter, because there is no proof that he was married once he became an Apostle. The main issue here is Fr. Corapi and I see no way that celibacy is the cause of his issues, especially the ones that I’m addressing. Celibacy is a great gift and allows a priest to devote his time to his spiritual children. Can it change one day? Sure…as you mentioned, it is a discipline. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church does have some married priests (although they are the exception).

      Peace,
      Gary

      1. Jeremy says:

        Gary,

        I am disheartened by Fr. Corapi. I certianly wasnt trying to determine guilt and I hope that is not what I sounded like. My spill off to celibacy was a grand scheme of things with Fr. Corapi’s allegations added on top of it all. I am saddened everytime I hear of a priest that has fallen or supposedly fallen. I am in no way against the Catholic Church but love all as my brethern in Christ, I am Orthodox, hence my different view point. I think as it said left lung right lung here. When one hurts we all hurt and I certianly pray for the whole situation. On a lighter note I enjoy your blog, shows and facebook posts. You are doing a great job.

  2. John McAlpine says:

    Jeremy:

    I must take issue with you regarding celibacy, which you deride as a mere “tradition of men”. No. It is a tradition that goes back to the Apostles, and that the Church has always held to have been favored by Christ Himself. Moreover, Scripture does not say St. Peter was married: it only mentions his mother-in-law, proving he must have had a wife at one time. If in fact he and other Apostles and other early men did have “wives” from before their ordination, we still do not know that this was normative, or that they exercised their conjugal rights after their ordination: even today married Eastern priests abstain from conjugal relations before they celebrate Mass, and married men are never advanced to the episcopacy (in either East or West), the fullness of the priesthood. Finally, the idea that marriage would keep an unchaste man from sexual sin, either with female or male partners, is simply laughable: too many married men sin this way, as everybody well knows. I hope this helps.
    Regards,
    John

    1. Jeremy says:

      John,

      I fully understand the eastern perspective since I am Orthodox. However, some indepth study will show you that there were quite a few in the early Check that were married. It couls not have been to uncommon since scripture tells us that when they were choosing those for ordination it was to be with those whose household was in order. Your argument that it would not help is laughable to be honest. You are right we all sin in someway or the other or we wouldn’t need a savoir, once again celebate priesthood is a discipline because a Pope thought it might be good, it’s not a doctrine. It’s not a doctrine because it’s not a revelation our precept from the beginning or it would bw peppered in early Church writtings. Celebacy was perferred for everyone if they could bear it, not just priests. If they cod not bear it, they were then encouraged to get married to keep from the sin of fornication and such. Pretty much only the west enforces that amd it wasn’t something the Apostles passed down as needed, therefore it is a tradition of a man. Just so tou know I am biut completely ignorant to the whole thing I was a Catholic theology major for quite a bit. In addition it is in the forced celibacy that you see these problems the most is it not? Alot less cases in the in pretty much every other sect, so there is more than enough evidence to show that forced celibacy is damaging amd is proven by simple observation, case studies and so forth. I am biut oppressed to the church by any means, I just think out went a little off course when it separated from the East. Hope that helps you.

    2. kathy l. says:

      There is NO SUCH THING as enforced celibacy. Catholic priests know the rules of the priesthood long before they CHOOSE to enter it. And THANK GOD there are men called and empowered by God to live it.

      Do you suppose every unmarried person has an active sexual lifestyle? Think again. Those who have not found a suitable spouse are also asked to live this way. AND DO. As do faithful Catholics who are abandoned by spouses who CHOOSE to forego their vows when life gets too hard. The idea that sexual misbehavior is caused by celibacy is simply without merit.

      I no longer listen to Fr Corapi as he now speaks with his own–not the church’s–authority.

  3. Pat Penisten says:

    How long must we endure this argument. The men who enter the priesthood know well what they are getting into as far as a celebate commitment. How many of our lay leaders are caught up in the same situation of being accused of sexual misconduct? We are all human and will fall to temptation. We just get back up and go forward and try not to sin again. Celibacy is not forced on anyone. If one does not want to be celebate let them enter into a different ministry in the church. There are plenty.

  4. Paul says:

    Gary,
    My friend shared this link with me, and I enjoyed its clarity. One thing I’ve said to him I say to you: He has not said to anyone to leave the Church, nor has he said anything against the Church itself. To be honest, I have serious serious doubts about his situation. But now, we have seen news come out about another priest that was with SOLT…news that has the potential to destroy SOLT’s credibility. I’m watching and praying for the best in this. There is much that concerns me still…and I’m not watching this blindly. I just don’t completely know what to believe yet. I applaud your sincerity and evangelization. God bless you in your ministry!
    As for married priests…being married has nothing to do with molesting children or having pre or extramarital relations. Why would a man being married make him less attracted to children if that’s already their disordered attraction? It’s like saying if a priest can marry, that would lessen the number of priests who who be gay.
    And no…nothing is forced on anyone. They choose freely to answer God’s call. That being said, I believe strongly the enemy attacks priests the most of anyone because of their calling. The holier and closer to God one becomes…the harder the attacks to try and shake the person’s faith and resolve. No one…no one is perfect to the point they cannot fall. So compassion wold be nice from those who would attack.
    Jeremy, I respect what you said and what’s behind it. And to those who argue for celibacy (which I firmly support until or unless the Church changes it again): Jeremy is correct. It is something that God could decide to lead the Church to change. There are married priests in vertain rites of the Church…and even some in the Latin Rite. This however, is not the issue at hand…and one that is barely worth visiting as an answer to what plagues our priests.

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Paul – Thanks for your comments. I agree that Corapi has never told any one to leave the Church. However, I personally wouldn’t say that he never said anything against the Church. In my mind, his public comments about the bishop and his unfair treatment by “the Church” (his use of a broad brush, not mine) constitutes going against the Chruch. Additionally, his public attacks on his accuser’s drinking problem isn’t a great example of Christian charity. Also, there is no problem that SOLT will ever encounter that will make Corapi any more credible. Fortunately, Corapi is making a good case for not following him. His latest statements are so “over the top” that I can’t imagine anyone still wanting to hear what he has to say. Personally, I don’t know if he’s guilty or innocent, but once he started publicly slamming bishops and made a decision to leave the priesthood rather than be obedient, I was done with him. Fortunately, judging from comments on my blog and his blog, so are most people. I WILL, however, continue to pray for him daily.

      God Bless,
      Gary

  5. maria says:

    Why can’t we just pray for Fr. Corapi and all the clergy? Why are all priests, upon an accusation immediately guilty? Why is the USCCB so unfair to those who have been accused when many accusations are unfounded and purely for financial gain? Does anyone remember Our Lady’s message; “satan has a plan to destroy the Priesthood and tear apart marriages? Are you aware that without Mass or with only a few Masses being celebrated because of few males hearing the call to the Priesthood or because of infidelity to their vocations, that this gives the evil ones more power? Are you aware that it is easier for the world to survive without the sun then it is to survive without the Eucharist? (St. Pio) Why not stop judging all Priests, (those who guilty and those who are innocent), and start praying, fasting and doing penance for all our Priests who are being so brutally attacked by the demons?
    Thank you!

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Maria – I completely agree that we should pray for our clergy and I have said so repeatedly. I can’t speak for others, but I have never once said that Fr. Corapi is guilty of anything other than poor judgment. He chose to speak negatively of at least one bishop, “the Church” (his choice of words), and his accuser. His words and actions caused a great deal of division among orthodox Catholics and that was not good. I disagree that I am judging anyone, but rather, alerting my fellow Catholics to stay away from him. It doesn’t take a genius to see that he is headed down a dark path and I fear the worst is yet to come. I think your idea of praying, fasting and doing penance for priests is a great one. Thank you for suggesting it!

      In Christ,
      Gary

  6. kathy l. says:

    Fr Corapi isn’t the only priest in dire need of prayer.

    You can spiritually adopt a priest or seminarian through the “Crusade for Priests” hosted by the Opus Sanctorum Angelorum (the work of the Holy Angels).

    http://www.opusangelorum.org/crusade/crusade_frontpage_dw.htm

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