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”.