Tuesday, June 21, 2011

(Hopefully) My Final Words on the Corapi Affair

What follows here are just some random thoughts.

There are those comparing Fr. Corapi to a Judas, a man who betrayed his vocation and calling.  That's a little too outlandish.  A better description can be found in the Old Testament in the figure of God's anointed, King Saul.

1 Samuel 15 gives us the relevant story.  As they prepared for battle, God instructed King Saul that he was to completely raze everything his opponents had, to leave nothing alive or take nothing as loot.  His victims the Amalekites were rich.  Saul carried out the first part of God's command (route the Amalekites) but not the second.  Instead of slaying the King, he made the King his vassal, and they made away with all the choice animals and loot.  That of lesser quality they destroyed.

While God is furious with Saul for this, we have to realize one thing:  what Saul did was entirely rational.  Israel needed to survive, and she would survive with compliant subjects in other nations.  He even rationalizes to Samuel that the choice animals wouldn't be used for personal gain, but sacrificed to God.  As sacrifice is a good thing, certainly many sacrifices is great thing for him to do!

God's response through Samuel was unequivocal:

Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being King.
Saul's sin was that he believed he knew what was best to please God.  Instead, he should have simply been obedient to God, even if it didn't make much sense to him.  It was this action that set him upon the path of becoming a tyrant who stood against God.  Yet even then, David still called him "God's anointed" and wept bitterly at his death.

That is how I feel about Fr. Corapi.  He may think he is doing good by what he is doing.  He may feel that his actions and his ministry are vital to the flock today.  Yet as the Bible shows, disobedience is not the way to go about this.  It was blatantly clear his religious superior and his Bishop has authority over him.  He has chosen to reject that authority, albeit it in a round-about way, and with the best of intentions.  Hopefully he repents.  He will always be a priest, even if he is made a layman again (the character of his soul cannot change in this regard), so one can hope and pray he returns to being a priest.

The story of Fr. Corapi further gives us instruction on how a priest remains faithful.  In his podcast of June 20th, he says the following:

I'm still a priest.  You can't take that away.  No act of the Church can take that away.  What they can remove is facultires;  that is the public ability to administer the sacraments.  I didn't do much of that quite honestly in the 20 years that I did minister.  About 90% of what I did in the past did not require ordination.
He also describes his minsitry as not "within the sacraments" but "outside of them, that is, in conjunction with them."  I submit here this is one of the key problems.  His priesthood was not centered around the sacraments.  He may have celebrated the sacraments on occasion, but they weren't by his own admission the most important parts of his ministry.  Yet for faithful laymen and faithful priests, they hear these words and cringe.  Anybody can preach on the Word.  Quite frankly, many laymen do it better than priests.  Yet only a priest can bring about the Eucharist.  Only the priest can ascend the altar of God to offer the perfect sacrifice.  Only a priest can give the assurance of God's forgivness and absolution in the sacrament of Penance.  This is a staple of the modernists.  They view social work more important than offering the Mass.  Yet without the Mass, there can be no true social work.

Daily Mass, frequent offering of the sacraments, frequent benedictions and daily adoration is not something that is accidental to a priest's ministry, so the Servant of God John Hardon tells us.  In his view, they are absolutely essential, and the primary reason a man is a priest.  It is why in charity I do not think Fr. Corapi was being honest with himself when he made those remarks.  In my view, he was trying to rationalize to himself the decision to become "the Blacksheepdog" and leave the priesthood.  A priest who cannot offer the Mass and Sacraments is cut off from his very calling in life.  The only other option is that Fr. Corapi was a liar all these years, and never really cared about the priesthood, it was simply a means to an end to make him famous.  Yet anyone who has listened to the Fr. Corapi of the past would know that cannot be true.

That is all I really have to say on the matter.  In the end, Fr. Corapi needs our prayers, as does everyone involved in this mess.  I do not think he perceived just how hard the job of being an orthodox, obedient priest was.  Fr. John Hardon gives us some absolutely excellent insight. 

Every facet of the ministry is the exercise of such influence in the lives of others that no one under Heaven is more exposed to the temptation of pride than a priest. Perhaps some people, especially in academic circles, still wonder why the Church is suffering so gravely at the hands and lips of her priests. We need not wonder. Most of the chaos in the Catholic Church today is due to the pride of priests.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


  1. My final thoughts are these:

    (1) Something big will break down the road on this subject, meaning this story will once again become big.

    (2) There are signs he was caught up in the world, *possibly* falling into the very trap of 1 Tim 6:6-10. And his comments about 90% of his work not requiring Ordination is pure Modernism-Liberalism and very disheartening. This entails his priesthood was fundamentally geared toward gaining credibility among the crowds, even if not done with any intent to be a 'fake priest'.

    (3) We cannot discount or understate the unfairness of the 'justice' system in the Church, where a priest is guilty as sin until proven innocent (i.e. gone bankrupt, put on anti-depressants, lost their priesthood for 10 years, etc). This is causing a very real scare among priests and seminarians who are terrified that one false accusation will bring everything down for them. The mere accusation, by unnamed, unaccountable figures is all it takes to ruin a priest. Given this, the move to leave the priesthood could easily be a calculated strategy by laywers and canon lawyers to clear himself civilly, leaving no reasonable case ecclesially.

  2. Nick,

    I guess my worry is that number 3 might not really apply to Fr. Corapi. Contrary to his original statements, he knows exactly what he was accused of, as well as who his accuser was. (Otherwise he wouldn't have said the charges explicitly, and then sued the accused for breach of an NDA)

    It's a real problem, but the way Fr. Corapi is handling it, this might cause it to get overlooked until a real case of injustice occurs against a fully innocent priest. (I don't know Fr. Corapi's guilt or innocence, but his recent behavior is troubling.)

  3. Hey, Kev, stumbled across your blog while reading up on this. I just heard about it yesterday. I always enjoyed Fr. Corapi's talks on the radio; it was something of a shock to me to see him go off the deep end like this. I am most concerned about the animosity he is raising against the Church; I would hope most of his fans have learned enough from him over the years not to follow him away from the Church, but he seems to have quite a following still. What a sad state of affairs.

  4. "A priest who cannot offer the Mass and Sacraments is cut off from his very calling in life."

    Exactly so.


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