Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Fr Corapi Crash

Phil Lawler summarizes: Like the late Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legion of Christ, John Corapi has worked for years as a celebrity priest: encouraging a cult of personality, set his own agenda, raising large sums of money that he spent at his own discretion, and—most dangerous of all—accountable to no one. It was a formula for disaster, and now the disaster has occurred. Again.

What a mess! John Corapi--the Black Sheepdog--turns out to be very black indeed. Go here to read the press release by the leader of his religious order. Turns out the guy has a million buck's worth of property in his name, has been living with a prostitute, has been doing drugs, has cars, motorboats, motorcycles etc. When ordered to give it all up and return to his order's mother house and be disciplined he resigned from the religious order.

I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I was prepared to do so for John Corapi as well. It now turns out that he has been obstructive, disobedient, immoral, corrupt and causing just about the biggest scandal to the church possible.

I've been a Christian my whole life and I've seen so many pastors and priests crash and burn, and so many of them are the ones who were the most charming, the most 'successful' the most charismatic and wonderful. The higher they fly the harder they fall, and the best advice I can give to anyone who thinks a particular priest is wonderful is, "If a priest is too good to be true, Guess what?... he's too good to be true."

I have some experience as a priest and I have a bit of experience on the 'celebrity circuit' if a few appearances on EWTN and speaking at conference qualifies me. I can tell you it feels real nice to be treated like a celebrity. They pay your air fare and take you to dinner and ask you to sign their books. They wait in line just for a few moments to talk with you. I'm happy to do it because, through these ministries people are helped.

However, I don't believe any of the hype. It's not real, and the crowds who want to idolize you are not real. They're taking a day trip from reality and prefer to indulge their idol making than to face the reality of God and themselves and their real needs. Instead they project all their hopes and ideals and faith and desire outward on this celebrity priest or speaker. OK, maybe he really did help them and really did say inspiring things. That's good and we don't dismiss the good God can accomplish through a broken vessel.

But to fall into the trap of either creating a celebrity priest or to fall into the trap of believing the hype is a huge mistake. A friend of mine smelled a rat about John Corapi when he said he "didn't celebrate the sacraments much." She wondered what on earth kind of priest he was if the sacraments mattered so little to him.

Well, now we know and may the good Lord deliver us.


  1. Turns out the guy has a million buck's worth of property in his name, has been living with a prostitute, has been doing drugs, has cars, motorboats, motorcycles etc.

    I thought you were joking. Yikes. You weren't.

    What a terrible, terrible, terrible turn of events. May God have mercy on his soul.

  2. I will believe this when there is an independent investigation outside of the influence of the Bishop.

    Till then I will still hold up doubts about what is being said.

  3. "You keep me alive. I have often said and mean it, it ain't over till it's over. I hope you never read in the newspapers I ended up dead in a crack house somewhere, but don't you think it couldn't happen and so you pray for me and I'll pray for you and we'll pray for all our brothers and sisters in the Lord, we'll break the shackles, we'll break the shackles of addiction and give glory to God for all eternity. Amen, God bless you!". (Fr Corapi, from his addicion CD)

  4. Father:

    I have always loved C. S. Lewis' comment when asked by his admiring secretary if he realized how famous he was.

    "Without intending any embarrassment, I asked Lewis if he was ever aware of the fact that regardless of his intentions he was "winning worship" from his books. He said in a low, still voice, and with the deepest and most complete humility I've ever observed in anyone, "One cannot be too careful not to think of it." The house, the garden, the whole universe seemed hushed for a moment, and then we began talking again."

    I have found this enormously helpful even in my small travels - and I'm no "personality".

  5. I'm very concerned about the signs of scandal displayed by many of his followers: their suspension of disbelief, their suspicion about his superiors and bishop, their misplaced allegiances, etc. Today the whole Church suffers.

    May Our Lady of the Trinity pray for us all.

  6. "I will believe this when there is an independent investigation outside of the influence of the Bishop."

    I have my doubts. Stop drinking the kool-aid. And start making your confessions to ploddering doddering old priests who haven't a snow-ball's chance in hell of setting anyone on fire for the faith, but are, as St. Josemaria put it, donkeys at the waterwheel.

  7. This man is standing at a crossroad and must choose again between good and evil, life and death, self and Christ as first love...the only love that satisfies and heals.

    We must pray John Corapi will humble himself and return home to the One Who alone is Faithful and True and Who alone can save us to the uttermost from the depths of our depravity, deceptions and destructions. Hebrews 7:25, Psalm 107:20.

    I pray that Jesus will seek and save His beloved lost sheep.

  8. Fr. Dwight = thank you!

    We need to pray for Corapi, for those who feel betrayed by him, for SOLT, and for those who are vowing to stand by him.

  9. AND we need to keep our eyes on JESUS not just on mere man.

  10. Beforing coming back to the Church, Fr. Corapi was a millionare partying in Hollywood with a severe drug addiction that made him lose everything. People who are not addicts will have extreme difficulty seeing how this could happen. People who are addicts would do well to remember that the evils of addiction go far beyond the specific addiction itself. I'm not excusing the man. What he did and is doing is absolutely deplorable. But let us not forget that many of us have fallen to our own depths of depravity. If you have been so blessed as to not have that happen to you, don't get on your high horse because it was only by the grace of God that you didn't. Remembering that we are all sinners and that God desires all people to be with Him in the eternal blessedness of Heaven, we would do well to do nothing but pray for this fallen man. Finally, since emotions are understandably running high people would do well to refrain from putting their thoughts out to the public until they have greater peace and calmness in the face of this issue.

  11. I spoke with a former addict this past weekend who said that once a person is an addict, he's an addict for life. For the rest of his life he must fight his addiction. And this person said that, listening to the "Black Sheep Dog" announcement, it sounded to him as if Fr. Corapi had at some point stopped fighting his addiction. He said that if you are an addict and you fall, you go right back where you were -- it doesn't matter how many years it has been, or what you have done since.

  12. Father, thank you for your real insight into 'priest stardom'. It must be hard not to believe your own press after awhile. One thing is abundantly true and that is, we are all sinners and must rely on the grace and mercy of God.

    I continue to pray for Fr. Corapi and also pray for those who eagerly turned him into a 'star', perhaps now they can focus on what's really important, the teachings of the Church!

  13. What troubles me more than anything is that a segment of Corapi supporters are willing to presume his innocence, all the while presuming that Bishop William Mulvey committed a moral or ethical breach. Now, a fraction of them are turning on SOLT likewise.

    Do they not know that they are engaging in rash judgment, and perhaps calumny? (CCC 2477)

    The best thing we can all do, is some time before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration. Offer up a Holy Hour for unity, conversion of heart for those involved who have committed any offense against God, and for reparation of any sins committed.

  14. Beforing coming back to the Church, Fr. Corapi was a millionare partying in Hollywood with a severe drug addiction that made him lose everything.

    But do we know that? At this point, how do you know where to draw the line between fact and fiction?

    Oh, and my wife became suspicious when he started coloring his beard. "There's no priestly humility in that beard."

  15. 'Turns out the guy has a million buck's worth of property in his name, has been living with a prostitute, has been doing drugs, has cars, motorboats, motorcycles etc.'

    This guy's retreats would have been awesome.

  16. To Diane:

    I understand what you are saying, but from this Bishop in particular I would not sleep with a clean conscience.

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  18. I'll say it again -- I don't know this Fr. Corapi guy.

    I haven't seen any of the actual evidence against him or in his favor -- just like 99.99999999 percent of the people commenting on the matter have absolutely zero personal knowledge of what the truth is.

    I don't know if he is innocent or guilty or if he is guilty, what it is that he is guilty of. And frankly, it is none of my business, just as it is not the business of the 99.99999999 percent of the people commenting on it.

    What I do know is that it is a SCANDAL that so many people in the Catholic blogosphere are so eager to traffic in gossip and detraction and/or calumny about this guy. Not you, Father. Your prior comments on the situation were one of the few decent and properly restrained comments made. But everyone else would do well to quit worrying so much about Fr. Corapi and worry about their own sinful selves.

  19. One-time Father Corapi (God have mercy on him) now joins the ranks of his infamous predecessors in the world of televangelical malfeasance: Eddie Long, Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, and Peter Popoff (and those are just the names that I think of off the top of my head!). "For the love of money is the root of all evils" (1 Tim. 6:10).

  20. Geez Father! How much schooling have you had? While I think your choice of words are unnecessarily harsh, as a lawyer I can also say that they are potentially libelous.

    You don't KNOW that the allegations in the SOLT press release are true. You don't KNOW what the facts actually are. You haven't even couched your statements in the fashion of "It's been reported that....." You've put everything out there as absolute statements.

    I think you have left youself open to legal action commenced by John Corapi if he is of a mind to lash out at his accusers - something he has already, unfortunately, shown a willingness to do.

    Maybe he wouldn't win a suit against you, but are you prepared to spend a hundred thousand dollars on legal costs to defend yourself?

    My advice is to take down this post and replace it with something more moderate in tone.

  21. If this is all true, why is he calling his accuser to court for liable? That doesn't make sense either..

  22. Fr. D., I've met you before - at a conference. You said good things as I remember it, but I don't remember what it was.

    Point being, is we should take what we learn - test it at the time - grow and then move on. Why cling to teachers (besides Christ)? It's the Truth that should be attractive not the person.

    I remember what I heard from Fr. Corapi was good, and I think it did me good at the time. But I don't have a need to learn more from him - even before this scandal. One bad thing, though, is I'm beginning to wonder if I learned any subtle error from what he taught. And that in itself, the doubt, is another bad aspect of this scandal. As Scripture says, can the blind lead the blind?

  23. The most telling aspect of John Corapi's behavior is not so much the high regard in which he apparently holds himself and his reputation, but rather the very low regard he displays for Our Precious Savior by giving up his sacred priestly vows that give him the power to transform bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The ability to confer the Sacraments on a hungry, needy people is far more important than the ability to preach to them. Let Jesus feed His people and let the Holy Spirit speak to our souls for only God knows us better than we know ourselves. No higher calling than the priesthood, and the flock suffers from lack of vocations.

  24. I can not say I am surprised. Disappointed but not surprised. I remember first seeing what he charged for a CD or DVD and knew something was a little funny.

    That being said, as others have said, he needs our prayers. As we all need the prayers of others. We are all weak, sinful people and the sins of other only surprise us if we are unaware of our own.

  25. Could the cult of the priest, in turn, come from the cult of the pope: the cult status that the late John Paul II enjoyed.

  26. Being in England, I know little about Fr Corapi, apart from the fact that he was a conservative 'luvvie'.

    However, whenever I saw photos of him, I couldn't stop myself thinking of Emperor Ming in the old Flash Gordon films...

  27. This is a disturbing scandal and seems to be dividing the faithful. There are a couple good articles by Deacon Dan Gannon on http://www.catholicurrent.com/#/, which takes a pastoral approach and gives hope that a greater good may come from all this.

  28. Well standing on your head is a accurate description for your blog.

    Father lets get the facts correct please. Fr. John resigned first before being ordered to take up residence at his orders house. Not after. Definitely not after the statement of evidence. Evidence which as of yet is to be seen by Fr. John or anyone else. Which was not enough to start a trial at the time of his resignation.

    As far as scandal goes this scandal could have been avoid by SOLT & the Bishop doing their investigation first. Given that there were no children or vulnerable adults in involved in the allegations there was no good reason to suspend Fr. John before they were able to go to trial. Their decision to suspend him right away lacked prudence.

    You are correct in stating that we should not turn priests into celebrities. Fr. John stated at least once in one of his talks in 2010 that he was not comfortable with his celebrity status.

    If we turn priests into celebrities it is because we hunger & thirst for the Word of God to be proclaimed boldly without fear. If I had my way every parish priest would proclaim the the Word of God as boldly as Fr.John then there would be no need for celebrity priests.

    As far as the quote "didn't celebrate the sacraments much." I heard Fr. John say that he was instructed to concentrate his efforts on preaching because of his gift for doing so. It doesn't mean sacraments don't mattered to him. It means his primary calling is to preach.

    I wish you the best Father & hope & pray that you are never accused of anything, justly or unjustly, because if you are you will find out first hand how unjust the process against accused priests is.

  29. I think EVERYONE needs to wait to see how this all plays out in court, including Father's accuser . She continues to make accusations about him on Facebook even to the point of naming one of the investigator from SOLT.
    It turns out she is no plaster saint herself, having an extensive court record, as does her present and 5th husband.
    So until the fat lady sings, I am not judging Father John guilty.

  30. Blogger "Stream0001", is right on. This is the way our Lord would want all humans to be able to SEE it,with truth and love. I am so thankful that I too can "SEE",and pray to God for those who judge other's. In no way do I think that(IF the alligations were true) that it would be ok of course not. No matter if it's true or not, to me it doesn't mean I have to throw out his DVD's,CDs, or books he's written. John is a very good speaker, and I know he loves God. If a person sins/falls it does NOT mean that everything to do with him is wrong. Preists, nuns, and all those who devote their lives on earth to our Lord, sin too at times, of course, NOBODY is perfect. We should hope the sinner will be forgiven, and if we can, help in times of need not just kick em to the curb. If that's the case we are all screwed!! Wish and hope the best for us all. God Bless