Can we all say “I am SOooo Confused?!” Father, um – – I mean – – Soon-to-be Ex-Father John Corapi, has “chosen” to leave the priesthood, and continue his “ministry” of preaching the “truth” without consent of the Catholic Church, the Magisterium, and apparently anyone else getting in his way. He made this somewhat surprising announcement on June 17th through his website.
I am torn apart in my feelings about this matter. I truly loved Fr. (um, Mr.) Corapi’s sermons, lectures, and teachings. However, I am a faith-strong Roman Catholic, and believe there are only two things one can do if one disagrees with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church:
1. Change your mind;
Or, as a last resort,
2. Change your mind!!!
So, what to do? I have chosen to write down what I know and then go from there. Let me review in this blog what I know about the events leading to this interesting, confusing, and turbulent turn of events in Fr. (Mr.) Corapi’s life (and thus, in ours).
- In March, 2011, Ash Wednesday, He announced that he was accused of drug use and illicit sex, which occurred on or about January 24, 1987.
- He exerts that ALL allegations in the three page complaint sent to the bishop(s) are false, and asked for all to pray for all concerned.
- EWTN immediately removed his programs from their cable network.
- Nowhere In all of John Corapi’s communications on this issue (that I know of) does he mention of Jesus, Mary, or anything else from Holy Scripture or Church Theology. Instead, his “video” and other correspondence (apparently scripted by attorneys and public relations experts) is solely about Fr. John Corapi, and NOONE else!
- There are two institutions/organizations/businesses involved directly with Fr. Corapi and his ministry:
S.O.L.T. – – the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (his religious order), – – which is a community composed of all religious vocations: priests, deacons, brothers, sisters and single and married laity.
His financially “profitable” company, “Santa Cruz Media”, with him identified as the CEO. Santa Cruz Media, Inc. is also “the owner” of all of Fr. John Corapi’s intellectual property, DVDs, CDs, and books that flow from it. I wonder (and I don’t believe we truly know), are the assets of his “for profit” company solely his, or do the monies go to his religious order (as is written in S.O.L.T.’s Constitution)?
I am truly hurt, confused, and concerned. In reflection, and in reading pages and pages of opinions (trying to keep abreast) on the “Fr. John Corapi” issue, I keep on thinking of the scene from the bible wherein Jesus teaches of the need for service to others, and on not leading others astray:
“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35).
Though, out of respect for the man and his priesthood, I must say Father Corapi is hypocritical in saying that, on one hand, bishop(s) have a right to do what he/they are doing, and then on the other hand criticize them for infringing his “civil” rights. I believe he is, in essence, challenging the bishop(s) to impose sanctions upon him. I wonder if he is doing this purposely, making it easier to say he was “forced out”?
It is probable that suspensions can take over a year, or years, to resolve. It’s only been three (or so) months for this matter! I personally believe Fr. (Mr.) John Corapi should maintain a low public profile, enjoy his solitude and quiet for now, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in him and others to come to a conclusion for this situation. He also needs to be quiet (at least publically) about his attitude toward the investigation process. He should respectfully submit to the Magisterium and his superiors by fully participating with a truthful, humble, and obedient approach. As for now, I believe John Corapi is truly and completely burning his bridges “big-time”!
In my opinion (you may disagree), Fr. (Mr.) Corapi should have pursued his “canonical” rights in private, and away from the media. After all, he has made it clear to all who listens to him regularly, that he “holds every Church degree that one can get”! I ask, did Fr. (Mr.) Corapi appeal to the “Congregation for the Clergy” in Rome? Also, did he even ask the bishop and/or his superiors what could be done to end this fiasco as soon as possible?
For whatever (truly unknown) reason, he has decided not to pursue the matter through the Catholic Church, but instead, in the Secular and “materialistic” world. His approach is an extremely dangerous process for him and his soul. He made it perfectly clear that he is “quitting” the priesthood. Yet, a “priest” he is and always will be! Any public ministry without ecclesial (Church) approval IS A PROTESTANT MINISTRY, not Catholic.
His failure to remove himself from his public “for profit” well-paid business dealings should have been seen, by all of us, as a probable early signal that Fr. (Mr.) Corapi would not obey his superiors to suspend public ministry during the Church investigation.
He paid his former employee (the accuser) for her signing a contract to not disclose anything that happened to her while employed by him, and had ALL his other employees sign a similar contract. Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is now suing this person/accuser for “breach-of-contract”. This “civil” lawsuit is hampering any investigation through the Church, and is in itself, a violation of procedures by directly interfering with any witnesses in the investigation. Why did he not wait until Church proceedings were completed before filing any “civil” lawsuit? It makes me wonder if this was done purposely, and for possible shady reasons!
Fame and fortune should mean nothing to a good and humble priest such as Fr. (Mr.) Corapi. He might claim that the Catholic Church has pushed him to leaving the priesthood, but we need to remember and realize that nearly ALL we know is coming from one source, John Corapi himself. And, with every release of information from him or his company, he always imparts a need for all to go to his website and buy something to support him. My question to you: Would buying his products be offering material support to a suspended priest who is possibly in “schism”? If so, the buyer of his materials could be making Fr. Corapi’s sin theirs as well.
I wonder, – – and I don’t believe we truly know all the facts in this matter, — are the assets of his “for profit” company fully completely his, or do any monies he makes go to his religious order (as is written in the orders Constitution)?
I am now done with his business and financial holdings. Let’s examine something I believe more important: his vow of obedience to his superiors and of his actions as a humble servant of God.
Priests are men under “the rule of obedience and authority”, a solemn vow he freely chose some 20 years ago. Fr. Corapi, himself, has even said in the past that priests and religious cannot play games with their promise of obedience.
The “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, paragraph 1567, says:
“The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is true, to a variety of distinct duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them. “Priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. The promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.
Fr. (Mr.) Corapi’s vow of obedience means that he should speak for the Catholic Church – – and not for himself – – in regards to matters of faith, morals, and theology. Most of us do not want to hear what I am about to say, but I am going to anyway. It also means that – – he should NOT speak – – if the Catholic Church so orders. Sadly, he now is claiming that his promise of obedience conflicts with his “civil and human rights”, forgetting (or dumping) his “ecclesial” duty.
True humility would have him submit and accept any sanctions placed upon him, even if it meant a hidden life in a monastery – – his personal Cross to bear. His (at least recent) stubbornness, persistence, and inflexibility contends that NOONE will tell him what to do!
Much more critical than any “true or false” claim to a lack of discretion with a woman and/or drug usage, Fr (Mr.) Corapi’s dodging and down-right betrayal of his vow, – – especially his vow of obedience, – – freely given by him to God and man is the greatest possible disappointment (and sin) for any religious, priest, or lay person.
Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is a priest and cannot ever pretend to be anything or anyone else. He knows that while on “administrative leave,” a suspended priest cannot preach or teach religion. Fr. (Mr.) Corapi’s intention to continue lecturing and writing, at least for me, is a passage way toward Protestantism and away from the Catholic Church. In effect, Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is plunging into a “schism” by possibly taking others with him (even unknowingly).
Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is not the first to be censured by the Catholic Church, rightly or wrongly. He most certainly will not be the last either. However, the censured people we remember in the Church are those that persisted in their faith WITHOUT leaving the Catholic Church.
Joan of Arc suffered greatly, – – physically, mentally, and spiritually – – during her trial and burning at the stake. She never gave up or quit her obedience to the Catholic Church.
Saint Mother Theresa suffered through years of “darkness of the soul”, without giving into her depression. She even took them as a sign of her success over Satan.
Saint Padre Pio, that lovely and “fiery” (confrontational) Italian Franciscan Monk, was also stripped of his priestly faculties for years, and still obeyed his superiors with a humility no one can challenge.
The “priesthood” is not simply a “job” that one can change or quit at whim. Let us not forgot that there is a non-removable mark placed on the ordained priest at his ordination; a mark that makes him like no other creation of God. Even if Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is laicized officially by the Catholic Church, he will be forever a priest in the line of Melchizedek, and always “configured” to Jesus Christ.
If a priest or religious is previously forbidden to engage in public ministry, then that same “EX-“ priest or religious cannot do so when he decides by removing himself from his “priestly title”, then choosing to go by a pseudonym reminiscent to a superhero’s secret identity. There is no way possible for Fr. (Mr.) Corapi to have a “secret” identity. I wonder if he will wear a mask in the future (only joking). Fr. (Mr.) John Corapi is a “suspended” priest, and has no “faculties” (Ecclesial approval) for publicly teaching the faith, or for publically saying “anything” for that matter, at this time.
So what is he to do? Fr. (Mr.) Corapi has chosen to use the pen name, “The Black Sheep Dog”, for future correspondence with “his” faithful. In calling himself this, I think he is declaring a true caring for the “flock of sheep” he had been preaching, teaching, and ministering to all the past 20 years.
As Steven Ray stated on his FB page today, it “seems he may have circumvented or avoided any authority other than his own.” He goes on to ask: “Is he a ‘black sheep dog or Lone Ranger’?”
Let me tell you I haven’t told anyone before: I love sheep dogs. My children’s babysitter had one at her home. That darn dog would literally herd the kids, playing in the yard, into a group and move them to places around a tree in the yard. It was absolutely hilarious to watch. The kids weren’t too thrilled however. BUT, in reality, a sheep dog has no livelihood except for that given from its shepherd (the bishop). A sheep dog that chases after the flock’s sheep – – on its own – – is not a sheep dog, but rather, the potential to be another type of canine: the wolf. (WOW!! Strong words, but necessary in this case.)
This present matter of his suspension has gone beyond “Father Corapi” himself. His actions could literally harm the very souls of those he has declared a concern for, and that follow him “religiously”. On blog sites, social network sites, and various websites, people are arbitrarily taking sides with him – – I am sure out of love, trust, faith, and hope. Some “devout Catholics” are even attacking the Catholic Church because of how Fr. (Mr.) Corapi says he is being maligned. We all have to remember; our faith is in Jesus Christ and the Catholic (universal) Church and NOT in priests and other speakers with extraordinary oratory skills and revolutionary, confrontational ways of thinking.
Fr. (Mr.) John Corapi did remarkable, ground-breaking, and absolutely incredible work in his priestly life. For that, I am truly thankful. I keep him and all fellow Catholics in my prayers daily. I also pray that this situation concludes and that he can get back to his apostolate in union with the Magisterium. My fear is that everything he had accomplished will be undone by his persistence to not obey his superiors.
Here is reality in a nutshell: If John Corapi does “leave the priesthood” of the Catholic Church, the Church will continue to live and proceed without him. However, his actions and future endeavors make it absolutely possible that he may inadvertently expose other Catholics, and the Catholic Church as a whole, to great harm. The consequences for some good Catholics could be their eternal salvation – – their souls.
In conclusion, I am pleading to Father (Mister) John Corapi – – Sir – -, I truly loved your inspiration and dedication to promoting the Good News in this secular, and oft times, evil world. Please reconsider “quitting” the priesthood. Please reconsider your actions that could possibly bringing spiritual harm and scandal to the Catholic Church.
You will be in my prayers for ever. Pax et Bonum Sir.
Changing focus for a brief moment, in today’s various blogs, and on e-bay, I found out Fr. (Mr.) Corapi’s supposed accuser is selling a rosary given to her by him years ago. This rosary was supposedly kissed by Saint Mother Theresa, and held and blessed by Blessed John Paul the Great. The starting bid for this “relic” is $5000.00.
We need to be careful in regard to appropriation of any relics. “Simony” is a sin that most Roman Catholics are unfamiliar. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2121, says:
“Simony is defined as the buying or selling of spiritual things. … It is impossible to appropriate to oneself spiritual goods and behave toward them as their owner or master, for they have their source in God. One can receive them only from him, without payment.”