Whatever happened to…

…Father John Corapi?

Patrick Madrid takes note:

Father John Corapi’s Internet presence at sites such as the www.theblacksheepdog.us and http://theblacksheepdog.wordpress.com has vanished, ditto for his presence on YouTube and Facebook. No one I know has any clue what happened to him, but there are several possible scenarios that would explain this. The one I hope is correct is that he has reconciled with the S.O.L.T. order he once was a member of and with, more importantly, the Catholic Church that he seemed to be distancing himself from after all the unpleasantness that happened last year.

It may be THE one question I get asked the most, via e-mail or Facebook: “Do you know what happened to him?”  A few parishioners have asked me the same thing.  I know about as much as Patrick but if anyone has a concrete answer, please let us know.

If you visit his old website, the following note appears:

Inquiries regarding TheBlackSheepDog.US can be made to:
450 Corporate Dr. Suite 107
Kalispell, MT 59901

Meantime, as Patrick notes, we need to keep John Corapi and all those whose lives he touched in our prayers.

UPDATE: Diane over at Te Deum laudamus has an interesting wrap up of the Corapi situation — and suggests some possible scenarios, including:

When a priest seeks to be freed from his canonical obligations and requests laicization, the Holy See may impose certain conditions for the laicization, or for remaining in good standing with the Church.   My thought here is the possibility that the sudden disappearance of his public sites may be a desire to comply with some kind of directive from the Holy See, if he has officially requested laicization…

…Time may or may not reveal whether Fr. John Corapi has been laicized and will be known as Mr. John Corapi by the Church.   If he is not headed back to community, my prayer is that he is taking the necessary steps to remain in the graces of Holy Mother Church, following whatever is asked of him by the Holy See.  Like all of us must do, I pray he is also following the 10 Commandments and that he has not fallen back into those vices which nearly cost him his life and his soul.

Please, in your charity, pray for this troubled priest and all concerned.  May the Blessed Virgin Mary who pulled him from the gutter and led him to the priesthood; and Blessed John Paul II who ordained him, guide Father John Corapi in his time of need.  We pray that his guardian angel makes it easy for him to  act on the graces that come from the prayers of us all.

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63 responses to “Whatever happened to…”

  1. Forgive my laziness. I just typed this in the combox at Patrick Madrid’s blog. I too was hoping this was a sign that he was at least re-thinking the path he was choosing to take and re-considering SOLT’s requirement that he come back to live in community. I still hold some hope that is the case. However, given the tremendous damage that has been done, if he does go back to his community, some kind of public statement will be needed at some point.

    Another scenario I’ve considered is that he has been told that he may not engage in this new form of public life for himself. I don’t know if that could be made a condition of his laicization if that is what he is seeking, but this absence from the web could also signal compliance with an order from the Holy See.

    Of course, this could simply mean that the business venture was not working out and/or he just chose to ride off into the sunset with whatever he had and is calling it a day.

    Regardless of what is going on, charity demands that we keep this troubled priest in our prayers.

  2. I will make no comment on Fr. Corrpi’s situation as I am not in a position to know any details, and even if I did I have no business forming judgments about another man’s spiritual life, or lack thereof. That said I will make a broad observation that this and and some similar incidents tend to reinforce the old adage “beware celebrity priests.” Celebrity status can be a serious symptom of, or lead up to, the sin of pride. The devil is always on the prowl, especially for priests and monks.

  3. When he left, he announced a four-part DVD series on abortion in America. When last I checked, he was selling the DVD’s separately. Not sure what that means, but I suspect that sales might have been flat.

    Did he reconcile with SOLT? I’d love to believe so, but judging by his demeanor when he left, I’d say that such a move doesn’t look likely anytime soon. But here’s hoping….

  4. If I have to guess, I’d say he’s come to understand (probably through lack of economic support…people buying his products) that it wasn’t John Corapi people came to hear or trusted, but Father John Corapi, Catholic priest. I’d be extraordinarily surprised if he had indeed gone back to SOLT; you’ll remember that they said his lifestyle was such that he wasn’t fit for ministry. It doesn’t appear that his leaving was a single bad decision, but one of a number of bad decisions.

    It will take a lot of prayer and thought before he ever (if he ever) returns. Since he’s apparently sitting on a great deal of money (as indicated in the report from SOLT), it may take awhile before he opens himself to some genuine and honest self-appraisal. Of course, I could be wrong; he could currently be sitting in a monastery wearing a hair shirt. But as someone who felt he was the epitome of hubris and self-importance before all of this started, I seriously doubt it. I apologize for my lack of charity, but I’ve always seen him as a very divisive person in the Church and would prefer all discussion of him just end (and I’ll now take my own advice!)

  5. While imperfect and seemingly suffering from a Napoleon complex, he preached the truths of Catholicism far more effectively than most of the clergy which probably caused no small amount of envy before the scandal erupted.

    I hope more priests rise up who are willing to impart Catholicism without watering it down.

  6. Kevin-
    This is where I often disagree with supporters of Father Corapi. I agree that what he taught was in line with the Magesterium, but in my opinion, he often spoke without compassion or understanding (the same type of compassion and understanding he now seeks from others.) He was disdainful and condescending towards those, especially priests, who did not see the world in the same black and white terms that he did (though many of these “soft and liberal” priests now continue to toil away in obscurity, building God’s Kingdom.) His type of preaching, which really to me seemed to be nothing more than him reciting the Magesterium while also putting in “his story” (which apparently involved stretching the truth, to say the least), was very off-putting to me. It would be like people trying to show me the beauty found in the American system of justice by reciting Tax Law or the Penal Code. People like that wouldn’t be wrong on the facts, but they would be totally missing the point and the spirit and the beauty of our country.

    I never understand it when people say they don’t want their Catholicism “watered down.” I believe what that means is that they want a great deal of talk about sin, about heaven and hell, about the do’s and the don’ts, about the “rules”, so to speak. Once again, in my very humble and uninformed opinion, those things can be very reassuring, because they give us very definite things to hold on to, tell us exactly what we need to do to get to heaven, but I don’t think they capture our faith. If they’re not taught in the context of a God who loved us so much that He came down and died for us so that we could all be saved, a God who gives us the Eucharist, not as reward but to strengthen us, a God who LIKES us and runs out to embrace as the father did the Prodigal Son, then it all becomes scary, simplistic fear-mongering that allows people to feel superior to those who come up short. That is how I felt whenever I listened to John Corapi. I don’t miss his preaching on any level.

  7. I’m not sure how many priests envied him.

    A priest once told me about people who came to confession in fear and self-loathing because of things Fr. Corapi had preached.

    He could be powerful and inspiring. But his fruits weren’t always healthy.

    Dcn. G.

  8. Saint Paul captured something of the essence of this in his advice to Titus (1:15ff)

    “To the clean all things are clean, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is clean; in fact, both their minds and their consciences are tainted.”

    It is dangerous, of course, to hold that people who preach against defilement are themselves defiled. But a priest friend of mine once said that most of the people coming to him for confession and counseling were pretty battered by their life’s experiences. I asked what he thought of permissiveness and liberality and such contributing. And he dismissed that notion. People are oppressed and in pain, he said. A good priest (or minister) will do what is needed to unburden these folks.

  9. Charles, to argue that catechesis since Vatican II has not fallen off the cliff is very difficult. Impossible actually. All the statistics bear that out. You have catholics who don’t understand the Church’s teaching not just on sexual morality (a favorite bugaboo of so many), but have no knowledge of basic truths like the real presence, the Assumption, purgatory, the resurrection of the body, the laws of the Church, etc. I could go on and on. Father Corapi did an excellent job of outlining these truths with humor. Not as great as Fulton Sheen, but effective nonetheless.

    On confession, he conveyed the need for it, the need to love it and not hate it, and that is not at odds with anything in the Catechism of which I am aware. I think it was JP II who said that the sin of our generation was the “loss of the sense of sin.” So if he made some aware that some actions were objectively sinful and they had not known that, was that somehow wrong? That is like saying that the person who thinks the square root of 49 is 8 should never be told the truth.

  10. Todd, I agree with that and he sounds like a good priest. But I don’t think that “unburdening” means calling something sinful not sinful. It may mean evaluating a person’s background, knowledge, etc., and giving them hope and rest, but the priest’s job is not to tell us were are spotless in confession. Some no doubt veer in this direction out of good motives, but I don’t think that’s even good pastoral practice.

    Now the other extreme, which I’ve seen, is to brutally criticize a penitent and that can do great damage. The best approach, as usual, is in the middle, truth and mercy in charity.

    Father Corapi as far as I know did not teach anything contrary to the Magisterium. He certainly has done more than I have to spread the Gospel so I feel in no position to criticize the man.

  11. Someone mentioned on catholic.com that he said after a hunting trip in September he was closing his business. No other info was given from his manager, but everything is closed.
    I hope he is in isolation waiting for whatever he wanted or back in the fold (although I doubt it after so much) and not depressed or going crazy doing other things. So sad to watch someone come apart, one of the reasons the Internet isn’t always so great…you see way too much.
    I remember him and other priests/religious in my prayers.

  12. The simple standard for whether you are “watering-down” the Gospel, is to simply look at what Jesus said, where His points of emphasis were and how much, and try to approximate it. No one spoke more of hell and the narrow road than Jesus Christ. I was never a Corapi follower, but he was correct about the plethora of “liberal and soft” priests and bishops. They are comfortable reading the NY Times but not in hearing the words of the Lord. It is a simple formulation but it is sadly true.

  13. Scott,
    I would say the area of emphasis on the part of Jesus was love, mercy, and forgiveness. He came not to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). When I hear our Lord speak in parables about the Workers in the Vineyard, the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, and many, many more, I rejoice. I no longer tremble in fear about a God who’s constantly looking to send me to hell, but One who’s looking to embrace me and hold me close. The Good News is that God loves us more than we can possibly imagine; He’s a Father who wants nothing more than that His children be with Him forever. I believe anyone who looks to Jesus and focuses on hell and the narrow road is sadly off base; it’s part of the teachings, but certainly not the emphasis. (BTW, though I’m not a priest, I may be soft and liberal, but I’ve never read the NY Times!)

  14. When I watch Father Barron preach and talk about his faith I am moved and inspired by his love for Jesus and Catholicism. There is a depth to the spirituality in his teaching and it is never about Father Barron. From what I saw of Corapi on EWTN he was usually focused on himself and very superficial and silly. The “mama wears combat boots” thing just turned me off.

  15. Kevin,
    I would agree that we are all in need of catechesis, and that’s it’s not what it once was. It doesn’t mean that it was all wonderful before; the Baltimore Catechism gave some very basic answers, but not much more than that. My problem with the Fr. Corapi’s of the world are what they choose to emphasize as they teach the Catechism. There’s a lot to teach, obviously, and what one chooses to bring forth can have a great impact on how people respond, to God and in their faith lives. I felt Fr. Corapi had an unhealthy emphasis on sin, punishment, heaven and hell. It’s certainly all there in a factual way, but as you can see in my response to Scott, I think that emphasis is off base, and can even be harmful.

  16. My take is that catechesis before the council was very poor, and after forty years, there’s still room for improvement. The loss of a sense of sin is pervasive through all ages. I don’t think people are any more or less aware of sin today as they were more than fifty years ago. What I would say is that catechesis, awareness of sin, and all should be deeper and more intense.

    Clearly, Fr Corapi is no longer part of that effort, if indeed, he ever was.

  17. “I felt Fr. Corapi had an unhealthy emphasis on sin, punishment, heaven and hell. It’s certainly all there in a factual way, but as you can see in my response to Scott, I think that emphasis is off base, and can even be harmful.”

    We’ve been trying your namby-pamby way for the last 40 years and look where it got us. Typical of Deacon GK; throw out of story of somebody he doesn’t like, doesn’t add his opinion, and then lets his minions do the dirty work for him.

    Father Corapi was very compassionate and forgiving (not affirming in sin like so many preists these days), go look at his cathecism series.

  18. Kevin,

    Corapi always left me cold. Yes, I agree that we need a return of the sense of sin. That’s beyond question. However, let me use an analogy from the pro-life movement.

    For years before we had sonograms and embryoscopy, the only images available to the pro-life movement were pictures of aborted babies. Such images are effective insofar as they shock and revolt, engender fear and anger.

    Such imagery also is repellent and has cast the pro-life movement in a negative frame of reference in the popular perception.

    In the last decade we have had the development of 3D and 4D sonograms and the advancement of fiber optic embryoscopy. These technologies have revolutionized the pro-life message. Rather than presenting people with the images of dismembered babies, we now present people with real-time video of beauty and wonder, of the miraculous and marvelous. We see babies yawning, smiling, sucking their thumbs and playing in the womb.

    In crisis pregnancy centers when counseling abortion-minded women, having presented them with the vision of God’s creation in all of its fragility and innocence, THEIR BABY, over 90% cannot go forward with killing the child.

    It isn’t the fire and brimstone tat changes their minds. It’s the positive vision of the other human whom they are contemplating killing.

    That’s what has always been lacking in Father Corapi’s message. He never really developed the beauty of humanity, the positive vision of others, the “WHY” of why it is wrong to sin. I think he tried, but the fire and damnation, the fear, always clouded the effort. The sense of sin can only be developed in healthy proportion to the development of our awareness of the dignity of others and ourselves.

  19. I defer to you on the abortion front of course. But I assume sometimes more than a few women were turned away by the more graphic images also.

    I think all of the images are necessary at times, just like sometimes we need to see the photographs of emaciated corpses at Auschwitz and Dachau to understand the true horror of what happened there. Otherwise it becomes too abstract.

    On Father Corapi, de gustibus non disputandum as the Romans said I guess. He was far from the first to present Church teaching in a muscular fashion and let’s not delude ourselves that ignorance of the full range of Church teaching is not rampant out there in the pews. Just last week a friend of mine, Catholic all her life, told me that holy communion is a symbol. Another told me that Jesus was conceived through normal means. These are otherwise bright, educated people. And far from alone. Corapi and others (Mother Angelica comes to mind) saw the illiteracy out there and tried to do something about it.

  20. If by “namby-pamby”, you mean appealing to the goodness in people and preaching Christ’s message of love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption, than I plead guilty to the offense of “namby-pamby”ism. I assume, Jasper, from your response that you don’t think that it’s “gotten us” to a very good place…I would disagree.

    Also, while I think the world of Deacon Greg, I’m not sure he would consider me his “minion”…though I do like the concept. If it’s a paid position, I plan on applying. This whole “Deacon as a volunteer ministry” has left me a little short of funds!

  21. I believe there is room in the priesthood for those some would see as namby pambi wanting to preach only of love and never mentioning sin and for those who want to remind us of the many warnings Jesus laid out for those who chose to follow. The perfect priest would discover a way to lay it out in some balance and to be able to discern what the person in front of them needed to hear and when they needed to hear it. When I returned to the Catholic Church, I was blessed by a priest who preached love and believed that everyone one needed to know was found in the Gospel of John. Later, when this priest was hit with cancer and died, I was led to a priest who taught the full beauty of the Catholic Church and through months of weekly instructions on the various enclyclicals and techings of the Catholic Church, heard a lot more of what is demanded of us who follow Christ and take up our cross. He was a Boston born priest with the full accent and a gift for humor to have you laughing while the message was driven home. I don’t know why we have to have only one type of priest as I suspect that the apostles had different gifts and ways of teaching the good news. For every Father Corapi, there seem to be a lot more who do not like this kind of confrontational manner which matched perfectly with magesterial teaching. He was also effective in teaching many what they had not heard about solid Catholic teaching even as his style turned some off. Why anyone would have an issue with Catholics hearing magesterial teaching in light of the known problems we face today in many who have never heard actual teaching and thus fall into serious error and often lead others into the same errors.

    I agree with the comment above about Father Barron who I see as a gift to the Church at this time with his talent put to the use of the Church very well. Bishop Sheen was also a wonder and his gift from God also very evident even as he too came under attack. What all Catholics should be concerned about are those who teach error in open dissent especially in matters which the Pope has labeled as non negotiable and essential teaching for our world today.

  22. Gerard:
    “It isn’t the fire and brimstone that changes their minds.”


    Over ten years ago a Chicago Deacon wrote an “op-ed” piece for the Catholic New World of the Archdiocese of Chicago which essentially said the same thing. He went on to insist, however, that the one thing that would change the patter of abortion in our country was for bishops, priests and deacons to preach on social justice. He made a statement that I think is true but I am not sure can be proven — probably because no one want to try — when the economy collapses and employment is sky high, abortions increase dramatically.

    It will be interesting to see — when the abortion data is published for the last four calendar years — if that deacon’s insight was at all prophetic.

  23. Of course, it is pretty clear to me that avoiding the fire and brimstone and speaking almost if not entirely exclusively of forgiveness and mercy isn’t changing anyone’s minds either. In fact, if I were a betting man, my guess is that scaring people with the reality of sin and and its consequences (Hell) might change one or two more minds than spoon feeding everyone a don’t-worry-be-happy-Jesus-loves-you message with no talk whatsoever of the consequences of personal actions.

    Wait, let me revise that. The latter HAS changed many minds. It is at the core, I am certain, of the decision of so many Catholics simply to stop going to mass, see the sacrament of confession, er, reconciliation, as unnecessary, and generally drift away from the Church.

  24. I don’t know that much about this priest, I read a little on him as I edited his Wikipedia article, but I’d say “watered down” can be kind of a real thing.

    I mean sure maybe people use that to mean “not hard-nosed enough” but I think it can also mean “soft-pedaling or ignoring continuous beliefs because they might offend people.” Like say never discussing Church teaching on divorce, contraception, fornication, workers rights, Papal Infallibility, Mother Mary, or Purgatory. Or outright saying “those beliefs aren’t really important, just be nice.” And I have seen Catholics who do that or say Catholicism is “whatever the majority of Catholics, as a people, choose to believe and doesn’t relate to any dogma or doctrine decided by a bunch of clerics.” A person could definitely be “not watered down” while being devoted to compassion for homosexuals, illegal immigrants, Neo-Pagans, and others hard-nosed types may dislike. Although I’d admit such a person might not be acceptable to many who use the term.

  25. My Dad came from a “fire and brimstone” Church, but for many of them it just led them to a “It sounds like I’m damned anyway, so might as well party now” attitude.

    And yet I actually came to agree with you a bit. Catholicism does teach that there are such things as mortal sins and that some kind of Hell does exist. But many priests do seem to almost lean toward Universalism, explicitly or by omission, and I don’t think that can be justified by tradition or the Bible or even logic. To me there are people who actively don’t want to be with God, or his people, at any point. So I’d actually rather think God doesn’t force them to change their mind after death and that they do go to some kind of Hell in the sense of “eternal separation.” But I get the sense that many Catholics see this as “uncharitable” or something. Also I think some actions really are terrible and people should feel pretty bad about them.

  26. There is, of course, a middle way. It’s not either/or.

    From my experience, people are hungry for hope, especially now. They want to be reminded that God loves them, in spite of everything, and that there is a wideness in God’s mercy.

    I think most preachers will tell you: people come to church, and come BACK to church, when their hearts are stirred. It’s not that a priest or deacon tells them what they want to hear, but that he tells them what they need to hear.

    Dcn. G.

  27. I agree with your comment about Father Barron. It’s always about Jesus, never about Robert. He doesn’t talk much about himself at all.

  28. Found this online.

    “According to his most recent office manager, Justin Meccia, John Corapi returned from a hunting trip in September and gave notice to Justin and other Santa Cruz Media staff that he was closing his business. His website has not been updated significantly since then (with the exception of posts made in his name to promote his post-July products, the series on abortion and Part 1 of the DVD version of his promised biography), phone calls are not answered, and mail is returned”

    However, I get the feeling Corapi, the deceiver, is realizing that his lifestyle post scandal is not a grand or as jet setting as when he was in Communion with the Church. Gone are the days of mega crowds paying large amounts for his appearances and trinkets.

  29. It looks like Corapi ‘Crossed the Rubicon’ in leaving the church.

    As he stated in his bizarre video from November 2011, it is an ‘act of insurrection’. Perhaps this is his notice that he is done?

    It is interesting that he states ‘did I do any good’ and he used “by the fruits you shall know them analogy”. I would state he caused great division in the Church and abandoned his followers.

    Watch the video its only 3 minutes.

    The Black Sheep Dog: “Crossing The Rubicon”

  30. You want the definition of mamby-pamby?

    People who think they can save souls outside of sanctifying grace. Leaving them in a state of mortal sin by way of ignorance. Using their vocation to Hijack the intimacy that belongs to Christ for themselves.

    You’ll remember that when priests taught sin, the lines for the confessionals were long. The fruit of confessing sins is right judgment, making good decisions about sin and virtue. Sanctifying grace brings people back to Church every week. The pews were filled to the rafters in every parish.

    Mamby-pamby: Men and women who are in need of self-esteem who position themselves within the Church to receive adoration and veneration, robbing the faithful of sanctifying grace.

  31. I may never have returned to the Roman Catholic Church without the preaching of Fr. John Corapi, a priest not politically correct in the Novus Ordo sense. There was never anything namby-pamby in what he had to say. He spoke the truth and the listener could like it or lump it. He sounded the way priests used to sound at pre-Vatican II missions in parishes before I left the Church. I watched him for two years so that my wife might consider conversion to Catholicism even though I was lapsed. She converted as did my my mother-in-law who did not watch Corapi. I finally came back after their conversions. I owe a great deal to Father Corapi, for whom I pray twice a day along with six or seven other priests in one kind of trouble or another. The only “good” priest on the list is the 80-year-old pastor who, like Corapi, doesn’t hesitate to address SIN, a word that does not that often grace current homilies. It was that old pastor who converted my mother-in-law. It takes the truth to make a difference.

  32. Interesting comment. I too notice the majority of posts supporting Corapi fall into two camps.

    1) It’s a giant conspiracy to silence Corapi and he is innocent.


    2) Everyone is a sinner, who are you to judge Corapi?

    To believe logic #1 who have us believe a religious order, Bishop, and Church have all hatch a plan against Corapi for some nefarious reason.

    To believe logic #2 relegates us to moral relativism where you are constrained for making any judgement on behavior lest you be viewed as a hypocrite. Logic number #2 is a philistine view of the Gospel.

  33. Todd,

    I don’t know if you were catechized as I was in Roman Catholic schools for 19 consecutive years before Vatican Council II (never with eye to becoming a priest). I also have 5 children who attended Catholic schools, on and off, after Vatican Council II. I know from personal experience that the quality of catechesis in RC schools after Vatican II can not compare with the quality of catechesis before the Council.

    After Vatican II, too many RC schools served Kool Aid rather than the undiluted Catholicism that we had to drink down every day. A case can be made that before the Council affective education was demonstrably dangerous to the psyche of some children. But warped or not when we graduated, those of us educated in that era knew the facts of our religion. Sin was no mystery to us whether we committed them or not and I certainly did.

    Indicative of the difference in the two eras are two things we have now–Peter, Paul and Mary music at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sign of Peace, the “wave in the stadium” that occurs every Sunday. We have fewer, happier. Catholics today and they compare in many ways to the Protestants that I remember before Vatican II.

    Corapi was an antidote to that after the Council. His fire and brimstone were the currency of most sermons (not “homilies”) before the Council. It may be a case for some of picking one’s poison. But I would not trade my pre-Vatican II school years for anything. At least I know what I’m doing wrong (and why) when I choose (if I choose) to do something wrong, thanks to Thomas Aquinas and the Dominicans, Carmelites, Benedictines and Jesuits who then swore by his teachings. They were not schooled by the McBriens and Chittisters of NCR.

  34. I agree with you about pre-Vatican II catechesis in Catholic schools. I knew the articles of faith (some very superficially) and what constituted a sin. What I didn’t learn however was much about the love and mercy of God or that I could not, of my own efforts, “earn” my way to heaven by being good and not sinning. Consequently I lived in despair for many years and was very afraid I was going to hell because I couldn’t be good enough, never mind I didn’t even know what good enough was. We don’t need a return to that message.

  35. “Leaving them in a state of mortal sin by way of ignorance.”

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean here, but a person cannot be in mortal sin unless they know themselves to be in mortal sin. It’s a positive decision one makes, not something you do in ignorance.

  36. “Carol” — you are wrong here and “Oregon Catholic” is absolutely correct.
    You cannot commit a “Mortal Sin” by accident and you cannot commit a “Mortal Sin” because of ignorance. It has to be a “positive decision” to directly defy God.

  37. Oregon Catholic, I agree from experience with the affective failure in religious education in RC schools prior to the Council. But although I would not want a return to that precise environment, I would like to see catechesis that deals in doctrinal fact. I was never taught that my works wold get me to heaven but I was taught that my mortal sins, unforgiven at death, would send me to hell. I think that is still true but maybe I could have been taught that in a kinder manner. What I see today is little concern about the role of sin in one’s ultimate destination. I agree completely about the role God’s mercy plays in tempering his justice. But at times it seems that God must get pretty fed up.

  38. Baudelaire once observed that Satan’s most brilliant lie is convincing us that he doesn’t exist. His second is convincing us that sin is trivial.

  39. Re: Mr. Corapi, Mr. Vorsi, Father Pavone and the Bishops

    The Catholic Church in the USA does not need celebrity figures to survive. It does need courageous Bishops. In light of the Great Scandal one way to measure how courageous our shepherds, the successors to the Apostles, are is how they (and their Chanceries) handle controversial Catholic figures.

    Controversy is the norm for Catholic celebrities. Sr John of the Cross (1542 – 1591) was appointed Chaplain by the Papal Delegate to St. Theresa’s Convent against the wishes of the Carmelite Superior. After the Delegate’s death St. John was ordered by his Order to return to his monastery. He refused. His Religious Superior arrested and imprisoned St John where he was flogged in front of the other Monks weekly. St John eventually broke out his Monastery and escaped.

    An English Carmelite Superior writing about this incident around 1921 opined that the problem in the case of St. John revolved about the lack of clear lines of authority and obedience. There were Canonized Saints on both sides of the controversy. Let us hope that Mr. Corapi is on his way to Sainthood and that our Bishops find courage.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  40. The greatest problem many have in this area is self deception or rationalizing away sin which one might see as a form of ignorance.
    Because of the effect of concupiscence (our inclination to sin) we are prone to self-deception and to fall prey to the lies of the world and the enemy of our souls.

    St Theresa of Avila said ‘
    Knowing ourselves is something so important that I wouldn’t want any relaxation ever in this regard, however high you may have climbed to the heavens… So I repeat that it is good, indeed very good, to try to enter first into the room where self-knowledge is dealt with rather than to fly off to other rooms”

    The retreat I am going on this weekend in fact is all about self deception and the importance we have as Catholics to constantly improve our self knowledge of right and wrong; of things we do and fail to do; things we say and fail to say. Ignorance if it occurs from self deception or our failure to gain knowledge with effort, leaves us in very dangerous territory in our battle with evil.

  41. From what I see, support for Father Corapi comes from those who having heard him speak, discovered true teaching according to the magesterium of the Catholic Church. I think most who gained knowledge important to them from this man have stated a hope he is found to be innocent, while at the same time, have expressed concern over much of what has been displayed.

    I find those who do not like to have magesterial teaching pointed out to them seem to take delight in any problems which he has encountered which says a lot about them as well. Many who present Church teaching in a discussion that gets in the way of actions some want to take, especially on non negotiable Catholic teaching even by the Pope, often face attacks that never show were there was error in what was stated.

  42. Good point Richard. I would add it will also be good if the Bishops show resolve in Catholic public figures who are in open dissent from church teaching and also within our Catholic Universities who have ignored Pope John Paul II clear call for those teaching Theology to get a mandatum from the local Bishop to insure that they are not teaching error under the Catholic name. Lot of places where the Bishops can gain moral high ground once again by word and action. Of course another possible way is to have any bishop involved in the scandal removed from positions of power. It does not bode well when it is the priests only who pay a price for any error.

  43. Donal,
    The question I don’t think the RCC addressed well is why mortal sin lands us in hell. Does God send us there as punishment for not being adequately sorry before death sneaks up on us (the message I got) or does mortal sin do something to us that makes us go there of our own free will? The first instills a feeling of despair and anxiety and fear of a “gotcha” God, the second makes me want to avoid sin and it’s effects.

  44. I most often would hear him when he was on the radio in my car, but a problem for me was that for most of the drive I’d wait for him to get to the teaching part and past what often seemed tall tales. Who came up with Fr. Jim Flanagan, the founder of SOLT, being an All-American football player at Notre Dame before joining the Navy Seals for WWII? That’s a claim that can be checked and he is not on any All-American lists. That makes it more difficult to accept other tales. I had thought from the stories he told that he was in the Green Beret, when apparently that is not what he was really saying at all.

    I can’t say that when I did get to the teaching, I heard anything that seemed a problem. The only problem then was whether he believed it himself or not. Was he motivated to tell it like it is since he could package that with a lot of spicy personal anecdotes and make $2M/year in sales from it. If there is any grain of truth as to what SOLT said they discovered (and I don’t know if what they discovered was even related to the accusations that he filed a suit against), then you’d have to say that he did not practice what he preached and seems to have been in it for the financial benefits.

  45. Mark:

    It is pretty hard to discipline a Bishop. Archbishop Weakland stole about $450.000.00 in Church funds in order to buy the silence of a former boyfriend. Although a notorious advocate sexual practices the good Archbishop was allowed to quietly retire in 2002 when he hit the mandatory retirement age (75). He has never been publicly reprimanded by the Church or criminally prosecuted by the State.

    OTH Voris, Corapi and Fr. Pavone have neither stolen Church monies nor promoted sodomy; but they have subjected to a storm of public criticism.

    Our Bishops could start by complying with Canon Law in these cases in order to ensure at least a semblance of justice.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  46. Mr. Daniel T

    “then you’d have to say that he did not practice what he preached and seems to have been in it for the financial benefits.”

    He may not have practiced what he preached and he may well have been in it for the money (but I cannot look into his heart). However what he preached was also what the Church held as true. And this is rare. When was the last time you have heard a Bishop preach for instance that artificial contraception and sodomy were intrinsically evil?

    And maybe Mr. Corapi’s will find his salvation in his willingness to preach the good news of Jesus Christ in season and out of season at a time when all too many others were silent?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  47. For both “Donal . . .” and “Oregon. . . ”

    Both of you have it wrong. God does not condemn us capriciously to hell. Individual souls who spend eternity in Hell are there of their own choosing. Yup! Let me re-state that as unambiguously as I can. Folks go to Hell because they want to be there. PERIOD!

  48. “The retreat I am going on this weekend in fact is all about self deception and the importance we have as Catholics to constantly improve our self knowledge of right and wrong; of things we do and fail to do; things we say and fail to say.”
    I think you are wrong to state that people, like me, who didn’t like Corapi’s teaching take “delight” in his suffering. Perhaps you can reflect on the harshness of your words while you are on retreat.

  49. Well, my sense is that for those who want it, excellent catechesis is easy to find these days, and has been for at least thirty years.

    People of my parents’ generation seem largely uninformed about the sacraments, the saints, the hierarchy, and particular things like divorce, mariology, and such. That’s not to say it’s not easy to find well-informed pre-conciliar Catholics or ignorant V2 Catholics.

    I find internet “orthodox” Catholics routinely lacking in curiosity about the faith. I think their moral formation matches their grandparents’. I think non-conservative Catholics are more informed about the Bible, and that pre-conciliar catechesis on the Scriptures can’t hold a candle to the past thirty to forty years.

    All that said, I would rate 1950 catechesis as a 2 and today’s as a 4. 10 would be a better aim. But you can’t stuff knowledge into unwilling heads, be they 19th, 20th or 21st century.

  50. There appears to be a bit of a contradiction – John Corapi preached what the Magisterium taught; Mr. Voris teaches what the Magisterium teaches yet both are castigated. I think back to the words of the gospels (and I am paraphrasing as I do not have my bible in front of me) – “They will know you by your works”. Maybe, we need to look past the words and look at the works. I would include in this suggestion the hierarchy of the Church, the priests, the other religious, and the laity. It is our works – how we live out what is taught that makes the impression.
    A simple example – We teach our children to be honest and to follow the rules – we take our children to a ball game where there is a substantial discount for children under twelve – our shortest child looks like s/he is 10, but in reality is 14. I have heard parents says ” Tell the man you are twelve”. What did the child learn?

  51. Deacon Norb

    “Folks go to Hell because they want to be there. PERIOD!”

    Not sure this is true. Yes, we choose to continue to sin and usually compound that sin with others. One can certainly argue that this means they are knowingly choosing sin and by doing this they are choosing hell, but many in sin, the thorn in the heel, are hoping for Gods loving mercy to overcome their sins. I suspect some who live lives of endless mortal sin without reconcilliation will be surprised as the rich man looking over at the poor man being held by Abraham and seeking a drink of water. He wanted to go back to make sure his family knew what would happen to those who lived his type of life. He seemed surprised and certainly did not seem to Want to be there.

  52. Mark, if the sin is experienced as a thorn in the side, and the sinner is hoping to overcome it through God’s mercy and grace, it sounds as if there isn’t full consent of the will. This can alleviate the gravity of the sin. Serious matter is not enough to make a person guilty of mortal sin.

  53. Todd, people often did not listen and frankly some of the things we now deal with like invitro fertilization and openly gay lifestyle, etc, were not part of any teaching back then. Many have also chosen to water down their faith, often supported by a dissenting priest as on the issue of birth control.

    What is wrong in many ways now is that the Bishops often put out committee written documents that can be turned any way one desires. If God had used this method with the ten commandments, He would have needed a library and not two tablets.

    Where does one find the teaching of the Catholic Church which are defined as magesterial in a easy to read list? Where are those teachings which the Vatican and Pope have said are non negotiable and how do they compare or impact other teaching positions. If you give a kid a hundred options, they will always choose the path of least reisistance and so do all of us in some way.

    Frankly the teaching before was not fully adequate to carry forward to the world today and the teaching today after Vatican II is far to nuanced and namby pambi because it is written by committees who often have different goals and missions. Frankly, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should put out solid easy to read and understand teaching and the Vatican Supreme Court should insure that was is produced meets actual Church teaching. I do not think the USCCB or other agencies should produce anything that is not examined first by these two agencies within the Vatican.

  54. He is not a troubled priest: he has done nothing. The only prayer we should say is about the woman who threw false accusations, she is the one who has indeed a troubled soul, and is much in need of God’s mercy. What goes around comes around.

  55. For me, this man, this Priest, is yet another example of the Great work, and great struggle we are ALL involved with.

    The one thing I recall from his homilies is when he was discussing Salvation:
    “Brother are you Saved ? and I (Corapi) would respond, not yet.”

    His example is that salvation can be lost, and that we MUST take advantage of confession, reconcilliation, and the strengthening of the Eucharist.
    We each, and the Church as a whole exist in the world subjugated by original sin and Our participation in it. WE must reject it and turn and ask to be healed.

    I think his appeal was that even as a priest he too was “like us” and struggling for salvation. It is unfortunate or may yet be a blessing to see the ordinary temptation to sin, and the reconcilliation and obediance to Christ that brings Joy.

    Right now his last image is that of someone in darkness and struggling.
    I pray for him and us all, that we may be rescued and hold and keep the light of Christ !

    This sudden disappearance of his web personna of rebellion is actually hopeful.

  56. At least Corapi represented the Church Militans. You have to be in this age, in all ages, but especially in this age, a militant Catholic. Simply because in many ways we are back to the dark ages of the Roman colloseum. A harsh, pagan, antichristian attitude characterizes the times and you have to oppose the spirit of the age in a bold, honest and straightforward manner. That he did. He was not perfect, but I wish more priests had the strength and courage to warn the faithful against this dark and neopagan age.

  57. “Like all of us must do, I pray he is also following the 10 Commandments and that he has not fallen back into those vices which nearly cost him his life and his soul.

    Please, in your charity, pray for this troubled priest and all concerned. May the Blessed Virgin Mary who pulled him from the gutter and led him to the priesthood; and Blessed John Paul II who ordained him, guide Father John Corapi in his time of need. We pray that his guardian angel makes it easy for him to act on the graces that come from the prayers of us all.”

    Easy to cast stones when the spotlight is not on our backgrounds. How many of us could stand up under all this pressure of so many talking about us in a negative light on the internet? The only difference between FRC and us is that with some of us the spotlight isn’t on us! That is the only difference between your lives and that of Fr. John Corapi. All of are “troubled”. From most of the replies I have read it appears that all are lily white and have never sinned. Some act like those who in the bible story who wanted to stone the woman. But there was “proof” she was a adulterer. Where is this proof so many hang on regarding Fr. Corapi? Where are the blood tests if he abused drugs?? Pictures of him and all those women? I read of the negativ ity, the ridicule, the false statements. Jesus died for the sick, the broken, etc. But we the church kick those down further with our words and actions. Even IF FRC committed everything that has been written about him shouldn’t we be loving him anyway, as JESUS DID?

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