People write me from time to time and ask me what’s up with Fr. Corapi. There hasn’t been much news since the Blacksheep Dog scheme to grift his fanbase fell apart and he disappeared from sight. After that, no longer presenting a source of danger to the flock as his cult of personality waned, I haven’t paid any attention. But people still write me now and then wondering. The closest thing to news is this little thingie that popped up, but it’s not really anything substantiated or even all that interesting. Mostly what it tells you is not anything about Corapi that you wouldn’t already surmise from his silence, but it does tell you a lot about Folk Hero worshipping conservative Catholics, in the comments. These reveal that there remains a small nucleus of worshippers of the Corapi cult who imagine that he was the Only Man on Earth who spoke The TRVTH, that The TRVTH consisted of regurgitating a few Catholic-flavored GOP Red Meat Culture War Talking Points, that Michael Voris has now taken up this mantle and is Elisha to Corapi’s Elijah, and that the basic pattern of battening on some Folk Hero to save us and lead us to the Light instead of becoming mature Catholics who learn to think with the Church and pay attention to the Magisterium (commonly known cafeteria conservativess as “the damn Librul bishops and gay cabal who persecute Michael Voris and plotted to destroy Fr. Corapi”) is alive and well in discernment-free conservative Catholic circles.
Folk Heroes and demagogues are the unpaid bills of our episcopacy’s failures over the past few decades. Their popularity is a clear sign that Catholics flat do not trust their bishops and are looking for somebody to keep them safe. It’s the same dynamic that attracts fatherless young men into gangs headed by strong charismatic figures. And it will–and has–resulted in the same sort of chaos as cults of personality form around figures who make up for their lack of knowledge (Voris) or integrity (Corapi) with certitude and command. The Church’s traditional solution to the human urge to have a cult of personality around a hero is to say, “Knock yourself out. But just be sure the object of your cult is dead and canonized.” In America, however, Catholicism drinks deep of the cult of celebrity and confuses that with the cult of the saints. Result: we keep canonizing Living Saints before it has really been established that they are saints and then we circle the wagons to defend them from Forces of Evil that often just turn out to be people saying, “Your Idol has feet of clay.”
UPDATE: Welcome, Pewsitter Flying Monkeys! Since the anonymous cowards at Pewsitter have ordered a little code red on me again I just thought you should know that you are in for some especially stiff competition in the Gettin’ Catty for Holy Faith competition this time. So far, my absolute favorite Flying Monkey combox entry comes from “Sister Mary Pantsuit”, who writes, “’Great Article Mark!!’ – Me, Fr. Effeminate, & Satan”. That cracks me up good. I doubt any of you Pewsitter guys can top that.
Because nothing says “manly courage resisting the feminization of the Church” like anonymously posting as a nun.
*Do* that Dana Carvey thang, you gutsy Real Catholic!