Update on Fr. Corapi

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.”

Moral: Grow up. Stop worshipping Folk Heros. Learn to listen to the Church. And let those who adored and trusted in the Folk Hero pray for the poor soul they burdened with trust and adoration that should only have been placed in Jesus Christ.

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!

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  • Any priest dumb enough to let himself be adored deserves what he gets.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

    • Thom Brady

      Are you a real priest? You should be ashamed of yourself right now.

      • Mr. Brady, please calm down. I know this is a touchy subject but this is the second blog where I’ve seen your angry scribblings. It’s just not worth it.

      • Mark Shea

        Have some mercy. Don’t write hate against a priest.

    • Br. Gabriel, O.P.

      Exactly. I’m constantly having to preach against the “messiah” complex. I believe it to be a form of Pelagianism.

  • Leticia Adams

    I couldn’t agree with you more, and the pro-life movement has plenty of them as well, and nobody cares. And anyone who tries to make the slightest claim that maybe they are not as holy and saintly as everyone who is bowing at their feet think they are, gets called a gossiper. Been there, done that. Thank God that He is in control and can write straight with crooked lines. 🙂

  • rachel

    Well said Mark and Fr. Neri. I had my BS meter on about Corapi. Granted , I thought he was good until my husband pointed out some stuff to me when we were dating and sadly they came true :(. I used to be a protestant and knew of several figures who also had a following to only turn out to be a fake. Always be aware of these sort of people which is why our trust is in God and not man.

  • Crisler

    It is pretty bizarre and unfair to say that those who think Michael Voris has something important to say are therefore an idol worshippers. After all, Mark, one could very well make the same argument about you and the little cult of personality that has grown up around you– since apparently all one needs to be a “cult of eprsonality” is to have an audience. Such a judgement would be unfair to you, but no less unfair than it is to Corapi or Voris. What failings they might have as men are their failings as men, just as yours are yours and mine are mine, and it is not a valid argument to say that Corapi is a failure with regards to integrity and Voris is a dope (even if one were to grant them both) and therefore all their supporters are blind followers or that orthodoxy is without merit. This seems especially uncharitable to Voris, who has never broken a vow and only claims to be a concerned layman. It seems pretty clear to this objective reader that your disdain for both Corapi and Voris has corrupted your reason.

    • Subsistent

      “Dope” denotes stupidity, whereas Mr. Shea has here associated Voris with “lack of knowledge”, not with lack of smarts. And Voris’s lack of accurate knowledge about the Catholic teaching on Transubstantiation, for instance, and about historical facts connected with that teaching, was pointed out in detail by Brett Salkeld in his article in the group blog Vox Nova dated July 14, 2012.

    • MarieTeresa

      Good points Chrisler and especially: “It seems pretty clear to this objective reader that your disdain for both Corapi and Voris has corrupted your reason.”

      • Mark Shea

        Objective. Good one!

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    I couldn’t agree more. As a priest who is also a blogger and writer and speaker the temptation is there to pump it all up if you can–increase your celebrity–get more love. It’s a recipe for disaster and may the Good Lord deliver us.

    • Thom Brady

      Fr, excuse me, but you of all people jumping on the bandwagon and beating a priest up when he is down is disgusting. You are to be the example of how to treat our priests and fellow Catholics. I am ashamed to be Catholic right now…I truly mean that.

      • Lilmom

        Thom, you should really be more respectful when you are speaking to a priest.

        I don’t know how you can interpret what Fr. Longenecker just said as beating up on a priest. He is obviously speaking from experience and I appreciate his sincerity in regards to the temptations that priests in his position face. Having a higher profile in the Catholic community expose a priest to enormous temptation and any priest that does have a higher profile must always remember this and keep themselves in check. Otherwise, the results could be disastrous.

        Fr. Longenecker admitting to that is hardly beating up on Fr. Corapi.

    • Maybe if he had lived in community he would have been more faithful to his vocation.

    • KViens

      Fr. D, I thank you for being honest about the temptation to not seek a cult. Your blog shows this and that humor is a foundational way you keep from taking yourself too seriously, while teaching the faith. Good work.

    • David Curp

      There was a line from C.S. Lewis in conversation toward the end of his life, when he and an interviewer were talking about Medieval literature and how one character strove unapologetically to “win worship” (not meant idolotrously, but still…) and Lewis observed that such was a dangerous temptation.

      Yet we need priests who are willing to be personally accessible, compelling and holy – and that will, in a sense “win worship”/admiration. I think Mark is on to something important though when he draws us to consider how we, as a Catholic public need to grow in discernment so that we can receive such gifts of wisdom and personal holiness from those who are called to be “up front” without succumbing to the cult of celebrity.

  • Thom Brady

    Mark, why don’t you read this book “THE WORK OF MERCY” by a Mark Shea and apply it to your life because it lacks of it. Have some mercy. If any one has a cult following, it is YOU. And that link you are spreading, it gossip. Get a life. The title of the blog is a lie because it is not an update but another cheap attempt to spread rumors. That’s all it is: RUMORS. You should be ashamed of yourself. Update, my foot! You enjoy writing about and reading what others have to hatefully write about Father Corapi. You make me sick! If any one is a danger to the flock, its you and your poison to get others to write hate against a priest.

    • “And now for the opposing opinion, as represented by the right half of the bell curve…”

  • CB

    Well said. Great post.

  • All priests are servants of Christ first and only seek disciples for Christ. I have seen too many times in the case of priest who garner for themselves national followings or even local followings how the end is always the same: they but their own press, believe they are special and all the rules do not apply to them, engage in untoward behavior, and crash and burn leaving a host of disillusioned disciples. When I was in the seminary, one of the professors reminded us, “When the people of God come to you, it is Christ that they seek, stay out of the way.”

  • “joe”

    errrr … shea has a cult of personality? i’ve said some sharp (and correct, of course) things about the blog and to the blogger and here i am, posting, not banned or even chided by others (or even the blogger) for what i’ve said (disagreed with, but not chided).

    also, i a feel a bit validated because i knew (in the internet sense) some of corapi’s fans on another catholic site. i opined that he was an excellent speaker, but seemed full of himself. for this i was hit with a ton of bricks. cf, then, what i’ve received for crossing with shea: viz, nothing. that’s a pretty weak cult of personality.

  • Gregg

    If Bishops, priests, deacons and catechists would teach what the Church teaches instead of the relativistic garbage they drink up from secular society, the “cult of personality” would not be an issue. As it is, anyone who even mentions the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” is dismissed as some sort of right wing loon. There is no place for political terms and descriptions in the church. Left, right, liberal and conservative are secular man made labels. In the Church, one is either faithfully striving or making up their own religion with a god made in their own image.

  • LOL!

    In a world that worships everyone but God (e.g. athletes, politicians, businessmen, writers, religious leaders, etc.), why is anyone surprised that Corapi is worshiped and adored in the way that he is? And to that end, are you really trying to claim that gang members and conservative Catholics are subject to this temptation? The worship of false idols is a fallen human condition so pervasive and so OLD, the Good Lord brought it to our attention in the first rule of the Decalogue. Thanks for the comic relief, Mark, and the heavy dose of irony in your article.

    • LOL!

      erg: *ONLY gang members and conservative Catholics…

  • Robert

    It is also a symptom of poor or non-existent catechesis at the local level so that people feel the need to find their prophet on the airwaves. The Catholic Church could learn much from their Protestant relations.

  • kara

    Hey guys, what was the over/under on how fast the trolls would show up? Who won the bet?

    • The trolls showed up before I even had a chance to read the first post, that’s what I get for reading the post after 3 pm, I guess.

  • I’ve noticed a key trait that all these ‘Catholic Cult Heroes who turn out to be not living what they preach” share is that they all talk ALOT about themselves and their pasts and their lives. Corapi was always talking about his cocaine/wealthy/speeding to Vegas past. Maciel told lots of heroic stories (And most likely imaginary) about his youth. With these cult heroes, they point to themselves, not Christ.

    On the other hand, look at Fulton Sheen– definitely a celebrity priest, but you can listen to his talks for days on end and learn–he’s a priest from New York, and he celebrates Mass. His personal life is hidden—he points to the priesthood and to Jesus, not himself……

    I’m praying my current favorite ‘celebrity priest’ follows in Sheen’s footsteps…. but I have high hopes, since all you know about him by listening to him is that he’s seen some really lame movies….l

    • Esther

      Not sure I agree. Read Augustine’s Confessions – he talks a lot about his life and past. The difference is he does it to glorify God and makes sure God gets the “credit.” I think there’s a place for personal conversion stories, and that was why I initially really liked Father Corapi. I was moved by his story of being saved by God from addiction. Now all this has happened I don’t know how much of it is true and that bothers me. It doesn’t shake my belief that God can heal anything, but that specific story was a source of comfort to me and now I can’t trust it it makes me sad.

      • But Augustine didn’t keep bringing up his past in every talk and every sermon. In fact, he was already a notable theologian BEFORE he wrote his confessions…. where as Corapi’s whole ministry was based on “Look at me!”. I used to listen to him on relevant radio b/c he came on before Doctor Ray, and every single talk was about him….

        • Kevin Richardson

          Deirdre, I must ask, how is it that you know this with enough certainty as to sound like an eyewitness- a claim we all have reason to doubt.

  • I must admit…I miss the sound of his voice.

    • If Mt. Rushmore could speak it would sound like John Corapi. His voice was incredible. Shame it wasn’t attached to someone more deserving.

  • CB

    Odd to see someone accuse others of “attacking”, and then turn around and do the same.
    There truly is an issue with “cult of personality”, and yes, even with traditional, orthodox priests as well. I don’t understand what it is about Fr Corapi that brings people to rabidly defend him, despite so many red flags.

  • jcb

    Given that vow of pvoerty, the kind of car he drives is at least kind of the point, isn’t it?

  • Mark Hartman

    To say that Mark Shea has a “cult of personality” – at least, one that he cultivates – could not be further from the truth. There may indeed be people who hang on his every word as Ultimate Truth, but Mark himself neither presents himself that way, nor bends his message to please those around him. In fact, he tends in some issues to be so on-message as to be almost-if-not-quite-offensively over-the-top, which is certainly NOT the behavior of someone trying to cultivate a cult of personality.

    Cultmongers are armed with feel-good tools. Those dedicated to the truth are armed with two-by-fours. Mark does not hesitate to use his.

  • Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Isn’t it sinful to attack any of our ordained? I think it is. Just sayin’.

    • Scott W.

      We should always hold out an offer of mercy, but as we established in another cantankerous combox, there needs to be confession and evidence of contrition. “I’ll pray for you and the horse you rode in on.” is not contrition.

      As far as attacking priests. Physically assaulting a priest carries latae sententiae excommunication, but I’m no Canon Lawyer, so don’t quote me. Verbally abusing a priest is sinful. Criticizing a priest however, is withing reason.

    • Br. Gabriel, O.P.


      To paraphrase St Thomas Aquinas, if a person is in error we have an obligation to correct him, even if he be the Pope. Criticism,as long as it doesn’t have the additional character of malice, is a form of legitimate correction, especially of a public person. There, are other circumstances that could effect the act, but they don’t apply here.

  • Dear Mr. Shea,

    Other than slagging a Catholic priest when he is down and carrying on your usual diatribe against Mr. Voris, what possible purpose did this little post have?

    Frankly, I find your comments on both of these men mean-spirited and trite and not worthy of a man who purports to be a Catholic of higher intellect than those whom you have chosen to insult for their apparent lack of that and integrity.

    Of course, I’ll expect a slur back at me for this, no doubt.

    • Mark Shea

      God bless you, David.

      • You can’t bless him, Mark. You’re under a curse, remember?

        • Mark Shea

          We cursed people have short memories.

  • Mack Hall

    Fr. Philip is exactly right.

  • And one more thing: The only thing that brought me here was the hope that something new on Father Corapi may have been here for those of us who have enough compassion for him. I see that this is 4 minutes of time which I will never get back.

  • Stormy

    As far as the character Mr. Shea describes, there have been two three (don’t make this number go up!) commenters who reacted with anger to what is admittedly a non-confirmed revelation – if it even is such. The vast majority have reacted with concern for Corapi and sadness at how his aposolate ended. I have not been disedified by the anger – I imagine it reflects profound hurt. It is very difficult to realize that those whom we looked up to have let us down.

    I almost sense a protestant view from Mr. Shea – that our soul focus should be on Christ and we should never look to mere humans for any spiritual guidance and support. I’ll do that as soon as he shuts down his blog and stops writing books, making speaking tours, stops the radio, etc.


    • Mark Shea

      Ah yes! The old “You Protestant half-breed converts will never *really* be Catholic” trick. Love that one.

  • Tim Jones

    Fr. Corapi, I thought, was a very able teacher of Catholic doctrine and the catechism. He really was. I benefited from that aspect of his ministry. I was very doubtful about the accusations against him at first, but his choices and behavior afterward told me more than I needed to know. I hope and pray that the silence is a sign he may yet choose obedience, repent and reconcile.

    • That was a kind and gracious way to approach this issue.

    • I hope he does reconcile and can be reinstated by the SOLT and then…The Back in Black Tour!
      I know….wishful thinking.

  • Mark Shea

    Heh! Good one!

    • John

      I’m supposed to becoming a catholic this Easter. Then again, after reading these posts, perhaps I won’t. I thought I was getting away from all this kind of stuff!

      • Mark Shea

        A single blog post is enough to destroy your faith? You might want to ask yourself what your faith is in.

  • Stormy

    You know Mark …. If so many people are seeing these “Tendency’s” … Maybe it’s time to pull yourself away from the Cult-of -Personality of Mark Shea for a while and reflect a little …..

    • Mark Shea

      I love pious Catholicspeak for “Shut up, you egotistical Protestant half breed convert. Everybody in my circle of friends hates you.”

  • Robert

    You describe the dynamics of these mutual love fests very well. I had a good lesson on this when I was growing up. We had a priest whom everyone seemed to love. We looked beyond some of his past failures in another diocese. He was extremely personable, gregarious, funny, warm, etc. Later on, when his name started to get into the press, I defended him and sent him an encouraging letter. After a few years and a few more allegations, I stopped playing along. But even when he was laicized and ordered to stop saying Masses, there were some in our parish who still clung to him and defended him. I don’t know if I can thank God for the scandal caused by priests like this, but I do thank Him for the lessons these scandals have to teach.

  • Mr. Shea, do you not see the meanness in your responses to people? Do you think that sarcasm is from the Lord?

    • Mark Shea

      What would Jesus do? Would your prefer I use language like “blind guides” or “whitewashed tombs” to describe people who seem so confident about their own awesome Catholic grasp of everything while telling us Protestant half-breeds to shut up about the false prophets they worship and the wolves preying on sheep they defend?

      • How are you different?

        What has Mr. Voris said that is heretical? Is he a “blind guide” because if that is what you’re saying than you have some serious examination to do. If you don’t like his tone or style, that is one thing, but this post is mean-spirited and anyone who dares to say it to you, is lambasted or insulted. Nobody told you to shut-up but why are you attacking your brother? Did it ever occur to you that your both doing important work but in a different way?

        • Mark Shea

          Bearing false witness is not Catholic.
          Calling Judaism a false man-made religion is not Catholic.
          Doing puff pieces calculated to mainstream anti-semitic kooks is not Catholic.
          Declaring that only Catholics (and only the right kind of Catholic) should be permitted to vote is not Catholic.
          Half-baked demagoguery about the Eucharist, while not quite “heresy” is still not cause for uncritical lack of discernment: http://vox-nova.com/2012/07/14/michael-voriss-heresy-and-the-eucharist-a-fraternal-correction/

          Show some discernment. Stop with the Folk Hero worship.

          • Stormy

            I believe what Voris said in Context was ..after the fall of the Temple the Jews had no ..Temple …Priest or Sacrifice …. Thus the Judaism that followed the Fall of the Temple is a man made adaptation ….

            • Mark Shea

              And he’s still wrong.

              • Stormy

                According to The – Cult – of – Shea ….. You would think smart men like Fr Pavone and Fr Z .. and Bishop Burke would not associate with such a person then huh ?

                I seem to remember the same type of comments made about Mother Angelical from the Liberal Bishops back in the day ….

                • Mark Shea

                  I never said any such thing. Any further false opinions you’d like to attribute to me?

                  And just so’s you know, pitting yet another Folk Hero against the alleged Cabal of Liberal Bishops Out to Destroy All Your Folk Heroes is a baaaaad way of demonstrating that you don’t create and worship Folk Heroes.

                  • Stormy

                    Gee Mark ..Do I “Worship” Mary also ? Do I “Worship” Mother Angelica ? I wonder who Mother Angelical told that She would burn it all down before they got their hands on it ….

                    Your ability to see the Signs of the Times is glaring ……

                    • Mark Shea

                      …says the woman who just told me what I think when I don’t think that.

                      Suggestion: Stop attempting a tu quoque argument and you won’t have to invent opinions I don’t hold in order to prove I am a hypocrite about cults of personality.

              • Mark, why are you so nasty?

                Friend, you really need some counsel.

                • Mark Shea

                  More Catholic piousspeak for “Shut up, sicko.” Thanks.

                  • Andy, Bad Person

                    Mark, why do you defend yourself when people attack you? Turn the other cheek, right? Now shut up and take it while I kick you in the face!

                  • No Mark, that is not what I said and if you can put these words in my mouth than you really need to re-read what I wrote and take the advice.

                    • Mark Shea

                      I realize it’s not what you *said*.

  • Br. Gabriel, O.P.


    Regardless of the veracity of the link, it is very sad when any evil attacks the Church through her sacred ministers. The same thing can happen to any of us. It’s only God’s grace that prevents our own demise. Your penultimate paragraph is very insightful. I think you are correct. But, I don’t think this is anything new. Every age has had its charismatic leaders for good or for ill. What is new, it the dangerous, and from our perspective, precarious elevated position priests and religious have been placed in. The “devotion” people have toward priests and religious is historically unprecedented. I’d never united this modern phenomenon with the failure of the hierarchy to govern well. But, it makes a lot of sense.

    It would be good for everyone to reflect on what St. Paul said concerning putting too much of our faith, hope, or love in our ecclesiastical authorities in 1 Corinthians 3. “Brothers, I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ … Whenever someone says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another, ‘I belong to Apollos,’ are you not merely human? … “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth.”

    We should never forget the words of the Psalmist, “Put not your trust in princes, but in The Lord.”

  • TG

    I found this article by accident. I’m curious about what happened to Father Corapi. I didn’t think I find just an article insulting him or other conservative Catholics. Mr. Shea, on Catholic radio, you sound so nice but not so in writing. You’re quite rough with those that disagree with you.

  • Loud

    There is nothing wrong with having respect for somone. A while ago you said there was a gay man who you considered a saint. You dont know weather or not he was chaste, though you hope he was, but you knew he was worthy of respect in other areas. You honored him for that. Just because someone MAY turn out to be human. Jeeze, as if we didnt know. We will always be dissapointed when someone lets us down, our bishops let us down from time to time just like any other “folk heros”. But are you really so unaware of Catholic thought that you would offer dispair as the best alternitive? To see the world as darkened is to see it plainly, but someone who claims there wont be points of light is blind. There is goodness. I know my sister is good. I know infants are good, i trust my parents are good, i trust my friends are good, i hope and pray that the more distant heros I look up to are good aswell. EVERY parent has let his kid down at times, but unless its big, why would anyone suggest not looking up to him? And NO ONE is crazy enough to suggest that we stop looking up to ANY Dad, EVER while he’s alive. And what ar epriests but living, spiritual role modles? Thats there JOB! Dont go slaming them all because some didnt do it well. I cant think of any group, or anyone, who is perfectly catholic. My dad, for example, is a pre-emptive strike, capital punishment radical: Its is his neoconservatism showing. But hes Catholic. And you, you’re catholic. But today, in this one thing I would agree Marianne: Your protestantism is showing. We are called to be examples, St Paul said to imitate him. No one told him “shut up, your not one of the original apostles, and your not dead….” all priests have a share in the apostles autority, just a smaller one.

    • Esther

      The issue is when someone becomes so sure that someone is a saint that they refuse to accept clear evidence to the contrary, and are tempted into all sorts of bad things because they have started idolising a person. There were plenty of people who thought Fr Corapi was the bees knees until evidence to the contrary came out, then accepted that evidence because reality is a thing.

  • Kirt Higdon

    The only thing new I’ve picked up from this thread and the links is that Fr. Corapi has (or had) a personal trainer by the name of Gina (or maybe Xena). Has anybody seen a picture of her? Is she hot or not?

  • I’ll always be grateful to Father Corapi for his ministry as a priest, particularly in his excellent response to the scandal of priests abusing children – which came out while many of us were in seminary and were looking for answers & direction ourselves.

    I maintain hope that his current silence and lack of visibility is a sign of prayer & penance after having returned in obedience to his community. Regardless of whether that is true, prayers are certainly appropriate.

    • From the pastoral perspective, a very nice response, and a very appropriate response as well.

      • Please don’t throw around the term Pastoral like that. There is nothing Pastoral in what Fr. Maurer said. Rather, Fr. Maurer is expressing a hopeful perspective. Being Pastoral is related to the governing office of the Church. Also, being pastoral is not necessarily related to nice sentiments. The stick is just as Pastoral as the carrot depending on the situation.

        Sorry, it’s a pet peeve of mine.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Wow…so much here. I agreed with Mark on a lot of his opening post but, Mark, I guess I didn’t like the intense anger that I read. At least, that’s how it came across to me.
    What angers me is how some of the posters had to comment on Mark’s Protestant past. Well..y’all better jump on me, too, then because I was raised Methodist and converted as an adult. Shame on those posters! I’m shaking my head at the very thought. Let me tell you, it takes a whole lot more to become convinced to join the Catholic Church then it does any other. Mark is Catholic through and through. And so am I.
    As far as John Corapi, I will continue to pray for him. Knock off the vitriol on him, everyone. He apparently did a lot of wrong and therefore needs our prayers. When he was still an active priest, I listened to him and was inspired. I had hopes of bringing men back to the church by having them see a priest who spoke out…who didn’t do it tentatively. Someone that I thought certain men would respect. AND it was such a relief to have the truth spoken loudly. I thought to myself, “FINALLY!” And then the bottom fell out and I felt bad. I threw out my cds and deleted him from my ipod. But I prayed for him.
    We had a local priest who was much like him and a bit of a local celebrity because he was on the Catholic radio. He became my spiritual adviser and I really trusted him. I don’t know what happened but he changed and ripped into me pretty bad. Nothing I could do but take it. I am now so cautious about trusting anyone with a collar. I mean…I trust them but to a point. I remember thinking how odd that I didn’t see anyone coming to speak to him anymore. (You see? There were red flags even then but I didn’t understand them properly).
    People are people and we are all subject to temptation and stresses. If nothing else, this should show us that we all need to pray for one another. I just want to remember who the real enemy is. And it’s not Fr. Corapi or Mark or that local “celebrity.”

    • enness

      I agree about Mark, and I’ll certainly extend you the same charity. But, and you may find this incredible, many other people just assume that converts are more pure and committed than cradlers. This notion is rather personally embarrassing for me to have to disabuse because the first-hand knowledge comes from within my family. I’m not so sure that having lived under one ‘system’ for twenty or thirty years is always easy to shake off completely. If I knew nothing about the person’s past, I’d still suspect it. “You sound like a Protestant right now” is sometimes a perfectly accurate assessment.

  • Adolfo

    I have a legit question about all of this. Are Catholics forbidden from any criticism of priests? I mean, if a priest consistently acts like an ass, am I not allowed to say to my wife or another friend, ” Fr. So-and-so is an ass. I don’t like that guy.” Must we always speak of them in hushed reverence?

    • Nan

      Someone had just chastised me for something similar before I went to confession one day. The priest said that sometimes priests are asses, so it’s okay to think the priest is an ass. We don’t focus on the priests humanity, but they’re usually human; I can’t say all because there’s one who seems like he sprang forth from heaven, ready for ordination, although I’m assured that he has parents and siblings.

      • Nan – I bet we went to the same priest! He was at the Cathedral wasn’t he. I wish I knew his name – I’d go back to him.

    • You have a duty as a human being to call an ass an ass, regardless of their station in life. If the Pope were an ass (and plenty of them were) you’d have a moral obligation to tell him.

    • enness

      I do think it would be better to specify the offending behavior.

  • Anne

    Corapi spoke the truth which he spectacularly failed to live up to. Shame I can’t use his videos anymore, they were a good catechetical tool… My question: there seems to be an ongoing strain of hostility toward Voris from Mark Shea. He calls him out on lack of knowledge, yet Voris holds at least an S.T.B. (I find Voris to be fundamentally solid, although often lacking diplomacy.) Search as I may, I could find no academic credentials for Shea. Apart from becoming Christian in 1979 and then Catholic in 1987, I could find nothing. Anybody?????

    • Mark Shea

      Corapi read from the Catechism and told lies about his past (especially his fraudulent military record). I have no academic credentials, nor have I claimed to. Bragging about an STB is sort of like me signing my name “Mark Shea, BA”. It’s pretty silly. Many of the people Voris attacks have Ph.Ds. Do they magically trump him? Has it really come to playing games of “Mine’s bigger” with academic credentials?

      • Anne

        It’s not a game of ‘mine’s bigger’. You said he had lack of knowledge, and I wondered from what position you made that judgement. He may lack a lot of things; you may not like his manner, or his approach, but that does not make him unknowledgeable in theological matters.

        • Mark Shea

          From the things he says. So his declaration that Judaism is a “false man-made religion” would not exactly comport with either Nostra Aetate nor with the teaching of B16. His dumb attempt to insinuate that there is some relationship between communion in the hand and Priscillianism is likewise either ignorant or deliberately malicious. His claim that the True Form of Government is Catholic Monarchy or that Only the Right Kind of Catholics should be allowed to vote is a spectacularly ignorant rejection of the Church’s very sophisticated engagement with modern politics. His declarations on the Eucharist are ignorant. His declarations on the nature of judgment after death (“the time for mercy is over”) are ignorant. He’s not wrong about everything. But his tendency to elevate his personal preference to shibboleths of True Orthodoxy are fundamentally (and fundamentalistically) tone deaf to the flexibility and charity of the Tradition. He is creating factionalism where there need be none and gathering a cult of personality around himself that sees itself as rescuing the Church from the Magisterium.

    • An Aaron, not the Aaron

      I think we’ve all experienced enough instances of people with fancy-pants degrees who come to dumb conclusions to know that an academic degree is not a palladium against stupidity.

  • Ed the Roman

    I myself am trying to develop my own cult of personality disorder.

    I know almost nothing about Voris except his bishop wanted him to change his operation’s name and Mark doesn’t care for him. I know that Fr. Corapi seemed to be doing doing some good work, but when I read some of what he said about his military record the BS flags went up. I was never any kind of SOF. I have worked with and for people who very much were SOF, and Fr. Corapi’s accounts rang false to me. They just don’t talk about their background that way.

    • Al

      P.S Voris followed his Bishops orders and removed the word “Catholic” from his organizations name. Unlike say, “National Catholic Reporter” or “Catholics United” and many others. Just saying… 🙂

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Good point about the role of academic credentials. Education is a form of wealth just as money, property, etc. are. And any kind of wealth has the ability to corrupt. According to some accounts the worst heretics in the history of the Church have been ego-driven scholars:: Arius, Luther, etc. And St. Francis of Assisi was very leery of clerics who used education to puff themselves up.

    • “joe”

      “Education is a form of wealth just as money, property, etc. are.”

      no it isn’t.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        An undefeatable argument!

  • kristinq

    A few years ago while I was on my conversion journey (“US Anglican”), I found Fr. Corapi on EWTN. The way he presented information was comfortable and familiar to me and gave me hope I would find zeal and dynamism within the Catholic Church: for a protestant, he was a breath of fresh air! I was devastated when the allegations were made public and I admit I wept — but not because I was a disappointed cult follower, but because a man of God had fallen into the arms of the Enemy.

    Am I a cult follower if I’m drawn to a particular kind of preaching/presentation? Does that make me shallow? Should I stop reading blogs that appeal to me or stop listening to certain programs because I’m drawn to both the material and the syle of presentation?

    • Mark Shea

      Nope. Not at all. A lot of people got something from Fr. Corapi and more power to ’em. Cult of personality doesn’t start until people irrationally refuse to confront reality and instead attack those warning of reality has enemies of the Faith, etc.

  • Scott

    Does anyone think that at one point Fr.Corapi was earnest in his evangelization efforts or was he conning us all along?

    • Mark Shea

      Does it have to be one or the other? Couldn’t it have existed on and moved back and forth on a spectrum?

    • His earnestness is not ours to judge. We can only judge his actions. God alone can judge his intentions.

  • Kate

    I have this theory. Speaking as a woman, I’d say that the Catholic Cult of Personality is female driven. I don’t know how many times I have come out of mass to hear a woman gushing orgasmically to a priest, “Oh, Father! That was a woooonderful sermon!! Can I have a copy of it?!” This is usually in parishes/chapels where the priests are orthodox. Nine times out of ten, the priest seems embarrassed and tries to get away as quickly as possible. A man would never say that to another guy (even a guy who is a priest). What is it with these women? Do they find their thrill in religion instead of their husbands? I think they are the ones who fan the flames of cult. Just my 2 cents, whatever it’s worth.

    • Mark Shea

      I dunno. In apologetics circles, it tends to be young ummarried men looking for a father figure/Jedi Master/drill sergeant who go for the Hero Worship.`Corapi’s Green Beret/Special Forces bunkum really played to that.

      • Kate

        So can we blame it on men? Lack of strong father/husband/head of family/Church? It fits with my unscientific, purely anecdotal non-research.

        • Mark Shea

          I think we should start with blaming it on ourselves.

    • enness


      While we’re making generalizations — the difference between men and women, then, must be that men don’t seem to actually need verifiable followers to believe in their own awesomeness. Like a guy I know who introduces himself as “St. So-and-So” and allows people to think he’s joking.

    • Sue from Buffalo

      I don’t know how many times I have come out of mass to hear a woman gushing orgasmically to a priest, “Oh, Father! That was a woooonderful sermon!! Can I have a copy of it?!”

      Ok. Now this quote bothers me. I’ve asked for copies of homilies because I wanted to remember what the priest said, his talking points. There is no way on God’s green earth that I was after the priest. And furthermore, I’ve seen posts by men who’ve been solidly in Corapi’s camp and didn’t want to give up.

      I have a thirst for truth. Don’t make me afraid to talk to a priest because it will “look wrong.”

  • Lynda

    Why all the vitriolic sarcasm? It is rather uncharitable and there is no good to be gained from it. I have seen Mr Shea contribute to programmes on EWTN and he was always humble, respectful and sincere, I thought. I don’t recognise him in the comments under that name here. Let us be grateful for all Fr Corapi did that was good, and pray for his return at the earliest.

  • Lynda

    http://vultus.stblogs.org/2013/01/sitting-on-the-basket.html Here is a piece from Fr Mark Kirby that got me thinking, as his pieces generally do. One can tell his offerings are enriched by much prayer and adoration.

  • Elmwood

    I unfortunately thought Fr. Corapi was being unfairly singled out because of his orthodoxy by the bishops and I thought EWTN was wrong for not airing his shows. But, as it turned out, Fr. Corapi was creating a scandal by his lifestyle. EWTN did act prudently in pulling his shows off their programming.

    I think Fr. Corapi shouldn’t have isolated himself in Montana but rather should have lived with his community. That was a big mistake. We knew something was up when he dyed his goatee and bragged about being a Green Beret in the Army when he wasn’t.

  • In the fullness of time perhaps you will see what everyone else sees. Corapi is an obvious sociopath, and having had some experience with those sorts of people I doubted his story the minute I heard it on EWTN, and have only had my suspicion repeatedly confirmed. He taught orthodox Catholicism precisely _because_ it allowed him to take advantage of you.

    • Al

      According to Corapi’s own history he came back to the faith of his childhood in 1984 and by 1991 he had been ordained a Priest after about 5 years of schooling. He spent his first few years acting as a Diocesan Priest.
      Now, the idea and some in the Catholic Blogosphere at least imply this, that “Teh EVUL Calculating Premeditated Arch-Master Genius Strategist…One Johnathan Anthony Corapi..formulated a business plan back in the early eighties…. that after the real estate market he was reaping untold millions in would finally go “Bust”./..the next part of his life business plan …… would be to spend the next 8 years of his life! under the patient but ohhh so calculated business plan idea to spawn a larger-than-life Catholic Media Personality & Ministry that would create a large following of wishful but gullible Orthodox Catholics willing to give him millions so that he could live a life of reckless boozing, women, drugs & guns in High-Life in rural Montana (All Montana is Rural) is ridiculous. P.S You couldn’t sneeze in Whitefish Montana without somebody knowing about it….that’s how small that town is, (I know the culture of small towns well) especially with a celebrity Priest around boozing and @$#ring.

      I posit to you that very few people are that smart, calculating or can execute to that degree without massive curveballs getting in the way of their plans just by unseen cosmic accidents & roadblocks.., let alone trying to execute such an outrageous scheme within the structure of obedience and authority that is the Catholic hierarchy, no matter how flawed the hierarchy is at times, it is hilarious to even think that one could get away with this. (My only question is when he finally joined the SOLT order…why didn’t they put a leash on him from the very beginning?…whoops)
      Father Corapi most likely spent the majority of his re-conversion, studying to the Priesthood and a majority of his time in the Priesthood under the best intentions. Somewhere along the way the evil one kicked his #$$ like he does the rest of us…because his Will, Discipline and Prayer-life broke down.

      Sure, there is definitely something to the corruptive effects of the Cult of Personality…however to my knowledge Bishop Fulton Sheen survived it and so did all the Prophets. Indeed, God brings us human prophets to help lead his people. Lets pray for more and when we get them…lets pray hard that they can withstand the ferocity of the Lion that is prowling around the world.

      Father Corapi, repent, go back to SOLT and live under the obedience of your order. There are many people who love you and we pray for you and all our clergy & leadership daily.

      • Rosemarie


        The Prophets had “personality cults” around them? If you mean the Old Testament Prophets, they were generally hated, opposed and martyred a lot more than they were ever fawned on. Of course, they weren’t seeking celebrity status; they spoke God’s message to his wayward people whether it was popular or not (often not). In fact, as the sacred text makes clear, the folks back then who got the most positive treatment were false prophets who were telling the people what they wanted to hear. The true prophets would then contradict them, which was never popular with the king or the masses.

      • Rosemarie


        The article that Mark links to above states, in passing, that Fr. Corapi may have stopped praying the Breviary at one point. About twenty-five years ago, when I was considering becoming a contemplative nun, one of the nuns in the order let me read an old book about the importance of priests and religious praying the Divine Office. It basically argued that any priest or religious who stopped doing that would soon lose his or her vocation. (It even used Martin Luther as an example, stating that he stopped praying the Divine Office at some point before leaving the order, or something.) At the time, I thought the book was just using excessive guilt and fear to keep people in line (I was young with a head full of the “spirit of Vatican II”) but maybe it had a point.

  • Sharon

    “Bragging about an STB is sort of like me signing my name “Mark Shea, BA”. It’s pretty silly.”
    So you would call Frs Trigilio, Brighenti and Powell OP silly because they have PhD after their names?

    Perhaps Mark, just because you would be bragging if you were able to put STB after your name you shouldn’t generalise flaw to others. Knowing that someone has the qualifications to speak authoritatively about a subject is important. . If someone were to offer me psychological advice I would have more confidence in the person who had a clinical psychology degree than someone who had read a lot of books.

    “that The TRVTH consisted of regurgitating a few Catholic-flavored GOP Red Meat Culture War Talking Points”
    No Mark, John Corapi’s DVDs were totally orthodox red meat Catholicism.

    “It is also a symptom of poor or non-existent catechesis at the local level so that people feel the need to find their prophet on the airwaves.”

    Unfortunately this is true. Perhaps if priests and teachers in Catholic schools were to be employed because they believe what the Church believes and teaches this situation in a generation or two would be remedied.

    “I find Voris to be fundamentally solid, although often lacking diplomacy.”
    This can also be said of Mark Shea and I think this is why I find Mark Shea so hard to take. The language he uses to criticise those he doesn’t like I find really off putting;I prefer the prose of someone who speaks objectively backed up by facts. Mr Voris I can’t speak about because I don’t watch him.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      So you would call Frs Trigilio, Brighenti and Powell OP silly because they have PhD after their names?

      No, because it’s pretty traditional to use a terminal degree as part of your signature. A bachelor’s, not so much. It’s tacky, at best.

      • enness

        Yep. Even then, there are some such individuals who will snap if you call them “Mister” – because clearly, the three extra years and tens of thousands of dollars spent entitles them to make the well-intentioned human being in front of them feel like crap.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          True, but regarding Triglio, Brighenti, and Powell OP, I would never call them Mister or even Doctor. Father is a much better title.

    • enness

      “Knowing that someone has the qualifications to speak authoritatively about a subject is important. If someone were to offer me psychological advice I would have more confidence in the person who had a clinical psychology degree than someone who had read a lot of books.”

      Qualifications? What were St. Faustina’s or Sr. Lucia’s qualifications? Both were uneducated or even illiterate, if I remember. Jeanne D’Arc: was an 18-year-old peasant girl qualified to lead the French Army? Just as an observation, God seems to like exalting the humble. Peter Singer, if I’m not mistaken, is ‘Dr.’ Having academic credentials is useful information up to a point, but let’s not exaggerate their importance.

  • Lori Elizabeth

    Just popping in to say goodnight and I enjoy pondering all of these things….wondering about how going off the rails begins…. How people rationalize it….I hope to avoid going off the rails myself…I hope contemplating situations like fr.c’s will keep me alert and on guard… Sending gooey gooey love to all of you xoxo

  • Michael

    Mark, be wary of ad hominems.

    If you spent more time attacking heresies and errors expressed by guys like Voris, Corapi etc. you’d have more credibility.

    I can summarise all your posts into three lines:

    “Some people have an inordinate desire to follow others.
    The people followed may be bad, or do bad things.
    Therefore, ba-a-a-a-a-ad”

    However, you’re yet to prove the desire of people to watch old Corapi video’s is inordinate, or that the content of them is bad OR explain how the fact that a person is bad reduces the truth of what they say.


  • Elaine

    Voris seems to be making a lot of money lately, he is doing a lot of international travel.

    • Patrick Thornton

      For-profit evangelists can do pretty well financially, so it’s not too surprising.

    • Dave

      Voris has his ChurchMilitantTV to run along with staff to pay. If you were to watch his videos from abroad, you would see him interviewing interesting Catholics abroad and covering Catholic themed events. So, would it be better if he stayed in Detroit and didn’t do those live interviews just so he could earn your approval? What proof do you have that he has been corrupted by money because that is what you are implying, isn’t it?