Corapi Story; Devil's Delight

Over at Deacon Greg’s place, the raging, the speculation, the accusing, the snide remarks, the sneering, the hyperventilating, the name-calling, the condescension, the nasty challenges just go on and on and on.

There is this whole “we call you part of an anti-Corapi conspiracy” thing going on there, and in my email, which is sad, and sick, and disheartening, and it must be throwing the devil into spasms of delight.

I popped over to Deacon Greg’s, because someone sent me an email of the comments and told me I was being accused of hiding “supportive statements” made on behalf on Fr. Corapi.

Well that’s crap, but there is a lot of crap in that comments thread. I responded to it a little and then figured I might as well just post my thoughts over here, and let you folks think whatever you want, because that’s how it works.

Do you guys remember when Dan Rather tried to bring down the Bush re-election campaign with his “fake-but-accurate” documents about his Air National Guard service? When he decided to run with the story he gave the White House three hours to respond to fake documents they’d never seen before and then, when they did not explicitly deny that the documents were real, Rather ran with the story that brought his own career down.

That’s called damning someone by demanding that they prove a negative, which can’t be done. And that’s the sort of stuff I see in my email and in various hyperventilating comboxes: “you hate Father Corapi and are trying to destroy him; you’re the devils tool! Prove you’re not!”

Well, I can’t. And I ain’t gonna try. If six years of blogging on my faith and the church and my passion for building vocations, and even those instances where I have posted videos of Fr. John Corapi’s talks aren’t evidence enough for you that I am a devoted Catholic who is — at worst — ambivalent about a bombastic preacher (and anyone who reads me regularly would know that bombast simply is not my preference) then I am not going to try to prove a negative, which is a sucker’s bet.

I have heard Father Corapi preach and he is very good, but he’s not my favorite and I can see where he’s not to everyone’s taste. Some people like John Paul II, some like John XXIII, some like Benedict XVI. The Lord speaks to us through many voices, and attracts us in the way we can best hear Him. Trying to imply something malicious about a blogger for not “knowing” Fr. Corapi in depth — as though there is something “wrong” with any Catholic who is not a deep fan of his — seems uncharitable and extreme to me. I knew nothing at all about Fr. Euteneur, either, until his scandal broke; so what?

I get all kinds of emails from people telling me, “Father Corapi will be known by his fruit…blah, blah, blah.” Okay, well I have to tell you, if his fruit is some of the miserable and ugly stuff I see in my email and in these comboxes — with his accuser (who no one knows) being called a “viper” and a “Jezebel” and a “floozy” and a “devils instrument” and myself or others being referred to as “disgusting” “hateful” “sinful” and “hellbound” simply because we link to Fr. Corapi’s and his employees own words and then ask the fair questions that those words raise, then I call that pretty questionable fruit.

If you love Fr. Corapi, why aren’t you defending him with the sort of charity I am sure he has been preaching all this time, instead of this incredibly toxic suspicion, name-calling and accusing? Why aren’t you kissing it all up to God, trusting that the Holy Spirit will bring all things about to the Glory of God — because that is what he ALWAYS does — and then get back to the deeper work of Lent, from which all of this has pulled us?

Someone said “the devil must be laughing.” Yeah, I agree – I bet he’s laughing his ass off, but not because an accusation has been made against a famous priest. The devil is much more subtle than that.

In the very first post I wrote on this story, I said:

That the accusation is made during Lent seems almost pro-forma; I am already imagining the sorts of lurid headlines we’ll be reading — if not about Corapi, then about someone else — come Holy Week.

Every Lent the devil tries to disrupt Christians with scandal (in 2002, the scandal was tragically all too-true) or with the “discovery” of some ancient artifact (here’s this year’s) that is going to “bring Christian narratives into question” or “destroy the church” or both. Remember a couple years ago when James Cameron said he found Jesus’ sarcophagus, or whatever it was? A few years before that the “Gospel of Judas” was going to take a wrecking ball to Christianity! Remember last year, when at Holy Week, the NY Times declared a “smoking gun” about Pope Benedict that was so off-base that the instant Easter passed we never heard about it, again, and even non-Catholics called it “a witchhunt”?

I think what the devil discovered, in all of those cases — and particularly last year’s — was that he was going about his destructor business all wrong. His ploys were actually serving to unite us, to get us rallied around our pope, our church, our faith and each other.

But this year, he must be very proud. He found a way to take the focus of some Catholics completely off of Lent, or Jesus Christ, and instead get them turned on each other — and it started not with a bang, but with a memo.

“Grrrrr, grrrrrrr, you’re bad because you won’t join me in insisting on Fr. Corapi’s innocence and condemning his accuser! How dare you say “wait and see” that’s judging him guilty! The Bishops are bad, the SOLT Order is bad, EWTN is bad! Only this priest preaches the truth! Grrrrrr, grrrrrr!”

Conversely,

“Grrrr, grrrr, you’re bad because you’re flinging accusations all over the place while you actually know nothing at all – you’re an idolator!”

If I were Satan I’d be laughing and laughing and laughing. And feeling very much in control of things.

But it’s not funny. You folks who are so quick to call others the “tool of Satan,” should think about it. Perhaps, if my saying “wait and see” makes me a devil’s handmaiden then your willingness to hurl vitriol based on your feelings has made you one, too. How have you edified your savior, or your church or for that matter, your beloved priest, by your invective, or your accusations?

We’re halfway through Lent and it seems like some have spent the entire season submerged in the noise and hyperventilation of a story about which very few actually know anything, expending a great deal more energy focusing on a mere man and one’s own feelings, than focusing quietly on the great mystery of our salvation.

All of this seems like the devil’s delight to me, when in truth, as Christians, quietening down and trusting that the Holy Spirit will dispose of this matter to God’s purpose, as he always does, would have been the better response.

Now of course, someone is going to write: “Well, but Anchoress, if you feel that way, why are you still posting things about Father Corapi! You’re just trying to keep your traffic up!”

My traffic was just fine, before the story broke, thanks. And I post on the story because it clearly is important to many. I post on the story because Father John Corapi, a famous priest with a huge following, had his priestly faculties suspended due to an accusation, which is news. And it is news no one would even had known about if a famous priest with a huge following had not slapped an angry announcement on his own website and then had it followed up with a statement by his employee that should probably been best left unposted.

Was the world just supposed to let him sound his yawp and then nod its head? No, he broke a story – people followed it. That’s how it works.

If you don’t like that the story is being talked about, go complain to Father Corapi – it was his choice to announce the thing, and his choice, the tone. He could have just quietly announced he was taking a breather and a retreat, and no one would have thought twice about it.

I can’t think of anyone who has covered himself or herself with glory on this story, from Fr. Corapi on down.

All I’m saying is that maybe all of us should try, for the remainder of Lent, to look at Jesus Christ more, and all of these great and frenzied unknowns a little less. I accept at this point that for some, that will not be possible, because they’re just too deeply enthralled.

Meanwhile, I will continue to pipe up when I have a question about something, and you are free to think what you like about it. That’s how it works, too. But as Christians, it’s supposed to work with a little charity.

It’s sort of like the Sarah Palin cult. I like Palin. In some respects I admire her quite a lot, and I’ve said so. But when she’s made a misstep, or said something I wondered about, I have noted the misstep or questioned her thinking, and then been subject to hellfire and damnation from her fans, because nothing she can say or do is ever anything but perfect, and don’t I realize that she is the only one in America speaking the political truth? That the devil is trying to destroy her and I am adding to it, by not falling in line, and don’t I realize how the press has savaged her and therefore she needs defending?

Well, yes, I realize that many are trying to destroy her — perhaps even the devil — and I probably was the first to describe the press as “savage” toward her, and so I understand the passionate desire to see injustices righted, and the furious defenses of her. I made a rather furious defense of her, myself, not long ago, because I hate to see anyone being bullied.

But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes I think she missteps, and when I think she has, I’ll constructively mention it.

Just so, I will continue to watch this story, and speak as I find. I have expressed sympathy for what Fr. Corapi is facing in being accused. As I wrote at the start:

Having known a couple of clerics who were accused of making improper remarks or advances toward women and ultimately cleared of wrongdoing, I have some sympathy for Fr. Corapi . . .An accusation made against a priest, or a layman is a powerful thing – it is an assassin’s bullet to the psyche and reputation of the man as immediate and thorough as a point-blank bullet to the temple. Because it is so serious, one hopes it is never made lightly. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. We simply do not know which is the case here, but even if he is cleared, this will forever be part of Corapi’s biography. Still, let’s hope that this is not true. Better to have a bio with an asterisk than an utter disgrace.

I still think the same way. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with those thoughts.

UPDATE:
A former Franciscan shares his thoughts on celebrity priesthoods.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Lucy

    It is troubling that in the USA, the Church had one masculine priest who stood out and he did so because of it. Father Corapi, because of this, could hardly avoid standing out, or causing a following. Lined wall to wall beneath the Altar across the breadth of the church are the women offering the Body of Christ, the Blood of Christ. Not enough neophytes? Not enough deacons? Not enough women religious? Not enough men? Not enough of any of these? No? Just women? The proper order of those offering the great communion is set. Priests are to seek out practicing faithful Catholic men before women, and with care call on them to fulfill the extra ordinary need . Women are in charge of everything. Now we see a notice in the church bulletin requesting anyone who feels like it to call the church secretary and volunteer. All this, to get out of Mass on time, at the end of 60 perfectly timed minutes. This passes for participation in the Mass.

    In this vein, Father Corapi was refreshing, and given his past and his struggles to overcome Hollywood, the wine, drugs, wealth, women and song, it is just odds on that he would decline to fall back into it. Not impossible, but just an odd chance to do so. If he did fall, he will be easy for me to pray for, in any case. If he is innocent, it is easy for me to see why he would garner some enemies among both the feminists and the feminized of the church, and others of those plainly just jealous of his style and substance. His substance is entirely too orthodox for many, many American Catholics and his style is not form. He is a great yarn teller and the stories are always spot on to the scripture application of his message.

    I don’t take him for a great liar when it comes to trouble and plenty of trouble has been foisted upon him now. It has come from a stranger to us. We don’t know the accuser. Her name is protected. Her life moves along. His has come to a sudden impact. She is molified. He is crucified. The consequences that an allegation brings instantly upon a priest are actually as severe as any actual punishment meted out. This is a very hard time for those of us who like Father Corapi so very much.

  • Paul Ben

    @ 50 Greta and others

    Christianity is all about humility and self-denial. If you see otherwise from those who call themselves “Christians,” then they are hypocrites.

    I know it’s hard to be humble, to consider oneself ‘nothing’ for Christ and to suffer humility and derision, but that what makes us TRUE Christians and it’s the ONLY way we are supposed to take if we want to attain Eternal Life with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

    Humility, Love, Faith, Patience and Hope.

    Have these and you will have Eternal Life.

    11 “The greatest among you must be your servant.
    12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

    -Matthew, Chapter 23

    “It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble whom He loves and consoles. To the humble He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation He may raise them up to glory. He reveals His secrets to the humble, and with kind invitation bids them come to Him. Thus, the humble man enjoys peace in the midst of many vexations, because his trust is in God, not in the world. Hence, you must not think that you have made any progress until you look upon yourself as inferior to all others.”

    -Thomas à Kempis, “The Imitation of Christ”

  • Robin Gorton

    If you go to his Facebook page- you will see alot of fruit of what he teaches- calls for prayer, support and unity- rather than go on what ‘blogs’ and opinions are, check this out and pray for him and everyone involved

  • jeff

    Perhaps the vicious atttacks you have been receiving from Fr Corapi fans, Anchoress, arise from the sick “no it CAN’T be” feeling in their stomach you might also get when your son is arrested for beating his girlfriend. There seems to be almost the denial stage of the grieving process going on.

    By the way, I haven’t met too many die hard Pope John XVIII fans, since he died around a thousand years ago!

    [Heh...I'm really bad at Roman numbers - admin]

  • http://hicatholicmom.blogspot.com Esther

    Anchoress, really glad you wrote this excellent piece. Seems like some are more intent on having the last word than on focusing on our Lord’s Passion this Lent.

  • Donna OBrien

    I have watched Father Corapi for several years. He does not consider himself a celebrity priest. His mission was given to him by is superior years ago. One reason it is a ‘for profit’ is because the media company pays taxes so Father Corapi can talk freely about abortion and politics and not be threatened by anyone taking away his tax exempt status. If you truly listen to Father Corapi, he has said numerous times that without God he is nothing but a speck of dust and that is true for me as well. I continue to pray for him and his accuser and pray that this situation is resolved soon. I was glad to see what he posted on his web site, so I knew the truth. I find it interesting all the articles on New Advent regarding Father Corapi, he apparently has a lot more followers than he realized.

  • DaveO

    #40 and #41 Jeff and ElizaJane,

    Being neither a follower of Fr. Corapi, nor one who has skin in the game, my thought is just a thought.

    Someone smarter than me once said something to the effect of ‘by their fruits you shall know them.’ The fruits in the case the Anchoress blogged on are the commentariat.

    When followers of a shepherd behave poorly, the shepherd has failed to properly lead his flock. This is the first thought I presented. Perhaps I phrased it poorly enough to be misunderstood by you. Fr. Corapi’s flock has made the issue about him, his ministry, his service.

    The other option is that members of the commentariat behave as provocateurs because they follow another shepherd. Again, I allow that I may not have communicated the thought succinctly enough to be understood.

    And Jeff, please don’t call me Oh Lord. I’m not your lord, or Lord, and I don’t listen to prayers. Unless you’re invoking Him to lend strength to your argument. I’m just a guy who enjoys this blog.

  • Dave

    I enjoy Fr. Corapi’s talks, as I do the talks of many people of faith. However, I make sure I do not make idols of living people. They too often cannot live up to expectations. I know I myself have failed too often. Fr. Corapi would many times talk of his Rosary as being his main weapon against the devil. He talked of the Rosary many times taking a major part in his conversion. I would say that during Lent and during this time of trial for Father and his accuser, spending time praying the Rosary and meditating upon it’s mysteries is more appropriate than spending time directing our emotions at people on blogs or other places.

  • Debbie

    Remember that “the Accuser” is one of the names of the Devil.

    Fill in the blanks where they apply.

    Let us continuously pray for all concerned: the Church, the Accuser, Fr Corapi, the decision makers.

    Now let us resume our Lenten journey and place the focus where it rightfully belongs, and get back on the road of penance and contritution for Our Lord Jesus.

    The Devil does this every major Christian Holiday.

  • Gina Nakagawa

    How about this? Everyone just stop this nonsense. The Protestants are always shouting “sola scriptura.” Why don’t we for this time take a cue from them. Where in Holy Scripture do we find encouragement to backbite, point fingers and insult each other in order to reach the truth? I read the Douay. Maybe it is in one of those “new translations,” but I doubt it. Why don’t we stop flapping our gums and pray for Father, for his accuser and for everyone else involved in this very sad situation. Yep, Satan is rolling around laughing and hooting. His eyes are tearing, but that is because we are so very foolish.

  • Robert Sledz

    Well, that’s exactly right. How do you take care of a loud mouthed Truth Toting Priest and His legion of Cohorts and at the same time make it into a Poisonous brew during Lent for Millions More? You heard right!

    Get one Judas. Cause a betrayal of an “Alter Christos” (another Christ) and what happens to the Sheep? They SCATTER!! That’s about right. It happened exactly like that during the first lent. Yup! BUT, what our superb author up above does not remind us of is what happened on the 3rd Day after…….. The Resurrection! ;-)

  • Ann

    Thank you. It’s about time you said so, too. I was annoyed when I posted as a “Guest” here and was called “unchristian and uncharitable” and accused of trying to sinisterly hide my ignorance about Vitamin D for saying his tan does him no favors! Good heavens, can’t blog owners just delete the personal attacks? It might motivate the emotionally-charged to rephrase their comments more civilly. As it is, these Corapi blog posts are a near occasion of sin for some people.

  • brother jeff

    I think the situation is being dramatically overstated now with Exorcist like images of the devil laughing and talk of Lent being ruined. This situation is hardly ruining my Lent and there are other, real horrors out there that make this pale into irrelevance. The one thing we should pray for is no more blog articles on this subject with pictures of the devil. We started with an anton lavay reference that was probably not a good omen.

  • Ivan K.

    It’s a shame to see this characterization sensationalizing the story even more.

    For people to be so emotional over a display of human frailty (by which I am speaking of Fr. Corapi’s misleading public statements which try to focus energy against the bishop and his own religious superior) only shows that they took their own eyes off the ball: Fr. Corapi is nothing more than a servant like the rest of us. God could use stones to preach if He so desired.

    Fr. Corapi’s situation is not unlike the trials each of us face albeit in a far less public exposure. His reaction to it thus far has been very poor. For that, I hope he’s already rethought his words — which seems to be true because he’s said nothing worse to date. I think he does need to make a statement correcting the misdirection he implies, and corrects the public understanding — oh wait, the bishop and his own religious superior were forced to do that already.

    To believe that Fr. Corapi is irreplaceable because he’s a charismatic preacher is to be ignorant of how resourceful God is.

    On the other hand, not to recognize the tragedy in how this charismatic preacher has misused his public cache in this trial for him is far worse. It’s sad because he does know better.

    The tragedy here isn’t the investigation or whether Fr. Corapi made a mistake in the things being investigated. The tragedy here is how he’s stirred up a malfocused faith in his fans by not properly explaining the public facts, and by not affirming that whatever happens to any of us comes at the hand of God, and He knows what he needs where at any time. For whatever reason, He doesn’t need Fr. Corapi in the public right now — maybe Fr. Corapi has some private mission work to do instead of stirring up the plebs for a riot.

  • Brother Jeff

    Ivan, thanks for coming down from Mount Olympus to share your brilliant and charitable insights. “Stirring up the plebs for a riot,” “Father Corapi’s misleading public statements,” “misused his public cache,” “stirred up a malfocused faith,” etc. Very impressive.

  • sojo

    In my personal conversion story, I reminded God that I’m pretty dense and no “still, small voice” was gonna do me if He really wanted me in his camp. I needed a billboard. Brightly lit. And have it fall and land smack down on my head. Because any less, and I would probably not notice.

    Well, darned if He didn’t provide said billboard. He took this fairly atheistic Jewish doubter and made her His own.

    Ever since then, I’ve had an eye and ear out for God’s billboards – they can come crashing down anytime and hit you upside the head.

    So since hearing about this Corapi allegation, all I keep thinking is: Maciel, Eutenauer, Corapi. Maciel, Eutenauer, Corapi. Over and over.

    I had a bit of a heated exchange with our dear sister in Christ, Elizabeth. That was regarding Maciel, who I had the gut feeling was not only a monster, but had much deeper, darker secrets to hide. Elizabeth, you encouraged more dialog, but I felt it was not helpful to my faith journey nor to your blog to pursue, though I confess that when Maciel’s deeper secrets (multiple chlidren, including molestation accusations by his own sons), I thought, “I told you so.”

    But in any case, for my own soul, I dropped it. Never even commented on the Fr. Tom thing, though I am crushed to hear that his victim is saying he is still covering up and it was rape? Oh my. This cuts to the core.

    But now, regardless of whether Fr. Corapi did a thing, I can’t keep the litany out of my head, “Fr. Maciel, Fr. Eutenauer, Fr. Corapi.”

    Why are we Catholics falling into this rock-star worship of our evangelists? What is God trying to tell us? Why are we so anxious to fill our Catholic lives with the equivalent of Protestant Evangelical media stars?

    What on earth is happening? Charismatic men, espousing the virile gospel, and folks falling over themselves to defend against all odds. People viciously attacked the poor victims of Maciel, who will be forever scarred. Sounds like the victim of Eutenauer is on the same path. The behavior of a few fallen priests is nothing compared to the behavior of cult-following Catholic sheep.

    I am so discouraged.

  • mary johnson

    Father is going through what all our Catholic Church is going through. Its just an attack on organized religion and especially the Catholics. People today are very bad but they are not worse than in Christ’s time. They think they’ve invented new sins, but alas, they have the media helping them today. That’s the difference.

  • http://none Greg

    Father Corapi always preached no Cross no Crown and he is carrying a big cross right now. All thousands and thousands of us who know that Father is innocent without a doubt need to just double our prayers for him. Remember his Mother wears combat boots and there is a reason this is happening to him. Let us all along with Father Corapi trust in the Lord and His Most Blessed Mother, lock into our faith and pray like a previous blogger mentioned Fr.’s own 911

  • Angela Sullivan

    I think that all this talk about Father John Corapi is just Gossip, personally I think that Father Corapi is an excellent preacher, and has inspired many people. I certainly would not attack someone for saying he was not their favorite preacher, for some I understand perhaps he is too intelectual etc. I have people I prefer. I like the fact that he is not passionless, and fake. Some Preachers are not very inspiring and by watering everything down or trying to be “popular” they have actually inspired many to leave the faith. Father John Corapi is innocent till proven guilty, to keep re-hashing and beating the dead horse is silly. I personally am not a fan of Elizabeth Scalia, I find her comments more like a boring old yenta who continues to gossip and make snide remarks about a Priest she never met. My advice to her and anyone else would be to pray the Rosary, because whether you like Father Corapi’s Style or not it does not give one a license to slander him. The catechism of the Cathlic Church is very clear about slander and gossip. Father Corapi has turned into a form of entertainment for many who simply need to get a life.

  • Carmen E

    I wonder how many of these slanderers would like to have action taken against them without the benefit of an investigation. Their comments reflect the extreme prejudices and absence of faith their cling to. If they possessed the ability to take in what Fr. Corapi devotes his life to passing on, what a wonderful world this would be. Times change but people do not. Fr. Corapi is in good company for Jesus himself encountered the same treatment.

  • Ginny

    We need to pray for Father Corapi and every priest to be courageous and have faith that God is the final authoriy in our Church. Father Corapi spoke of the possibility of being falsely accused and it is a risk every priest lives with daily. We must pray for him and all our priests throughout this Lenten season – especially the falsely accused priests for their suffering is great. Maybe this will end by the end of the Lenten season – and his name will be cleared. Many Saints have suffered losses within the Church that were returned to them by God’s authority – the Church – later. I have faith this will be the case with Father Corapi, too.


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