A Reply to a Scold from a Priest Regarding the Corapi Kerfuffle

I hadn’t intended to write another word about John Corapi. In fact, I even closed off the comments in my recent post and left readers links to follow the story so I could just enjoy my Father’s Day in peace. That was the plan, anyway.

But I received an e-mail this morning from a Catholic priest upset over my “Mr. Corpai Goes. I Stay” post. As you will find in the sidebar, I subscribe to the well known Welborn Protocol when it comes to correspondence. So here is the note in it’s entirety followed by my reply.

Frank,

Your comments regarding Fr. Corapi are remarkably cruel. Once an accusation is made, the priest is automatically suspended period. The suspension is indefinite. It is not the priest’s choice in any way. He may not wear clerical garb, use any honorific titles, preach or engage in any sort of sacramental ministry. The priest is at a disadvantage from the get-go and rarely if ever is vindicated. Thank the good Lord Corapi is a religious in that he can return to his community so he has a place to live and food. Diocesan priests in his situation do not have that to fall back on.

The magnitude of the injustice is hard to fathom. Everyone has a right to his reputation and his good name.

Whether or not Fr. Corapi’s message, style, and ministry appealed to you is beside the point. Yes, life will indeed go on whether or not he is preaching, etc. But to write in such a cavalier fashion about a priest’s life and ministry that is now thoroughly destroyed is really mean spirited.

You do no service to the Faith by writing as you did regarding Fr. Corapi.

In His Name,

Fr. B

Dear Father B,

I appreciate your note, though I am at a loss to see how I was as “cruel” with Corapi as you feel I was. Actually, I didn’t even get warmed up. Indeed, the post that I believe you are referring to is only the second time I have ever even written about the Corapi kurfuffle.

Help a brother out!

In the first instance, I wrote a lay pastoral note, if there is such a thing, to those who followed him, giving them suggestions on how to spend their time strengthening their life of faith. I hope you do not find fault with that. Surely brothers and sisters in the faith must encourage one another when the going get’s rocky.

And in Corapi’s case, he knows who his accuser is. He’s said so repeatedly, and even said in his latest announcement that she is “the one person that I can honestly say I did more to help and support than any human being in my entire life.” Honesty, after all, is the best policy. As for the investigation process, I look to others for guidance. I humbly know my limitations.

I’m just a simple man, Fr. B, and a relatively new Catholic. One of the many things that impresses me about Catholic priests and religious is that they take vows of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience. They sacrifice much for the reward of leading people in the faith. The priests bring us the Sacraments, so that our travail in this valley of tears through life on earth are made bearable. Thanks be to God for this.

Later on, I learned that not all priests take the vow of poverty. Though most Diocesan priests aren’t exactly wealthy, some are. Either way, the same safety net that is extended to every citizen of this country is extended to priests and religious as well. Unemployment compensation, Social Security, etc. All are covered, including unemployed priests. I’m not sure if Mr. Corapi qualifies for unemployment now that he has resigned from the priesthood though. I think you actually have to lose your job for a different reason than quitting it in order to collect unemployment compensation. I could be wrong on this.

Anyhow, as the Corapi kerfuffle continued to unfold, I ran into other stories about how not only did Corapi not take a vow of poverty, but that he set up a “for-profit” media empire instead. That he lived in a sumptuous mansion and estate out West. Owning multiple homes and, for all I know, maybe he has a private helicopter too. Granted, I don’t know whether these stories are all true or not (I hope the truth all comes to light somehow), but I understand that the order he was affiliated with, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, basically didn’t make a single penny from all of the books, tapes, and speaking engagements that he sold over the course of his career as a Catholic priest.

Feed me $$$, sheep.

As a rookie lay Catholic, I’m not sure why anyone in the Church heirarchy would give any priest carte blanch to make a ton of money off the flock, you know, Elmer Gantry style, that didn’t somehow wind up helping the poor in Mother Teresa’s mission field, or in some other way that helped spread the Good News to the world. This raises serious questions in my mind. Questions that I hope those who are better versed, and who have deeper knowledge in these matters than I, pursue and bring to resolution. I’m just Joe Six-Pack, USMC. At best, all I can do is handle ridiculous pseudo-dramas like this in a cavalier manner.

As the drama continued to spin, frequently from late Friday afternoon Scud missiles launched from Corapi’s lair at Santa Cruz Media, there were other things I heard as time went on. Like when someone in the past had busted Corapi’s chops when he had claimed to have enlisted in the Army with a guarantee for Special Forces training. But, as the Corapi version of the story goes, due to a training accident (an unlikely one involving a helicopter) he wound up as a clerk-typist in Germany instead, making outstanding clerk-typists, who serve in the military with honor the world over, look bad in the bargain. If this episode, claiming Special Forces training and black-belt fighting skills, etc. is true Father, then it is just plain wrong.

News flash: No one enlists with guarantees for Special Forces training. Not in my military experience anyway. No, first you endure all the regular training, spend some time in your specialty, and only then can you apply for, and appear before selection boards for, special duties like I did when I became a Marine Security Guard. Anyone who claims that they were guaranteed the Green Beret in the local Army recruiters office definitely does not pass the “smell test.” That is unless you’re looking for the “Stinky Cheese Man.” I am not.

So now, a short three months later, the world learns that Corapi is giving up his vocation as a Catholic priest, and instead is launching a new, and I reckon “improved,” venture with a new name and a creepy photograph of a (dyed?) black canine eyeing sheep and wolves with equally malevolent stares. So I said what you perceived as a cruel thing:

As for me and my house, we won’t be waiting for salvation via Pirate Radio broadcasts from Mr. John Corapi anytime soon. We’ve better things to do. And better speeches to read.

Happy Fathers Day!

Guess what else we won’t be doing? Buying his books and tapes to hear his side of the story. You know how the Dark Lord monologue will go. On and on about how he has been unjustly treated by the evil bishops who felt threatened by his zeal for all the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty™ (registered trademark by BlackDogUp! Enterprises) that he was bringing to the flock. Time for a reprise of my other cruel remark:

“Yawn.”

Have a listen to this classic by Nick Lowe before moving on to the next segment of my reply, if you please.

Yes indeed, I reckon sometimes we must be cruel to be kind, in the right measure. Get angry a bit, because it is no sin to get angry. Christ was angered when the temple was being used as a marketplace. As the scriptures note, He broke out a whip and scrambled that egg with a wrath that cleaned house rather dramatically. Would have made a big impression on me, if I would have witnessed it. That’s for sure.

Eyes like these

No Father B., I was not cruel. I was not even angered by what John Corapi did. I didn’t sit around expectantly on the edge of my seat for these past three months waiting to see what the “last hope for our Church” would do next. Why? To quote a speech I heard recently,

It’s that dead look in my eyes, from all the horrors that I have seen, so I’m sort of immune to it. Gentlemen to bed! Gentlemen to bed, for we leave at first light. Tomorrow we battle. We may lose our lives, but remember…Death is but a moment; cowardice is a lifetime affliction.

Yeah, that is a made up speech from a silly movie, but rousing nonetheless. But St. Paul’s words from a few days back are the ones that stand us in good stead and last forever. I shared those too, in my alleged cruelty as you may recall,

dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city,
dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea,
dangers among false brothers;

Is John Corapi a false brother? I don’t know. He’s not a member of the priesthood any longer, that is for sure. Is he still a Catholic, loyal to the Magisterium? I don’t know that either. He’s kind of vague on that in his announcement. All that is known for sure points to him not being loyal to anyone but himself. Not to his (former) office as a priest (while you soldier on, my brother!), not to his superiors, nor to his order, and not even to his flock of followers, who at last count on his Facebook fan page, stand at 52,800+ souls.

I wear my gray hair proudly

In fact, to my simple mind and simple ways, the cruelest cut of all came from the blow Mr. Corapi’s announcement made to his large and loyal flock of followers. Simple folk, such as myself, who believed in this man. Now what is in store for them Father B? Should they stay loyal to Mother Church? Or follow the Black Sheep Dog, who for all we know will hit them next with a message such as this,

He tasks me! He tasks me, and I shall have him! I’ll chase him round the Moons of Nibia, and round the Antares Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up! Prepare to alter course!
—Khan Noonien Singh, in Star Trek II, riffing off Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab from Moby Dick.

No. I won’t be following any comic book characters anywhere Father. Not Darth Vader, not Dr. Evil, Not Kahn nor Captain Ahab. I follow Jesus Christ and His Church. I’m loyal to Him and to Her. I’ll continue to study His Word, and His message. That way, see, when somebody goes off-message, I’ll be able to recite with clarity and authority, these words of an immortal soldier,

Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely. Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.

As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” —Joshua 24:14-15.

Thank you again for your note. Have a happy Fathers Day and a blessed Holy Trinity Sunday. Please pray for me and for all who have been affected by this unfortunate incident. I am,

His Obedient Servant,

Frank

Update:  Following the Black Sheep Dog Down the Rabbit Hole

Breaking News: Corapi’s superior: “We wanted him to come back to the community…

  • http://lauralowder.wordpress.com/ lauralowder

    Thanks, Frank. I appreciate it. I really do.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07181529277715646835 Fran

    Theresa Rita's comment reminds me of so many who have been silenced and yet, who were later vindicated. And those who were silenced, who accepted (were obedient to) their silencing… well it matters. Great comment and as someone related to priests, you know how it can be. I work for a priest and I understand that, but the truth is in Christ alone. Thanks for what you said Theresa Rita and prayers for you and your priests!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04886116438383281567 FaerieMama

    Amen, amen, and thank you. So grateful to read this post.

  • Anonymous

    Great piece of common sense. I'm with you on hoping somebody does some investigative reporting that gets to the bottom of just what Santa Cruz Media has been all about from the very beginning.The Black Sheep Dog Formerly Known as Father Corapi trademarked that creepy dog more than a year ago: http://www.trademarkia.com/the-blacksheep-dog-85009403.htmlThis latest marketing ploy appears to have been in the works for quite some time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13034778411563638673 Randy Beeler

    Solid post, Frank, yet again! And solid comments, one and all!Corapi is not the first person who has been wounded through the practice of the Faith (if, indeed, that is what he was doing–only the Lord truly knows that). That God can work good things through even the worst intentions is a standard of the Faith.Furthermore, the NT and Christ Himself declare that we will be falsely accused (note: no qualifier on the SOURCE of such false accusations). Hang on, and trust in God–I don't say that glibly, for my fingernails and teeth bear some "hanging-on" stress marks!Corapi has not hung on. I pray for him AND for the Light that is being shed by his current rebellion on those who had followed him (I was one who enjoyed many of his talks on EWTN) but who now see that, when Jesus talked of the Good Shepherd, he mentioned nothing about sheep dogs …I've owned many dogs–it's no accident that they are descended from wolves. Sadly, Corapi, feeling like a wounded sheep, has elected to join the wolves. Hopefully, for the sake of the souls of those who follow and for his own soul, he proves even more inept at that than he has been at keeping his vow of obedience. Ineptitude can be a blessing when we've elected to choose only satanic pride! :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15718783732896413346 ignorant redneck

    Frank–There was a program where you could enlist sirectly for special forces. What it got yo was the chance to pass BCT, AIT, Jump School, be ssigned to the Special Warfare center, and be selected for SFQC–the qualification course. You had to pass each and every item on the list though, and that wasn't guaranteed. I believe this program has been discontinued.BTW–I'm putting you on my Blog Roll

  • Father B.

    Frank,You missed my point completely so I will not reiterate it again. Your lengthy public post in response to my private email indicates you are quite prickly about criticism to say the least—it spoke volumes about your lack of humility and willingness to accept fraternal correction which you understood be nothing more than a "scold" from a "purported" Catholic priest.Good-Bye.In Cruce Salus,Fr. B

    • Shannon

      Father, I was just wondering if you would mind telling me what order you are with?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Father B., I'm sorry to have missed your point. You may be missing mine,One of Corapi’s most ardent defenders, the bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Rene Gracida, writes"Father John Corapi does not belong to a religious order or congregation. He is not a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, he is incardinated in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, a diocesan institute I established in the Diocese of Corpus Christi when I was the Ordinary of the Diocese. He has never held an assignment in the Diocese nor has he ever worked in the Diocese. Following his ordination in Rome in 1991 by Blessed Pope John Paul II he has ministered in many places, but not in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. With the permission of his superiors he established his media company in Montana and has lived there ever since. As a member of that Society (The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) Father John is not bound by a vow of poverty. He is bound by a promise of obedience to his superior, the General Priest Servant of the Society."Bishop Gracida's Blog.There is much to wonder about here. In all humility,Frank

  • http://breadhere.blogspot.com/ Fran

    Do we follow Christ or do we follow Corapi? It is one thing to be true to the spiritual mentor and father who means so much but to follow Christ is to be obedient. To be obedient means, if we understand the word from its original etymology – to be be obedient means to listen and to listen deeply. Then we submit – a word tough for the average American, but again, let's work a bit and go deeper, for the true meaning. To submit is to stand under and to stand under, listen deeply means to understand.And to follow Christ. I noticed a missing comma in Father B.'s words, interesting…"Thank the good Lord Corapi is a religious in that he can return to his community so he has a place to live and food." Or did he mean to say, "Thank the good Lord (insert comma here) Corapi is a religious in that he can return to his community so he has a place to live and food." The good Lord Corapi or the good Lord, Corapi?It matters. And brother Frank – you preach it, you preach it. God bless. May we find the unity in diversity that Trinity stands for on this Trinity Sunday.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06334203937303147489 ThereseRita

    Frank, I had to tweet this…very good! I also have to say, as you may know, that as the mom of a priest since 2006 & the sister of 2 priests, "Fr. B." probably can't tell me much about the risks they run everyday. We know well that all it takes is one person who is disgruntled with the Church for any reason & their ministries are effectively over. Of course, the more dedicated they are to teaching what's in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the more folks they're going to upset. They know that. We all get it.That said, they soldier on. They understand the risks they signed up for but, like an enlisted man, they believe that the goal toward which they're working is worth the risks. John Corapi knew that too. I have no idea about his background. I've heard him a couple of times at EWTN & he's a gifted speaker. But that's all he is. In setting himself up on a Victim Pedestal against the Church, sad to say, he obviously risks leading many many souls into sin. If he is as innocent as he claims, then he needs to take a page out of Padre Pio's book (& Joan of Arc's & many many other saints the Church has persecuted during their life times). That means: Speak the truth as you see it & then shut up & trust God. That forces you to practice what you've preached for years & keeps others from following you down the drain.I'm spending so much time on this because I've been so distressed to read the ringing of endorsements of Corapi online during the last 24 hrs. I want to answer each one with St Paul's words: Who, exactly, are you following? Apollos? Paul? The Blacksheepdog? No, if you're not following the Good Shepherd, rather than the sheepdog, you'll get in trouble every time. All to say, thank you for interrupting your Father's Day to answer this!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02853244433854822731 Adoro

    I'm sorry. I'm going to have to take a dissenting opinion here. First, to attack a priest (let's give Fr. B. the benefit of the doubt that he IS, in fact a priest and let God sort it out if he's not), over a missing comma in a comment is pretty low. Which one of us here HASN'T missed a punctuation mark in a comment or blog post?Reading into that is just plain mean-spirited. Now..I haven't taken a position on the Fr. Corapi affair to date. I am saddened, but I didn't see anywhere where he stated, explicitly, that he is leaving the priesthood. I saw that he was leaving active ministry and sure, I probably missed something as I'm dealing with my own busy life and with dialup internet service, well, I can't watch videos (hint: don't point me to a video, please). Now…I find Fr. Corapi's actions here to be the opposite of those of Padre Pio, but I see that as even greater need to pray for him, and for the rest of us, at the risk of sounding sanctimonious, an even GREATER need to take a deep breath and take a step back. This isn't finished playing out, there's more to come and I think we need to let intellects prevail instead of this knee-jerk "I-GOTTA-BLOG-THIS-NOW" commentary we see going on for days and days already. Frank, did you REALLY have to respond to that person's comment? Couldn't it have waited?I say this because I suffer from the same problem as a blogger, that being, "I disagree with this commenter therefore I have to reply to this NOW!" Please don't take this as a heavy rebuke. I guess I'm responding to it because I see here what I have done too many times to count and STILL do, because, like you, Frank, I got that fighting spirit. But if we look at Fr. B's objective commentary, he didn't say anything wrong. He was charitable, he was direct, and he took logical issue with the WAY you stated something. Quite honestly, I agree that the WAY you approached the topic was a bit…cruel. Let's remember that this man is STILL a Priest of God and there are consequences for attacking God's annointed. Like maybe being eaten by bears. (2 Kings 23) Personally, I don't ascribe to Welborn's protocol, and this is exactly why. It takes a personal email and blows it up, expanding an issue into tangents, including opening it to an attack upon a priest, if we assume the best of the person who addressed you. Instead, I guess we commenters are assuming the worst without any proof one way or another. I'd apologize for being the dissident with regard to this discussion, but I'm not sorry. I know my reply here will not be welcome, but could you maybe take a breath and reconsider Fr. B.'s reply and take it with the spirit with which it was intended, even if you feel he didn't do the same for you?*cringing* Yeah…I hate it when people get patronizing with me, too, but in the spirit of Father's Day, even a woman needs to step into that role sometimes. ;-) lol God bless. Overall I love your blog and this is the FIRST and hopefully LAST time I feel like I need to step in to "dissent", no matter what the consequences that ultimately come my way, whether via email or my own special reply post via a la "Welborn Protocol". I've had my say and I'm done. What you do with this comment is up to you. The Corapi tale isn't over: pray for him like never before. Even by his declaration if he DOES intend to leave the Priesthood, the Church moves slowly and the most he could have done this point is request dispensation from his vows, and that response won't come quickly. He's still a Priest of Our Lord Jesus Christ and we should be addressing him formally as "Father Corapi" until officials inform us otherwise, which they MUST do by Canon Law. By the same token, we are obligated to respect due to the Office, if not the man himself.

  • Anonymous

    The investigation into the legend of John Corapi is ongoing, finally. This one he can't obstruct, the way he has the investigation into his unbecoming conduct. Frank, please know that the Church is a far wider and more beautiful country than what a friend of mine calls The Island of Misfit Catholics that constitute The Black SheepDog's followers; keep learning and loving and, yes, questioning. Fr. B., by the way, is Bernard McNally, a British priest who has joined the Corapi Corps at his Facebook page and claims, on whatever grounds, the role of chaplain and Priest Spokesperson. The saddest part of all of this is that John Corapi cares far, far less for the Church and for his faithful followers than they do for him–especially when they aren't opening their pocketbooks. See this post at the Register for the real story, or most of it: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/father-corapis-bombshell/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    @Anon 12:19…FYI: "Father B." is a pseudonymn for my correspondent. I made it up, right out of thin air. It is not Fr. Bernard McNally.Pax

  • Catholic Psychdoc

    I'm with Adoro. Father Corapi is still a priest and we need to be respectful of God's anointed. & his addictive personality will not allow him to act like a Padre Pio or a Blessed Mother Theresa. He, too, is a fighter and I can see that he is impatient with waiting around for a hierarchy will not make a decision (probably on this side of heaven :-) We need to stop trashing him and start praying for him and ALL of our priests.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Actually, he's not a priest anymore. He's Mr. John Corapi. The sacramental mark he still bears, but by resigning his office, he can't even serve as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. Or many other ways. Follow him at your own risk.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank
  • Mary Therese

    Thank you. Any news of the kerfuffle? I do not know why I find this fascinating but I do. I am fascinated by psychopaths and I believe him to be liar without conscience.

  • Mike Cutone

    Frank,

    I served 25 plus years with US Army Special Forces (Green Berets), 10th SFG(A), 19th SFG(A) and 5th SFG(A). I enlisted in 1983 (my junior year in high school) with a guaranteed delayed entry contract for Army SF. After graduating my senior year from high school a month later the my long journey of training began; basic training, MOS, Airborne school and then SF Q-Course (med lab). Graduated from Army’s Special Forces Medical Course 18D. Today if a young man meets the requirements he can STILL enlist for a direct Army SF contract, the program is called 18X. See US Army link:
    http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/intelligence-and-combat-support/special-forces-candidate.html

    Your analysis and facts on SF enlistment requirements are completely incorrect.

    Peace of Christ
    MSG Mike Cutone

    • Frank Weathers

      All I can say is, enlistment programs come and they go. What we experienced in the early 1980′s (me 1981, you 1983) is what led me to write what I did. Was that the experience of the 1960′s? I cannot say.