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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Plan B for Fr. Corapi

I had never heard of Fr. John Corapi until just a few days ago when I read of him on pal Inigo Hicks blog. A man who had had a wild time of it in his life,  Corapi later found religion, was ordained a Catholic priest (by Pope John Paul II, no less) and attracted a large and devoted following (always dangerous for a priest) via the media and his website. Fr. Corapi got into hot water recently over accusations he had violated his vows by engaging in improper relations with a female employee. His bishop thus suspended him from priestly duties pending results of an investigation. Apparently the investigation was not going favorably for him and on June 17 Fr. Corapi announced, on blog and YouTube, he was quitting the priesthood.

At this point only God, Fr. Corapi and, we hope, his confessor know the truth in this affair. Fr. Corapi might have, however, better served his interests by issuing a short statement along the lines of: "I am withdrawing from the priesthood and public life until charges against me have been resolved. I ask your prayers." By instead posting a bitter, recriminating and rancor-filled diatribe against accusers and bishop, Corapi obviously has not learned from the recent tawdry example of Rep. Anthony Weiner that noisily going after one's accusers neither makes them, nor their accusations, go away. Furthermore, by quitting the priesthood the investigation of Fr. Corapi will cease immediately, I should think, and we may thus never know the validity of the charges against him.

Should the charges against Fr. Corapi turn out to be true, and I truly hope they are not, I hope he will not follow the example of another popular, and now former, Catholic priest and media star, also with a large, mostly female following, Fr. Alberto Cutié. After flagrantly carrying on an affair with a divorced woman, Fr. Cutie, also noisily (and without required permission from his bishop), resigned his orders. Shortly afterward, with great fanfare and media hoopla, he was received and later priested into the Episcopal Church. Despite the media circus over Cutié's conversion, however, by coming into a declining church whose dioceses' souls frequently number fewer than that of the typical Catholic parish, Cutié has, unsurprisingly, quickly faded into obscurity, which, given his loud and angry departure from the priesthood, might be the best thing for Fr. Corapi, too.

UPDATE: After further thought I have altered the last paragraph in this post to make it a bit less snarky. Fr. Corapi is obviously going through a horribly difficult time, whatever the circumstances; we must pray he has the strength and faith to get through it intact.


Anonymous said...

I just don't understand if he is innocent, which I hope he is, why does he decide to quit? If I were not guilty of this I would make such a fuss until everyone heard me. This does not make any sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Cutie, I was in the checkout line of my grocery store, who has a significant Hispanic customer base, and in the Spanish language version of People magazine was the wayward soul, black suit and white collar, and his new bride (well new to him anyway) and his new offspring.

I guess what bothered me the most was the big [bleep] eating grin on his face.

I think also of all the Hispanic readers who will have now yet another reason to fall into the arms of the Protestant "iglesias" churches I see springing up in vacant strip malls in my area.

The young fogey said...

I've stayed out of this because I wasn't one of his viewers (EWTN does a lot of good but it seems mostly basic stuff for the unchurched or uncatechised) and it seems only clerical gossip nothing to do with big issues about God and the church. Priests sin. That's not news. He's no monster like Marcial Maciel (not catching him all those years was the Novus Ordo neocons' epic fail), thank God. At least AFAIK he's never attacked the teachings of the church, unlike Cutié for his seemingly selfish reasons.

Regarding People en español I never thought Cutié would get more Hispanics to leave the church. Bad Catholics don't think like that. They may not agree with the church or even go regularly to church but they know there's only one church (which they use for certain rites of passage/ethnic-identity markers like baptisms, First Communions, weddings and funerals) and know the church doesn't substantially change. So they enjoy the surface romance of the Cutié story (the handsome hero stands up to the big bad church and seems to give up so much for the sake of the pretty lady) but don't switch.

LSP said...

That's too bad - pray for him.