Blog Post

Mostly Harsh Reaction to Fr. Corapi's Resignation

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist Cyberspace is buzzing today about the resignation of Fr. John Corapi, with few seeming to regard his decision to abandon the priesthood as a good move. In a blog dated June 17,  Catholic apologist Mark Shea minced no words as he called the YouTube version of Fr. Corapi's speech "the  most passive-aggressive manipulative self-aggrandizement ever squeezed into eight and half minutes." He went on to say he was done extending Corapi the benefit of the doubt. "He protests his innocence, slimes his accuser and investigators, urges you to buy his stuff in celebration of his 20th Anniversary as a priest, while simultaneously abandoning his fatherly vows on Father's day , covering himself in self-pity for his choice and ditching all the people who trusted him, all apparently to transmogrify himself into some sort of Talk Radio/Internet superhero called "The Black Sheepdog" so he can reincorporate, start bringing in the bucks again, and convince the suckers who follow him into his new incarnation as guru to blame the Church for his troubles." Writing in the National Catholic Register, Jimmy Akin agrees, although with less vitriol, accusing Corapi of having "lost it" by abandoning the priesthood.  " . . . Fr. Corapi . . . chose not to stand firm in the face of what he claimed were false allegations. Instead, he chose to defy authority and strike off on his own as a 'sheep dog' protecting the flock whose leaders he is defying. Unless something very improbable happens, he has thus abandoned his priesthood in a way that will from here on out prevent him from serving as a Catholic priest. Dang. I wish things had gone better." Elizabeth Scalia, known as The Anchoress, also expressed disappointment in the announcement, saying that if he loved his priesthood so much he should have fought for it the way Padre Pio did. After listening to the video announcement, she wrote: "Not hearing the Jesus note in there, that he’s feeling called to it [the new ministry] by Jesus, obeying Jesus and not just following his own ambitions, etc. In fact, I am not sure he mentions Christ at all in the speech. I’ll have to listen to it again, but I’m not hearing any generosity, in any of this. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinion — and I am sure many people are either confused or heartbroken over this news, and I truly feel badly for them — but so many have called him a “living” saint and a few have even called him “the lone voice of truth” in the church, today — and I guess those sorts of sentiments led me to expect something different." Comments being posted by the faithful at various Catholic blogs are mostly mixed and very much tinged with sympathy. In a comment posted at the Anchoress,  "Brother Jeff" said: " " The lengths to which some people will go to kick a man when he is down astonishes me. I do hear a ‘Jesus note’ in his letter, but mostly pain at a vocation destroyed. I’m sure there are some Corapi haters out there who won’t be satisfied until he sets himself on fire. Very sad." "Dan" posted this comment on Mark Shea's blog: "Now is the time for increased prayers for Fr. Corapi. What a strange way to go. I hope he is mentally stable." Marcel LeJuene also posted on Shea's site, saying: "Sad - all the way around. Many will be hurt by this others, will be scandalized. Neither is a good result - but this is what happens when a man's pride gets in the way. The Cult of Personality is dangerous with anyone. Anyone." Popular blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, who was ordained with Fr. Corapi by John Paul II in 1991 says, that while he knows little about the circumstances surrounding Corapi's decision to leave the priesthood, he is saddened by some of the unkind comments being made about him. " . . . (I)t strikes me that a lot of people are doing neither themselves nor Fr. Corapi any good.  Charity requires us to consider the good of others.  I can’t see how the way some people are talking about Fr. Corapi does anyone any good. We are in difficult times right now concerning ecclesiastical relationships.  The Church has sustained horrible wounds because of her own churchmen and, during this time of healing, there are bound to be painful moments.  When you receive a blow upon a bruise, the pain can be great.  I suggest that we avoid poking the bruises as much as we can." © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®