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Friday, June 17, 2011

Fr. Corapi's Change of Life

Well, it appears Fr. Corapi has left the priesthood.

For what it's worth, I've known people in similar situations and Fr. Corapi does accurately describe the process:

1. The identity of the accuser is not revealed. You can guess, but you don’t actually know. Nor are the exact allegations made known to you. Hence, you have an interesting situation of having to respond to an unknown accuser making unknown accusations (unknown to the accused and his counsel).

2. The persons chosen to investigate the allegations normally have no qualifications to do so. They certainly didn’t graduate from the FBI academy, nor do they have any other background to qualify them to interrogate or otherwise interview witnesses.

3. There are no set rules of evidence or norms of procedure.

4. You are for all practical purposes assumed guilty until you can prove you are innocent. This one is truly baffling. No civilized society operates that way. If you are accused of something you are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

5. The accused and his counsel have no right to obtain and review any of the evidence against him.

6. The accused and his counsel are not provided the names of witnesses, nor are they permitted to cross-examine them.

What Fr. Corapi describes is the standard inquisitional process (i.e. the court process) used by the Church for at least 1000 years. Every one of those six points accurately describes how every Catholic inquisition has always been run, except he's supposed to have the opportunity to list his enemies, so that their testimony can be discounted. Apart from that, he's pretty accurately describing his situation.

The only people who are shocked by his description are those who don't know how the Inquisition works. Fr. Corapi is, or rather was, apparently one of those people. He isn't anymore, of course, but the process by which his illusions were stripped away was clearly unpleasant.

Ignorant people who claim Fr. Corapi is sliming his opponents simply don't understand how the process works. They mistake facts for caricatures.

Similarly, mean-spirited people claim Fr. Corapi shows a "snarling tone" towards bishops. Sorry, but I don't see that he does. Again, he simply and accurately describes the facts: the bishop has made up his mind. The bishop's time is valuable. So is yours. Arguing with, or complaining, to the bishop isn't going to change anything. These are irrefutable facts.

His solution is rather extreme, and I don't know that I would do the same thing in his position, but I certainly can understand why he chose this solution.

He's not leaving the Catholic Church, he's just leaving an absolutely untenable situation.
When Padre Pio was faced with a similar situation of baseless accusations, he simply accepted it: suspension for ten years.

Ten years of no public Mass, no hearing confession, no public preaching.
Until he was eventually exonerated when his accusers admitted they had lied.

Fr. Corapi is obviously not Padre Pio.

On the other hand, his solution does not indicate guilt.
It does indicate frustration - extreme frustration.
From an American perspective, understandable frustration.
Pray for all those in the situation.

Some people have asked me whether this post constitutes support for Fr. Corapi.
No, it isn't meant to be support, exactly.

Fr. Corapi has long had financial dealings that I find distasteful. But, heck, I find the financial dealings of most of the well-known people involved in Catholic ministry distasteful: Pat Madrid, Mark Shea, Amy Welborn, Scott Hahn, Alan Napleton, Chris West, Fr. Corapi, etc., are all cut from basically the same cloth as Maciel when it comes to money.

They want it.
The Catholic Faith pays their mortgages.

Some are more sharks than others, but the differences between them are differences of degree, not really of kind.

Is Fr. Corapi going to lead a large number of Catholics away from the Faith?

Maybe... insofar as ANY public Catholic treats a situation badly, that Catholic is likely to lead people away from the Faith.

If you want the Faith pure, without this mess to deal with, read Catholics who are dead and whose writings are approved: the Fathers, Doctors and saints of the Church.

If you are going to dabble with the work of the living, then at some point, you'll face the dilemma Fr. Corapi poses.

To his credit, Corapi is not like Chris West, who is clearly teaching heresy, or Scott Hahn, who has clearly taught problematic things (the Holy Spirit is the feminine). He's more like Mark Shea or Amy Welborn or Matt Pinto or Alan Napleton - always looking to turn a buck.

I don't have a good answer as to whether he's right or wrong, good or bad, true or deceptive.
Wish I could be more help, but there you go.

All I can say is Fr. Corapi has not taken the course that saints before him have taken.
That is a legitimate cause for concern to any Catholic.


Kevin said...

I think the "sliming the accuser" part came from where he went out of his way to describe her as a "deeply troubled woman."

That may be true.

It may not. John Corapi could be making the whole thing up. Since, as he points out, we don't know the accuser and can't verify that, we don't know.

But as you said, St. Pio wouldn't have done this. Guess the more I reflect on it, the more I recognize the sanctity of that holy priest, who suffered true injustice, but held firm.

A reminder of the incredible grace it requires to be a faithful priest.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Exactly, Kevin.
In order to judge whether or not Corapi is "sliming" anyone, we would have to have access to information that no one has access to.

And it's pretty clear that no one involved in the Catholic talk circuit is anywhere near sanctity.

That in itself is no big deal - none of us are saints.

But it DOES make the cult followings that all these public Catholics intentionally try to create (in order to assure the income necessary to pay their bills) VERY problematic.

Elizabeth said...

From what I gathered from listening to Fr Corapi, unlike most priests, he was in the position where he had to support himself, and he did a lot of travelling to give talks. He preached a muscular Catholicism which certainly has been badly needed, to help wake many of us up. I'm very sorry for what has happened to him. From the statement though it doesn't sound as if he has left the priesthood. No two people are alike and he's dealing with this in his own way. May God bless him and continue to bless his work.

ginny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ginny said...


BECK7 said...

I hand out coppies of Chris West's TOB for Beginners to my CCD is he teaching heresy? (I wasn't aware of this) Thanks

Kevin said...


He states quite explicitly that he would now only be known as "John Corapi" and that he "used to be known as Father." He is deciding to leave the priesthood, since in his mind, he would be suspended indefinetly.

Now he will have to go through the laicization process, but make no mistake, he is leaving the priesthood.

I don't see where Steve is being judgemental. He isn't saying he is guilty or innocent. Part of him even sympathizes with (the soon to be just) Mr. Corapi.

Yet he outlines something which is a verifiable fact. The path being taken is not the path of the saints. St. Pio would not have taken a similar course.

Does anyone think that Mr. Corapi will be able to continue casting asperions on the Bishops in public? How will he keep his income going in Catholic Churches since he is clearly not in the good graces of many Bishops?

The only way he can. He will have to go outside the usual channels. This isn't inherently bad. Sometimes even firmly orthodox Catholics do the like. (There was a time when Catholic Answers and EWTN was outside the usual channels.) Yet there is an inherent risk in doing so.

The concern that this could lead people outside the Church is a warranted one. John Corapi needs prayer. If he is to remain a solidly orthodox Catholic and continue his "ministry" (whatever it may be) as a layman, he will have to proceed very carefully.

Far more advisable for him to take at least a year or two off from speaking in public, and go find his nearest monastery. remain a priest, or don't, but looking to hit the lecture circuit after such a thing is just asking for things to end poorly.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Well, I've written extensively on this blog about the heresies West promotes. They include, but are not limited to, the following problems:

He teaches the Easter Candle as phallic symbol, when this is actively contrary to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

He teaches the baldachin as symbol of the altar as marriage bed when it has no such significance.

He teaches continence is not a virtue, when Aquinas specifically and explicitly points out that it is. Pieper also weighs in on this.

He teaches that people should NOT flee from the occasion of sin, that it is a sign of immaturity to do so.

He teaches that sacramental marriage does not come into existence at the moment vows are exchanged, but rather only at the moment of sexual union.

In a related problem, he never discusses the fact that the third purpose of marriage is to be remedy for concupiscence.

He argues that JP II's Theology of the Body audiences are the centerpiece of catechetical importance, when even JP II refuses to quote them in his own work.

He teaches the matrimonial aspect of our relationship to God without reference to the filial aspect, which is of central importance.

IN addition, he has actively promoted the work and attitudes of individuals who are actively opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church,

a) favorably comparing Hugh Hefner and John Paul II,

b) recommending the work of the anti-Catholic, pro-abort and fake Carmelite nun Mother Tessa Bielecki.

There are other problems with the teachings of his acolytes, but this is a start.

Kevin said...

Back on target here, but something popped into my head:

In anticipation of the 20th anniversary of his ordination, Fr. Corapi was offering a substantial discount on his works. Many people could be assumed to have bought such materials to support a priest. Some may have even contributed financially to his organization for that.

The question is: did he intend to leave the priesthood during this time?

To avoid the appearance of impropriety or advertising under false pretenses, Fr. Corapi should offer a refund on anything recently purchased. I'd also state he should go further, if any contributions were given to his organization leading up to the anniversary of his ordination, he should be willing to return to those donors if they desire that.

Dad29 said...

I am not going to be involved in public ministry as a priest any longer.

IIRC, that denotes a 'suspensu a divinis', not a laicization.

I don't doubt those who say that he WILL become laicized, but at this point in time he's still a priest.

Kevin said...

Well that seems to shed some light.


1.) Fr. Corapi paid the accuser and apparently others to sign Non-Disclousre Agreements about their activity with Santa Cruz Communications.

2.) According to his religious superior (and it makes sense), these agreements complicated the canonical investigation against him.

3.) Fr. Corapi is seeking indeed to leave the priesthood. There were those who believed the statement merely announced his suspension, but his superior confirmed a seperate letter was written to SOLT "resigning" from the religious life. They have attempted to contact Fr. Corapi to confirm this is what he wants. Provided he acknowledges this, they will begin proceedings to remove him from the religious life.

4.) They offered him a chance to return to the religious community, one that Fr. Corapi turned down. Such a move would have essentially made Fr. Corapi give up most of his wealth and possessions.

Jim Dorchak said...


What an outstanding take on the situation!

I have not heard it said any better anywhere else.

I will add that I can sympathize with Mr. Corapi, in that I have been in similar situations with the Church and it is no fun.

I am hoping that Mr. Corapi's decisions will make some change in how the Church handles issues like this (probably not) in the future.

I do agree with you that it seems that Mark Shea and the like are similar in that they are all attempting to generate "Cults of Personality" and a following of $$$$$ and that they are simiply upset because they are not getting the press Mr. Corapi is getting nor are they getting the $$$.

Thanks again

Jim Dorchak

Kevin said...

I think that should be it for the news on this. Think we need to start praying harder.

Terry Nelson said...

I think you got this right. I also want to save your comment on Chris West and why he teaches heresy - good summation. Thanks

Richard Kato said...

"Pat Madrid, Mark Shea, Amy Welborn, Scott Hahn, Alan Napleton, Chris West, Fr. Corapi, etc., are all cut from basically the same cloth as Maciel when it comes to money."

Hi Steve,

I have listened and read many of Scott Hahn's books and along with Fr. Corapi's videos. What are some of the things that Scott Hahn says that are "non-Catholic"? I also listen to Catholic Answers, which Patrick Madrid was part of at one time. What is wrong with him? Anything wrong with Catholic Answers? Not being sarcastic, just trying to find out the Truth.

Blessings, Rich

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Scott Hahn used to go on a riff about the Holy Spirit being the feminine principle in the Godhead.

Pretty much everyone jumped on him for that.

The list of names was primarily of people who, in my experience, are interested in acquiring wealth via the preaching of the Gospel.

Pat Madrid, for instance, has never taught anything unorthodox to my knowledge, he's just got a money-grubbing salesman's attitude towards every deal.

Richard Kato said...

Thanks, Steve. Was there anything else about Scott Hahn that was questioned theologically?
I also saw that Matthew Pinto was on your list. I have been part of many of the Great Adventure bible studies and really have learned alot. Is there anything theologically wrong with those? Or is it more the business model?
It must be hard for Catholic speakers and companies to balance that fine line between offering a good Catholic product and trying to make a living at it versus being greedy and taking advantage of people. I guess it isn't much different than regular business.
Thank you for your honest opinions.

Jim Dorchak said...


A nasty comment about you was left on my blog. Pelase feel free to defend yourself.

Jim Dorchak

Steve Kellmeyer said...


As I indicated before, in all of the cases above, I am mostly concerned about their business model, since in essentially every case, it involved the conscious building of a cult.

I find that very problematic.

Now, over on Jim's blog, someone chastises me for making money off indulgence calendars.

Which I do.

But nobody buys a calendar because Steve Kellmeyer created it. Heck, my name isn't even on it. I've stopped doing speaking engagements (stopped quite some time ago, in fact), and my last book did NOT have my name on the front cover.

In short, now that I've realized what Catholic marketing involves, I've specifically tried to avoid creating any cult-like attachment to my person precisely because I don't think it's right to do it.

Dymphna said...

Steve, no offense intended but doesn't the Faith pay your mortgage too? I'm not defending Shea. Hahn and the others, I avoid them altogether. I'm just uncertain here.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Actually, no, it doesn't pay my mortgage.

I've moved in to other endeavors for mortgage paying precisely because I don't much like how things work when the Faith is the primary income.

I'm not pushing any books (I sell them for people who want them, but that's mostly a courtesy), not doing interviews for them, not speaking, not writing magazine articles, and anything I do produce now for sale doesn't really have my name on it anymore. It's anonymous.

If I've got a cult, it ain't because I'm cultivating it.

Richard Kato said...

If the business model is inherently good and moral, I do not see anything wrong with it. I think knowing who an author is helps decide what I purchase to read. For example, I would know to avoid Fr. Cutie books but purchase Steve Kellmeyer books or Scott Hahn books. We need good Catholic books out there for everyone's various level on their spiritual journey.
So if Steve paid his bills with his books and speaking appearances, I have no problems with that since he is providing a service for a group of consumers. I wish you would have your name on your books. I get tired of turning all of Sr. Chitsier's books backwards when I go to Barnes and Nobles :)

Dymphna said...

Thank you, Steve for the clarification.

Kevin said...


When Hahn first became Catholic, he flirted with preterism (the mainly protestant idea with a scintilla of patristic support that everything written in the Apocalypse referred to already transpired events), but as he grew in the faith, he realized how erroneous that was.

As far as the "feminine" Holy Spirit, I think his writing was inexact at times, but not heretical.

My criticism of the likes of Hahn and a lot of other popular intelligentsia of American Catholicism today is how they've really "charismaticized" "conservative" Catholicism.

Anyone wanna ponder for a moment what a Mother Angelica in full health would think about Christ the King Chapel in Stuebenville? (Those who know, they know. Those who don't, you have to experience it to comment.)

Kevin said...

Hit enter too soon....

Mother Angelica yes had some roots in the Charismatic movement, but she also condemend "healingitis" and most likely would not have liked the rampant liturgical abuses that are notorious at Fransiscan University of Stuebenville.

Though truth be told, the depth of those liturgical abuses end up becoming impossible to defend even amongst those of the intelligentsia, but they try to downplay their frequency or importance.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


I agree with you entirely, and more could be said besides.

That's why, although I have a graduate theology degree from FUS, I don't recommend the school to anyone, nor do I send it any financial support.

Richard Kato said...

Thank you for the information, Kevin. I have read some of Scott Hahn's books (Hail Hoy Queen, the Lamb's Supper, Father Knows Best, and Home Sweet Rome) and I also have the Ignatius Press Study Bible. I have not found anything way off base or heretical in those. I also enjoy the Ascension Press Bible studies and find them pretty straightforward. Are you talking about their "way" of bringing the Gospel to the Catholic faithful (preacher style)? When you say liturgical abuses at Steubinville, how so?
What schools would you go back to if you had to do it again? Univ of Steubenville always seems to be at the top for Catholic Schools. Is it that much worse than DePaul Univ or Loyola (Chicago)?
Kevin and Steve,
What is your opinion about Catholic Answers? I download them on my iPod and listen to many of their shows?
And how about Fr. Pacwa?

Thanks, Kevin and Steve.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

The only school I recommend is St. Thomas Aquinas in southern California.

I either don't know enough about the other schools to have an opinion, or I know enough not to be comfortable with their theology (e.g., University of Dallas isn't worth the money either).

There are many prominent Catholics upon whom I have no opinion because I don't know much about them: Colleen Hammond, for instance.

Others I don't like because of their attitudes - Fr. Z. leaps to mind. I stopped even reading his blog this past January because I'm frankly tired of his attitudes, and I can't figure out why he's constantly begging for money "for his birds", his bookcase, his computer, etc. From the information on his blog, he's living much the same life as Fr. Corapi.

Catholic Answers is a mixed bag. On one hand, Karl Keating is a generally good guy, although CA is constantly begging for money. On the other hand, it supports Westian TOB, which is EXTREMELY problematic.

Again, if you want the Faith without all the questions, read the Fathers, Doctors and saints. For them, you don't need my opinion - you have the Magisterium's judgement, which is infinitely superior to mine.

Kevin said...

My take might be a bit different from Steve.

Catholic Answers fills a very distinct and niche purpose. They are outstanding on "the basics." If you want to know the beginners apologetics and the like, you could do no better than Catholic Answers (Envoy as well.)

Once you get outside of basic apologetics, it really is a mixed bag. Some of it is quite solid, some of it not so much.

Personally, I like listening to Fr. Pacwa. While most don't realize it, he is probably one of the more gifted apologists around, and, far as I can tell, he avoids the ego factor that can be present from time to time in the lay apologetics movement. (One can listen to how he systematically dismantled anti-Catholic polemicist James White in debates on Sola Scriptura and the priesthood for example.)

That being said, there is a difficulty that I think the lay apologetics movement will have to confront eventually. Some of them style themselves as modern day St. Paul's, making "defending the faith" a living. Yet St. Paul was a missionary bishop who made tents. He did more than play google scholar. ;)

Kevin said...

When I say that things have been "charismaticized", I'd focus more on the heavily emotional impact a lot of "pop" Catholic speakers use to spread their message. We all need a bit of fire, but many times, the charismatic nature of the speaker becomes the message itself. People like Fr. Corapi, Christopher West et al end up having serious cults of personality around them, because the "way" they present their message is as (if not more!) important than the actual message itself.

Archbishop Sheen was an extremely charismatic figure, who had more charisma in his pinky than many of these do in their whole body. Yet people didn't tie their entire existence of the faith to him. Even Mother Angelica as well. Most don't spend their time trying to demonstrate how Mother Angelica was integral to their faith. She was a messenger, not the message itself.

As far as the liturgical abuses, one could point to the rock concert atmosphere, the "speaking" (more like shouting) in tongues during the liturgy (with of course no interpretation!), etc. As of 4 years ago (this may have changed now, do not quote me) you needed a GPS to find their tabernacle. You found it when the Church became overcrowded, and they pulled back a shroud to reveal more seats. Behind all those seats in the back corner..... sat the Tabernacle.

It is not by accident that your more traditional minded students at Stuebenville go to St. Pete's, or refer to Christ the King Chapel as "Calvin the King Amphitheater"

That Stuebenville handles their liturgy as such should be a scandal. There is a lot of things they do good. Yet that isn't one of them.

Richard Kato said...

Thanks Steve and Kevin. I listen to Catholic Answers' podcasts as a ride my mower. I really like their topical podcasts more than the open Q&A.
Fr. Pacwa is so knowledgable on the faith. He has such a firm grasp of the faith and presents it in a way that ties it all back to the Church. He is truly gifted at what he does and probably the one I would listen to the most (When he appears on Catholic Answers, I always look for him on the list).
I agree with you on both Mother Angelica and Fr. Pacwa - the message is first. I do like Fr. Corapi, especially the Cathecism presentations...
I heard that Steubenville was like that years ago but did not realize the tradition carried on. .
What do you know about Augustine Institute (Dr. TIm Gray, Dr. Ted Sri, et al)?
I appreciate all of your comments, Steve and Kevin. I am a revert Catholic who has come back and realized all that I missed learning (catecized in the 70s) said...

While I agree with much of what Steve says about the Corapi situation, I am disappointed in the decision he has made etc, I would ask you to look a little deeper before taking his word on Christopher West. There has been much debate on this website in regard to West and I would have to say that Mr. Kellmeyer and most of his regular posters are extremely anti-west. It goes to say that I am pro-west so I urge you to go to either my website and read through some of the past discussions and my links to articles I wrote about this on Catholic Exchange, or go to Catholic Exchange and google Christopher West to read through Dr. Janet Smith's defense of him. Just sayin....the gal should decide for herself since obviously there is a clear division on this till Rome weighs in.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

And keep in mind that Janet Smith is a paid employee, while Catholic Exchange is subsidized in part through Ascension Press, West's publisher.

So, really, the people who support him are the ones making money off of him.

Christina left that part out, so I thought I would fix it for her.
You're welcome, Christina.

Kevin said...

Pro or Anti-West, I would certainly encourage people to read Dr. Smith's "defense." I say quotations because it was more "slanderous hit job on Dawn Eden's thesis" that was so out of line, she had to seriously revise it from the original Catholic exchange work, and moved it to another site (where people were unable to comment on it pointing out its flaws.)

Part of that was her assertion that the mere presence of the Latin language was 'repressive' and her very curious view that priests not spending time teaching about beastiality was "repressive."

So by all means, let the reader read all sources. In the TOB section on my blog, I gladly link to them. There you can see the raw and uncut commentary from many of West's defenders. I would argue they portray the same personality cult that was talked about in Mr. Kellmeyer's current posting.

He doesn't hide his "bias", nor does he attempt to present himself as an alleged "impartial" as Smith and friends did. As a result, people can take his arguments for what they are worth, and compare them objectively to what his defenders are saying.

9 times out of 10, Mr. Kellmeyer is going to come out on top in that debate, because some of the things West says, and many of the things his defenders say, are beyond defensible. (i.e. his editor at Pauline books saying St. Frances De Sales Introduction to the Devout Life was tainted with Manicheanism.) said...

One thing that I have not heard mentioned is that if Fr. Corapi's bride is the church and he is the bridegroom in the sense that he is in the person of Christ, so representative of the bridegroom, then if he leaves the active priesthood, then isn't he in a sense leaving his wife? If he continues to go on preaching, then isn't he wooing another bride in a sense then breaking a vow of some sort? I am not sure how he is thinking he can resign from the priesthood but go on preaching, how is the morally or ethically permissible?

Kevin said...


You really have sorta hit the nail.

According to Church law, he really can't preach in public on matters relating to Catholicism, at least not as a priest.

He can try to claim he isn't doing it as a priest, but with such a well known figure, I really don't think it will fly.

It's why in the end, I think he WILL be laisicized by Rome, either on his behalf, or his Bishop will put those wheels in motion in Rome.

The longer he stays under suspension and continues his current path, the more he risks of ending up like the SSPX, either formally entering, or becoming way too close to schismatic for faithful Catholics to become comfortable.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

As Dad29 points out, Corapi is under suspension 'a divinis', either self-imposed or imposed by another authority (we don't yet know which).

What this implies about what he can do is likewise unclear, since such a suspension can be as narrow or wide as desired. See

As far as Corapi being in a Bridegroom-Bride relationship, it has no effect whatsoever. He is always ontologically a priest.

He isn't "wooing another" because he intends to continue preaching Catholic Faith.

We don't know the conditions of his suspension, so we don't know if he is authorized to continue offering private (although not public) Mass, or what the scope of his sacramental operations are held to.

Same goes for his preaching - we don't know the conditions of his suspension.

So, it is quite possible that he struck a deal with the bishop in which he is permitted to continue to preach as long as he doesn't offer any public sacrament.

The bishop would be counting on most people leaving him behind, he would be counting on his preaching abilities to mitigate that loss of audience. There would be nothing morally wrong with such an agreement.