Thursday, July 22, 2010

Corapi in Cincy

A few people have asked me what I thought of Fr. John Corapi’s event in Cincinnati on Saturday. I don’t doubt that they expect me to say that it was great. The fact is, though, that I was disappointed. I fear that the man has become a rock star, throwing red meat to receptive audiences for the price of admission. From the moment he walked out on stage with a beard that was much too dark, I couldn’t help but think that something just wasn’t right. We were seated close enough to the stage that we didn’t need to rely on the jumbo-tron video displays, but his bald head and his black goatee kept making me think of his resemblance to Vladimir Lenin.

Fr. Corapi has evolved. In the older programs shown on EWTN, he is often seen wearing a gray habit, and as he speaks, you can see a twinkle in his eye. There was no twinkle in the eye of the hard man that spoke at the Cintas Center on Saturday. The gray habit was long ago replaced by a pressed black suit and French cuffs.

During the course of the day, we learned that Fr. Corapi owns a home in northwest Montana which he paid for with a million-dollar lawsuit settlement. He drives a fast car with lots of horsepower and keeps a loaded .45 in the glove compartment. He also rides a fat boy Harley Davidson motorcycle, owns a boat of unspecified size, and vacations in Key West. He works out six times a week, twice with a female physical trainer, and has lost seventy pounds and increased his strength by a hundred percent in the past year. The weight loss prompted him, at his charitable best, to donate two large bags of “fat clothes” to the local Salvation Army. I can only assume that the donated clothes did not consist of old habits and clericals. I don’t know why he chose to share these personal bits of information, but they did nothing to enhance his credibility as a witness to the gospel.

The four talks that he gave during the course of the day (which will probably be available for purchase at the discount rate of $99 from his website in a week or two) were based on the social teaching of the Catholic Church. He did touch on most of the principles of that teaching. Much of what he said, however, amounted to prudential judgments, and, while I agree with most of those judgments, he presented them as being what the Church teaches. It would have been great material at a TEA party event, but this was hardly billed as a political rally.

The crowd was enthusiastic, leaping to it’s feet whenever Corapi took the stage and cheering whenever he spoke of the disincentives of socialism and when he referred to the government in Washington as “the big drug dealer.” He seems to be fond of St. Paul’s exhortation in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Completely unmentioned was the practice of the early Christians, as related in Acts 2:44-45, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

At one point, he recounted a meeting with Mother Teresa of Calcutta shortly before she died. She described to him all of her poverty, frailty, and dependence upon others. Then she described how God had established her order in over 500 houses and, through them, touched the lives of tens of thousands of dying and forgotten people in Calcutta alone. “Go”, she said, “and do the same!” Fr. Corapi seems to believe that he’s doing that through his preaching and his production company, but I can’t help but think that maybe he missed the point.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes! I felt exactly the same way! Left the Cincy event with a very deflated feeling - something just wasn't right! I posted a comment about it on Catholic Answers Forums, indicating my deep concern (and may I add, NOT attacking Father or imputing any ulterior motives for his sudden change in appearance and presentation), but expressing my discomfort. I was supported by a few forum members but roundly chastized by others, especially one in particular who seemed to feel that I was out to undermine Father's credibility. What scares me is this: Father Corapi is a "big gun" - a major threat to the devil and his nefarious plans. So who would you think the devil would target first given the choice between Fr. Timid or Fr. Wavering down the street at St. Complacent's Church or this earthly counterpart of the Archangel Michael? No contest, right? I am frightened that fame and so much adulation is beginning to turn Fr.'s head. Please, we must all pray for him!!! Pray to God, to Jesus, to the Holy Virgin and to St. Michael that Father wakes up!

Kurt H said...

Thanks for the comment, Lisa. It’s comforting to know that I am not the only one that was troubled by what I say last Saturday. I don’t begrudge anybody the fruits of their labors, and I don’t want to jump to hasty conclusions, either. For all I know, Fr. Corapi might live out of a humble cell on his Montana property, with the rest devoted to Santa Cruz media and his dogs. And anybody who lives in Montana is going to need transportation in the form of a car, truck, or motorcycle. But we don’t need to know about it, because it doesn’t serve the purpose of promoting the gospel.

As I thought about it this morning, the type that came to mind was King Hezekiah. 2 Kings 18:5 tells us that “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.” And yet, near the end of his life, Hezekiah displeased God by showing off his treasures to visitors from Babylon. It wasn’t the treasures that displeased God. After all, God had blessed Hezekiah’s faithfulness. Rather, it was Hezekiah’s pride in those treasures that brought God’s wrath and, perhaps, led to the faithlessness of his son, Manasseh.

I hate to think that, after all the good that he has done, Fr. Corapi might be faltering in the same way that Hezekiah did.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming the money came from a medical malpractice suit where he was fraudulently diagnosed as needing a quad bi-pass.
Given that Father once was a million or billionaire before he was a priest- that he lost it all thru addictions- that God pulled him out of the sewer and called him to be a priest.. that he could have gone back to making money but chose God over cash- I'd prefer to believe that by giving himself to God and the Church, God has seen fit to restore his riches. I'm thrilled for him that he's able to enjoy life without money problems- I'm happy he's regained his health and made himself an example for all of us. If his worst sin is vanity for dying his beard (I prefer it gray) I can give him that, considering what he gives to the world in his lessons. Fr.Corapi continues to be an inspiration to me.

Anonymous said...

I know this is coming in late, I just found this blog. I too was at the Cincinnati event and I immediately felt something was wrong when Father Corapi started. I too noticed the change in his looks and also I noted the way he acted during mass. I just felt in my heart something was wrong. It did not feel right to me. I am now scared of what is going to be revealed by his former employee. I pray he is innocent, but I did wonder why he was revealing all the details about his Harley motorcycle and etc.... something was not right that day... I totally agree, I felt it...

Anonymous said...

Interesting observations. My husband and I decided against attending in Cinci last year after we spoke to the "promoter" who was hawking box seating w/ meet and greets w/ Fr. and/or private receptions w/ Fr. for a fee. THAT rock star Priest thing didn't feel quite right at all and we decided not to attend.

Praying for Fr.

ProudCatholic said...

AMEN! I'm so glad to read this because you reflect exactly the same sentiments--this is exactly the way my husband and I felt but not in Cinccy, when we saw Fr. Corapi in New Jersey this past year. Same exact thing occurred; however, it was supposed to be about Spiritual Warfare, and I am not exaggerating when I say he hardly touched on the topic. E.g., he literally only mentioned the rosary in passing and little else on the faith--and it was about 5 hours of conference. We were stunned. this was before the controversy broke but we almost saw it coming. We heard about his ranch, about his car, motorcycle, gun, vacations. About going undercover for the FBI, how he pulled a gun on a what turned about to be a reporter taking picture, about his hunting, and tons about his personal trainer who he called Xena the warrior. It was no surprised when he was talking about his upcoming biography that would be released--it felt like someone was trying to plug a book and make it sound exciting. He had absolutely nothing about his past. He said..well I'm sure you all know about that. It was disillusioning. It left us feeling sick. What's more...they had santa cruz media all over selling his stuff for $400-$600 and such little food to purchase that we wound up waiting two hours for a crummy little piece of pizza for $10 each (but we weren't there fore the food but it was just added to the ridiculousness of the day). The only time you could see him was to have gone the night before to a $1000 vip dinner. He was devoid of any faith empowering speech. What really floored us, was they had handed out cards to raise funds for a catholic radio stationin NJ and he announced "If any of you cut a check for $1 million, I will match it with a personal check for $1 million. I am not kidding. Try me, right now," he challenged. Huh? How did he get from the priest on EWTN who announced he didn't own anything and if anyone asked himi for the Bible in his hand, he'd gladly give it to them because that is what community is. to this? It was almost telling the the arena was where the NJ Devils play and there were signs everywhere reading "Devil's Army Rising." What a venue. Of course, it was the butt of jokes but boy now looking back, it almost seems prophetic. We left feeling saddened. IT was clear he had gone astray. I still wouldn't say those allegations are true but I do know this. He is not the man I can follow any longer. What he taught me on the faith years ago has made me wise enough to be able to discern that he is not following the path of Christ. Fr. Corapi was full of light and truth; blacksheepdog is not. How sad. If he turned around once, I pray God will guide him to do so agian. Until then, I no longer listen to him.

Anonymous said...

The impressions you felt upon seeing John Corapi are the same impressions I felt upon seeing him way back in 2001. I was shocked because all I could think was that the man was a charlatan. Only myself and one other person there (who I didn't know before the event) thought this. Everyone else idolized him. I came to the conclusion that the man was a charlatan from DAY ONE, and that he was perceptive enough to realize that there was a great need for traditional leadership in the Church. He took full advantage of that until, in his own words, "the cat (was) out of the bag".

Alphonsus Jr. said...

Good instincts, Kurt. Here's an absolute must-read on the fall of Fr. Corapi:

http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2011-0715-ferrara-ewtn-corapi.htm

Anonymous said...

Yep, gotta love "The Remnant". Chris Ferrara bashes everyone from EWTN to Catholic Answers saying not much good about either, and pretty much inferring they are all in it for the "fame, glory, and money". Then try and sign up to read an article in depth and guess what? They charge you. Can't read anything for free. Can anyone say hypocrite?

Paul said...

I met with Fr. Corapi back around 1992 in Amherst, Ohio. At that time he was a humble and wise priest. He was sincere in what he had to say and after talking for about an hour, he stood behind me, with his hands extended over my head and he prayed for me. I walked out feeling a deep spiritual elevation and gratefulness for what he had to say.
And now, all I can say is that I hope he is not as lost as so many say he is. I don't know about his guilt or innocence, but I do know that the truths that he spoke back in those years were strong and they still are, regardless of what has happened to him. I can only walk away praying for him. Paul