My mother, who passed on four years ago, absolutely loved Father John Corapi. She never missed his television show on EWTN, hanging onto his every word. His message was a straight-up orthodoxy in Catholic teaching that is rare to see these days, a message that we need to hear more and more in a Church that is perceived by many to be losing itself in a secular age that eschews all things holy. It certainly bolstered mom up in a time between my dad’s passing and her own. Father Corapi was my mother’s hero, a true champion of the Catholic Faith that she loved so very much.
So what is with this recent announcement from him, stating that he is leaving active ministry and taking on a persona with the name “The Black Sheepdog”? Like many I have read the statement and watched the video, and it leaves me with two reactions. The first is, “Thank you, God, that my mother was not alive to see this happen”, for it would have broken her heart completely. And the second reaction is one of “Yes, I get it, I understand. But ---“
About the second reaction: Yes, I do get it. I understand Father Corapi’s apparent reaction to the way he has been treated by the Church in regards to allegations that he has had an “inappropriate relationship” with an adult woman formerly under his employment. The system of dealing with accused priests is very, very flawed, we know that. The way it grinds on and on with no resolution is certainly unbearable. To have so many walls put up to block your progress towards a timely resolution of your innocence would drive many to do what he has done. But does any of this justify his action? No, it does not.
Again, I get what Father Corapi is going through. True, I have not experienced it on the same level of publicity and scrutiny he has, but I have had my own difficulties with certain people in the Catholic Church's authority. It can hurt very deeply and yes, it is very frustrating. But does the way one has been treated make the message of the Catholic Church all wrong? No, it does not. The Catholic Church and the Gospel it proclaims is true and worthy of belief. It always will be. The human part of the institution may fail or delay, but God will not. In time things will be made right, maybe not in the way you want it, but it will be to your benefit as long as trust is given to Him. What is not to be done, though, is taking up your ball and going elsewhere. You stay and let God do His work. Otherwise it becomes all about you or someone else, and not all about Him. That would be unacceptable.
Now where did I learn this? Though some of it has come from tried and true experience, I first learned it from my mother. Long ago she taught me about Psalm 146:3 “Put not your trust in a prince, in a son of a man, in whom there is no salvation”. People in the Church may fail you, she taught, and the system may let you down, but God will not. Turn your matter over to the Lord, she would say, and trust in Him. I always have done so, I still do, and I always will. Hopefully Father Corapi will come around and do the same.