And the truth shall make you free

aa photograph And the truth shall make you free

Photo by Ansel Adams

So, umm, Father Corapi. Yeah. Wow.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the situation, here’s a summary. Long story short, the ministry of the great Fr. John Corapi as we know it has come to an end. He says he will continue to serve under the name “The Black Sheepdog” for now, and of course there’s always the possibility that he could one day return to his role  as a priest in good standing with his religious society (as unlikely as that may seem at this point, nothing is impossible with God!) But I think it’s safe to say things won’t ever be the way they were again. The golden age of his priestly evangelization has likely passed.

It’s hard to overstate what an impact this has had on those of us who were heavily influenced by his preaching. When I think back on my initial conversion from atheism to Catholicism, Fr. Corapi is there at almost every turn. Shortly after I made the intellectual decision to become Catholic, I faced a serious medical diagnosis which I was told meant that I absolutely had to use artificial contraception. I was thrown into a battle I wasn’t prepared to fight, forced to stand up for principles I had only barely come to understand. I had to go to countless doctor appointments where I was looked at as crazy, backwards, or (worst of all) a religious fundamentalist nut — which was especially painful since my ego had been wrapped up in my identity as an atheist my whole life. And yet when I think back on that time, one of my strongest memories is a pleasant one: driving in my car, listening to the voice of Fr. John Corapi.

My appointments tended to coincide with Relevant Radio’s broadcast of his sermons, and I recall how my body would physically relax when I heard the first hopeful, soothing notes of the French horn piece that introduced his show. All my frantic worrying and confusion would fade away as I listened to his words, imminently reasonable, strong and unapologetic, as he explained each aspect of Catholic teaching. It was during one of those balmy summer mornings in the car, with Fr. Corapi’s words drifting out of the speaker, that I felt the overwhelming peace of knowing that I had found truth, and that my life was about change forever.

My husband and I entered the Church, the months went on, and, naturally, things were sometimes difficult. After an outpouring of great consolation after I first began to receive Communion, I faced my first spiritual dry spell. I was let down by fellow Catholics. I had the unsettling experience of spiritual attack. Through it all, Fr. Corapi was there. His face would be on my television, occasionally obscured by stacks of laundry or a gaggle of toddlers, or his voice on the radio, each time guiding me away from irrelevant distractions and toward the only thing that matters — the truth of Jesus Christ.

Much of what I know about Christianity I originally learned through Fr. Corapi. I’ve since expanded my knowledge from many other sources, but his way of distilling complicated, vague, and/or controversial ideas into crystal clear messages allowed me to quickly understand concepts that otherwise would have been daunting. And I know I’m not alone — countless people cite him as a key influence in their decisions to convert or “revert” to orthodox Catholicism. His body of work is priceless. If you were to create a pie chart of “modern speakers who explain the true Catholic faith in a clear and palatable way,” the portion with his name on it would take up a sizable chunk.

And so this turn of events is upsetting to the thousands of us who were led home, at least in part, by this particular shepherd. As I thought about it and followed the commentary all weekend, I felt distress at the news. But I also sensed something else, something surprising, something good:

Freedom.

The truth that Fr. Corapi led me and so many others to did not originate with him, or from any man. The Catholic Church isn’t a bunch of guys who sit around and come up with brilliant insights about Jesus; its doctrines don’t come from the pope, the bishops, the priests, Fr. Corapi, or anyone else – they come from God himself. The men who make up the Magisterium are simply the tools God uses to convey his message.

fr corapi ticket And the truth shall make you freeI don’t know if I had ever fully appreciated what a gift this system is until now. It’s ironic that the Church is sometimes accused of making its followers “go through people to get to God.” In fact, it’s the one religious institution that is entirely set up so that nobody is beholden to another human being to know God’s truths. When people have questions about the correct interpretation of something in the Bible, or want to know what the Christian answer is to a brand new ethical dilemma the world has never seen before — even if they’re illiterate and can’t read the Bible at all — they can find everything God has chosen to reveal to us in the body of wisdom of the Church that Jesus founded and continues to guide to this day. They don’t have to depend on anyone’s personal opinions; by looking at the Church’s Magisterial teaching, they can go straight to God.

As the news continues to break about the situation and the blog posts continue to pile up one after another, I feel free. Because the truths that Fr. Corapi led me to are separate from Fr. Corapi himself, I’m freed of the need to know whether the accusations against him are true or false. I’m freed of the need to speculate about all the how‘s and why‘s and what if‘s behind all the decisions that have been made by the various parties in this situation. I’m free simply to pray for him, for everyone else involved, and to leave it at that.

An analogy I keep thinking of is that of the great photographer Ansel Adams. On a much smaller scale, he was also a big influence in my life. His breathtaking black and white images of the Grand Tetons and other mountain ranges awakened me to the grandeur of nature, and stirred something within me that had never been there before. Though I wouldn’t have thought of it this way at the time, the moments I spent gazing at his photos were some of my first experiences of God. If Adams had ever been involved in a professional or personal situation I found unsettling, I would have been similarly free not to let it trouble me, other than out of concern for him as a person. Because while he had an incredible talent for conveying the majesty of the mountains, he did not create them. Though the way he captured them led me to a startling awakening to their beauty, it was not he who made them beautiful.

And so it is with Fr. Corapi. No matter what happens, I will always respect his talent for capturing the truth, and will eternally owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting its beauty so well. I will think back fondly of those days when his voice guided me during those drives to my doctor appointments, when his televised image was a natural part of our family living room. My love of the doctrines of the Faith will remain unscathed, even if the one who originally conveyed them to me does not. And I pray that Fr. Corapi feels similarly liberated to take whatever time he needs to pray, pause, and seek the still, small voice of God, knowing that it is not his burden alone to pass on the Faith. God has given us the truth through a system that is outside of and above any one man. And because of that, we are all free.

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Enter the Conversation...

84 Responses to “And the truth shall make you free”
  1. Kara says:

    Very well put.

    It’s such a sad situation and I hope that it doesn’t take people away from the Church. He was a great teacher and I hope that he is able to overcome this and come out stronger in his faith in the end.
    Kara recently posted..Charlottes check ups and other stuff -

  2. Claudia says:

    Jennifer
    Although my heart aches at the whole situation this is absolutely true. In many ways I have felt the same way but of course do not have the ability as you to write it as such. Instead of writing negatively as so many have, you captured the truth and what we were left with, great catechesis. Bravo! Thank you.

  3. William says:

    What a singularly beautiful sentiment amid the din of so many angry Catholic bloggers. To be so non-judgmental is as breath-taking as the Ansel Adams image and a tribute to what Fr. Corapi may have instilled — and that the Holy Spirit continues to nurture in your life. I too, am an adult convert greatly influenced by his preaching and at my conversion had a similar epiphany: I had to reconcile the disconnect between what I had learned from books, history, from watching EWTN … and the bizarre parish priest we had at the time. I realized that just like it was settled in the early church that baptism conducted by heretics was nonetheless licit and efficacious and valid, that sacraments by someone who seemed so odd to me personally were still a means to receive Jesus and His manifold grace. Don’t want to seem judgmental of Fr. Corapi. I myself sure have felt like a black-sheep/dog as a convert: out of place in this world and don’t fit in with most cradle Catholics I’ve met either. No matter. The focus is on the Lord. The physical people — myself included are all just sinful vessels, but they somehow work together so that in this true and historic church I found the answer to the question posed to Philip (John 12:21) “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” I don’t know about all the vitriol poured out on this incredibly talented priest … I do know Fr. Corapi was one of those who pointed out The Way, so are great blogs like this one. Who am I in the grand scheme? I’m grateful. Thank you.

  4. Steve says:

    The best post I have read on this mess. I have been silently following this blog for a while- couldn’t keep silent today. Beautifully put.

  5. Cléo says:

    You write what I ‘feel’. Thank you. Cléo

  6. Brent says:

    Jennifer,

    Thank you for this fair, even-headed analysis of this fiasco. Having converted from the form of Christianity chocked full of media personalities, I’ve been exposed to multiple situations like this throughout my life. I appreciate how you distilled his life work from this mess. If you don’t, these types of incidents can scandalize so many faithful who shouldn’t be scandalized. We must remember that our first pope denied Chist three times! The same one who declared that Jesus was the Son of God while everyone else thought he was a fisherman or something. No one is beyond scandal, yet no horizon is without the hope of redemption.

    Let us pray for Father Corapi, this drama, and all the faithful whose tender faith may hang in the balance.

    St. Jude pray for us!

  7. This post sums up what I am “feeling” about the whole sad sad situation!! I have never heard a priest “tell it like it is” until I became a “born again catholic” and started watching EWTN. When I woke up this morning my first thought was the Catholic church was here long before John Corapi and it will be here long after anyone remembers his name. I guess this is why it is SO IMPORTANT that we pray for our priests because the devil is prowling around them like a mad dog……

  8. Jenna says:

    What a beautiful post. It is a true display of what our religion is about. We are not to judge others but pray for them and look for God in them. Awesome!

    Jenna
    Jenna recently posted..My Life in France

  9. Jenny says:

    Beautifully written. I will be sharing this with my teenage daughters.
    Jenny recently posted..Say a Little Prayer

  10. Ginger says:

    Thank you. This is heart-breaking, even if not faith-shaking. Thanks for putting so much into words.

  11. Theca says:

    I haven’t felt free. This just keeps hitting me and I keep staying up half the night on the internet and looking up blog posts and articles and replies about him and and worrying. Maybe I should just bring myself back to your post and try to pray when I get the urge to start googling.

  12. Allie says:

    This is one of the most well-balanced posts I’ve read on this. Nicely put.
    Allie recently posted..7 Quick Takes vol 5

  13. Thank you for rounding out the commentary on this unfortuanate situation. We needed to hear exactly what you said. Praying for you tomorrow!

  14. Ann Seeton says:

    I love the Church and respect the authority of the Bishops; I am also hopeful that Fr. Corapi will continue to be orthodox in his teaching and that God will bring good things out of this situation.

    Praying for all our priests and bishops is so important! The spiritual attacks they must face daily have got to be draining.

    Prayer and Hope in God’s guiding hand.
    Ann Seeton recently posted..Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi on the situation with Fr John Corapi

  15. Nancy says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with what you’re emphasizing here:the future of Christendom does not depend on any one person, and the legacy of teaching Fr. Corapi leaves behind is still valid and good. (I’m not Catholic, but listened to him on the radio often.)

    The nature of God is to be always redemptive, no matter how bleak things look — and he will surely redeem this situation too. Nothing is too big or too bad for Him!

  16. Nancy says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with what you’re emphasizing here:the future of Christendom does not depend on any one person, and the legacy of teaching Fr. Corapi leaves behind is still valid and good. (I’m not Catholic, but listened to him on the radio often.)

    The nature of God is to be always redemptive, no matter how bleak things look — and he will surely redeem this situation too. Nothing is too big or too bad for Him!

  17. I see a similar pattern with those brought in to the Faith or reconversion through movements or apparitions. Even if the apparition proves to be a hoax, the Truth of the Faith remains. It’s a testing time for those to sort out unfastening unhealthy attachments.
    Jennifer G. Miller recently posted..He’s Here!

  18. beautifully written!
    priest’s wife recently posted..Money Money Money

  19. Geomama says:

    This post is dead-on. We had a similar thing happen when we joined the Church 10 years ago. The first priest we considered a friend, who patiently endured my endless questions, was involved in a sexual scandal (relationship with an adult woman). I was devastated but had the same feeling of gratitude that God could speak through such an imperfect servant. Look at Mel Gibson and The Passion. Heck, look at me as a mother trying to instill the faith in my kids while constantly screwing up.
    Geomama recently posted..Keyring with glass bead and cross

  20. Maria says:

    Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for your well balanced comment about this sad situation. It shows how mature you are in your faith. It’s like a breath of fresh air (one reason why I come to your site again and again).

    Again, thank you. Very well said!

  21. Natasa says:

    This is one of the best posts I have read about this situation. It is very sad that things are developing like this but it is a good reminder that Corapi is not God and that he is not the Church.
    Thank you.

  22. Natasa says:

    This is one of the best posts I have read about this situation. It is very sad that things are developing like this but it is a good reminder that Corapi is not God and that he is not the Church.
    Thank you.

  23. KyCat says:

    I have felt this way whenever I hear of a priest being accused of something immoral/unCatholic. Thank heaven my faith was not in him! My faith is in Him and He has not let me down. I worry about religions where the charismatic leader is the center of the religion for that reason – it’s too much for a human! I have not followed Father Corapi but obviously his following and influence were huge and I pray for him and all who followed him. I hope that they have always and will always remember that their faith was in Him no him.

  24. anne says:

    Beautifully written. Thank you. I often comfort myself in these situations (ie. priestly scandal or whatever else) by remembering that Satan would not bother to attack that which is not true.

  25. Very beautifully put! It is such a sad situation all around, and certainly Fr. Corapi needs our prayers right now!
    Praying for you tomorrow!

  26. Martina says:

    I had no idea you liked Ansel Adams, too. Dude, it’s like we are sistas from anotha mista. I *LOVED* Ansel! I wrote several reports about him in high school. :)

  27. Jennifer… I know nothing of this man of whom you speak, but uphold him in prayer today, your words here a testimony of grace…

    And this, this is profound: “My love of the doctrines of the Faith will remain unscathed, even if the one who originally conveyed them to me does not.”

    Grateful for you…
    Ann
    Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience recently posted..What to Sing in Your Storms

  28. Michelle says:

    My thoughts exactly! This is probably one of the most level-headed responses I’ve read thus far. Thanks for the insight, Jen.
    Momma Mary, pray for us!
    Michelle recently posted..Hello- My Name Is-

  29. Jackie says:

    Your attitude is beautiful , and that is called beautitude :)

  30. Kathy says:

    Jennifer,
    I’m very thankful for your post. I was concerned about some of the bloggers commenting on Fr. Corapi’s “followers”. As someone whose faith has been strengthened by listening to Corapi I was dismayed to be thrown in the same catagory as groupies or someone who needs to “get a grip”. As You mentioned Fr. Corapi has(or had) a gift for explaining the truths of our faith in a clear and concise way. As a busy mother of many children with little support and few like minded friends I’m grateful for what I have learned through his preaching.

  31. Kelly says:

    Dear Jen-If I knew you well enough, and if I could find you, I would give you a big hug for this post. You probably are busy having your baby now, but if you ever see this comment, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    “Imminently reasonable, strong and unapologetic”—yes. You summed it up perfectly.

    And while I have been posting my own thoughts, not nearly as well as you have –posted-my own-thoughts–I believe that John Corapi would be the first to tell you that any insights or profundity he may have uttered came from God, and only through him.

  32. Ruth says:

    I haven’t been following the Fr. Corapi story very much, but have to say that I’m very saddened by him leaving the priesthood. He was one of my first exposures to good Catholic preaching, but like you, I know that it isn’t the man but the teaching of the Church that we must follow. I pray that he can become the man God wants him to be through this time.

    Ruth
    Ruth recently posted..Penance- Fatima- and Conundrums

  33. Loretta S. says:

    Wow Jen – that was great. Your perspective on it was great – you maintained your respect for the person but the beauty of the Catholic faith shone through. Thanks for the respite from the mess…

  34. Lisa Barker says:

    {{{{{{{{Thank you!}}}}}}}}

  35. melissa says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. It is the best message I have seen about this whole sad situation. As you said, it is not the one who speakes the word that is important, but rather the One who is the Word. May you be richly blessed and protected tomorrow and have a safe delivery and a healthy baby. My prayers will be with you.

  36. Teresa says:

    “Because the truths that Fr. Corapi led me to are separate from Fr. Corapi himself” – Beautifully stated :)

  37. Lorraine says:

    Thank you so much for making it crystal clear.

  38. A beautiful post, Jen.

    Praying for you tomorrow!
    Karen Edmisten recently posted..On the Radio This Morning

  39. Leigh says:

    Thank you for this.

  40. Leila says:

    So beautifully said. Thank you.
    Leila recently posted..Heartbreaking- inspiring

  41. Kimberlie says:

    As others have noted, you beautifully capture what I have felt. I think whatever the “real” situation is, it does not change the truths that he taught. I am saddened by the vitriol. Shouldn’t we at least take the planks out of our own eyes first? The overwhelming feeling I had when I read the news the other day was “wow! We have got to pray for our priests more.”
    Kimberlie recently posted..Can’t Believe I Fell For It

  42. Stitchwort says:

    This is outstanding.

    Thank you for your clear-eyed, charitable analysis, separating the truths he taught (and for which he had indeed a great gift) from the man who, like all of us is a flawed human being in need of prayers.

    With prayers for tomorrow.

  43. Lacia C says:

    Well said. And praying that all goes well tomorrow!

  44. Erik says:

    The best anyone has written on this topic. You’ve handled this with charity and evoked what was good in the man.

  45. Ruth says:

    The best reflection I have read on the topic so far. Thank you for putting it in perspective as so many people are truly hurt and confused by this.

  46. Robbie says:

    Thank you for this lovely post. I am a Catholic today because of Fr Corapi’s teaching on the CCC that was shown on EWTN. I liked it so much that I bought it. We need to remember that St Pio also had his priestly faculties taken away for 25 years and St Faustina’s teachings were called heretical. Fr Corapi said that there are people in the Church that want him gone, so, he is going. I just hope that he keeps his Catholic faith. Pax

  47. Faun says:

    Well said. Prayers for a speedy recovery after your delivery….sending kisses for the newest addition to the Fulwiler family. I’d love a whiff of that sweet newborn scent .

  48. John says:

    Jennifer, thanks for such a well written post. It’s nice to read an even handed, thought provoking post. Like you, I think it is important that we separate the man from what he has taught us.

    Wasn’t his event here in San Antonio just awesome? I’m glad I got the chance to hear him in person, and to help raise funds for a great organization, the Alexander House.

    Sending prayers for your new addition!

  49. Cathy says:

    Thank you for focusing on the good! I feel inspired by your words.

    Best wishes with your delivery tomorrow, Jennifer!

  50. John Flynn says:

    Man Jen, you are seriously smart. I have become very upset by this whole situation and frankly angry at it. I’ve been trying to be as charitable as a hot headed irishman like me can be but I read your post and think, “Wow, that’s totally the way I should be approaching this.” Thanks…

  51. Margo says:

    As you said, the only thing we can do is pray. Arguing back and forth and starting comment wars on blog sites is the exact opposite approach Our Lord would have us take in reacting to this unfortunate news. Not only that, but it creates tension and conflict which causes splitting within the Catholic Church; Catholics fighting Catholics. That behavior is pleasing to the Devil and I guess I just don’t get why more people (especially Catholics) can’t see that. I commented on this point in a recent post:

    http://therosarytrail.com/father-corapi-news/

  52. KyCat says:

    Just wanted to let you know that we’re thinking of your family and praying for you today!!! :o)!!!

  53. Carl says:

    You have expressed what so many of us feel. Thank you.

  54. Christina says:

    Thank you for this, Jen! Though I totally agree with the faith component, I am especially grateful for the fact that your response also leaves open the door to grieve. It’s heart-breaking to see how troubled the people of the Church can be and it’s equally heart-breaking to know that this will be used as ‘proof’ that Catholics everywhere are misled. We have to be prepared (emotionally, mentally, doctrinally…) to answer those who scorn the faith because of things like this. Thank you for your insights, as always.

    BUT what I really wanted to say is: We’re praying for you today!!

  55. Maria says:

    Beautifully well said. Thank you

  56. elizabeth says:

    Absolutely beautiful, Jen. I have almost been afraid to talk about this whole sorry ordeal with friends and family I turned on to Fr. Corapi. I will forward your message on to them–it puts it all in such clear perspective.

    Blessings to you on this feast of St. Thomas More and to your little one!! Prayers all day!

  57. Nina says:

    This could not have said more perfectly everything that I have been thinking and feeling. Jen, once again—- I feel like I have a “soul sister” in you. And again, it’s not about *you*…..like you said: I am not a fan of YOU……….I am a fan of HIM, of Christ, who is working in you. It is not a “what” I love about you; it is a WHO. We are his channels, and it’s like it’s no longer even *us*. That’s why almost every single word that I heard in Fr. Corapi’s talks was so effective….it was THE TRUTH and he was just a voice used.

    Let’s assume that there is something else going on here (we *can* give the benefit of the doubt, and still objectively judge that his actions are disturbing)———-I suspect some form of undiagnosed mental illness, perhaps? Sometimes the most brilliant and educated people come off as VERY high-functioning and can “fool” people, but they are suffering from it internally, nonetheless and it is not so “obvious”. Mental illness is one of the most misunderstood conditions that God allows souls to be afflicted with. The individual is not *evil* or possessed. They need help, and corrective psychotropics. They may be organically disordered and need intensive therapies and care. We all need to PRAY that he gets the help and relief that he needs. We are not necessarily dealing with the anti-Christ, here, as some bloggers are insinuating, people! Thanks for letting me rant, Jen. BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD go ALL of us. None of us are immune. I recommend Fr. Z’s commentary, as well. We do priests a great disservice when we forget that they are human beings with clay feet, not gods, not saints in heaven *yet*———-like the rest of us. Bless you and your angel baby. You have been in my prayers.

  58. The devil wins if we let the messenger get in the way of the message.

    Thank you for this utterly beautiful expression of truth.

    (praying for you and baby!).
    FullSpectrumMom recently posted..Signs I Am On Overload

  59. That was wonderful Jennifer. Thank you so much for writing this. God love you.

  60. Grace says:

    Thank you for your insightful post. I, too, felt these exact sentiments toward the scandal behind Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. I spent two years trying to get my head wrapped around that one, and occasionally I still remain puzzled by it all. However, my husband and I still agree that we had nothing but positive experiences while working with both organizations that led us closer to Christ and gave us a sense of mission. Our apostolic zeal and love for Christ and His Church was strengthened by the formation we received through the order and movement. All I can say, like you, is that the Holy Spirit can work through any instrument, and it was ultimately Christ’s work, Christ’s formation, and Christ’s church that touched our lives. The hound of Heaven will find you no matter what human obstacles tend to stand in the way! I saw in another blogger’s post that you are having your baby today…God’s Blessings to you and your family!:)
    Grace recently posted..Whole Lot of Crazy Going On

  61. Thanks Jennifer. This is the first blog I’ve read about the situation that didn’t perturb me due to a lack of charity.

  62. Heather says:

    I think you have written the best article regarding this so far. So many other catholic bloggers have expressed bitterness and sarcasm, even mockery of someone who has done so much for us all and is obviously in alot of pain and struggle.The least we can do for him is quietly pray. In fact, perhaps if we just spent more time quietly praying, he would be able to quiet down and pray as well.Thank you for the compassionate, unbiased tone of this post and for the reminder to pray for him..I myself have been guilty of bias regarding Fr Corapi, in the sense that I truly believe he is innocent. But you’re right…we just need to pray for him. We don’t know all the ins and outs of the story. What you have said here is absolutely fair and true, and reminds us all where our focus needs to be: remaining faithful to the Catholic Church, appreciating all that Father C has done for us, and praying ardently for him.

  63. Patricia says:

    Thank you for these very beautiful observations. I couldn’t help but think of the story of Elizabeth Leseur who prayed for her husband Felix to convert. If you read her diary and his foreward written AFTER he became a priest! you see that in the end it really is all about God. Faith is a great gift and God does use people to lead others to Him.

  64. jkm says:

    Thank you, Jennifer. I am one of the people who gets accused of spewing bile because I am so angry at the hurt John Corapi’s actions have caused. I was never a follower of his, but I recognize that through his preaching the Holy Spirit has touched many lives. You are the first person to have described so beautifully why anger is the wrong response, because whatever Corapi’s motivations are, the Holy Spirit’s are clear and unstoppable. You are a better Catholic than this 60-year-old revert, and you and your family have my prayers.

  65. Beautifully written! Thank you so much for keeping the positive light on this whole mess.

    Seems like many of my fellow christian brothers & sisters forgot an important line in scripture… “judge not lest you be judged”…

    Let us continue to pray for Fr Corapi….
    Christine Maentz recently posted..Psychological Assessment Day!

  66. Grace says:

    Excellent column. Thank you.

    The worst thing about this affair has been the constant angry drumbeat of Catholic bloggers revelling in detraction and slander of Fr. Corapi.

    The big picture is so much… bigger. :)
    May the Lord bring good out of this sooner rather than later.

  67. Denise says:

    Wonderful post! And – as always – inspirational and clearly written. You have such a gift. :)

    Many years ago we went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It was a very deep religious experience and spiritual turning point for me, and much of it was due to the leadership of one of the priests. Fast-forward a few years later and this same priest is accused and eventually convicted of child sexual abuse.

    I thought then about all the things you discussed in your post, and gradually came to the same conclusion: God’s grace is not dependent upon the sinlessness of Man, no matter how repulsive the sin. (I’ve read that even sacraments administered by Nazi priests were declared valid.) Thank you, God!!!

    We will pray for Fr. Corapi. I get a sense of fear and pride in all the statements and reactions, but who knows what is going on underneath it all except God? I battle fear and pride every hour of my life; fortunately I don’t have national media focused on my spiritual battles…

  68. Ted Seeber says:

    Those of us who are cradle Catholics, are mystified by the following John Corapi had and has. Especially since his case is complicated by his own actions (such as never regularizing his ability to conduct the sacraments in the diocese in which he lived, joining an order that was universal instead of diocesan, etc) which have prevented his followers from appealing to the Papal Nuncio to get him a hearing in Rome (He can’t appeal for two reasons- #1 SOLT is a personal prelature of the Bishop of Corpus Christi, and thus is entirely under the autonomous power of that Bishop, #2, there’s no official action that the Bishop has taken other than starting an investigation).
    Ted Seeber recently posted..Update on the Muwahiddun and Islamic Theology

  69. Judy Knutsen says:

    Beautiful! I am also a true believer in Father Corapi. I would hang on his every word and will continue to pray rosaries and offer Holy Hours for him before the Blessed Sacrament. I recall hearing him say one time, “they put Jesus in closet” And he placed candles before the door and knelt in prayer before the door for a Holy Hour. He has preached many times that the devil would go after the priest. I fear this might be happening to him. Father Corapi strengthened by faith. I will always pray for him. He would also say, “I want to be somebody, and that somebody is Jesus Christ.

  70. Susan says:

    Jennifer, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this beautiful essay. What a marked contrast to so many of the other blogs where cruelty, vitriole, and rash judgement are ruling the day. He was a good shepherd to many, and he deserves our prayers. Surely, one who has opened up the Word of God to so many, and proclaimed the doctrines and beauty of Holy Mother Church with such fearlessness will not be lost. Faith, Hope, Charity, and prayer. May God bless you.

  71. Rosemary says:

    Truly eloquent. Thank you for expressing so well what we all need to remember. Praying for you and your newest.

  72. Patrick A. O'Flynn says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Jennifer, yours is the clearest, simplest, most logical, and most eloquent post on the Father Corapi matter that I have seen. And its merit is demonstrated by the fact that all the comments are of like mind. None of the usual bickering back and forth.

    Over the past few days the posts and their comments, in the main, have been filled with unwarranted and vindictive speculation, “ad hominem” attacks on those expressing opposing opinions and overall a nearly complete disregard of Christian Charity.

    Many of the issues in this matter are not presently clear; e.g., Bishop Garcia offers a different canonical view concerning Father Corapi’s freedom to continue preach the Gospel than several priest bloggers. What are the facts? What is the truth? Regardless of one’s past or current opinion of the man and/or his past or recent actions, this is a time for prayer, reflection, and patience.

    Father, may this matter, which has stirred so many so deeply be a means to bring all into a closer union with you and your son, Jesus Christ, that those who have experienced any injury will be healed and comforted by Him, and we beg that in Your Divine Mercy that all directly involved, especially Father Corapi, be given the wisdom to know, and the strength and courage to follow Your will for them. We ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Holy and Immaculate Mother. Amen

    • Patrick A. O'Flynn says:

      A Correction: In my comment I erroneously identified Bishop René Henry Gracida, who offered the canonical opinion, as “Bishop Garcia.” Sorry.

  73. John Waukechon says:

    Jennifer -

    An excellent analysis and great explanation about how you can admire and be influenced by one Christian leader and not be concerned with his/her personal foibles. Seems to me this has wider application than Fr.Corapi. I think we all know Catholics who have left the church because of what “some priest” or “some sister” or “some deacon” did. It always seemed odd because I realized that the Church was not the human who represented it. Over time, though, I realized that all church leaders are not perfect and felt hurt myself – sometimes wondering if I should leave the church, a parish, or just a certain committee. Then I had to remind myself what that we can accept the weaknesses of our brothers and sisters without throwing out the good that they do.

  74. Carol S. says:

    Thanks for your wonderful essay! It’s the only one I’ve read written by someone who was truly helped by Fr. Corapi’s ministry. It is not possible for those who did not follow his ministry or positively respond to it to write about this current situation with any charity and love. I am happy for them that their life has a Catholic has been so seamless,effortless and perfect that they did not need the spiritual guidance of someone like Fr.Corapi. I was away for 10 yrs. , a terrible sinner and very lost, Fr.Corapi’s conversion (re-) was an inspiration and from there his tapes taught me the depth of my cradle Catholicism. I will always be indebted to him for that and that is why this is all so upsetting. I am NOT worshiping Fr. Corapi, I am not a FAN!I am very grateful to him that my soul is now in less danger of being lost and my life has been completely changed, Praise GOD!

  75. Toby Saalfeld says:

    Jennifer, thank you so much. You have said it well. God bless your delivery and prayers for you and your new baby. I am sending this link to a friend.

  76. Theresa says:

    I was so disappointed when I heard about Fr. Corapi. Like you, this gruff, in-your-face priest was with me during my conversion as well and I really like and admired him. After some initial anger and dismay, I have realized that Fr. Corapi is just human – like all of us. I may disagree with how he has chosen to handle this situation but then I am not in his situation.

    Ultimately, I choose to simply keep him in my prayers. And I pray for everyone who has been negatively affected by his decision. It is not always easy to separate a person from the work that God did through them.
    Theresa recently posted..Wrestling with My Inner Judas

  77. white says:

    How do you reach a prophet while he is in the belly of a whale?
    whitesheepdog.com

  78. Cephas says:

    Thank you. I greatly appreciated Fr. Corapi’s preaching. as I also greatly appreciated Fr. Maciel’s. It is awesome how God can lead us, despite the persons who stumble and fall. God is faithful.

  79. God is great says:

    What a wonderful post! This crystallizes random thoughts I had but couldn’t forge into shape.

  80. Thank you for this, Jen. As a person who has never heard him speak aside from his Black Sheepdog announcement video, this situation has been difficult for me to fully appreciate. But through it all I keep thinking that so many are asking the wrong questions and all the discussion about his alleged transgressions has begun to sound a lot like gossip. That is unsettling to me. He’s just a man who accepted God’s call to do His work. Eventually he apparently rejected that call. The WORK is still good and true and real. And God’s love for him is still as real and big as it is for all of us. The rest, the “details” seem, frankly, to be none of our business.

    Bless you, Jen! You are so sweet and smart :)
    dweej @ HouseUnseen recently posted..Where to start when you don’t know where to start

  81. Byzcat says:

    Wonderfully said. God be with you.

  82. Heidi says:

    Jennifer, this is beautifully written and I am glad you are able to separate the wisdom you learned from Corapi from the man. However, I do believe that spiritual advisers are different from photographers (of course, no analogy is perfect!); even the catechism says that they are to live what they preach.

    Obviously, no human being is perfect, but when there is this level of disconnect (allegedly) between what he preached and how he lived, I do understand why some “followers” (or former followers) would feel let down.

    I also have a different view about feeling confident that collected wisdom of the church is somehow directly from God, even if its human carriers are not perfect. Imagine for just a moment if every pope, priest or church leader (excluding Jesus) were sinful at the level of the allegations against Corapi. That level of problematic messengers, of course, would not make me feel very confident about the message. So, too, with Corapi, though obviously on a vastly more limited scale.

    I’m not saying his “fall” threatens my faith, because I was not brought to the faith by him. But I can see why those who were are having some difficult feelings right now. It’s a sad situation all around.

  83. Beth Ann says:

    Well said! I hope he feels the love of God during this terrible time.