|The Black SheepDog: Is it me or is this image odd?|
About two months ago I found out the troubling news that Fr. Corapi was placed on administrative leave following allegations made by a former staff member. The allegations were serious; they alleged that Corapi made sexual advances towards this person. It is important to note that legally Fr. Corapi was never criminally charged. However, ecclesiastically if these charges were true they were very serious. I, like many of his admirers thought this would all pass in its due course and that he would return once again. I held on this to this hope until yesterday when I learned that he left the priesthood and formed his own ministry titled, The Black SheepDog.
I found this troubling on so many levels. Why was he doing this? Why did he form The Black Sheepdog which is such a bizarre title? Why did he choose not to wait it out, to trust God's timing? Could he leave the priesthood? All of these questions simply did not add up; it all seemed so strange. It looked like this man who I admired so much was not who I thought he was. This was the same man who I would affectionately impersonate, quote his one liners and watch his talks at nauseaum. Now I had to say goodbye to all of this. The grieving process had begun, to me it looked like Corapi was just another failed leader. The most painful part of all of this is that now I have to explain all of this to the sceptics in my family and friends who always doubted him in the first place.
It is important to note that Fr. Corapi is still innocent until proven guilty. But his decision to leave the priesthood; which he so vigorously and courageously defended has left a bad taste in my mouth. It is a contradiction, many of the great saints such as St. John of The Cross and St. Padre Pio were persecuted by their own religious orders and bishops; yet they persevered. Corapi always famously preached "there is no glory without the cross, no pain, no gain" It seemed to me that Corapi was forsaking the royal road of the cross for the temporary gain of a strangely titled new ministry.
Strangely Fr. Corapi's stepping down reinforces the greatness of our Catholic faith. How? because it shows that our faith is much greater than any one person. Our faith is centered upon Christ not on flawed humans. Just imagine if this happened to any of the mega churches out there? Can you imagine the scandal that would cause? How many splinter churches would be formed as a result of this?
This situation should serve as a cautionary tale about the dangers of a cult of personality. Our faith is never just one person, no matter how charismatic he/she might be. We must always be on the look out of falling into this trap. In the meantime I will keep praying for him and hope he comes back into the priesthood. If he does I will welcome him back with open arms. Fr. Corapi sounds so much better than the The Black SheepDog.
(Here is another great article written voicing many of my same concerns. To read article click here.)