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Archive for June 18th, 2011

Defenders of John Corapi, and they are legion, often note the many conversions he has effected by his preaching as proof of his virtue:  “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.  A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

But the same was said when the allegations against Fr Maciel were first whispered. Note that I am not equating John Corapi with Fr Maciel, whose sins and crimes greatly overshadow whatever Mr Corapi has been accused of. I am merely pointing out that a successful apostolate does necessarily prove anything about moral character. Few people who quote Christ to this effect bother to quote what He said immediately after:  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ ’’

Prophesying, exorcism and “mighty works” all are “good fruit”, but in this instance the doers of such wondrous deeds perish.

In fact, Our Lord is a total opportunist; He will use any tool to save souls. If He did not the gospel never would have left Jerusalem, for every one of us is flawed. But let us be clear: when anyone is converted or healed or freed from demons it is not the “fruit” of the preacher, healer or exorcist. It is the fruit of the Spirit. The message of Christ and His grace have an intrinsic power, regardless of the sinfulness of the bearer of that message and that grace. 

This is not to judge John Corapi; we really do not know anything except what he has revealed, and that is hardly disinterested. Maybe in time we will be able to piece the truth together, maybe not. At this point those in charge of the investigation have been silent.  Indeed, Mr Corapi has consistently jumped the gun during this whole sad affair. The charges against him only became public knowledge because then- Father Corapi chose to make them known. He could have just taken a sabbatical, as he had done in the past, and then resumed his ministry if he had been cleared or protested his innocence if he had not.

And he could have, instead of issuing his strange video missive, waited until his (former) religious community and the bishop investigating the matter had released statements. It is hard not to see this pattern as a preemptive maneuver,  an attempt to spin the story ahead of those in authority over him.

So instead he bizarrely emerges as Super Black Wonder Dog, or whatever, ready to take on the forces of darkness.

One doesn’t have to be a prophet to foresee that this is going to sow strife and division in the Body of Christ. How Mr Corapi thinks this antic is going to serve the Church he professes to love is beyond me.

John Corapi says he is a sheep dog. Right now he looks more like a lone wolf.

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Today is All Saints Day in the Byzantine churches, and Trinity Sunday in the West. So I am going to honor the Trinity, but with an ancient Russian icon and Slavonic chant…

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