Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Unravelling

When Fr. Corapi was first suspended, I didn't want to say anything. At the time I was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt; he's had crazy accusers before, and some information indicated this woman was mentally unstable. And, I'll admit, being on guard against my own schadenfreude. My own agenda regarding the sort of neoconservative authoritarian clericalism that he represents (and which characterizes so much of the institutional church these days) had me smelling blood with Corapi, who would be another high profile scandal like Euteneuer or Cutié, and I didn't want to unjustly jump to conclusions based on my own biases and hastiness like that.

However, things have taken a bizarre turn now in a way where it no longer really matters whether Corapi is guilty of this particular crime or not. He's release a bizarre video that Mark Shea himself is calling a "world record" for "most passive-aggressive manipulative self-aggrandizement ever squeezed into 8 and a half minutes." He's leaving the priesthood, calling the whole system unfair, and expecting his followers to continue financially supporting him as something called "The Black SheepDog." This going rogue is possibly the strangest and most pathetic thing I've ever heard and, trust me, I've dealt a lot with strange and pathetic attempts at self-justification over the past year.

We should pray for him and some of his almost cultish followers, of course, and maybe he's had a mental breakdown or something under the weight of false accusations or the investigation dragging on and on. But the way he paints himself as the victim (the church was still supporting him, for crying out loud, he just wasn't being allowed to preach publicly for a few months) and is abandoning everything so quickly is very strange.

There was stuff going on behind the scenes, of course, some of which might emerge, others of which we might never know. Corapi did seem to be something of a lone wolf, and I could imagine him having a tense relationship with peers and superiors (for all his talk of humility and obedience...) Still, combined with the way he's still pushing himself as a figure to "follow" and to buy his products...well, either the accusation was sticking, or he's some sort of megalomaniac. Or both. All very sad.

And all more evidence that these sorts of clerical cults of personality and the whole authority fetish are really quite the sham. There is something profoundly sickly about the Catholic clergy and hierarchy right now, and this is just another high profile case, albeit one of the biggest fish so far, I'd think. The crazy trads are likely to say it's because he wasn't a trad, the neocons are likely to blame it on Satan attacking him so hard because of all the good he was doing. Neither are likely to see it as more evidence for the need to drastically change the psycho-sociological make-up and structure of the clergy. Their status quo preservationism is, I think, far too deeply engrained for that.

6 comments:

Mark of the Vineyard said...

What the...?!

Mark of the Vineyard said...

I just watched the video. Sounds like a marketing act. Weird. Not that I ever followed him, but I'd sometimes come across his videos on the internet and liked his style. He seemed firm and orthodox. I guess this just goes to show you you never really know anyone.

Blindnessisnotavirtue said...

The signs were there years ago:

http://www.garabandal.org/News/Father_Corapi.shtml

Perhaps every CCD and RCIA program should include a "How not to get bamboozled----or worse, abused---by a classic narcissist and conman in the Catholic Church"

God knows I could have used it before the Maciel scandal broke. I learned the lesson the hard way.

Michael said...

He indeed may have been hurt by the Church hierarchy, but why the melodrama? It's very unprofessional and it does not seem like he even sought help from someone to deal with his situation. It kinda sounds like he got back on drugs or is drunk.

Either way, prayers are needed. For him, and the Church, which is full of this sort of showmanship.

Anonymous said...

I am utterly convinced that a return to a simple and willing cooperation in the sacraments, and especially the Mass, will guide us in the proper conduct of life.

Neither the liturgist hermeneutic of "active participation" or the NLM fetish for bling vestments and bombastic solemn Masses will lead us anywhere but to our own desires. Likewise, EWTN turgidity cannot create a morally self-righteous caste to rule over the reprobate. It's time we simply basked in the presence of the Holy Sacrifice, rather than pontificate on morals or place our trust in liturgical scholarship. We can do absolutely nothing without cooperation in sacramental grace.

Time to pick up our rosaries (say them at Mass!) and trust in the Sacred Heart. Let the priestly affairs and abuses, charlatan priests, and theater buffs float away as mere distractions. It's time for a new pietism.

Anonymous said...

i wonder if some of these cults of clerical personality arise because people mistake the alter Christus for the real thing? This could also explain secular cults of personality too if you think about it.