Sunday, June 19, 2011

Corapi and Feel-Good Catholicism: Greater Thrill Hath No Man Than This

Deacon Greg Kandra on Corapi's announcement that he's leaving the priesthood, in Jaweed Kaleem's summary of the story at Huffington Post:

"A lot of people are shaken, especially conservatives -- they idolized him," said Deacon Greg Kandra of the Diocese of Brooklyn, who has followed developments on Corapi through on his blog, The Deacon's Bench. "He's very orthodox, extremely conservative. He has professed a great devotion to the Blessed Mother and Padre Pio. He's not one of those people who goes for feel-good Catholicism."

But he is.  Corapi is one of those people who goes for feel-good Catholicism.  His announcement of his decision to leave the priesthood is every bit as rollicking with feel-good, rebellious verve as the behavior of the liberals Corapi's followers love to bash.  It's more rebellious, by far, than the way most Catholics of the left have dealt with being silenced and disciplined by church authorities.  

Corapi has thrown down the gauntlet, and is virtually announcing that he intends to start a counter-movement within the church, an extension of his cult of personality.  And the congratulatory response of his followers, one after the other as they log into various blog sites now, demonstrates that his instinct is absolutely correct: these true-blue Catholics, than whom none is more faithful, will follow him wherever he goes.  

Right into rebellion.

The charge that only Catholics of the left pick and choose at the doctrinal or liturgical cafeteria has always been patently false.  Catholics of the right--"true" Catholics--are just as selective as anyone else, when it comes to making their cafeteria selections.  "A big helping of that anti-gay dish, please."  "And, no, none of that social teaching.  I take my dishes plain."

And no thrill or no feel-good impetus among the hyper-orthodox?  Please.  Corapi has loved the limelight, being on stage, talking about his gal the BVM in combat boots.  And the crowds drinking all this in have loved it: the thrill of bashing their liberal co-religionists.  The thrill of being superior to and better than their liberal brethren.

The thrill of being right.  Of owning what it means to be right.  Of owning what it means to be Catholic.

The good father with the dyed goatee and shaven head has just thrown a big monkey wrench into their arguments that they have cornered the market on obediential, orthodox, bishops-are-the-church Catholicism.  We'll see how quickly those arguments hold, as the Corapians now walk out of the church (whether explicitly or implicitly) with their powerful charismatic cult leader.

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