Friday, June 17, 2011

Corapi Issues Annoucement, Plans to Leave Priestly Ministry

A reader, JKM, has just posted a comment in response to my recent posting noting that Deacon Greg Kandra had updated the Father John Corapi story.  I'm very grateful for JKM's update.

As this reader notes, Father Corapi has now made the announcement he promised recently to make on the 20th anniversary of his priesthood.  He has done so through a posting on a new blog he evidently started for this purpose--BlackSheepDog.  That announcement is here.

Corapi has also placed a video on YouTube in which he reads the announcement that appears at his blog.  The video is here.

JKM finds the blog announcement and YouTube video creepy.  I have to agree.  At one level, I feel for Corapi.  I just do.

But on the other hand, I find find the video, in particular, extremely troubling.  As I listen to it, I can't avoid feeling as though I'm listening to some strange, disembodied Voice Behind the Screen, which imagines it has overweening power but never shows its face.  A not very compelling Voice.  Not made any more compelling by the graphic on the screen throughout the monologue--staring eyes of a black sheep dog. 

And I wonder, as I listen. just how American Catholicism has leveraged itself into a position in which such a strange, disembodied Voice seems all-important to so many Catholics across the U.S.  So that their identity as Catholics seems to hinge on loyalty to a personality cult that has some, well, downright creepy elements.

And then there's the unappetizing fact that the blog posting is accompanied by an announcement of a sale for Corapi stuff, a sale commemorating his ordination!

I have to think more about this unexpected twist in the Corapi plot.  He announces in these two pieces, by the way, that he intends to leave the priesthood.  I wonder what that's all about, and what effect it's going to have on the cadre of true believers for whom Corapi is the Catholic church.  

When the central figure of a personality cult proves, as s/he inevitably does, to have clay feet, the consequences can be devastating for those who have built their worldviews, sense of security, and even self-image around the clay-footed human being.  I feel not only for Corapi, but for those who have followed him so absolutely.

And perhaps so blindly, in far too many cases.

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