“If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Every once in a while I get a question about Fr. John Corapi, once a highly sought and popular speaker who influenced a lot of people.  He eventually had a sort of train-wreck in his life and dropped out of sight.   Corapi comes to my mind occasionally because we were, coincidentally, ordained together.  I didn’t know him at the time.  He was just another one of the guys being ordained that day.

This upcoming 26 May will be our 30th anniversary.

When queried about Fr. Corapi, I haven’t been able to give any news, until now.   I was sent a link to a piece by Matt Abbott at RenewAmerican.com about him.  HERE

It seems that Fr. Corapi has reconciled with his religious society (SOLT) and has living as a monk, praying and doing penance.

If this is indeed the case, then good for him.  We should all be happy when a person turns around.

It amazes me that some people who profess to be Christian are so fast to thrown a repentant and converted person’s past life in their teeth.   Don’t we want, and hope for and pray for the conversion of sinners?  When they do, shouldn’t we rejoice?  We don’t have to make them our best friends all of a sudden.   We might not rouse ourselves up to be able to like them very much.  But we should at least be as gracious toward them as we would hope they would be to us were the situation reversed, had we done the harm.

For example, I would be over the moon were someone like Joe Biden publicly to denounce his evil positions about abortion.  I certainly wouldn’t continue to drub him with his past positions if he genuinely changed and made it public.   I would be ecstatic were certain Jesuits to reverse their ways.

We need to be merciful not just toward the repentant and converted, but also toward the unrepentant and even malicious who continue in their evil work.    Mind you, I do NOT mean Fr. Corapi in any way as the latter.  He has, to my knowledge, never directed any harm in my direction.  But there are those who have.

I regularly pray for my enemies, people who even now are harassing and slandering me, people who have done unjust harm.  I say Masses for them.  I genuinely want them not to die in their sins and go to Hell.  I sincerely hope they will attain the bliss of heaven.   I ask God to give them what they truly need, what is truly good for them for repentance.  Were they to apologize for the harm they’ve done I would warmly forgive them, even as I strive to forgive them now, in advance.  I take as a model, St. Thomas More who in his final letter to Henry VIII hoped: “I should once meet with your Grace again in heaven, and there be merry with you”.

“[I]f you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

A stance of unforgiving rigidity is lethal to one’s own soul.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. SanSan says:

    Amen, Amen, Amen!! Wow, when Bishops finally speak out against abortion, I’m so thankful and grateful. When Bishops let wayward catholics know that they cannot receive Jesus “and” be pro abortion — I am so thankful. YES YES conversion for every soul!

  2. iPadre says:

    I’m really happy to hear this. Fr. Corapi and I are friends from way back. I’ve tried to contact him many times but have not been able. If you are reading this my friend, you remain in my prayers. Would love to connect again!

  3. mrs wu says:

    Great counsel, Father. It is so easy for us to see others’ faults, and to overlook our own. For what it’s worth, there are Tuesday prayers for St Martha and St Mary Magdalene which include prayers for those ridiculed for their piety (I pray for many priests by name there, including those whose names begin with Z) and prayers for unrepentent sinners. Fr. C’s name has long been placed between those two categories, the Lord knows his heart and loves him much. Thanks again for being such a good shepherd to the flock.

  4. mamajen says:

    I have also been puzzled that so many Christians don’t seem to want to allow for a person to change. Isn’t any criticism we utter supposed to be constructive, hopeful that the person might change? Shouldn’t we point out the things they do right, hoping that reinforces the good? Doesn’t God forgive all things when asked?

    But no. Instead we behave as if there are “good people” and “bad people”. The internet has certainly “helped” in this regard. It’s hard to believe that people who have read the Bible, chock full of stories of redemption, can behave this way. It’s hard to comprehend that people who believe in God behave this way. Maybe in some (even many) cases a healthy dose of caution is in order, but beyond that who are we to hold anyone to his past forever? God doesn’t. This is how we end up enabling bad behavior on our own “team” while ignoring and failing to nurture potential elsewhere.

    This isn’t to say I’m perfect. Not even close. Loving my enemies is probably the hardest part of my faith and a constant theme in confession. But when I get to thinking about the reality of hell, and how easily I might end up there too, I shudder to think that anyone might have to go there because of me…even because they did me wrong. I shudder to think that others might think of me as critically as I think of them. I guess that’s when I start to understand the loving my enemies part.

    God bless Fr. Corapi and all who have found or are trying to find their way back from the brink. God bless any human who does the smallest thing right, and may it lead to greater things.

  5. Danteewoo says:

    When a sinner repents, Our Lord defeats the Devil. Do we want Our Lord to lose? Never. However bad someone may appear to be, we pray for his conversion and forgive him.

  6. Matthew says:

    What good news. I shall continue to pray for him and all priests.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    This is wonderful to read. We once listened to Fr. Corapi often on EWTN and we spiritually benefited very much from his talks. I even went once and heard him speak in person. He was very inspiring. I’d like to thank him for that.
    A satanic spirit blows through our world today. Never have I seen such venom, hatred, malice, and ill-will as flows off the lips of so many people, or off their keyboard. I think this reached fever pitch against President Trump, and the hate seems to have exploded. His past was relentlessly brought up, hypocrites like to think they are angelic but their enemies are on a fast track to hell for their mistakes. They seem to enjoy that notion. People seem to think they are headed right to paradise but oh, not YOU. I remember when you blah blah blah back in 83. They forget their own stuff but oh boy, they remember YOURS.
    Fr. Corapi, God bless you, pray for us, would you? See you on the other side I hope. You’ll know me, you blessed something I brought with me.

  8. Gaetano says:

    Many of us were praying that he would be reconciled with SOLT and live a quiet life of prayer and contrition. I am glad to hear that he embraced the graces offered to him.

    If we truly believe that God is a just judge, we should also pray fervently that all will accept His mercy.

  9. Midwest St. Michael says:

    I pray for him every day (along with many, many priests).

    He taught me so much about the Faith. Saw him in person a couple of times.

    God bless you, Fr. Corapi!

    Thanks for this, Fr. Z. :^)

  10. Irish Timothy says:

    Thank you for posting that about Fr. Corapi Fr.Z! This is good news. And further proof that we must pray for our priests.

  11. prayfatima says:

    Thanks be to God for the changes in his life. St. Augustine, pray for the conversion of all sinners!

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  13. PeterN says:

    Very happy to hear this about Fr. Corapi. I listened to him a lot around the time I was entering the Marine Corps. Got to meet him once, and asked for some advice on keeping the Faith as a grunt. It was a great disappointment when I heard about how he’d gone astray.

  14. Ms. M-S says:

    Thanks for the good news about Fr. Corapi and the valuable comments about forgiving and praying for one’s enemies. Among the very last words of Our Lord from the cross were “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Can we ignore this last teaching and think we’re saved?

  15. That is good to hear about Fr. C. I think of him, too. His videos were influential in my reversion back in the day, and I was able twice to see him speak in person.

    He used to say that the devil wanted to see him dead in a dumpster. Followed by, “pray for me and I’ll pray for you.” So I shall remember to pray more often for him.

  16. tzabiega says:

    I still love to listen to his CDs and keep using his quotes, like “some people have been educated into imbecility,” “on his merry way to hell,” and “I ain’t going to hell for anybody.” What bothers me is that when someone like Father Corapi goes the wrong way these days, all their work, publications and talks, are taken out of circulation and so now you cannot get any of his materials through Catholic stores and websites, like his excellent Catechism of the Catholic Church talks. I wonder what would have happened if the writings of Tertulian and Origen would have been taken out of circulations simply because they strayed later on in their life from the Catholic Church. I am thrilled he is back in the Church: I would love for him to come out with new material–his penance should not extend for a lifetime.

  17. WVC says:

    Glad to hear the good news about Fr. Corapi!

    While I’m always thankful when those in public scandals repent, I’m leery of placing those who are repentant on very public pedestals to be celebrated. I feel it creates dangers for those who are repentant (pride goeth before yet another fall), and it sets a bad precedent for society at large.

    The trend of honoring women who have children out of wedlock but decide to NOT murder the pre-born baby – isn’t that honoring the sin of promiscuity? Or honoring women who had an abortion but then regretted it? I’m happy for their change of heart and even their testimony against such a terrible sin so prevalent in our society, but it seems odd to publicly give honor and praise to people who participated in the murder of their own child. Or the situation with the recent conversion of Milo Yiannopoulos – wouldn’t a sincere desire to do penance and make amends be less flamboyant and reveling in the public spotlight? Although I know next to nothing about Mr. Yiannopoulos, so perhaps after his announcement he has, indeed, left the public eye.

    So, in this case, I’m very happy to hear that Fr. Corapi is living a private life of prayer. Perhaps this is a tried and true model our Church leaders can reestablish to help repentant public sinners seek holiness over fame?

  18. InFormationDiakonia says:

    I still remember his booming voice through my car speakers on my daily commutes for an hour and a half. I think I wore out the CD that was his reflection on Good Friday.

    I am happy that he has reconciled and “come home”. Going through what he went through probably has made him very humble. His conversion story comes to mind and it is as if his “reversion” story is history replaying itself in his life. May he find peace and solace in his new life.

  19. Liz says:

    And there are those of us who are very happy and edified to hear this. Woohoo! Blessed be God!

    His sermons were so good.

    Happy almost anniversary, Father. That’s exciting! Thank you for your priesthood.

  20. jflare29 says:

    It is, indeed, good to hear that Fr Corapi has been reconciled with SOLT.
    I must say though, I would’ve been more satisfied if there had been a trial. Though popular, his ministry had always been controversial. His frank appraisal that I preferred also angered others. It would’ve been g to have known if he actually committed any sin or crime; or if someone who found a “worthy” excuse to nail him. As matters occurred, we mostly had to assume him guilty, though we never learned for sure precisely how he had erred.
    Not exactly a shining example of the Church seeking to be transparent.

  21. Woody says:

    So glad to hear this, Father. I happened to meet Fr. Corapi after his ordination, in the Summer of 1991 when he said Mass at Saint Anthony’s Monastery in Maine, and his reverence and focus on Our Lord were so impressive that I had to say hello and a few words of encouragement afterwards. He told me that he was a member of SOLT, which I had not even heard of at that time so that is another reason that I recall the event.

  22. hwriggles4 says:

    Tzabiega – I remember that Catechism study. Our Young Adult group c.2000 met Sunday evening and we watched this study based on the CCC. I learned more from that then from attending CCD classes from 7th-9th grade in the early 1980s.

    I still have a talk on tape that Fr. Corapi gave on L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P in 2006 at EWTN 25. It was broadcast from his residence in Montana.

    I also recall Fr. Corapi exposed a medical fraud case. I also remember him discussing his experiences early in his priesthood where he would be invited to speak and sometimes attendees were shocked when they figured out what side of the fence he was on.

    I did go to San Antonio in 2010 with some friends to hear him give a mission at the AT&T Center. The stadium was well attended, tickets were expensive,
    and Fr. Corapi seemed like he was recycling his discussions. However, it would be nice to hear his wisdom again.

    One line I remember, “In the end, you and I will be in Heaven or Hell. Period.”

  23. tzabiega says:

    hwriggles4–I think there is no doubt Father Corapi did something wrong, even if the details are uncertain, precisely because in the last few years he was speaking something changed about him: his speaking engagements were less common, more expensive, and Fr. Corapi himself looked like he wore a lot of makeup. This is what you must have experienced in San Antonio. I remember listening to one of his new CDs at the time and I told my wife right away: “there is something wrong with Father Corapi.” Though he often used gun examples in his talks, in this talk he ranted on for over half an hour about the 2nd Amendment and talked almost not at all about God and the Catholic Church. It would have been a fine conservative political speech, but a lousy talk for a Catholic priest preaching a mission. So something did go wrong with Father Corapi and it was obvious. I think the fault lies with SOLT letting him live in Montana by himself making a lot of money off of his CDs and DVDs. The devil got him there. But SOLT should publicly announce his reconciliation with the Church, only if in a brief press release. That would be the right thing to do and a proper way of revealing Father Corapi’s reconciliation with the Church and God’s great mercy that the good old Father Corapi so aptly preached about. Why keep it secret?

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