Skip to comments.Father John Corapi: From Addict To Evangelist
Posted on 01/03/2002 3:30:10 PM PST by Lady In Blue
From Addict To Evangelist
I would go down Rodeo Drive in my new red Ferrari and people would turn their heads and say, 'That must be somebody.' My 2,000-square-foot bedroom was larger than most people's house.
|by Eric Retzlaff (Our Sunday Visitor)
ohn Corapi learned to love truth the hardway--by embracing falsehood.
Despite a 1950s Catholic elementary education, he swallowed a popular lie that could have killed him, and nearly did.
"At 14 or 15, I began to think I was the definitive interpreter of what was real," he told Our Sunday Visitor recently. "It was the attitude that you don't accept any authority outside yourself, so every individual becomes God."
Now a nationally known priest-preacher, he never tires of recalling for his audiences where that attitude led him.
All through his younger years he yearned "to be somebody," to stand out, to be noticed and admired. He got his wish, and more.
His quest led him to California during the real estate boom of the 1970s. In a few years, he became a millionaire.If "success is measured in dollars and cents," as he believed then, he had achieved "the American Dream."
"I was eating and drinking with the wealthy," said the small-town native. "I fell into fast-lane living, with fast women."
"I would go down Rodeo Drive in my new red Ferrari and people would turn their heads and say, 'That must be somebody.' My 2,000-square-foot bedroom was larger than most people's houses.
"But I was out of touch with reality. Reality is God."
How out of touch he was became apparent when an attractive young entertainer at a party introduced him to what she called her "best friend" --cocaine.
His American Dream disappeared literally up his nose as cocaine became a $10,000-a-week habit. Physically and psychologically devastated, he landed in a hospital, and for months, he said, "I didn't eat, speak or function normally. I was sick at heart because I had made it and lost it."
"I saw no way out, only absolute darkness. The only thing I wanted was death.
"I begged God to help me, but nothing happened, because I wasn't ready to give up sin," he said. The darkness lasted for three years.
After a failed comeback in real estate, he returned to his home in Hudson, N.Y. In his desperation, he began to pray the Rosary, and he turned his heart to God:
"I cried out to God, 'If you are real, and I don't know if you are, you need to rescue me now.'"
Then something happened. "I cried tears of very real repentance," said Father Corapi, who is now director of faith formation in the Diocese of Sacramento, Calif. "I fell into a deep peace, and my first real sleep in years."
Later, he made his first confession in nearly 20 years. "It seemed like the moral weight of the universe had come off me," said Father Corapi, who immediately began to feel called to the priesthood.
After a period of discernment, he was accepted into the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (S.O.L.T.). He was ordained a priest by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica and earned advanced degrees in Scripture and theology.
The society's founder, Father James Flanagan, felt Father Corapi was called by God to "apostolic preaching," a preaching that goes beyond evangelism to present the full doctrine of the faith.
Father Corapi sees the Blessed Mother's intercession behind his conversion and subsequent priestly work. And, today, his preaching is permeated with an urgency and intensity born of the agony he experienced and the grace he found.
"I am a no-nonsense preacher, straight to the point - it is a matter of life and death," he said. "I don't want people to go through what I went through."
"I know the slavery of sin and the liberation of grace. The truth will make you free. It's not love to allow your neighbor to skip and dance his way to perdition: misery in this life and the next."
"The damage of society's lies is everywhere apparent," he said. "I've seen 12 year-old runaways who became prostitutes and addicts, dead in garbage cans. That's what the devil wants --our kids abused and dead in garbage cans."
For Father Corapi, the way to true human liberation is clear "God sent His Son to reveal His desires to us," he said. "The one only authentic authoritative interpreter revelation is the Church. I learned the hard way that mother, the Church, is smarter than me."
Father Corapi refuses to water down the message suit Catholics who have developed what he calls "a worldly, permissive spirit" odds with Catholic doctrine and morality.
"When they're up to their neck in quicksand, should I put them in concrete?" he asked.
From 1993 until his 1995 appointment to the Sacramento diocese, he worked as an itinerant preacher in the United States and Central America. The three pillars of his preaching are the Eucharist, devotion to Mary and "uncompromising fidelity to the Holy Father and the magisterium."
And he believes his preaching gets results: "In every place I've preached, there's been overwhelming response --conversions take place. If you're honest, and you speak from the heart, people will respond to what you're saying. The full churches are the proof. People are hungering for the truth."
Typically, Father Corapi may spend between eight and 18 hours in the confessional after preaching.
People away from confession for decades are finding peace, he said. "My testimony is a powerful weapon. People aren't afraid of me. I don't have the ability to look down on anyone because of their sins."
Father Corapi estimates that 50,000 to 100,000 copies of his taped testimony have been disseminated, not to mention thousands of his other tapes. At one three-day mission in Santa Clara, Calif., alone, 2,000 tapes were sold.
He admits, however, that public speaking never has come naturally to him, and he would prefer a quiet, cloistered prayer life to preaching ("I'm a hermit at heart").
Describing himself as "a brutally shy" child, Father Corapi said, "I used to shiver in my seat, afraid the teacher would call on me." He said he's still "sick with nervousness" before he begins preaching.
Since his seminary days, Father Corapi also has been plagued by what he called "vicious migraine headaches," despite medical attention and prayers for healing.
These sometimes become so severe that he is forced to miss work, but "99 percent of the time" they do not occur during his preaching, said his religious order's administrative director, David Leatherby, who sees the headaches as "a cross" the priest is bearing.
These days, Father Corapi has been sticking closer to his home base in Sacramento, where his charge is to reach out with the fullness of the faith to 500,000 Catholics in a diocese that takes seven hours to cross by car --a mission, he admits, that is daunting.
The centerpiece of this catechesis is the preaching of a yearlong series titled "The Teaching of Jesus," based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Based on previous turnouts for Father Corapi's talks, the diocese reserved the largest space it had for the series, which were scheduled to start in January.
Where does he get the daily strength and energy he needs for his evangelistic mission? Referring to a view expressed by the renowned preacher, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Father Corapi replied simply, "Eucharistic prayer that's where the power comes from."
For more information on Father Corapi's ministry, contact him at P.O. Box 254848, Sacramento, CA 95865- 4848
"Father" John Anthony Corapi
Most anyone visiting this web site is somewhat familiar with John Corapi's story, so briefly,
You get the idea. All the world's success before he was even in his mid-30s. And then, God love him (literally), the bottom dropped out. Addiction
And yet more......
(See below August 2007 letter from Don Bendell)
|The Reproach of Egypt
(Homily for Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year C)
Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you. Joshua 5:9
During our Lenten retreat Fr. John Corapi told about times he was spat upon. About thirty-five years ago he returned from Vietnam wearing his Green Beret uniform. An anti-war protestor saw him and spit on him. More recently, at the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal, Fr. Corapi was in an airport. Recognizing him as a priest, someone came up and spit at him...
He has, in fact, been listed on the SOLT web site, although I did not find a direct link from the homepage, and his biography there calls him a "Green Beret soldier."
He was ordained in 1991.
He was injured playing high school football:
The recent book, _Coronary_ by Stephen Klaidman, talks a lot about Fr. Corapi and his own version of his life story:
Dear Father John Corapi, S.O.L.T. ..... (or should I call you Roger W. Garvey or Rodger W. Garvey, your other aliases);
Here is just one internet example from hundreds of your biography:
Father John was born on May 20, 1947 in Hudson, New York and early in life exhibited a prowess for the good life, excelling as a gridiron star in high school, attaining a blackbelt in Karate and getting his degree in Business Administration from Pace University in Pleasantville, New York. He had it all. The Vietnam conflict was looming and so he joined the military becoming a member of the prestigious Green Berets. After discharge from the service he went to work as a CPA which eventually took him to " Sin City " - Las Vegas where he became a casino auditor and fell in with the jet set. This translated into an opportunity to plunge into real estate which made him a millionaire with all the wealth of the rich and famous as he accrued it all - from a yacht to a Ferrari to a scenic home overlooking the Pacific. As so often happens to those who seek the world, the flesh and the devil - they find it and Father John found his hellhole in Los Angeles where he became addicted to cocaine, losing everything and wandering aimlessly as a homeless person in downtown LA.
In the New Testament, we are warned that God is especially tough on anybody who teaches, so with that in mind, my question is simple: What is the bursting radius of a lightning bolt? The reason I mention this is because I am a REAL former Green Beret (US Army Special Forces) Vietnam veteran and have two sons who are REAL Green Beret sergeants, and I speak for thousands of REAL Green Berets, who cannot stand phony, wannabe, lying, fakes claiming they are former Green Berets and Vietnam veterans, especially in the name of God. I mention this since your army records, which I have, state that you were a leg clerk-typist guarding your typewriter and desk at wild places like Ft Knox, KY and Ft Dix, NJ and a brief stint to Europe (as a private). Incidentally, I just two days ago celebrated my 41st Anniversary in the martial arts and have been featured in BLACK BELT magazine, so I also wondered what style did you receive your Black Belt in and what rank are you?
How dare you claim to be a Green Beret and Vietnam veteran, when you did NOT even attend Jump School , let alone ever take ANY Special Forces training whatsoever? You did Basic, AIT, and then became a Chairborne Ranger the balance of your army stint and never went near Vietnam . My sons, many SF friends, and I worked our individual asses off to earn our Green Berets. That is why it is now a crime to claim to be Special Forces when you were not, under the Stolen Valor Law. By the way, many of those former Green Berets and the FBI have been BCCed on this as well as some in the news media, so they can investigate you.
According to the numbers provided in many of your bios and interviews all over the web, you look like you have made millions of dollars selling personal appearances, tapes, DVDs and books like a modern day Catholic wannabe Billy Graham, except Billy simply evangelized without all the marketing or commercial website. You did so by stealing the valor of others to make your story more colorful, and you can pay heavy fines and prison time for that. In fact, in your bio (again just one example of many) above it states: You received a business degree at Pace University in Pleasantville , NY and your black belt, and then the war was looming so you joined the Army and SF. The problem is, your military records indicated you entered the service on April 19, 1967 in Hudson , NY and ETSed (exited) on January 19, 1970, and you had no bachelors degree then. In fact, like me, you were barely out of high school, since you and I both were born in 1947.
In your curriculum vitae, you claim to be a deacon and also a priest ordained by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, of Robstown, TX. S.O.L.T. nowhere on their website under priests, hermits, ministries, or anywhere are you mentioned, although they have a list displayed of all their priests in America and overseas with bios. I will let the Catholic Church address that issue with you. Less than 3 out of every 100 who try actually earn a Green Beret, and it means a lot to each of us, and we will not stand for anybody to pose as one of us, especially for personal and financial gain.
I am not Catholic, but I am a Christian, and I will make one major guess: In the verbiage of Special Forces, besides the media, and the FBI, and others, I personally believe that God is really going to kick your unholy ass.
Lets review: You and I were born in 1947, which generally means high school graduation in 1965 or 1966. You claim you were a football star and claim before the looming war, you achieved a baccalaureate degree as well as a black belt (which generally takes four years at legit karate schools), yet you entered the army on April, 1967, without having a degree. How did you manage that? How did you manage to be a football star with all the practices, and also get a black belt at the same time? You had to be at least a buck sergeant in those days, as well as airborne to even qualify to try to earn a Green Beret. You also had to enlist for extra time if you went SF, and you only had a total of 2 and a half years in the army, with an MOS, or job titles as stenographer, clerk/typist, and personnel specialist. You never attended any infantry or combat arms training whatsoever. You never earned jump wings. You never spent one day at Fort Bragg , North Carolina , which is where you had to go to earn a Green Beret. For awards you received an army commendation medal, national defense medal (which are given for breathing), and a marksman badge from basic training, so you could net even shoot straight (a prediction of your future memoirs apparently), and that is it. The only overseas duty you ever saw was behind a typewriter in Europe . So tell me, Father Corapi, how did you become Rambo for all these years and all those millions?
From your website: The essence of Father's message is the essential message of Jesus Christ. It is Good News: a message of TRUTH and goodness, love and mercy. Guess what just bit you in the ass? TRUTH . In several of your missives, it states that after speaking to large groups you spend hours in the Confessional. Good idea. I would start pouring my heart out.
Do you remember about Jesus turning over the tables of the money-changers in the Temple ? I would not want to be you in the months ahead. In fact, I would rather have a millstone tied around my neck and be tossed into the center of the lake. By the way, you owe a public apology to all the men, past and present, of the US Army Special Forces. There have been other fakes who did not heed my words when I told them that, but always ended up apologizing. Maybe the Catholic church will let you get away with claiming to be a member of exalted societies or elite organizations, but trust me, that aint happening with the US Army Special Forces.
Finally, as a Christian, I am sickened by the phonies, hypocrites, fakes, and money-grubbers who use the name of God and my personal Savior Jesus Christ to further their personal agendas, line their pockets, aggrandize their egos, and try to exalt themselves. It is very unwise, actually very stupid, to piss off guys with backgrounds like mine, but I honestly do not believe in this case, however, I need to do a thing but simply just sit back and watch. Read Romans 19: Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. You will be hearing from others, soon, trust me.
De Oppresso Liber,
From: "Don Bendell" <email@example.com>
Dear Father Corapi;
We see that you have finally corrected the lies in your bio and now correctly-list yourself as a Vietnam-era veteran and also took out the BS about being a Green Beret. You even removed the line about being a Black Belt. There, Father, now doesnt that feel better? It is called telling the truth, displaying integrity, and simple honesty, which would not have occurred if you did not realize you had been caught. I cannot believe you have the gall to claim to be a servant of God and are now simply covering your tracks. You have entered the confessional and admitted a sin, because it was brought to light, and you realized your fraud could land you in prison under the Stolen Valor Act. That is not the same as praying a number of Hail Marys and paying penance. Now, you owe a public apology to all the men past and present of the US Army Special Forces for making money for years falsely posing as one of us, let alone posing as Vietnam veteran, when you were, in-fact, a clerk-typist in Europe, period. We can do this one of two ways and the choice is yours: the hard way or the easy way. We can expose your lies and deceit internationally and very publicly, or you can act like a real man of God and practice what you preach. Either way, you are going to apologize to all of us. As far as using falsehoods to sell the materials of spreading the Good News, well that you will have to settle directly with God. My concern is you and every other phony wannabe combat trained-killer stealing the valor of our nations real heroes, the true men of honor and pulling the wool over the eyes of staunch supporters of yours, like James Gorski of Missouri who has written me several times. A real man of God walks the walk. ANYBODY can talk the talk.
You send the apology to me directly and I will see that it gets spread to all real (Special Forces) Green Berets within our own network of communication. We are a small tight-knit community, and even without seeing someones DD-214, we know who was or was not part of our brotherhood, but we have your records also. Try to claim it when you did not earn it is one of the best ways I know for anybody to have a very large can of Whup-Ass opened on them, figuratively speaking, of course. If you choose not to apologize, then we will make that demand a whole lot more public.
If you wonder if we know what you are really all about, you entered the army in Hudson , NY on April 19, 1967, took Basic at Ft Jackson, SC, then AIT at Ft McClellan, AL and then more AIT at Ft Knox, KY. Then you served in Germany as a Clerk-Typist until January, 1969 and became a Stenographer until September 11, 1969 when your MOS was changed to Admin Specialist until you left the Army as a SP5 on January 19, 1970, ETSing at Ft Dix, NJ, where ironically I used to be an MP and guard in Maximum Security at the Fort Dix, Stockade before I went to Infantry OCS. For awards and decorations, you received the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Marksman Badge in Basic and AIT. In other words, you were awarded for Breathing. That is it. You did not even attend Jump School , let alone even one day of training to earn a Green Beret or any type of combat arms training. You should have simply been proud of your service to our nation, as ALL jobs in the US military are honorable, decent, necessary, and important, but you wanted to not only be all that you can be, but all that others had been when you did not earn the right or even come close to.
According to the Son of Man, God will be even tougher in judgment on those who teach, so what do you suppose He will have to say when you built your teaching empire on fraud and deceit, stealing the valor of men who fought and died for God and country? As I said several times previously, I would not be shocked to hear that you learned the bursting radius of a lightning bolt, but again, all that is between you and Our Lord God Almighty.
It is also up to you to apologize or not to those who have believed in you such as Mr. Gorski. That is between you and them. I do not care. You do not apologize to my SF brothers in arms, I care. As I said, we can do this the hard way or the easy way, and the choice is yours. A man should do what a man chooses to do, but understand that avoiding the issue will not make us go away.
De Oppresso Liber!
You can see EWTN! on the web here:
To: Don Bendell
First of all, thank you for your incredible sacrificial service to our great nation! God Bless You! Truly, thank you.
Second, I have been following Fr. Corapi for years and have personally never heard him say he was a Green Beret (Special Forces), only that he had begun training toward that end. I also understand that the biographies written about him are not written BY him, and many zealous (though, likely, well-meaning) fans embellish, or more likely just misrepresent his story in their enthusiasm (being charitable here). Maybe I’m wrong - happens a lot. Maybe you’re anti-Catholic. If you are, doesn’t change that you’re a hero to me and all patriotic americans for your military service.
God willing, I judge a tree by its fruits, and since I’ve never heard Fr. Corapi say these things of which you accuse him, as well as the greatest of all fruits: SO MANY SOULS RETURNING TO CHRIST because of his ministry - I have great confidence in his integrity.
I pray that before you continue to malign him you return to prayer about GOD’s will in regards to this matter.
Thank you for uncovering Fr. Corapi’s lies about his military service. Shame on him.
Do you or anyone on Free Republic have an update on his sex harassment case?