We traditional bloggers, YouTube-ers and speakers need to have great caution about becoming famous and earning money from our apostolate. Recently we have we have been hearing a good deal about the large salaries of Neo Cat. apologetic speakers. A little while ago I clicked on a headline of one of these speakers and was greeted with a plea for money. It went like this: “The summer times are slow and the money is not coming in as usual, so could you send $$$. It greatly saddened me, because I feel that this person does not need more money and it seemed as if he was using his apostolate to get money. I strongly believe that we should not be making money from converting people and saving souls.
Again a few days ago, a man told me he watches EWTN and enjoys it, but he added: “They sure do ask a lot for money“. Yes they need money to run the TV station. But do they really need to ask so much. If you watch protestant and non-denominational TV you will see the same thing. Send money. Send money. I remember the fall of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Bakker.
Similar to most of you, I would listen to Fr. John Corapi on Catholic Radio. I especially like that he told it like it was and spoke on the Spiritual Battle with the Devil. But I knew ahead of time there were going to be problems for him. At the end of every talk always came the pitch to get a CD from Santa Cruz communications. I also knew he received large amounts of money for his public speaking engagements. I also remember him talking about winning the million dollar settlement from the doctor who was going to do un-nessessary heart surgery on him. All this caused a red flag to go up. God and money are a dangerous combination. It can work out, but it has its big dangers.
A mens group in my parish sponsored him to come to Modesto California. I was the Master of Ceremony at the event. With his speaking fee, flight and hotel arrangements, (plus paying for the cost for his bodyguard), the event cost $10,000. At that time I had the opportunity to meet with him and listen to him. The Sisters of the Cross (Hermanas de la Cruz) had him over to their convent next door for lunch. Interestingly he told them how he had studied the “spirituality of the cross” by Conchita Cabrera de Armida for his Doctorate. It was soon after this that he would only speak once in a while at huge auditoriums. Big bucks.
Why am I bringing this up? Not to get down on Fr. John Corapi, but to tell all of us involved in the Catholic world of preaching the Gospel, to watch out for fame and money. It makes me upset that when you invite a Neo Cat speaker, (and most of the apologetic writers and speakers) to come to a parish, you have to pay a very large speaking fee to them. They also sell their books and CD’s and DVD’s. I just can not see Jesus having a fee to come and preach the Gospel.
I have no problem with taking up a collection at the end of the talk or mission. But what has happened is that we have produced a Catholic job market of ex-protestant speakers and other Catholics who make a lot of money talking on TV and Radio programs and going around to parishes. We need these speakers, but they should be doing it for free like Jesus. Yes, St. Paul said that the worker deserves his keep, but St. Paul also went around working with his own hands as a tent maker so that he would not be a burden to anyone to whom he brought the Gospel.
And then, sad to say, very few of these famous speakers are in favor of the traditional Catholic Mass or questioning of “new doctrines” or what you might call “the evolution of Catholic doctrine”. They will not criticize Vatican II or bring up the problems that it has caused in the Church. One of the reasons is that they are mostly new Catholics whom never experienced how great the Catholic Faith was before. And if you are too critical you will probably not get the paid engagement or get permission to come speak.
The other very very serious danger is that of fame and pride. How many other great and famous Catholic personalities have fallen from grace recently? It is of great concern when this happens. How many great Catholics and non-Catholics were scandalized by the fall from grace of Fr. Corapi? I was in the Philippines working with the poor some years ago. Fr Corapi was the favorite of so many I talked to there. He was helping millions become better christians. But when we become famous and rich, watch out. The devil hates the saving of souls and will literally do anything he can to make us fall.
We have the saints, who were great preachers, as our examples. St. Paul states it very well: “But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself would become a castaway”. 1 Cor. 9: 27. We see St. Francis and St. Anthony preaching in complete humility and poverty. I would think that the majority of great preachers where humble and poor.
Yes we all need money to do God’s work. But I know we should not be charging for Holy Preaching. When Jesus sent out the 12 Apostles he told them “And going, preach, saying the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely have your received, freely give.” Matt. 10: 7-8.
We need to do what God is asking us to do. And for sure he wants us spreading His Gospel and restoring His Church. But let us have faith that He will provide the way to do it with out charging for it. It is so good to be a traditional Catholic. May many of you work in the vineyard of God for Jesus freely.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.