Category Archives: Fr Corapi
Many of you will remember the controversies surrounding the suspension of Fr (?) Corapi, his controversial decision to leve his order, his even more questionable decision to create that disquieting “black sheep dog” site and, most of all, his publicly announced decision to leave the priesthood.
Many will remember the fears expressed form several sides, that this new ex-Fr Corapi would be able to establish his own “cult” and cause many people to leave their Catholic faith. I always thought this was an unrealistic fear, but I must say the following months have given me right more than I expected.
The number of followers of the new, ex-Fr Corapi on facebook was immediately decimated. The disquieting internet site never went beyond the usual accusations and recriminations, and some blog post about politico-social-religious matters. Starting from around September – say, two months after the mess – the site was de facto paralysed. In January, it was closed.
Several are the hypotheses made to account for this. The man might be complying with requests made by ecclesiastical authorities as condition to allowing him to be defrocked; or he might be discussing the possibility of coming back to his old order, or to enter a new one; or he might have already done so, though in this case I can’t imagine the fact would have been kept secret – unless, of course, because waiting for a sort of “probationary period” to be concluded. He might also have had a moment of lucidity followed by the clear conscience of how he was ruining himself, and have decided to simply shut up for the time being.
Be it as it may, one thing is self-evident: once severed from his priestly office, Corapi the man lost most of his followers, and I think we must pray for those whom he didn’t.
As I have already written in the past, the meltdown of the black sheep dog pantomime actually shows what a solid work Corapi had performed whilst a Catholic priest: the many he converted were converted to the true Church, not to a personality cult. When he detached himself from the Only Church to which he had been attracting thousands, they immediately applied the lessons learned from him and promptly ditched him. Catholicism is not about this or that person, but about Truth. People know it, and act accordingly.
We do not know what is happening around – and inside of – Fr (?) Corapi. I hope one day his good works – the many thousands he converted and the other thousands he greatly helped to rediscover authentic Catholicism – will help him in the day he will have – as we all – to give a complete account.
Father Corapi has released a reply to the SOLT’s press release of some days ago.
On that occasion, I wrote:
SOLT must be aware that they are now exposing themselves to be sued for libel for a huge amount of money if the information they have given proves grossly incorrect. As we can reasonably exclude this case, the only reasonable assumption now is that what was stated by Father Corapi’s order corresponds to the truth.
For this reason, I do not see it fit to waste your time and mine by repeating Father Corapi’s (repeatedly stated) arguments. I’d be extremely happy to report one day that he was right and SOLT was wrong concerning his sexual misconduct, but I won’t hold my breath.
I will also not examine the facts about the alleged violation of his promise of poverty again. As I have written already, the SOLT’s position on this seems to me to be rather disingenuous.
What I would like to point out to, is that even in this situation, it turns out that Father Corapi did a very good job.
Many of his followers are people who had completely lost the faith, or had never been Catholic before. From their messages on Father Corapi’s new website it is very easy to see how many lives this man changed*. At the same time, what transpires from the vast majority of messages is their love for the Church and their absolute orthodoxy. There are, of course, people who continue to cling to him in a way that lets one be afraid that they had converted to him rather than to true Catholicism; but the amount of well-meaning, totally orthodox messages is, considering the nature of the forum, rather impressive.
What striked me the most is the fact that many of those messages do not focus on the matter of Father Corapi’s innocence or guilt; but rather, on the fact that by leaving his priesthood he causes to himself a damage bigger than any wrongdoing could have caused, and on the value and meaning of obedience in an ordained man.
The absurdity of the current situation is that Father Corapi has put himself in a position where he would be found guilty of very grave conduct (leaving the priesthood) even if he were to be found innocent with regard to all accusations. Guilty at the point that I would personally not hesitate in considering his leaving the priesthood, in himself, graver than every one of the accusations moved to him; one who has failed to behave as he should (in the end everyone of us does it to an extent; every day!) can repent and start again; but one who throws away his clerical robes is like the one burning the confessional because he is angry at the confessor.
Yet, this man now so severely tempted has put his followers in a position to resist the temptation of clinging to their idol at the expense of their loyalty to the Church; he has made* (as it seems to me) the vast majority of them immune from the lure of “black sheep dogs”; he has given them the instruments to see the truth in the midst of life’s troubles. Satan may be attacking him with great force now, but he has made so many people much more resistant to his attacks.
As to the matter, we must now wait and see whether Father Corapi uses some of the cards which, if innocent, he has at his disposal after his planned leaving of the order, like for example:
a) suing the SOLT for libel; this would trigger a trial in front of a civil court and force the order to release the evidence, thus allowing him to refute it.
b) provide a trustworthy, third-party medical certification of his not taking drugs in the last several months, which is easy and rather cheap to do (ask every professional athlete).
Please do not cease praying for this good soul in trouble.
* I use here the current way of speaking, as in “St John Vianney converted many souls”.
At this point, I do not think that there is much to be quarrelled about.
I invite everyone reading this to first stop a minute and say a Hail Mary – or three – for a man who has done so much for so many and who, as one so dangerous for the Enemy, has been attacked with an energy commensurate to the good he has done. During my dinner I stopped shortly to pray for the poor chap, and couldn’t avoid wondering whether I would be able to resist such an attack. A shiver went down my spine. Miserere mei, Domine.
I hate using words like “do not judge” as I find that in modern times they are mainly used to condone or encourage scandal. I cannot – much as I always liked Father Corapi – close my eyes in front of the scandal, and the shame, and the damage for Catholicism. This is very bad, and will be remembered in decades to come. The only way for us is to resolve to pray more, and to pray better; to show the devil that his plan will not work; to pray for Father Corapi, and for all priests, who are predestined targets.
On the matter itself:
1. SOLT must be aware that they are now exposing themselves to be sued for libel for a huge amount of money if the information they have given proves grossly incorrect. As we can reasonably exclude this case, the only reasonable assumption now is that what was stated by Father Corapi’s order corresponds to the truth.
2. It is surprising – to say the least – that a priest can have lived together with what would appear to be his concubine, and abusing of alcohol and drugs, without his own religious order having any sensible control mechanism in place; something like unannounced visits, inspections, perhaps even blood tests, and the like. Without knowing much of the rules of the order, I’d dare to think that his superiors were and are responsible for his spiritual welfare, and that the past history of Father Corapi would have justified – the more so, because of his privileged but isolated position – precautionary measures “under obedience”. It is rather easy and relatively inexpensive to see whether someone takes drugs; it isn’t so difficult to make unannounced visits to see whether everything is all right; it is reasonable to expect that spiritual care is given. I might be biased here because I liked the man, but I think that this doesn’t reflect well on the SOLT, either.
3. Similarly, the accusations to Father Corapi of having violated his vote of poverty seem rather disingenuous. They must have known where he lived, and whether this was all right or not. Moreover, a visit to Father Corapi’s old internet page was enough to understand that this was a well-organised, lucrative business. Whatever violation there has been, the order can’t say that they didn’t know anything of it without looking, in the best of cases, very naive.
4. It is clear, though, that the results of the finding have surprised the SOLT. It is otherwise not to be explained how Fr Sheehan could say, only some two weeks ago, that the order would “take steps to protect his good name”. Evidently, at this point they still believed in his innocence.
5. With the benefit of hindsight, it is to this limited intelligence nothing less than astonishing how Father Corapi could attack in this way, when he must have known that the truth must come out. I have written in the past that his clearly combative attitude was rather an indication that he had nothing to hide, but that a person who has left behind emails and was even (as the neologism goes) “sexting” about his activities should think that he’ll get away with it frankly surpassed my powers of imagination. I now remember a similar case in Germany, many years ago, of a famous football manager accused of taking drugs and denying with everyone even after the police had taken a sample of his hair, and even the day before the publication of the results. Cocaine does this to people, some expert said afterwards. “Realitaetsverlust”, they said, “loss of [the sense of] reality”. We must pray for Father Corapi.
6. I truly hope that this unfortunate case does not give anyone an excuse to continue with the utterly senseless policy of suspending a priest by the first letter of accusation. The fact that in this case the priest does seem not to have been slandered is certainly not proof that such a policy is right. On the contrary, the fact that the truth has emerged so rapidly is a clear indication that the best course of action is to proceed speedily to investigation, but to leave the priest in office until the conclusion of the investigation, as the bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi wisely suggests. Once again, here no misconduct with children was alleged.
7. This might seem a fussy remark, but I still do not understand how an accusation of drugs taking might not be a matter for an official police investigation. To take drugs is illegal in Montana, surely?
8. At the cost of being superfluous: the Church is more than one, or one thousand, Father Corapi of either the good or the troubled sort. The Truths that Father Corapi has so eloquently defended remain just as true today as they always were. Our allegiance is to Christ and to His Church.
9. To close on a chilly note: the disquieting black sheepdog with the lambs in his eyes has shown his true identity.That’s good for another shiver. We must pray.
I dread Father Corapi’s reply now. I dread even more the reaction of his (as it was unwisely said) “fan base”. It is truly time to accept the reality on the ground and start praying for him.
The best course for him would certainly be to leave all this mess behind him, go back to the order (or perhaps, to another order) and try to put his life in order again, away from the lures of sex, drugs, money, and fame. He found the energies the first time, he might find them a second one.
Almost time to go to bed. My Rosary is for him. I liked his ways, and his being so different from the toothless pussycats we see too often around us.
I hope that today, a huge number of prayers will go up to heaven for him.
Jimmy Akin has it.
Official SOLT Press release.
I will not comment at this time.
Strong tobacco for sure.
Please pray for him and all involved.
The Regional Priest Servant of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) as well as father Corapi’s superior, Father Sheehan, has released the awaited official statement.
What in my eyes transpires is as follows:
1) Father Corapi was placed in administrative leave by initiative of his own superior, Fr Sheehan himself. It would therefore appear to be true that the administrative leave doesn’t originate, formally, from the Corpus Christi Diocese.
2) Father Sheehan felt obliged to do so to comply with the infamous proper canonical procedures, because – as they explicitly say – the Bishop advised them to act in accordance with them. This is going to give Bishop Mulvey some flak and it seems to me that the SOLT is here politely taking some distance from the decision. They basically seem to say “I didn’t want to do it, but I really had to”, which explains why Father Corapi seems to exclusively target Bishop Mulvey and/or the diocesan milieu. If you are in any doubt as to the fact that religious orders don’t feel like contravening the Bishop’s instruction, read what Opus Bono Sacerdotii thinks about it, and shiver.
3) The enquiry was still in its initial phase. This basically means that the enquiry had not even come to the point of deciding whether Fr Corapi’s accuser had any credibility or were just, say, a couple of drunkards who had failed in their blackmail attempt and were seeking revenge. This is going to give Fr Corapi more than some flak, particularly considering the short time occurred (Corapi’s letter announcing the intention to abandon the priesthood is dated June 3rd) and the fact that Fr Corapi’s civil lawsuit had slowed down the process in the first place, as written in a former blog post.
4) SOLT clearly states that if the complaint had been found worthy of further investigation, none of the injustices lamented by Fr Corapi would have taken place: he would have had a right of being fully informed of people, facts and circumstances, and would have had a lawyer at his disposal. More flak for him I’m afraid.
What I think – from the information emerged up to now – happened is as follows:
1. The two accusers target Fr Corapi by writing to the bishop.
2. The bishop writes to the SOLT and tells them to use the normal procedures (the zero-tolerance, zero-intelligence policy of administrative leave)
3. SOLT is more or less forced to comply to avoid incurring the ire of the bishop.
4. Fr Corapi is incensed that a letter should stop his ministry (and destroy his business), reacts strongly and thinks of revenge.
5. Still in the early stages, Fr Corapi reacts with civil lawsuits against the accusers.
6. The civil lawsuits makes the SOLT enquiries more difficult; they must now talk only with people indirectly informed. The procedure now threatens to drag for some time.
7. Fr Corapi has a business he doesn’t want to see fade away, and asks his lawyer how long will it take. “Possibly a long time and no one really knows”, is the likely answer.
8. Fr Corapi already has the looming issue of having to leave the order (not holy orders) or having to leave his accustomed way of life, as already written. He has therefore little interest (and I mean here: economic interest) in waiting for the end of a procedure (the pre-trial phase) which will end up with his being found fully innocent, but asked to hand over all the profits from his activity to the SOLT shortly after.
9. Fr Corapi therefore decides to give precedence to his “ministry” and to ditch his habit, which allows him to: a) continue his preaching activity; b) insert a huge suppository in his accusers’ lower regions, with the immediate end of the canonical procedure; c) go on with the profitable business, before the business fades away; d) avoid the alternative of having to hand over the profits of the business to the SOLT or leave the order, as he would probably have been forced to do at some point in the not-too-far future.
I might be wrong here. This seems to be to me the most probable chain of events. I am curious to see whether the readers agree, or where they disagree, and why.
In my eyes – and as so often in human things – here several motives mix. Fr Corapi is seriously attached to his business, but seriously offended at the way he was – as he certainly feels – thrown to the dogs by the bishop. I’d say that he is sincere when he believes in his possibilities to save souls through his ministry as much as he likes the popularity, and the money.
The SOLT has clearly desired to protect him from the brutal “proper canonical procedure”, but was told by the bishop not to think of it and had to cave in. They also have a parallel problem with Corapi in that his financial and otherwise autonomy was seen as increasingly problematic anyway.
The bishop doesn’t want to appear to give a privileged treatment to the “star preacher”, and clearly expects Fr Corapi to grit his teeth for as long as it takes. Probably not so long, he must have thought at the start of the affair, before Fr Corapi’s lawsuit.
In the end analysis, I see the roots of the evil in the following factors:
1) the “proper canonical procedure” is stupid beyond redemption, and is applied without proper consideration (no children involved here; no criminal offence; seriously, what the frock…).
2) Fr Corapi’s first consideration was always the preaching or, if we want to be a bit more realistic, the business; with the possible added spice of a great desire to get even with his accusers. His civil lawsuit (which very probably could have waited for a wee year or two anyway) and, most gravely, his decision to discard his habit cannot, in my eyes, have been founded than on the motive of not letting the business fade away.
3) If Fr Corapi’s first care had been the preaching, this could have waited a wee year or two. If it had been his reputation, he would have known that nothing damages it like leaving the priesthood. If it had been the desire for revenge (which is not very priestly anyway) this would not have been pursued at the cost of his habit.
The only thing that couldn’t wait here is, in my eyes, the publishing business; a business needing popularity, and sustained media presence.
Of course, everyone of us is more multi-faceted than that. In Fr Corapi, as in everyone of us, several motives certainly mix and interact. I believe in both his Christian sincerity and his desire to help. But there can be no justification for the abandoning of one’s priestly duties. Not after three months of inconveniences, not after three years, not after thirty.
Whatever Fr Corapi’s sincere desires and aspiration are, when these desires are allowed to be put before one’s holy orders something is seriously, seriously wrong.
Prayers for him on their way.
From my little collection of sayings under “the Quotable Catholic”, some intelligent quotes that would, I think, be very useful for Father Corapi.
Here they are.
When you crash against the rock, you will not damage the rock but you will hurt yourself.
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the truth.
Our arms are too short to box with God.
The definition of heresy is, ‘pick and choose’.
It is easy to praise the Lord when everything is going alright. Just let us stub our toe and see if the praise still continues.
If He went through torture and crucifixion, then how could we not put up with criticism.
Don’t mess with a strong man’s bride.
Matt and Pat Archbold show us a good way to deal with the sad Corapi affair.
This video is both extremely hilarious, and perfectly to the point.
There are further news in the Corapi affair; they merit, in my eyes, some consideration.
A) THE NEWS
Father Gerhard Sheehan of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), and Father Corapi’s superior, has released some information about the Corapi Matter.
The new information is as follows:
1) Pending the investigation, Father Corapi sued the employee accusing him because of breach of the non-disclosure agreement the latter had signed. This is, as Father Sheehan points out, perfectly legal and it is in the full right of Father Corapi to do so, civilly as well as canonically.
2) Father Corapi’s civil legal action greatly complicated the canonical enquiry, as the possibility of the accuser talking without pressure was now compromised.
3) This led to a situation whereby the canonical enquiry would continue to go on, but would become much slower as a consequence of the legal civil action. Thus, the expectation of a long-drawn procedure. Thus, Corapi’s decision to quit.
This points out, in my eyes, to the following:
a) Father Corapi doesn’t seem to have much to be ashamed about, or to be afraid of. This speaks, in my eyes, for his innocence; a priest in a vulnerable position wouldn’t counter-attack his attacker in such a determined way. The man is, undoubtedly, a resolute one and the reaction is, I would dare to say, the reaction of a person who feels very badly wronged. I might be wrong on this, of course.
b) Father Corapi was not disobedient in starting the civil proceedings. Still, he was disingenuous in not telling in his message that it was his civil action which created the concrete prospective of a long-drawn procedure in the first place. As I have said in my previous message, his “pardoning” her is not to be seen in a legal context. I don’t blame him for that, mind, but I don’t think it was all right not to tell that it was his decision to start civil proceedings to complicate matters.
c) In my eyes, the real problem of this situation is that Corapi was put on administrative leave in the first place. If this had not happened, the civil action would have taken its course, the canonical action would have taken his, and how long does it take for both wouldn’t have been really relevant.
d) If you ask me, this “zero-intelligence” policy must stop at once.
Please also note that Father Sheehan is, once again, supportive of Corapi. Not only did he release a statement stressing his innocent until proved guilty, but he now points out that the order will “take steps to protect his good name”. This seems to me to be – particularly in the present juncture – more than words of circumstance.
B) THE DIOCESE
The Diocese of Corpus Christ has – astonishingly – released a statement saying that Corapi’s case is outside of the Diocese’s jurisdiction and that SOLT authorities had initiated the action to temporarily remove him from active ministry. This is more than odd, as Corapi never says a word against Sheehan but heavily criticises Bishop William Mulvey of Corpus Christi.
One can only conjecture that Corapi thinks that pressure from the Bishop has forced the Order to start the proceedings, which case seems rather likely to me. If the Bishop thinks that he is not competent, he could simply release a statement expressing the thought that in his eyes the administrative leave was not the thing to do, thus freeing the way for its removal. The SOLT does not seem to have any “papal privilege”, and the Diocese of Corpus Christi appears to be responsible for them.
C) THE MATTER WITH THE MONEY
Father Sheehan has also made public that the order was taking steps to align those members who had entered the order before 1994 (including Corapi) to those who have entered the order after 1994. The latter must put all their income in a common pot (not unlike the Oratorians, say) and they receive an allowance from the Order. Besides – and very relevantly – it was planned to ask Father Corapi to relinquish the exception granted to him by Sheehan’s predecessor and to demand that he lives together with the other members of the orders instead of living separately in Montana, as he was doing.
It seems clear here once again that money does play a role in this matter. It must have been clear to Corapi that in the long-term he would have to either give away the proceeds of his activity or, if such a possibility exists, ask to be moved to a different order (a rare occurrence, but certainly not unheard of) with rules more similar to his old regime. Also, the adherence to the “new” code of discipline of 1994 would have meant the end of that freedom of movement and ability to live as a “lone wolf” that has been a mark of his activity.
If I may, my closing reflections are as follows:
As to A)
This newer praxis of automatic suspension pending canonical investigation is so stupid as to be totally indefensible. Again, “zero intelligence” describes it best. I truly, truly hope that someone in Rome will see the light and start doing things in a sensible way. This didn’t involve any accusation of child abuse. This didn’t even involve any accusation of criminal offence. The great Franz Kafka would have liked this story and if you read his beautiful “The Trial”, you’ll find more than some similarities.
As to B)
The diocese of Corpus Christi should, in my eyes, tell very clearly whether they stay behind the current praxis of immediate suspension, and whether they were – even if not directly competent – indirectly responsible for Father Corapi’s suspension.
As to C)
Frankly I cannot imagine that, together with a certainly cherished freedom of action, the purely economic aspect of the business (bluntly: the dough) doesn’t play a role in this. Of course, Father Corapi has been all this time in compliance with the order’s rules and of course, he is perfectly free not to like the new rules. But I can’t see how this could even remotely justify his leaving the clerical garb. The lure of money has already seriously damaged the good man once, and I see here the clear possibility that it might have done so a second time. Too “entrepreneurial” is Corapi, too “marketing oriented” his activity, too aggressive his selling endeavours to imagine that this is merely a secondary matter, to be immediately discarded if his order so requires.
The order will soon release a statement and I will comment on it as soon as it happens.
To conclude, let me remind you of how necessary it is that we keep Father Corapi in our prayers but at the same time, that we never lose sight of the Church and of the importance of Holy Orders.
I have endeavoured to give a balanced reporting on matters which interest all of us as faithful, and impinge on the reputation and prestige of the Church. At the same time, I do not think that a scandal like this (because this it is, without every possibility of downplaying it, when a priest decides to throw away his clerical garb) should be covered under a blanket of silence.
He needs our prayers, and the Church needs that we don’t make of him a cult, or a church, or an occasion of sin.
I think that he is a man of strong character, and rather strong-headed, who feels badly wronged and reacts inordinately. I also think that his love of success, popularity, and money is so closely intertwined with his sincere Christian heart as to make him think that the unacceptable – leaving the priesthood – be a justifiable move.
I believe in his good heart and sincere intention; but make no mistake, this is no Padre Pio.
I have posted before going to sleep the video of Father (I’ll still call him that way, as long as he is) Corapi. I would now like, after some hours of sleep, to write a thing or two about this.
Let me say beforehand that I continue to believe in his innocence from the allegations, for the following reasons:
1) a priest should be considered, by anyone, innocent until proved guilty. This is valid even if the priest in question is a very successful preacher with an entrepreneurial hunch. I am sorry to say that this is, googling around, not really the case. You try that happening to you and then tell me how it feels.
2) this move seems, among other things, motivated from the desire to be able to defend himself seriously against the lady accusing him. When Father Corapi is John Corapi again, the trial will be – if any takes place – a civil one, and then the lady must come up with something to substantiate her accusation, or shut up, or be massacred in court. Corapi says he has “forgiven” her, but even in the Papal States you got forgiveness before getting on the scaffold, so his forgiveness is certainly not one with any legal effect.
Let me also say again, before every discussion, that the current way the Church deals with priests accused of misconduct is a damn shame. This is the stupidity of the pedophile years all over again, in the contrary direction. It is a mistery to me how a young man can now decide to pursue his vocation, unless his vocation is to have his name and reputation destroyed at the command of the first person with some grievance against him. This is just a disgrace and I truly hope that this senseless praxis will change soon. Read here what not Corapi, but the bishop emeritus of Corpus Christ, Gracida, thinks on the matter. What is happening here is pure madness.
But after saying that, I must say that many questions remain open and paint a picture that is, to put it mildly, not entirely flattering for Father Corapi. Let us see them.
1) Priesthood. Here is not clear yet whether he will be defrocked; whether he has himself asked to go; and what his order thinks about the matter. When one leaves the priesthood himself (by far the most probable answer) I am sorry but I do not think that this can be downplayed as “a major change”. A move is a major change, or falling in love, or getting a new job. Holy Orders are not something one takes and leaves according to convenience. Last time I looked, to leave the priesthood was not a choice but a grave sin and a shame and the fact that the Church has after V II accepted to make of this a current praxis doesn’t make the matter less grave. Sacraments (and the duties that go with them; obedience, say) cannot be disregarded because a “major change” is now more convenient. If he is going to “defrock himself” as it appears this is very, very bad.
2) Publishing empire. I wonder whether the reaction would have been different if he had not had a well-oiled publishing operation. Corapi clearly always had an entrepreneurial hunch and I find this not bad at all; but if the publishing empire goes before the clerical habit then yes, I find this entirely bad. Let us also consider that, beside the obvious talent of the man, his success was in part due to his being a priest, with the authority and holy orders that go with that. He cannot think that things will stay the same with the only difference of “John Corapi” written on the DVD boxes.
3) The black sheep. In the simple world where I live, one claims his innocence or he confesses his guilt. If he is innocent, he should avoid self-commiseration and self-styling as a victim. I don’t like black sheep. I want my sheep white. I also don’t like the smell of “we are a group apart” that this seems to imply. To play renegades should be forbidden to everyone older than seventeen.
4) The half words. At times, the message is outright creepy. 1) He accepts what has “transpired”. What is this? Does this imply some imprudence, or inappropriate behaviour from him? Is he hiding something that will come out soon? 2) He “perhaps deserves” to be thrown out. Really? Really really? Why the fuss then?
5) Clearly the biggest problem here: the pride. We are all human and I am the first one to say that I truly like the though guys like Corapi. He clearly sees himself as the victim of an injustice and gets in reaction mode. All fine in itself, if you ask me; he is certainly not supposed to be slaughtered without defending himself, and I like a combative priest like the next man. But at the price of his habit? At the price of leaving the priesthood? Pride is playing him a very bad trick here. And pride it is, as by simply shutting up his reputation would have remained forever intact among his very many followers, which is much more than every priests on the planet risks, by the idiotic system currently in place, every day.
I have never thought that Father Corapi was a “living saint”, as I think that “living saints” are very rare. But I did think that he was a great man besides being a brilliant mind and a sincere Christian, and am now left wondering what tricks economic interests or, more probably, pride and desire to get even with the lady accusing him are playing to him. I will not make a cruel comparison with Padre Pio, a man who was accused of the same behaviour, and of other horrible things besides, and accepted years of humiliations – and a life of always rehashed slanders afterwards – in perfect obedience and perfect humility. I’d never be able to do it myself, and I will not say to Father Corapi that Padre Pio is the standard. But what I would ask of a priest, is that he defends himself and does whatever he can compatibly with his remaining a priest. To say that this is “not possible” is to negate one’s role as a priest in the first place. Priests are victims, not heroes.
The comparison with Padre Pio, or Fulton Sheen, might be too hard. But the comparison with the thousands and thousands of priests who get slandered, threatened, insulted and perhaps harmed or killed in many parts of the world, bearing a heavy cross that the world doesn’t even see, can certainly be drawn.
I cannot see any of them reacting in this way. I also cannot see any Father Zuhlsdorf, or Father Finigan, reacting in this way.
A line has been crossed here. A sacramental one. And this is not even a matter of weakness. If he had said “I have been week and have been with a hooker” this would have been bad, but merely a weakness, not a rebellion. If he had said “I have been overcome by stress and have started taking too many pills, so that now I don’t even know whether I am a drug addict again” this would have been bad, but one would have understood the pressure, and the snares of the devil.
But this here seems to me cold-blooded rebellion to his habit, an all-pervading desire to continue to be the hero of the masses or, much more probably, to defend his name and reputation at any cost. But this is self-defeating, as one cannot defend his reputation in ways that must perforce damage it.
Father Corapi is and remains a brilliant mind. Many of the quotes in my “quotable Catholic” section come from him. They will remain there, make no mistake. He will have my prayers, but certainly not my support in his new activity. And our prayers he truly needs, because in him a brilliant mind and a sincere heart fight against clearly present self-destructive tendencies, and an ego that wants too much. If he thinks that after this move his situation will improve he is, in my eyes, sadly mistaken and a slow journey to self-destruction, sorry as I am to say this, appears to me a more likely occurrence. Satan is clearly circling around a good soul, whispering in his hear sweet words of celebrity, intact reputation, adoring crowds, if he just…… abandons his habit. Abandon his habit! One is almost reminded of Doktor Faust. Best wishes to him, and let’s keep him in our prayers.
He wants, I think, to become another Michael Voris. Perfectly orthodox of course, but free to talk and to defend himself. But there’s a fundamental difference between Michael Voris and John Corapi.
Michael Voris never left the priesthood.
Very late now, so yours truly will go to sleep and reflect on the message tomorrow.
Read on the Deacon’s Bench about an imminent announcement from Father Corapi.
The news seems credible because contained in an email sent to those on father Corapi’s mail list. Also, next weekend will mark the 20th anniversary of Father Corapi’s ordination.
On the other hand, the email comes from his media company, not from his religious order or from him personally.
The message will get out also on youtube and facebook.
The mail is very clear as to the fact that Father Corapi will announce his desire to continue to help deliver a message of hope to those who seek it.
Abwarten und Tee Trinken, says the German.
He is in my prayers and, I hope, yours.
This is the text to be found on Father Corapi’s website. it comes from the former Bishop of Corpus Christi, Rene’ Gracida.
The text deserves to be read in its entirety:
The public controversy over the announcement of the accusations against Father John Corapi, SOLT, and his suspension from exercising his priestly ministry offers an opportunity to reflect on the flawed procedure apparently being followed in too many dioceses of the United States these days in the case of a priest accused of sexual misconduct not involving minors. The procedure is flawed because it inflicts grave injustice on the priest and serves as a deterrent to young men thinking of offering themselves as candidates for the priesthood.
The procedure operates something like this. A person accuses a priest of sexual misconduct (again, not involving a minor). The priest is immediately suspended from active exercise of his priestly ministry while an investigation is launched into the truth or falsity of the accusations.
There is no need for a public announcement to be made that gives the name of the priest and the fact of the accusation and the suspension, and yet, all to often such a public announcement is made. Such public announcement by a diocese almost always results in media exploitation of the news in a sensational manner to the detriment of the Catholic Church and its priesthood. It seems that rarely, if ever, is mention is made in the announcement of the name of the accuser.
The investigation may take days or months or years to complete. In the meantime the priest’s reputation is effectively destroyed and perhaps he is ‘thrown out on the street’ with no means of support. The accuser, on the other hand, enjoys anonymity and suffers no loss of reputation or negative material consequences and in the case of an accusation later proven to have been false the injustice to priest is great.
In cases where the priest is accused of having used force (rape or some other form of involuntary abuse) there is some justification for not publishing the name of the accuser. But, where there is reason to believe that the alleged sexual misconduct was effected through mutual consent there is no justification for not publishing the name of the accuser. Under the present procedure it is too easy for a person to allege sexual misconduct (again not involving minors) for a variety of possible unworthy motives: revenge, hope for monetary gain, hostility to the Catholic Faith, etc. Such is reported to have been the case of the accusation against Father Corapi. The only safe way to guard against damaging the reputation of individual priests and the Catholic priesthood in general is to not publish the name of an accused priest until an investigation has proved beyond doubt the guilt of the priest.
The Bishop does not intervene to say that Corapi is innocent, and rightly so. He points out, though, to the absurdity of the current praxis: priest exposed, accused protected in his anonimity (we still don’t know the name of the lady; but we all know that Father Corapi is suspended), great danger of permanent reputation damage and all this, in a case where minors are not involved.
It is refreshing to see a former Bishop intervene in favour of common sense. Bishop Gracida goes so far as to suggest that even the fact that an investigation has taken place should only be divulged after (and if) the priest in question has been found guilty. We are not talking of matters involving the police or the criminal courts here anyway.
Yup, makes sense to me.
On the Corapi matter there is a development and, if you allow, some reflections.
The development is that officials of the company publishing Corapi’s work have (rather too heavily, I would say) criticised the bishop for Father Corapi’s supension. The intervention is in my eyes counterproductive, as it turns out it was not the bishop who suspended Corapi but the superior of his religious order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. Besides, it doesn’t help when one says that the suspension is illicit under Canon Law, but doesn’t say why.
In my eyes, this Corapi’s defence is a bit too overzealous and should have been better avoided. More interesting appears the statement of the company’s official that the person writing the letter against Corapi was a disgruntled employee who has physically assaulted him, but we would have to know more details on this to be able to value the episode.
The other reflecion regards the fact that from one side, Corapi’s diocese stresses that the presumption of innocence is of the “highest importance” but from the other side, EWTN makes clear that they have suspended Corapi from their program because their internal policy is that no priest whose faculties have been suspended is broadcast, period.
One sees to what absurd consequences today’s praxis leads. He is presumed innocent, but the praxis is that when you are presumed innocent you are considered guilty until proven innocent, whilst your presumption of innocence is stressed everywhere. I fail to see the logic here: if presuming one innocent really means to presume one innocent, then the poor man should be treated, pending investigation, as one who is innocent of the accusations moved against him. It is not that he is in danger of taking an aeroplane to Burkina Faso, or that he spends hours alone with adolescents.
The mentality herein exhibited can be developed with some very interesting mind games: you don’t like father Z? Write a letter to a half-dozen of bishops accusing him of everything under the sun, pending investigation he’ll be certainly asked not to blog. Or perhaps Father Finigan is your enemy? What about Cardinal Burke? Pell, anyone? And really – I do have to ask this again – if a letter is enough to suspend a priest, why should the Pope not be asked to suspend himself should such a letter arrive?
I do not want to sound petulant here, but it’s weeks since this matter has started; when there are true facts behind the allegation, generally people come out offering an unstoppable flood of further circumstances and this goes very rapidly to the press. Think of Berlusconi, with the first facts more and more corroborated by the new elements which inevitably begin to emerge once these things become public.
Nothing of the sort here. Just a letter from a former, highly emotional and probably unstable (if the allegations of physical assaults are true) woman who is now, probably, scared to death by her own fit of hysteria (and she should be, methinks). In the meantime, the circus goes on, Father Corapi is still suspended, and EWTN still doesn’t have the decency to just apply basic common sense instead of rules clearly born for other circustances.
Truly, there are things that must be changed here. It can’t be that in the country that so much worships freedom of expression and religious freedom any popular priest can be silenced with a letter.
Very Interesting blog post from Pat Archbold about the Corapi Affair.
Mr. Archbold says a couple of interesting things, on which I’d like to expand a bit.
1) As Mr. Archbold has been the subject of slandering accusations in the past, he is acutely aware of the effect of such slanders on the life of a person unjustly accused of horrible things. This obviously doesn’t mean in itself that Corapi is innocent, it merely reminds us of how easy the slandering game is.
“Slander, slander! Something will stick!” were, more or less, Voltaire’s trenchant words. As human nature hasn’t changed in the meantime, the principle sadly maintains all its dreadful validity.
2) Rev. Sheenan’s statement adds, in my eyes, further elements to the situation. The Reverend confirms that, as per today, there’s nothing else than the letter. It is not that several people have spoken about the same episodes; it is not that facts have been checked and concordances found; it is not that a variety of elements hardens the suspicion. All there is, is a letter of a former employee.
Ever worked in an office?
3) Again, the Reverend confirms with his own words what we already knew from Father Corapi himself: no criminal law profile involved. Even if Father Corapi were to be found guilty, as per today the matter would not involve civil authorities. This clearly excludes drug use and leaves as main field for supposition “sexual impropriety”, which – being I the chauvinistic bastard you all know and, perhaps, not entirely dislike – instantly reminds me of a famous saying wrongly attributed to Shakespeare. I might, of course, be wrong. It happens to the best….
Summa summarum, what emerges is that (and please take a long breath before you read this) the writing of a letter is enough to have a priest suspended and his reputation provisionally tarnished the world over.
I must ask whether you think that the Holy Father would self suspend himself from his office if a letter should be posted to various Vatican congregations accusing him of some misconduct not relevant for the criminal law.
No, you say? Are you sure? Do you really think that before measures of this sort are introduced the accusations should have at least some external concordance, some additional elements inducing one to believe that the situation is worthy of serious investigation? You do? Mere common sense, I hear you say?
Alas, common sense seems not to live in ecclesiastical offices anymore, having left its place to an unholy terror of absolutely everything that might, by a deranged mind, be remotely considered a cover-up.
Now, Father Corapi – or everyone else for that matter – might in a purely hypothetical manner turn out to be Saddam’s secret son-in-law in charge for the ruthless torturing and killing of every missing person in the United States in the past two decades. But frankly, I don’t think that an ex colleague writing a letter and saying this should be sufficient, in itself and without any further element, to have him suspended.
As I have written often in the past, the Church is showing a will to self-flagellation slowly bordering on paranoia. It is high time that sanity takes the place of the current madness and this irrespective of the result of the investigations about Father Corapi (on whom I personally am ready to bet not one, but several pints until I read that there are concordances and further elements of suspicion besides a letter of a disgruntled employee, or of a scorned woman), but purely in order to put an end to a praxis that doesn’t afford any protection, any protection whatsoever to any priest with some degree of notoriety or even without any degree of notoriety but merely disliked by the one or other nutcase in his parish.
Mr. Archbold sums the current situation admirably:
My employer, also implicated in the suit, stuck by me and defended me until it was eventually dropped. Wrongfully accused priests no longer have this luxury
Time to wake up, folks.
I have already written about Father Corapi. I truly like the man. I think he is one of the finest preachers around. In my “The Quotable Catholic” section he is rather well represented, though probably much less than he deserves.
Father Corapi has now been put on administrative leave. At this point (and this is what makes it rather difficult to write about it) we don’t know much about the exact circumstances. What we know, though, from Father Corapi himself is that a former employee has written a letter to several bishops accusing him of misconduct on a vast series of accounts (drugs and women seem to be prominent, though) and that as a result he has been suspended pending investigation.
Just for the record, please note that:
1) No misconduct on minor is involved in any way and 2) no criminal offences are involved in any way (which sound strange to me, considering that drug use from the former drug addict Corapi would seem to be part of the accusations).
I would like to point out, here, a very important concept that, it seems to me, is too often lost when such events are discussed. A man is a good Catholic preacher when he succeeds in properly communicating the Catholic Truth and thus helps others on their way to God. Whether he is a saint or a sinner (better said: in what degree he is a sinner, as we all are) is something which will impact his own soul at the moment of death, but certainly does not impact the Truth he goes around preaching, nor the good he spreads around by doing it.
I don’t need to believe that a person is a saint to feel encouraged to do as he says. If he is able to encourage and motivate me, this is enough. If he is also a saint, good for him, but this doesn’t make the truths he says any more true.
Corapi is – as a preacher – a fine pearl of Catholicism. Besides his life being a beautiful witness of Catholic courage (a fact that, as I have said, is not in the first line here), his way of explaining the Catholic teaching is what makes him so rare and such an effective help to Catholic evangelisation.
We must always separate the Truths a preacher talks about, from the degree in which he is able to adhere to them. First of all no one will ever be able to completely adhere to them, and secondly the truths would become not one iota less true even if the preacher should, say, turn out to be a homosexual child rapist who earned a second income in a brothel whilst selling crack to fund his alcoholism.
If your excellent history teacher at school turned out to be an alcoholic, this didn’t make him any less good at teaching history, nor history any less true because he drank.
Having said that, we don’t know and pending an investigation, I think that even Father Corapi wouldn’t be angry at us for saying “I like you a lot but as I don’t know you personally, I can’t start screaming your innocence right now”.
Others have made a comparison with Maciel, but as I like Corapi a lot I prefer to make a comparison with Padre Pio, more or less horribly slandered (and certainly seriously damaged in his reputation) not for days or months, but for years. A famous episode concerned his being accused of profiting of his role as confessor to get sexual favours from a certain woman; it turned out that the accusation had been motivated by the jealousy of another lady, who subsequently confessed her grievous sin.
Frankly, I do see some parallels here, but again: I wasn’t there.
Corapi might be more Padre Pio or more Maciel (come on, we know the first hypothesis is by far the more probable and he is innocent until proven guilty anyway). Still, my admiration for Corapi (whose sincere inspiration I do not doubt for an instant, however little or however big his faults and private sins may be) as a fine preacher is undiminished whatever the outcome of this affair.
I didn’t want to write about Father Corapi as I don’t like to use this blog to speculate about things I don’t know, but I have read things whose general tone (and possibly general spirit) I didn’t like and thought it fitting to express my admiration for the man’s sincerity and ability once again.
Here is wishing him all the best; he is in my prayers and, I do hope, in yours.
I hope to see him roaring from the pulpit again very soon.
Short, interesting and as always very entertaining video from Father Corapi about the opportunity of trying to convert other Christians to Catholicism.
Besides the obvious wisdom of father Corapi’s words, there is an element I’d like to stress. The person implicitly accusing Fr Corapi of “wanting everybody to be Catholic” (and being “deadly serious” as he says that) was not a Presbyterian pastor, or a Protestant layman. This person, completely missing the grace imparted through the Eucharist and the Catholic sacramental life and totally oblivious of the role and function of the Church, was a Catholic priest.
The conversation clearly happened a couple of decades ago and it is reassuring to see that at the “wanting everyone to be a Catholic” moment the public understands the absurdity of the other priest’s position and happily laugh.
That Fr Corapi felt the necessity to instruct the other priest about the fact that “God doesn’t do useless things” (and we are talking here of Sacraments like the Eucharist and the Confession, not about a corkscrew or a safety-pin) really says it all about what was happening among the clergy of the Only Church.
I am rather confident that if would be, if not impossible, certainly much less probable to find a priest failing his vocation and his Catholicism in such a spectacular way today than it would have been some twenty years ago, particularly among younger priests. Still, it goes to show that the “education” and “intelligence” Father Corapi praises in his old interlocutor are not worth much if the faith is not there, or the intelligence has been used to pervert the teaching of the Church.
At the top of this page you will find a link called “The Quotable Catholic”, a collection of short and mostly easy to memorise phrases meant to be a handy Catholic armoury for yourself and your little, ahem, online confrontations. I re-read them regularly in order to let the wisdom of those great Catholics be slowly absorbed. Father Corapi (easily the most represented in this little collection) is there with a little gem I always found wonderful:
My grandmother, who had only an eighth grade education, knew more than many theologians because she knew the Truth.
One listens to the video and understands how right the man is.
A short but extremely instructive video from the excellent Father Corapi, whom I can’t avoid thinking to as the Fulton Sheen of our times.
Father Corapi illustrates the following points:
1) we can be accessory to another person’ sin by silence. We can be accessory to a genocide many times the scale of the Holocaust, just by silence. The possibility of being accessory to another person’s sin seems to have disappeared from modern catechesis. We see the result of that in the legislative activity of even traditionally Catholic countries.
2) We must bring our conviction regarding the above to the ballot box. It is a dereliction of duty to think that one can be a Catholic himself whilst doing nothing to avoid the Country he lives in to reject Christian values.
3) This dereliction of duty is a much greater crime in those who have positions of public responsibility. The likes of Pelosi, Obama and Schwarzenegger will be judged much more harshly than the individuals whose soul they put in danger.
Father Corapi imperious call of “Wake Up America!” is in my eyes particularly apposite now, with the mid-term elections looming and the recent events in California showing how far Catholic representative of the people can go in betraying their religion and stabbing their electorate in the back.