Daily Archives: March 29, 2011

Father Corapi: Presumed Innocent Presumed Guilty.

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.


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