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”.
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.