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.
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.
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.