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.