Skip to comments.A Well Reasoned and Balanced Appraisal of the Father John Corapi Case (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 07/12/2011 10:22:42 PM PDT by sockmonkey
The below are my comments on the situation of Fr. Corapi regarding the charges that have been leveled against him. I may appear uncharitable in places as that is a weakness that I struggle with. I have tried to convey my thoughts as charitably as I am able. Please forgive me if I have failed to do this in any way.
I am one who still supports Fr. Corapi. I do not adulate people no matter who they are. I do not place Fr. Corapi on a pedestal. But for Gods grace he is capable of anything. I would like to offer a number of things for consideration. They may not be in order.
1) The accuser of Fr. Corapi is his god daughter. He has said for a long time that she needs prayer because she and her husband have been struggling with drug addiction for many years. He commented on this during his conference in San Antonio in August, 2010. He may have commented on this even earlier. He said he has tried to help them overcome their problems and that they need help. If you read the lawsuit he has filed against her you will see that the confidentiality statement is quite appropriate for the circumstances. She lists in her LinkedIn profile that she is the owner of Santa Cruz Media and also has tried to take his copyrighted moniker The Black Sheep Dog as her own. This is theft. Fr. Corapi has a right to sue her for protection of his property. If she has lied, he also has a right to sue her for damage to his good name. Many have claimed that the $100,000 she has received is hush money to keep her quiet. This is not at all clear. As she is his god daughter, he has tried desperately to help them over the years. I am sure this includes, but is not limited to, financial compensation.
2) Fr. Corapi initially said he would co-operate with the investigation despite disagreeing with the process. Bishop Rene Gracida advised him that he could not clear his name through the canonical process in the Diocese of Corpus Christi and suggested he proceed civilly. On that basis Fr. Corapi filed the suit. Depending on the diocese the canonical process may or may not work. In my opinion, Bishop Gracida is one of the best bishops we have had in the U.S. in many years. Someone I know asked Fr. John Hardon back around 2001 AD what he thought of the condition of the hierarchy in the U.S. Fr. Hardon responded that he thought there were about 6 bishops that were 100% faithful to the teachings of the Church. He felt there were about 40 bishops that were pretty much faithful to the teachings of the Church. Fr. Hardon then said that he considered the rest to be non-believers. I would consider Bishop Gracida to be one of the 6. Well, the hierarchy in the U.S. has definitely improved since 2001 but it is obvious that there is a lot rot still existing in places.
3) Read closely everything that Bishop Gracida has had to say. He definitely does not appear to be distancing himself from Fr. Corapi as some bloggers have suggested. As a good bishop, he has stated correctly that he does not have personal knowledge of the particulars of the charges against Fr. Corapi. He continues to state that what the Diocese of Corpus Christi and SOLT have done is wrong. By saying that he had hopefully placed his last post on the matter he was saying that he would not participate in the back and forth fighting that is going on between those who either support or oppose Fr. Corapi.
4) I have a problem with some of the statements by SOLT. Fr. Sheehan stated in NCR that Fr. Corapi was suspended in accordance with Canon Law. I could not find any statute that would mandate such action. I wrote to Fr. Sheehan and he sent me a response referring to statute 1722. Well, the local bishop can do pretty much whatever he wants, but statute 1722 does not call for suspension as it occurred with Fr. Corapi. I think Bishop Gracida has also indicated this was wrong. One of the problems we have had over the last 40 years or so is that heterodox prelates have used obedience as a hammer to destroy orthodox priests. A reading of the Catholic Encyclopedia on Religious Obedience would be very instructive. This obedience is not absolute and its application to Fr. Corapis case is confusing at best. There is the example of St. Padre Pio who submitted to injustice and lies in all humility. There is tremendous grace in this approach. Then there is the approach of directly fighting lies and injustice. Fr. Corapi is a fighter and this is the approach he seems to be taking. It doesnt sit well with those who would seek to silence him. My initial reaction has been that the Padre Pio approach is preferred but Bishop Gracida seems to support Fr. Corapis approach. Due to the fact that I consider Bishop Gracida one of the finest prelates we have ever had, I reserve judgement.
5) It is not at all clear that SOLT has ordered Fr. Corapi back to headquarters prior to their recent statement. In NCR in April, Fr. Sheehan had talked about the original arrangement with Fr. Corapi and other priests prior to 1994 where they were expected to provide for themselves. He stated that the constitution had since changed. New priests were now provided for by SOLT. Fr. Sheehan said that they were looking at ways to bring the older priests under the new constitution. In the same statement he said that they never realized that Fr. Corapis ministry would become so profitable. That last part speaks volumes. SOLT was interested in bringing Fr. Corapis ministry in house although his statements seem to suggest that they were looking at their options in this matter (reconciling priests who were not under the new constitution). In my opinion, that would have been a good thing for Fr. Corapis spiritual development. However, I think SOLT should have been more forth right about their motivations. I am sure it was for his spiritual well being but the money was also on Fr. Sheehans mind.
6) I dont believe that SOLT had required Fr. Corapi to return prior to his suspension. Fr. Sam Medly stated that he was trying to get his superiors to demand this but that his requests were not acted upon. In late June Fr. Sheehan stated in NCR that he was disappointed that Fr. Corapi had decided to resign but that SOLT would assist him in this transition all the while taking care to protect his good name. Barely a week later Fr. Sheehan issued his statement declaring that Fr. Corapi was guilty of abusing alcohol and drugs, sexting, cohabitation, sacramental abuse, and that he was unfit for ministry. Fr. Sheehan stated that contemporaneously with the release of his July 5th statement he was demanding that Fr. Corapi return under obedience and drop the
lawsuit. It seems that this was the first demand under obedience that was made. It may, or may not , have been suggested earlier. It certainly wasnt demanded as Fr. Medley indicated in his statements. It is my feeling that Fr. Corapi would have been required, under obedience, to obey a demand for his return to headquarters before the accusations and suspension occurred. So as to protect his civil rights, I do not believe he is required, under obedience, to obey the demand at this time.
7) In late June Fr. Sheehan promised to do all possible to protect Fr. Corapis good name. On July 5th he and Fr. Medley participated in a serious violation of the Eighth Commandment by detraction against Fr. Corapis good name. Whether the accusations are true or not SOLT had no business as a Catholic society in making such information public. You talk about saying one thing and doing another.
When these charges were first made, Bishop Mulvey / SOLT could have demanded that Fr. Corapi take a drug test and a lie detector test. They could have requested (but not demanded) that his accuser do the same. Based on the results of these tests it could have been quickly determined whether any of these charges were credible or not.
How does the author know that this did not happen? Perhaps this is how his superiors were able to decide that Corapi was lying and his accusers were truthful.
The fact is that Corapi's evasiveness and disobedience to his legitimate superiors has made the original charges a moot point.
I do know that if I lived in a place like MT where there are over 188 days a year of below freezing weather, and 65 inches of snow, I would want what some may consider "luxury vehicles" because it doesn't sound like the kind of place you would want to get stuck in a blizzard.
Sheehan's statement "We had no idea Fr. Corapi's ministry was so profitable." on the heels of SOLT having to recently pay big bucks for a pedophile Priest claim, and wanting Corapi to bring everything in house..well, maybe SOLT is short on cash these days.
Whatever the truth is, I assume it will be sorted out in this life or the next, but Gracida seems to have firmly planted himself in Corapi's Corner. I doubt he would have posted this on his website if he was not.
Then sadly I think Bishop Gracida has picked the wrong corner... the SOLT press release then taken with Corapi’s non-response response... which skirted ALL the accusations in the press release I think are the nails in the coffin.
Why has Corapi not filed suite against SOLT as well? The press release minced no words, they did not write...may have, they just came out and said it...if they were false acusations then he would have a case, but I think he knows they have the proof.
This was not a question of SOLT needing money but Corapi leading many astray with his dramatics, so SOLT needed to expose the truth to put a stop to it and I am glad that they did, still there are die hard Corapi fans who refuse to understand that they are to follow Jesus and his Church not ‘superstar’ preachers when they go adrift.
And this is coming from someone who watched and followed Corapi’s many talks and sermons for years, I loved to watch and listen whenever I had the chance, but I am also not blinded to the truth that is now being revealed.
It’s not difficult to fall off the bandwagon if one doesn’t keep going to AA/NA meetings and all that that entails. According to that report it’s looking bad but I will continue to give him the presumption of innocence until he gets his day in court. He has old friends from his AA days who have offered their support via a youtube video I’ve been praying he takes them up on their offer. I will continue to pray for him and all involved.
“I think that Bishop Gracida’s saying that No One, especially a Religious Superior, is allowed to practice detraction and calumny is in reference to the SOLT statements.”
Thanks. I meant to mention something about that in my post.
OMG, this must be how the wife of a serial adulterer thinks.
That is the bottom line. Fr. Corapi may be guilty of violating his vows or innocent, but we will not know the truth from SOLT's gossip.
I don't know underlying facts of this case. Neither do you. At some point, someone may actually publicly offer actual evidence of misdeeds on Fr. Corapi’s part.
No one has done that yet.
In the meanwhile, Fr. Corapi has sued his original accuser, and many (perhaps pretty much all) of the “unanswered” charges are actually answered in his actual lawsuit. The one filed in a court of law, not the court of public gasbagging.
He specifically denies, if I recall correctly, charges related to sex with one or more women, with charges related to escort services, drug use, having a mistress, etc.
I don't know why he might not reiterate these denials on his website. I can speculate: maybe he feels like he's already answered the charges in an actual court of law, rather than the court of public gasbagging; maybe on advice of counsel he's being careful with his public statements. I don't really know - neither do you.
Now, the question is whether or not he will be able to show by a preponderance of the evidence, in a court of actual law, that these things are false. I don't know whether he will or he won't. But he's gone pretty far out on a limb by filing suit. Because, being the plaintiff, he can't rest by showing that the charges against him are merely doubtful. In order to have any chance of prevailing, he must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that they are false.
As to suing SOLT, why would you think he might prevail?
Here's the bottom line: Either he did the things of which he's accused, or he didn't. And his accuser knows absolutely the truth or falsity of the charges. Thus, she can't make the defense that she was misled by others as to the truth. She can't make the defense that she made the accusations in good faith. She can't make the defense that it seemed like there was evidence against him, but perhaps, after all, that evidence wasn't so good, after all. No, her claims are that she was an actual party to some of the misdeeds. She has actual knowledge. There is a case to be made against her, if she is lying.
Fr. Corapi is arguably a public figure, so for him to prevail in a suit for libel or slander, he must prove MORE than his innocence, he must also prove the individual knew the accusations were false (or recklessly disregarded the issue of their truth), had malice, and other elements of the law.
However, one party that really doesn't know whether or not these things happened is SOLT. They think they have evidence that the charges are true, but no one in SOLT has come forward to say that he was actually there when the events occurred. Thus, the folks at SOLT may really believe the charges. Even if he proves the charges false, it might be difficult to prevail against SOLT in court. If the charges against Fr. Corapi prove false, then they can still defend that they were under the mistaken belief that the charges were true.
As to whether SOLT needs the money or not, I won't offer an opinion. But the word of one priest over another isn't particularly impressive to me. We've seen over the last years, sadly, that priests, even bishops lie, cheat, cover-up, and otherwise do evil things. Maybe Fr. Corapi is the one doing the bad things, here. Or maybe the bishop is, or the SOLT folks. I really don't know. An alternative explanation is that some of the folks in the hierarchy are just too stupid to competently execute their offices. It wouldn't be a first. Before I believe in my own mind that a man is guilty, I'll wait for some actual evidence to come out, rather than press conference-posturing. I'm funny that way.
I take no sides. We have seen how an immoral priest could deceive even a saintly pope, in part because that same priest managed to accomplish great things. People of gifts Do go the the “dark side,” as the scifi fils reminds us. Benedict Arnold was a great general, whose actions at Saratoga won a battle that “saved” the Revolution; that before he was tempted to betray that same cause. Worldly success is no sure guarantee of God’s favor. Corapi’s manliness was in sharp contrast to the girly priests and bishops who people our clergy, so unlike men like the 19th century Bishop, John Hughes of New York. So we may see a true spiritual tragedy in the making, or a great injustice.
Dear Fr. Sheehan,
It is with great sadness that I feel compelled to write this email letter to you. In all my years as a Catholic (from birth) and studying Catholic history, I have never experienced a religious order or faithful Catholic, especially a priest, demean themselves by getting into what one might call a piss-fight wherein they purposely and with cruel intent speak of another person in such a derogatory manner as you have against Fr. John Corapi. You, who call yourself a true shephard, and by your own admission, are trying to look after the flock, commit openly and in writing the sins of detraction and calumny. The very sins that we are so often advised against in our secular lives. Even if what you said be true, you dear father, may not reveal it to anyone. It is clear from your post of July 5, 2011 that the only matter which concerned you was to discredit the person of Fr. John Corapi and ruin his reputation in the eyes of faithful Catholics around the world. How can you possibly attempt to preach to us when you yourself are committing a most grievous sin in the process? Anyone with a half brain could figure out that all the information or evidence you purport to have in your possession is at best circumstantial. Therefore you prove nothing except to sow seeds of doubt within the minds of the sheep you wish to shephard. We Father, with all due respect, may be sheep in need of a shephard, but we are not blind sheep. Fr. Corapi for years has told and made public his private life, how he lives apart from the major community, how he has had various relationships and contact with prostitutes (one of which is now a Carmelite nun whom he brought back to the convent) how he was involved in a major law suit for fraud and won. If he won, then he most likely received a pretty penny and he made no bones about the fact that he possessed money. As for his contracts with employees, in todays world this is nothing new or earth shattering. Anyone dealing with confidential information, even so much as contact names, addresses and information of clients, is bound by their employers not to reveal employment gained information with anyone outside of the particular firm. Contracts in employer-employee relationships are common business practice and therefore assumes no great hidden revelations about anyones use of said practice. The mere fact that Fr. Corapi was such a public figure made it virtually impossible for him not to utilize such a business practice in order to protect not only himself, but others as well. I am quite sure that there is no language in those contracts asking employees to keep silent about his private life of promiscuity or affairs, in fact they probably dont even address any private life matters and pertain only to the employment regulations set forth by the company or corporation itself. All these matters are known by anyone who listened to Fr. Corapi preach and teach for years. And like us, your community was well aware of these facts and approved of his mission with all it entailed.
I find it in particular difficult to believe that only two weeks prior to this post, your order issued a statement asking Fr. Corapi to come back, reverse his decision to leave and that you were willing to assume any difficulties that may arise for you and S.O.L.T. if he did. In addition in an interview with the National Catholic Register you said, We wanted him to come back , We will continue to move pastorally and charitably, taking steps to protect his good name. I find it extremely interesting that in such a short time you did what we call a 180. The only reasoning for such a complete turn around would be pressure from some outside source that forced you into issuing such an inflammatory statement. Pressure received from either ecclesial and/or secular influences. Given the circumstances and the nature of Fr. Corapis preaching, it is not hard to imagine that he is a thorn in someones side, a voice that many in todays political arena would like to snuff out. Utilizing your position as his superior would make you the logical choice to carry out that plan of action, whilst the true culprits remain unknown lest their positions be compromised.
It is without a doubt, that this case has many a detail to which we sheep are not privileged to know, and perhaps the public shouldnt. I am merely commenting at my own scandalization pertaining to your behavior as a superior of a religious order and the actions you have engaged. If anything has been accomplished by your actions, it has not been to your credit or the credit of our ecclesial hierarchy, and church, but rather to the demise of these parties and has made us sheep even more suspicious as to the full scope of this case.
I am truly pleased in the response your hate speech received from the Black Sheep Dog. He, the accused and defiled by your own admissions, has remained faithful to his Catholic faith by virtue of his subsequent post to you. It makes one see the gospel in action, you will know them by their fruits.
One thing is for certain, I do have faith in Jesus Christ, as many following this case do. He and only He, will reveal the truth and then we will know, as He knows! All that is in darkness will be brought to light and for this I pray. May Our Father in Heaven, by the power of His Holy Spirit reveal to His children the truth in all things, by His Word, Our Lord Jesus and through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of His Mother!
I remain respectfully yours,
That was actually written by Bishop Gracida, the Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi.
Aha. God keep him.
I read Gracida's blog. Is not, then, Gracida's posting (and agreeing with) negative reader mail accusing Sheehan of "getting into a p*ss-fight" with Corapi not the very definition of what you call "detraction and calumny"?I would have to agree with my DH on that one; and I do not know who John Stevens is on the other recent post of Gracida's, but JS' manifesto has several points that are arguable, but where does one begin?
He has old friends from his AA days who have offered their support via a youtube video Ive been praying he takes them up on their offer. I will continue to pray for him and all involved.If you happen to have a linky to that video, I'd really enjoy seeing it bronxville. It sounds *very* positive, which is very good ... just what Corapi (not "The BS-Dog") needs.
Yeah, I had my doubts as well having re-read it.
I actually agree that Fr. Corapi's blacksheepdog persona leaves much to be desired, I just don't think it is the issue now, when he is clearly a victim of detraction and most likely, cynical slander.
You're right. I don't remember it being labeled there as such, but maybe I'm just getting old. I remember looking for identifying information, finding none, and thus thinking, ah, this is written by the blogger, himself.
But it's clearly marked now. Whether that is new or I just missed it, I don't know.
“’I read Gracida’s blog. Is not, then, Gracida’s posting (and agreeing with) negative reader mail accusing Sheehan of “getting into a p*ss-fight” with Corapi not the very definition of what you call “detraction and calumny”?’
“I would have to agree with my DH on that one;”
I strongly disagree. Fr. Sheehan’s behavior is manifest to all. It isn't detraction or calumny to point out that the public, manifest behavior of another is bad, however one describes it. Detraction is making public unnecessarily the private sins of another. Labeling the PUBLIC behavior of another is almost by definition incapable of being detraction. Calumny also doesn't apply as that it is lying about another in a way that harms his reputation. No lie has been told about Fr. Sheehan. Nobody has ascribed to him behavior that is not publicly manifest. It may be that the author's interpretation of that behavior is wrong, but that isn't quite calumny at all.
Fr. Sheehan’s behavior toward Fr. Corapi (assuming that he is responsible for the letter from SOLT pronouncing Fr. Corapi's guilt definitively), on the other hand, is either detraction or calumny because 1) either what he stated is true and it needn't have been made public (at least not at this point) or 2) what he stated is false, and thus it is calumny on its face. Another possibility is that it is rash judgment, in that Fr. Sheehan believes he has evidence of Fr. Corapi's guilt, but hasn't, apparently, heard the other side of the story, and thus, should be more careful about what conclusions he has drawn from the evidence he believes he has in his possession.
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