Monday, June 20, 2011

On Corapi...let us be reasonable and kind

The following article is from the Bishop of Corpus Christi, the one cited in Corapi's announcement. Thanks to him for quelling the slander. Give Corapi time to show what he is actually going to do...stop preemptively accusing him of abandoning the priesthood. Silence in the face of slander and libel is not always the right approach. Christ was silent...sometimes. Other times he told everyone exactly who he was. Corapi could have discerned that the best thing for the Church
was for him to NOT take this lying down.
He knows the process is flawed. We know the process is flawed. Most clergy in this country know the process is flawed. Perhaps, hopefully, Corapi's making it more of a public issue will spur the bishops on to fixing it. There is truth to the old adage, all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to stand by and do nothing.
Silence or defense could have been the correct approach for him. But unless you were a fly on the wall of Corapi's conversation with the Lord then perhaps you should be the silent one. Furthering the slander that this woman is possibly causing is harmful at worse and at best it is presumptuous.
I am grateful to the Bishop of Corpus Christi for this article and I hope it makes some of these Catholic bloggers take a step back and publicly take responsibility for their part in sullying the name of a man who has not been, as yet, convicted of anything.


  1. A bit more has come out (and since the only reason anyone knows anything about the accusations is bc Fr. Corapi told us about them, it's hardly fair of him to complain about slander and libel).
    So...there is no longer any ambiguity, Fr. Corapi is definitely abandoning his order and priestly ministry so as not to face canonical proceedings or submit to his order. I think it is fair to judge public actions, particularly when they may be the cause of scandal (like when someone so well known slanders his bishop). As a good friend of mine pointed out, the catechism entry on slander and calumny also discusses adulation and flattery, and in a case like this 'the benefit of the doubt' comes dangerously close to the adulation side of the spectrum.

  2. well said alexis!!!

    i watched Father's annoucement three times and still didn't understand what was going on. shocker. but once i started reading comments and talking to people i was shocked what everyone thought!!! Josh sent this article out yesterday and it definately gave my heart some consolation. i'm determined to not read anymore. stop talking about it. and pray for fortitude for Father Corapi.

  3. Kate,
    As the bishop of CC said, just because he is going to continue speaking, writing and evangelizing while he is suspended does not mean that he is leaving the priesthood. The suspension means that he can not do it "as a priest" but they can't stop him from doing it altogether. Also, SOLT confirmed that he has resigned from religious life, not the priesthood. He joined SOLT before they had all of these rules and regulations and I cannot imagine leaving everything behind to live in community with a group of men who you think suspect you of heinous actions. That said, if he applies for laitization I will be saddened and disappointed in him. But not yet. He has a lot more time to show the church in America what he plans on doing...the judgements remain premature.
    I also can find no fault with him in suing civilly. Like I said, the internet canonical process is flawed and many other good priests have been hurt by this same process.I think it's time for some of them to fight back.

  4. Well said Kate. We CAN and SHOULD judge public action. Does it not bother you that after his litany of complaints about the "process" the first two things he does is talk about how he can now communicate better and more directly with his "fans" - his word not mine. Then he immediately puts all of his talks and other wares on a "fire sale"?

    "I don’t want to be placed in an adversarial posture against the Church" Seriously? After saying "(The Bishops) choose to selectively ignore or violate both Canon Law and Civil Law, as they deem appropriate and or expeditious."

    Mr. Corapi's superior says about the accuser “When she left the company, she signed a contract that she would not reveal anything that happened to her while she was at Santa Cruz Media" Strage don't you think?

    He also said because Corapi is leaving priestly ministry the investigation will cease. Now that's convenient. What that means is that we will never know. So "sit and wait" for the facts really isn't an option.

    Look at the comments section on his blog post. It's obvious that he does not allow any comment that isn't either a gushing over him or a trashing of the Church. Read those comments and tell me he doesn't have a creepy "cult of personality."

    Is is Corapi himself that has left it up for the need to read into things.

    This is WAY to similar to Macial.

  5. I meAnt the internal canonical process.

  6. Honestly... I can see the whole "creepy cult of personality thing", but like you Lex, I'm not ready to totally jump ship on the man yet. Let us reserve judgment for a few months (though it may seem inane in the culture of the 24hr news cycle) and see what happens.

    We should pray that, like the Bishop of CC said, God is painting straight with crooked lines.

  7. Nick, you know I agree 100% about judging public action...if he applies for laitization I will be publicly disappointed. But right now I am publicly disappointed with Jimmy Akin and his ilk. They are the ones who we have proof against at the moment.
    As to the similarity to Maciel...
    I will not deny that the "thing stinks", as my dad would say. I wouldn't be surprised regardless of the final outcome.
    The canonical process sucks though and if I were defending myself I'd trust my fate to the civil process too, so I can't fault him there.

  8. Alexis,
    Did you get that he is suing his accuser for breach of contract rather than defamation? I just cannot find a way to put a positive spin on that. But then I've seen non-disclosure contracts used as a form of legal coercion in the framework of Catholic enterprise before. I've been a bit too close to the victims of Monaghan's ruthlessness and victims of Maciel's deceptions (also a heavy handed user of non-disclosures and legal harassment) to ever risk 'charitably' explaining away suspicious behaviour in a public figure again. Because, frankly, there comes a point where making excuses for someone is not being charitable, it is being complicit in the harm they are doing to their followers and their victims.

  9. Also - Corapi is NOT subject to the new canonical proceedings for sexual misconduct - which apply only to pedophilia claims - so his use of valid concerns about that process as a smokescreen is pretty misleading. Read the NCR article and the quotes from his superior again and take a stab at being charitable to Fr. Sheehan and to the bishop, who Fr. Corapi pretty much publicly slandered.

  10. @Kate. Yes, I "got" that. I said earlier that I don't deny that the thing stinks. But that is simply not a reason to trash the name of someone who has not been convicted yet. It is just not. The Akins of the world are jumping to conclusions. I am not defending corapi, per se...but I do NOT like the spin that a lot of bloggers are putting on this. There shouldn't be a spin, if there were more facts out then we wouldn't need a spin.

  11. As to Fr, Sheehan and the bishop of CC, I appreciate everything that they have said about this situation. They have been fair and balanced and not said more then they know. They have been far more charitable to corapi then most of what I've been reading out there. Charity is TRUTH. Stick to the facts.

  12. Lex - the problem is that we will never know the facts. Mr. Corapi has guaranteed that by non-disclosure agreements and removing himself from public ministry.

  13. Now we find out that Corapi HIMSELF greatly hampered the process by filing a civil lawsuit against the accuser.

  14. Nick. The facts about the actual allegation may not come out but we will certainly know if he applies for laitization. If he does this then it show a deeply flawed understanding of the importance of his "ministry" and his place in the Church. He is a priest forever...if he gives that up willingly then his ministry will be shown to be smoke and mirrors and a true cult of personality. And in consequence a dangerous person. But if he simply continues with his ministry while suspended from public ministry "as a priest" then I don't see how we can definitely say that it is the wrong move. Maybe the move is made out of bitterness, anger and pride. Or maybe it is born out of a conviction that he still has a role to play in the Church at large even if he is under suspension. That is how it sounds to me both from his announcement and the bishops article. I hope that this is the case but I am not so naive to defend it in the face of actual evidence. For me voluntary laitization is the key to showing where his mind and heart are.

  15. I think his "fans" will stick with him no matter what. Really, read the 200+ comments on his announcement at black sheepdog and tell me you are not creeped out.

  16. Some of the bloggers have been over-the-top in reponse to this, but aren't those particular ones always like that?

    Most decent Catholics I know were disturbed, not by the unknown allegations, but by Fr. Corapi's very confusing message. It was so unclear. Today's further news that he is leaving his order and suing this woman for talking, not for lying, is even more concerning. I think it is fine to share that concern publicly. Corapi is a public figure who put out public statements this week. It is legitamate to respond.

    After the Marciel scandal, I think it is important we suspend judgement on both the accused and the accuser. The victims in that case were subjected to years of judgment and character assasination. I think we need to allow for the possibility this woman is telling the truth. Because of the cult of personality in the Marciel case, it took a lot longer to get to the truth and many, many good people were hurt. I think some of the reaction in this case may be trying to avoid repeating that mistake.

    (FYI, The bishop that Corapi mentions in his message is the current bishop of Corpus Christi. The one who wrote the letter is a retired bishop of Corpus Christi. Just wanted to make sure that was

  17. I just wanted to add that laitization isn't the line in the sand for me. Many pedators in the Church were never laicized, either by pursing it voluntarily or it being enforced upon them, I.e. Fr. Marciel. In fact, many predators seem determined to remain priests because that is where the money flow is for them. I'm not sure how to exactly judge this case since the Church investigation seems to have been abandoned and the civil case does not address the veracity of the accusations.

  18. I did not know that it was the retired bishop, actually. Thanks for clarifying.
    You have found me out though...I am reacting to the usual suspects. I am sick to death of their negative and frankly, mean, response to people of good will. I do think that there's reason for suspicion and I would certainly advise anyone to take a cautious approach to his words but cautious is not the same as presumptuous. Even if they turn out to be right I think they have impacted the debate in a very negative direction.
    For reaction on watching the, albeit, weird announcement was confusion and sadness. For all, the alleged victim, corapi, bishop of CC and all priests who are forced to sit back and keep quiet while their names are dragged through the mud during these investigations. I saw corapi as taking a huge risk by standing up for himself and other accused priests (providing that they are falsely accused. If they are guilty I say lock them up for life). I went online to see if there was any clarifying information about this idea of him not being called father. Akins hit job is the first thing I come upon. He has no more information then I have but he's interpreting the message in such a way as to make corapi look like he's gone off the reservation.
    And the commenters on his blog were worse.
    I think they colored the whole debate. Instead of judging corapi on his and the authorities words we now have these accusations and jibes in our heads. They jumped the gun.
    There is more info that will come out, no doubt and I understand being cautious following the Regnum Christi debacle but preemptively accusing him of abandoning the priesthood does not have a place in the discussion. If and when corapi does that then we can judge him as if he has done it...because he WILL HAVE. Doing it before hand makes them look like they are out for blood and are glorying in the ugliness. I'm sick of those people

  19. By looking for whether or not he is laicized I am not saying that it is a barometer for innocence. I know completely innocent men who have been laicized and there are, as you say, many more guilty men who have not been so and should have been.
    I think that VOLUNTARY laitization would be a tremendously solid sign that he is out of whac k. If he believes that his "ministry" is more important then his priesthood that is the end of it for me. He would be so clearly an egomaniac. If, on the other hand, he does not do that then I think you are right about not having anything to judge the case on. Not really a problem for me since I've never actually been a "fan".

  20. Lex,
    To completely change topics - your husband is great on the air. :)

  21. He is, isn't he? I couldn't marry a man who wasn't. Ha.