Fr. Corapi's order says investigation has not yet begun

And the Diocese of Corpus Christi disputes a characterization posted on Fr. Corapi’s website, claiming that it was a bishop who suspended the priest.

Details, from Catholic News Service:

Marty Wind, director of communications for the Diocese of Corpus Christi, disputed (Bobbi) Ruffatto’s claim that Bishop Mulvey placed Father Corapi on leave. He said the action was taken by officials of the priest’s order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity in Robstown, Texas.

“We have been clear from the beginning that the bishop of Corpus Christi was notified by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity that the administrative leave was imposed by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, not the bishop of the diocese,” Wind told Catholic News Service March 25.

Father Corapi was placed on administrative leave following an accusation of misconduct by a former Santa Cruz Media employee.

The priest denied any wrongdoing in a statement on his website March 18. He gave little information about the accusation except to say a former employee had “sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several adult women.”

Father Gerard Sheehan, regional priest servant for the society, said March 28 he had not yet seen Ruffatto’s posting and that no formal discussion within the order about it had occurred.

The investigation into the former Santa Fe Media employee’s claim has yet to begin, Father Sheehan added, because the two priests who will conduct the probe had not yet been named. Bishop Mulvey instructed the religious community to ask two priests who are not diocesan clergy and who are not members of the order to investigate the allegations.

Father Sheehan said he was waiting for clarification from the diocese before choosing the priest investigators.

Continue reading.

UPDATE: Comments on this thread are now closed.


  1. Chip Wilson says:

    I certainly hope this investigation is swift. Seems the order would want to act very quickly, especially with an allegation of drug use — which can be easily verified or disproven with a simple test.

  2. This is like the TMZ of the catholic blogosphere when it comes to corapi

  3. Pat Hamilton says:

    Hoping Fr. Corapi is feeling all of the love and prayers being sent his way, I’m praying for him everyday.

    When he was in St. Louis last year I went to hear him speak. I have no doubt that he will be found innocent of these accusations.

  4. From the CNA article re Santa Cruz Media, Inc: “…online records in the secretary of state’s office there indicated John A. Corapi holds the office of president, treasurer, secretary and director.”

  5. I think the Deacon should remain silent until proof is given and case is closed.

    It could appear that Deacon likes the limelight himself, judging by all of the accolades listed off to the right about him.

    The fact that he’s so ready to spread such damaging “unsubstantiated” scandal and also so ready to dry up the comments when people and defences come to Fr. Corapi’s aid is telling and very worrying.

    Let us also keep the Deacon in our prayers alongside of Fr. Corapi and that ex-employee who rattled off those false accusations….

    [Thank you for the prayers, Mickey. God knows, I need 'em! FWIW, I'm offering periodic updates on this story, when I think it merits them, because the interest has been so great. And, by the way, you'll find literally hundreds of favorable and sympathetic comments on this blog about Fr. Corapi. Dcn. G.]

  6. Ok, now this story is just getting weird… We start this with Fr. Corapi’s and Ms Ruffatto’s outraged denunciations of Bishop Mulvey for putting Fr. Corapi on administrative leave. Now we’ve got Bishop Mulvey’s spokesman saying that Bishop Mulvey didn’t put him on leave, his S.O.L.T. superiors did that, and then asked for Mulvey’s advice on how to proceed.

    Is it possible that the S.O.L.T. superiors made such a hash of the notification of Fr. Corapi’s leave that he honestly thinks this? Do these people talk to each other? It’s like a married couple shouting insults at each other in a very public place…

  7. All of this mayhem, and the investigation hasn’t even begun! That’s why his suspension is so very damaging and sinful. The presumption of innocence, if genuine, requires that a man be treated as innocent. That means safeguarding his good name until guilt can be established in a DISCREET investigation.

    This is beyond wicked.

  8. Dcn Greg I really have great respect for you but this Father Corapi obsession is an enigma to me.

    Because people are interested? Com’on, we humans are interested in a lot of things we best not be, for starters, from enjoying watching vulnerable people be humiliated on reality TV to pornography .

    I clearly don’t get it, especially after seeing the filth and detraction that quickly fills the combox, why you would subject ANY priest, guilty or innocent, to that “free for all.”

    You know tomorrow this could be you, or any of the writers of Patheos. How would you feel if we started digging up your “get to know Greg Kendra for $6.00” on the internet. Sadly, it’s easy to do. The fact that public records are now so accessible still doesn’t give us the right to smear people with them.

    Lastly, as with all “pieces” of info without facts, most everything gets taken out of context. I myself had a “one person C corporation in CA for 10 years, of which I held every office.” It’s perfectly normal in business, for liability and tax purposes, a fact of which many of your readers are clueless.

    It’s your blog. I only offer a suggestion that I believe is in the best interest of all. We already have Father L’s series on demons, don’t need the live version. God Bless

    [Klaire, the obsession is from the public. The traffic and readership generated by the Corapi story are unprecedented for this blog, and for most other Catholic blogs. As for "smears": an overwhelming majority of commenters -- nearly all -- have been strongly supportive of Fr. Corapi. Beyond that, it was Fr. Corapi himself who started the ball rolling, by breaking this story on his own website, and his colleagues and supporters are the ones who have kept it going, with statements that have now forced a response from higher-ups in the church. If everybody concerned would just keep quiet and let the process work, we could all move on. Dcn. G.]

  9. With respect, No Father Corapi did not “start the ball rolling.” What started the ball rolling was the accusation, as yet totally unproven, that he is a “drug addict” and the other stuff.

    This forced him to go public given that he was booked to speak at numerous venues and his sudden disappearance would have seriously puzzled thousands of people who had booked time to hear him speak.

    Let’s get the sequence and cause and effect straight.

    [Corapi's superior at SOLT released a statement on Friday, March 18, saying: "We have received an allegation that Father Corapi has behaved in a manner unbecoming of a priest and are duty-bound to conduct an investigation in this accusation." But it was Fr. Corapi's statement, released the same day, which understandably got all the attention, since he revealed details that the SOLT statement did not, and suggested that the Dallas charter was somehow to blame. It said nothing about having to cancel any appearances. A week later, Corapi's company released a statement with still more details, which has sparked the present round of stories and reactions. Dcn. G.]

  10. On the positive side, for anyone interested in actually listening to the content of Father Corapi’s retreats, this is a great place to start.

    I highly recommend it especially to any male catholics out there who have fallen away from the Church for one reason or another. It is no nonsense, inspirational, and in communion with the Church’s magisterium.

  11. 1) Father Corapi’s is the owner of the self characterized ‘secular’ Santa Cruz Media Inc. – see the Nevada Corporate Registration and Montana Tax records for proof.

    2) Father Corapi is the employer of the Bobbi Ruffatto – vice president of operations- from put out the Santa Cruz Media press release last week that attacked Bishop Mulvey’s actions as being ‘illicit’. However, the Bishop had no role in the suspension, SOLT did.

    3) The accuser in this case is an employee of Father Corapi and chose to go to the church about the allegations and not the media or police.

    4) Father Corapi is the one who took allegations to the public with his press release on his website (see

  12. 1) Bobbi Ruffatto, vice president of operations at Santa Cruz Media, Inc. and Father Corapi’s female employee, in Kalispell, Montana, charged in a posting on Father Corapi’s Facebook page March 25 that Bishop William M. Mulvey of Corpus Christi, Texas, acted improperly, according to canon lawyers consulted by the company.

    2) Marty Wind, director of communications for the Diocese of Corpus Christi, disputed Ruffatto’s claim that Bishop Mulvey placed Father Corapi on leave. He said the action was taken by officials of the priest’s order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity in Robstown, Texas.

    3) Father Corapi was placed on administrative leave following an accusation of misconduct by a former Santa Cruz Media employee, a company owned by Father Corapi.

    4) Calls and emails from Catholic News Service to Santa Cruz Media requesting comment from Father Corapi and Ruffatto were not returned.

    5) Online records with the Montana secretary of state list John Corapi as the registered agent for the company. A company with the same name also is registered in Nevada and online records in the secretary of state’s office there indicated John A. Corapi holds the office of president, treasurer, secretary and director.

    6) Father Corapi’s employee Bobbi Ruffatto writes: “We are a secular corporation and not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way,” the company official said. “As such, we are not under the jurisdiction of any bishop or other official in the Catholic Church, although we have the utmost respect for church authority.”

  13. The allegations have done damage to a man’s reputation and cast a cloud over him, so I would hope for greater alacrity from SOLT in making at least a preliminary investigation. The Speedy Trial Act is not applicable here, of course, but it does provide a benchmark for quantifying what period of time is reasonable for a grave accusation to be resolved. It requires that in criminal proceedings, the accused is entitled to a trial within seventy days of the indictment. 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1). It therefore seems to me that if Fr. Corapi’s situation is not resolved one way or the other by early summer, he can and should feel aggrieved.

    No matter what comes of this, not a word of Corapi’s ministry is diminished, but his personal standing is not a small matter.

  14. eneubauer says:


    As a convert I have come to appreciate the “slow” nature of the Catholic Church. However, now that the news is out and F.C. has such a huge following this CASE should be WELL UNDER WAY by now. This kind of “in action” is a problem and our leaders should be jumping through hoops to clear his name or bring a conviction.

    Remember what we say in confession, we ask forgiveness for “what we have done and what we have failed to do.”

    Again, get this investigation done!

  15. Ironic that the link that Jeff provided gives guidelines based in part on the Special Forces handbook. This includes:
    a. Guerrilla warfare
    b. Evasion and escape
    c. Subversion against hostile states ”

    This looks like what Father would use as his game plan under the current circumstances. Besides his public announcements proclaiming his innocence, such tactics no doubt must include some undercover operatives working the blogs.

    The DVD at $45 is only $6 more than the CD at $39, so if anyone is going to make the purchase the DVD looks like the better buy. Don’t forget the proceeds go to Santa Cruz Media Inc., a for-profit corporation with no affiliation to the Catholic Church.

  16. Did Corapi get the ball rolling on the PR for this? Of course he did.

    This could have been handled – at this early stage – without public acknowledgement of the existence of the accusations.

    Corapi had been in a period of retreat from public appearances for a while. He had pulled way back from his previous schedule of frequent travel and speaking engagements – limiting himself to big events every few months.

    If ha had done so again – indicated that he was retreating for a while for “personal reasons” – it would have fit in very well with what he’s been doing the past couple of years. People would have prayed for him but really not thought much more about it.

    Another point: He DOES NOT HAVE PRIESTLY FACULTIES IN THE DIOCESE IN WHICH HE RESIDES. I think this is a fascinating point aside from the current problems but that’s beside the point. My point is that since he doesn’t regulalry say public Mass or hear confessions in Montana the suspension of his faculties wouldn’t have drawn any attention either.

    No – this mess of publicity is Corapi’s fault even if he’s not guilty.

    Live by the “compelling personal life story” die by the “compelling personal life story.”

  17. Put yourself in the shoes of any of the concerned parties: accuser, accused, diocesan officials, society officials. Do you want the best and most fair people you can find to conduct the investigation, or do you want the people you can get hold of the quickest?

    Do you want the investigation to proceed with plenty of communication and a minimum of confusion between the concerned parties, the SOLT, and the Diocese, or do you want the investigation and news releases to proceed on several fronts at once with contradictory and confusing outcomes?

    Do you want both the accuser and the accused to have a chance to tell their respective sides of the story fairly and completely, with supporting witnesses, or do you want a summary judgment based on the first allegations and counter-allegations that surface?

    Some people need to get a grip. The world is not going to end if Father Corapi keeps silent for a few weeks or even months. The world is not even going to end if Father Corapi never returns to active ministry. The notion that this can or should be resolved within days is very strange.

  18. The statement from S.O.L.T. had indicated only that Father Corapi had been accused of conduct unbecoming of a priest. I would think there would be a number of things that Father might do that could help dispel this more than the statements made on his website so far.

    He could publish on his website (or at least it’s in his name) his own tax returns and those of Santa Cruz Media Inc. This should show that a good amount of the money that comes in is turned over to his religious order and to other charitable causes beyond what is necessary for operations and protecting Father against death threats.

    He might allow the media in for a photo opportunity to show off his modest home and possessions.

    He could fully document his arrangement over the past few years with his religious order, and exactly what priestly faculties have been extended to him by them and the degree of supervision they exercise over his public appearances.

    He likely has already though of this (as days are passing by), but he might have the local police department conduct a drug test to show that he is not using any illegal substances nor anything that might be unbecoming to a priest.

    That should make the investigative team’s work much simpler for them, reducing their work to a few interviews.

  19. Daniel, we all know you hate Father Corapi and what he stands for, and have no interest in fairly considering the facts. You are now laughably twisting part of his superb retreat to make your cheap shots. What is motivating you I can only guess but it ain’t Christianity.

  20. Isn’t this slowness to appoint investigators and just get to it what drives people within and wihout the church crazy. The thing is out there now. Address it, quickly and with as much dignity (if that’s even possible) as the order can maintain. Fence sitting, foot dragging, waiting for public opinion to shift one way or the other, to see which way the wind is blowing, hasn’t worked for the church up to now. Both the friends and foes of Father Corapi want this to end, if in very different way. Interested parties are on a continuum. On the one end you have the jeerers and the leerers, who find great glee in this; on the other end you have the eye coverers and hand ringers, who think it’s the end of the churh as we know it. In the middle are those who want this issue investigated speedily and fairly, and if Father is innocent, those people will find no surprise in it, and if he is guilty, they will pray all the more because they thought he was a better man than the rest of us sinners.

  21. This is the easiest case ever to resolve. Let’s use modern lab. sciences.

    Just give him a drug test. If he fail’s then at least that part of the accusation was correct. And, we can surmise that he had lost control of his priestly continence.

    If he passes then we know at least that she got that part wrong. And, that he has at least maintained that much of his priestly continence.

  22. In my short time as a Catholic, I have met quite a few bad priests and deacons, some who are even no longer priests, and it is still not easy for the average Catholic to believe it is possible that any of these men could be wayward priests.They are held up to be pillars of the Church because they are priests.We want to think the best about our leaders and always assume that they could never be led by evil. It is just a sign of the times that the Church has so few holy leaders.When you have Holy leaders, you have a holy flock.

  23. Jeff:

    I have every interest in fairly considering the facts, let them be revealed. Father Corapi speaks the truth and so then has nothing to hide. I expect that Father has an explanation for all. I don’t see how you can suggest that it is not Christian for a full revelation of all of the facts as to how Father Corapi lives out his priestly life, or an explanation of what Father’s priestly faculties were even prior to this event. Has Father not been capable of granting absolution in the confessional recently, or he has but has chosen not to due to his security risk? That has nothing to do with any hatred for Father, which I do not have.

  24. Patti Day, funny little continuum you put together there, made me chuckle. Who are the people claiming this is the “end of the Church” as we know it? No one of course. It is so fun and easy to set up flimsy straw men and knock them down to make us feel “in the middle.”

    We should also take a drug test of the accuser and investigate her background thoroughly. The accusation is that she was violent.

    And since you closed the post on Geraldine Ferraro Deacon Greg out of concern for negative comments toward her, maybe you can do the same now out of respect of the reputation of Father Corapi. This must be the 5th post you have done on him and the same mud slinging keeps occurring.

  25. theresa mason-rogers says:

    Did everybody know that Padre Pio was held back for “10″ years? Imagine, and he was found innocent! I pray that this is not the case. God Bless.

  26. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Pray for all involved

  27. Please, let’s give everyone a break. Father Corapi seems to have been doing (with his ministry) what he felt he was called to do. Was he right? Maybe, maybe not, time will tell. But look at how many people say how he inspired them to come back to the church or grow deeper in their faith. Even if he has fallen, that doesn’t change the positive things he has done. These allegations could be false, and Satan is trying to stop his ministry because of its success in bringing people back to the faith. They could be true and Satan is trying to stop his ministry by tempting him and he fell into that temptation. Either way, it’s the work of Satan and should remind us how we all need to keep praying and do what we can to draw ourselves closer to God. The more we do His will, the more the enemy is going to attack us one way or another.

    I think Deacon Greg is posting these stories because many of his readers support Father Corapi and want to hear the news as it comes out. I think we all need to be charitable and give everyone the benefit of the doubt until some kind of conclusive proof is found. I personally hope he’s innocent, but even if he is guilty, we should pray that he will repent and turn back to God. The enemy is always at work, and any of us can fall into sin at any time, no one is immune to it; how would we want to be treated if this happened to any of us non-celebrity types? =)

  28. The fact that the investigation has not even begun surprised me. Was there a preliminary enquiry (or something similar) so as to establish sufficient grounds for putting the priest on administrative leave? If the leave was imposed based solely on receipt of an accusation, without any preliminary enquiry to establish “sufficient credibility” to warrant suspension during an investigation, I can understand the frustration and grievance on the part of the “accused.”

  29. I agree with Jim. A voluntary drug test early on can only help Fr. C

    For a hair analsis they take 1 1/2″ from the root which equates to the past 90 days. That is if they can find a clean sample that length. So the sooner the test is done the more it helps Fr. C to prove his innocence.

    That would be my first action if I were falsely accused.

  30. She did not accuse him of “drug use,” she accused him of being a “drug addict.” Does he appear to be a drug addict to you? Even those of you who don’t like his tan and darker beard? Does he look strung out or wired?


    Let’s give her one while we’re at it and a polygraph also.

  31. Dave in San Juan Capistrano CA says:

    Seems like whenever a public figure espouses moral orthodoxy, someone from the left will attempt to destroy him/her. This Coropi thing reminds me of the vicious attacks on Sarah Palin by the left for her not aborting her downs syndrome child. It is times like these that I find it hard (but necessary) to forgive our enemies.

  32. Patti (#20)—yes. If you’ve ever watched “Tora Tora Tora,” the movie about Pearl Harbor, it’s stunning how little sense of urgency the principals have, even after things start to go wrong. And one sometimes detects a similarly languorous response from the Church in abuse cases (which is, one must observe, precisely why immediate suspension is and must be the right policy).

  33. Yes, Simon, but I have seen no evidence (beyond Fr. Corapi’s vigorous denunciation of the Dallas procedures) that this is an abuse case.

  34. Bill Foley says:

    From Bill Foley:

    In regard to the Fr. Corapi situation, I would like to offer some historical facts regarding bishops so that the faithful Catholics that read this blog will keep their spiritual balance and understand that the actions or lack of action by bishops and/or priests will not affect their salvation. One is responsible only for oneself, and one should not commit spiritual suicide—leaving the Catholic Church—because of an Episcopal and/or priestly scandal.

    The Catholic News Agency published an article, “New Phase Begins in Canonization Cause of The First African-American Priest,” which was put on the news headlines of the EWTN website the on February 24, 2011. The following is from this source:

    “A priest in a German parish (in Quincy, Illinois) told him (Father Augustan Tolton, an African-American priest), in no uncertain terms, that he should restrict himself to blacks. He took this complaint to the local bishop—and was reprimanded. . . . . He was told that if he could not obey, it was best that he leave town.”

    This occurred at the end of the 19th century. This bishop’s action was not unusual for the time because most of the bishops in the United States were not confronting the cultural evil of segregation and ill-treatment of the Negro race.

    Pinchas Lapide, an Israeli diplomat, wrote Three Popes and The Jews, a book that gives detailed proof that Pope Pius XII was responsible for saving approximately 860,000 members of the Jewish race. Page 239 of this monograph reveals the following episcopal misdeeds.

    “Monsignor Groeber, the Archbishop of Freiburg, not only joined the Nazi Elite Corps of the SS in 1933 as a ‘promotive member,’ but in letter dated June 7, 1946, tried to justify his flagrant self-identification with Hitler’s regime to the International Tribunal of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial.”

    “In June 1936 Bishop Berning of Osnabrueck visited a number of concentration camps and reminded the inmates ‘of the duty of obedience and fidelity towards people and state, that was demanded by their religious faith.’ In a talk to the guards the Archbishop was reported in the press ‘to have praised their work in the camp and to have ended his visit with three ‘Siegheil!’ for Fuehrer and fatherland.”

    “When on October 1, 1938, German troops marched into the Sudetenland, the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference sent a telegram of appreciation to Hitler, ‘respectfully to tender congratulations and thanks, and to order a festive peal of bells on Sunday.’”

  35. Cathy, good point. If the procedures don’t distinguish between abuse situations and allegations like this, they ought to, and considerably more leeway is permissible in the latter.

  36. There are just too many things said about Fr. Corapi’s problem, but the fact, as you imply, is that nothing has been proven about anything: Fr. Corapi’s innocence, or the accuser’s guilt. No matter what the bloggers say (and there are many fair and intelligent ones), I wait for the whole picture to come out. It does not mean that I don’t care for Fr. Corapi, because I do pray that this is not true; but, I also pray that whatever it is, the truth may come out to also heal the accuser, if there is any truth to her assertions. The important thing is the Truth. I also understand that the process may not be as fast as some people would want it; but until then, we should all remain prayerful that the truth will come out, good or bad, and be able to forgive whoever it is that would have hurt or disappointed us. After all, in its 2000 years, the Church has moved slowly, but surely, upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I would want to put my trust in God, and not submit to any hero-worship by saying Fr. Corapi is right, and the accuser wrong, until everything is sorted out. To Fr. Corapi, I pray for God’s blessings on him and his ministry; to the accuser, I pray that she may see the truth, and learn to accept that she misinterpreted her allegations and be healed, God loves all of us, even in our imperfections! I trust God, and no matter what, his TRUTH WILL prevail, whether I like it or not. Thank you.

  37. Lets put our faith in God and not in a man.

  38. To: Dave in San Juan Capistrano CA

    “This Coropi thing reminds me of the vicious attacks on Sarah Palin by the left for her not aborting her downs syndrome child.”

    I am very interested in knowing what left-leaning pundit or commentator has ever attacked Sarah Palin for not aborting her Down’s Syndrome child. Can you cite name and newspaper, radio or TV station, or Internet website. I would like to communicate my righteous anger to him or her.

  39. The Dallas Charter was the by-product of decades of jaw dropping sexual abuse involving homosexually-inclined clergy and male teenagers or boys. It is now being applied to this situation, which does involve a minor. The process is horrendously flawed and it’s not ok to sit back and say “well, the Church moves slowly” when it is your ox that is being gored.

  40. Wasn’t he on (and already quit) drugs BEFORE the priesthood? I mean he said so a lot on his show, could THAT be where she got it?

    He is in my prayers either way!

  41. charlotte says:

    Has the Dallas Charter actually been invoked in this case? My impression what that the superiors were acting under Canon Law provisions for administrative leave during an investigation. Administrative leave only requires that a preliminary investigation be done. Presumably the ten days between receiving of the letter and placing Father on leave would have been enough time for that. We ought to be just as willing to give Father’s superiors a presumption of good intentions as we are to give Father the presumption of innocence.

  42. What is the correct terminology for the sin of gossip/scandel enjoyment/interest ?

  43. All of you folks who are blindly defending Fr. Corapi and slamming the good deacon and all who are not automatically proclaiming Fr. Corapi’s innocence – if it’s so wrong for the deacon to post news and a blog about the case, why are you reading it? Wouldn’t that be just as wrong? Also, by proclaiming Fr. Corapi’s innocence without the facts, you are basically calumniating the accuser and calling her a liar in public. How Christian is that? It works both ways.

  44. Hopefully the priests appointed to investigate are at least experienced gumshoes and not men with no experience in such type of investigations. I suppose also they would have to include in their talents an honest and proper application of Canon law.

    What is interesting in the statement by SOLT is the mention that the accusations do not rise to criminal even as generally summed up by Fr. C.

  45. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Charlotte …

    You raise an interesting point.

    Fr. Corapi alluded obliquely to the Dallas Charter in his initial statement, suggesting that it was a factor, and the vice president of his media company mentioned it explicitly in her statement.

    However: the SOLT superior who suspended Fr. Corapi did not mention it. Neither did EWTN. Neither has anyone else.

    In fact, the statement from SOLT said simply that there were charges that Fr. Corapi had “behaved in a manner unbecoming of a priest,” and that they were following Canon Law. That could mean almost anything. But it seems unlikely the Dallas Charter is a factor here, since the SOLT statement acknowledges that “the claim of misconduct does not involve minors and does not arise to the level of criminal conduct.”

    We just need to wait and see.

    Dcn. G.