On canon law, "administrative leave" and the media — UPDATED

A few commenters are still upset that EWTN has pulled Fr. John Corapi’s programs.  Shortly after the story broke, however, Relevant Radio — which also aired his work — issued a detailed press release, explaining their decision to remove his shows.  I think it helps explain the reasoning behind that decision.

It reads, in part:

While the principle “innocent until proven guilty” still holds in canon law, it would be a mistake to hold that  any cleric ever has a right to exercise the public ministry without his Bishop/Superior’s express  permission, which can be withdrawn for prudential reasons.
Canon 822 §3 addresses the special duty of those involved with the media in this  regard:
a. “All Christ’s faithful, especially those who in any way take part in the management or use of the media, are to be diligent in assisting pastoral action, so that the Church can more effectively exercise its office through these means.”
“To assist in pastoral action” means to  cooperate with the proper ecclesiastical authorities. In the case of Fr. Corapi, Catholic media outlets will assist the process by supporting the indications and intentions of his superiors with respect to his temporary suspension from the public ministry of teaching, sanctifying, and governing.
UPDATE: A sharp-eyed reader spotted this update from Fr. Corapi’s superior, posted on Friday:

The current status of the case is as follows:
Fr. John Corapi is on administrative leave. A preliminary investigation, which includes the initial review of any and all accusations of alleged improprieties made against him is actively underway. The decision to place Father Corapi on administrative leave is a prudential decision, similar to how other institutions conduct internal investigations. It is not a penal act but does signal the serious concern with which our religious society views allegations against a member, as well as our desire to assist in pastoral action with transparency, efficiency and in a manner which also serves as a protection for the accused and the alleged victim, and in service to all the faithful. At the conclusion of the preliminary investigation, the Society will provide further information.

  • brother jeff

    Another Corapi article….wonderful. how do we square the above with Bishop Gracida’s statement decrying media exploitation of such situations.

    [Br. Jeff...I put this up because one commenter demanded a written reason for EWTN's actions, and refused to believe it was a matter of Canon Law. I suspect other readers might have similar misgivings. The statement by Relevant Radio should put this particular issue to rest. Dcn. G.]

  • naturgesetz

    Thanks for posting this, Deacon Greg. There is one VERY IMPORTANT paragraph in the statement which you did not include but I think everybody needs to understand. It is number 1. in the press release, and it reads:

    “No cleric carries out the sacred ministry in his own name. He ministers at the will of his proper ecclesiastical authority, the bishop or religious superior as the case may be.
    The mission of the priest is to assist the Bishop in teaching, sanctifying, and governing. He has no right to do this on his own.”

  • Deacon Bill

    I agree, Deacon Greg: Relevant Radio’s statement is perfectly on point!

    Brother Jeff, there’s a huge difference between objective reporting (such as this) and “media exploitation”!

    God bless,

    Deacon Bill

  • Kathryn

    Brother Jeff, Interesting that you’re all for obeying Emeritus Bishops in their opinions on things, if they side with your view of things, but not when they don’t.

  • Anne

    Fr. Corapi is being obedient to his Superior. EWTN is following Canon Law.

    EWTN, Mother Angelica reruns, and Fr. Corapi’s preaching on the Catechism brought me back to the Church. I will be eternally greatful to each of them. They are all in my prayers.

    I hope that this tragic situation is settled soon.

    We all must remember that rash judgment is a sin.

  • eric

    What a shame that Corapi’s own company is not following the lead of EWTN & Relevant Radio by putting the sale of his products on hold as well. But, then again, I’m sure he’s making a mint on selling that which the above mentioned outlets are not sharing at the moment. Corapi is certainly a wise businessman and proves to make even more money on his supposed “leave of absence.” The obedient thing to do would be not to even sell any of his products during this time…but that would mean a loss of revenue for his “secular” media company. What a “clever” priest of whom we should all be proud? NOT!

  • Anne

    Time for confession ?

    eric, were you there in person as an eye witness? Have you personally seen Fr. Corapi’s bank accounts? Have you personally seen the letter from his Superior? Did you hear any conversations between Fr. Corapi and his Superior?
    Please quote Canon law related directly to your comments.

    CCC “2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:
    - of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
    - of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
    - of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.”

    CCC ” 2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
    Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

  • Brother Jeff

    Deacon Greg, fair enough. Here is Bishop Gracida’s statement for anyone who is interested. He is a successor to the apostles so I think it is worthy of a look at least:

    “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.

  • Benedict Newman

    Ah! So, I guess EWTN suspended all episodes of Mother Angelica when she took on that Cardinal Mahoney character. After all, she publicly went against Canon Law.

    No, they kept her on. Those were the days when the people running EWTN had holy courage. Now they’re just a bunch of business men.

    So, EWTN and Relevant Radio say Corapi is “innocent until proven guilty,” but they crucify him anyway, just in case. “We do not know the man!!! Away with Him!!!”

    This is actually a good thing that is happening. It is revealing the rotten state of the relationship between bishops and priests. (Yes, that’s right BISHOPS and priests…) The bishops (yes, I said “bishops,” in case anybody is wondering what I’m getting at) in USA are bad leaders. They were bad leaders before the scandal hit in 2002, and they are just as bad now. Their bad leadership skills brought on the scandal, and their bad leadership skills have finally destroyed the relationship between bishops and priests. The USCCB is against the priests and the priests do not trust their bishops — and for good reason.

    Every vocation director should put an announcement saying “If you become a priest, the bishop (yes, the “bishop”) will take away your rights. He is against you and will crucify you as soon as the Accuser instructs him to do that.”

    The Catholic Church in the USA is rotten to it’s core and the bishops are to blame.

  • Joseph

    Seems everyone has missed this update from SOLT:

    http://www.societyofourlady.net/

    From the office of Rev. Gerard J. Sheehan, solt, Regional Priest Servant, American Region

    As a Society of Apostolic Life in the Catholic Church, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) assumes sole and full responsibility for all our members while we live in communion with the hierarchy of the Church and in obedience to local ecclesiastical authorities. This is the framework within which the investigation of the allegations against Father John Corapi is being conducted. We move forward in full obedience to canon law, according to the above stated precepts and in good faith.

    Father John Corapi is a priest in good standing with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. In his sacred duty as a priest, as all priests should do, he has brought Christ’s ministry to many individuals. Any allegation(s) against Fr. Corapi must not be taken lightly, just as any allegations against any priest must not be taken lightly. As religious superior who is responsible for the pastoral care of Father John Corapi, I take his needs and those of the alleged injured parties into consideration at this time with equal concern and pastoral care.

    The current status of the case is as follows:

    Fr. John Corapi is on administrative leave. A preliminary investigation, which includes the initial review of any and all accusations of alleged improprieties made against him is actively underway. The decision to place Father Corapi on administrative leave is a prudential decision, similar to how other institutions conduct internal investigations. It is not a penal act but does signal the serious concern with which our religious society views allegations against a member, as well as our desire to assist in pastoral action with transparency, efficiency and in a manner which also serves as a protection for the accused and the alleged victim, and in service to all the faithful.

    At the conclusion of the preliminary investigation, the Society will provide further information.

    Rev. Gerard J. Sheehan, solt, Regional Priest Servant, American Region

  • Mike

    Our brand new, local Catholic radio station was slated to be the beneficiary of the proceeds of a conference Fr. C. was doing in August. Now they are begging for money to stay on the air.

    The ‘for profit’ company of which Fr. C is presumably the owner or CEO may be his because he wants to have the ability and freedom to assure it is managed. A non-profit would have the IRS on him anytime he mentioned politics. A proprietorship would leave him open to personal lawsuits. The for-profit corp. is the best business way.

    He says in his talks that he took a vow of poverty, and that he is allowed to own nothing. He only uses what his order owns, but it is not his. We don’t know where the money goes, but obviously it first goes to producing his work and managing it (paying for workers, supplies etc.) and if there are profits, aassuming he’s following his vows, they would either be donated to charities or handed over to the order. There is be no reason to impugn his owning such a company, unless there is some other wrongdoing there, which we have no reason whatsoever to rashly assusme.

  • jkm

    Fr. Corapi took no vow of poverty. (Nor was he required to, as a priest who is not a consecrated religious or diocesan hermit.) He is associated with SOLT under a private, exceptional arrangement with the society’s founder, made while SOLT was still a pious association and before the society conformed its constitutions with those required by canonical status as a society of consecrated life. According to the North American spokesperson for SOLT, Fr. Corapi’s relationship with the society–like that of other associates whose membership preceded the constitutional reforms–is in the process of being re-negotiated. His special status does not require him to live in community or share any assets with the society–and indeed, he has never given the society any money. The Church has not withdrawn its support of Father–it does not support him, as he is not incardinated in a diocese. The faculties that SOLT granted him in order to carry out his special apostolate of preaching have been withdrawn, as is prudent, during his canonically mandated administrative leave while charges of conduct unbecoming to priestly life are being investigated. This suspension has nothing to do with the Dallas Charter, and has been applied in similar situations for centuries. Because he does not have faculties, he may not preach, celebrate the sacraments, or represent himself as a priest–even on the airwaves, even in reruns. Those are simply the facts, and any Catholic faithful to the Church (and not simply to Fr. Corapi) will have no problem understanding that.

  • Gene

    In todays world Fr. Corapi is guilty until proven innocent, especially Catholic Priests.

  • Gene

    In todays world Fr. Corapi is guilty until proven innocent.

  • Michael

    What are the relevant canon(s) that Fr. Sheehan refers to in his statement above on Joseph’s post….does anyone know?
    I want to read them and see for myself what they say.
    Thanks.

  • deacon marv robertson

    Recently. a Lansing, Michigan police officer shot and killed a teenager who, he alleges. lunged at him with a knife when the officer responded to a call of an armed robbery. Pending investigation by an independent third party, the officer was placed on administrative leave with pay and benefits. This is standard operation in law enforcement. This does not raise the inference of any impropriety on the officer’s part. This is simply a prudent method of handling a delicate situation until the investigation is completed.

    By the same token, the prudent decision to suspend a cleric from ministry pending the conclusion of an investigation ought not raise any inference of guilt.

  • Mary

    Rash judgment, envy, detraction, even calumny. Why?

  • Richard W Comerford

    Re: Nine Years After Dallas

    In 2002 the American Catholic Church bureaucracy assured us that the Scandal was over. Billions of dollars of the faithful’s money had been paid out to stop further deposition’s. A zero tolerance policy was put into effect. And parents soon found themselves being fingerprinted if they volunteered at their home parishes.

    After Dallas some, to include Cardinal Avery Dulles, questioned the justness of the Charter particularly in regards to accused priests. Under Canon Law a preliminary investigation has to be completed before a priest can be suspended. Now, post Dallas, a priest is suspended and his name blackened without even a preliminary inquiry or a chance to defend himself.

    Many Catholic bloggers think that what happened to Coapi is reasonable. They focus on his goatee, suntan, bald head, alleged vast wealth and celebrity status. Some compare him to a police officer who has been suspended after a shooting. But the act of shooting in a police suspension is never in doubt. Here the alleged acts of priestly misconduct are in doubt.

    Some may think that what has happened to Corapi and other priests is worth it. After all Dallas had allegedly removed predatory priests from our ranks. Sadly this is not true. A recent Philadelphia Grand Jury investigation found some 37 predatory priests were on duty in that Archdiocese alone. So far the Cardinal, after preliminary investigations, has suspended 21 priests.

    Perhaps it is time for our Church bureaucrats to pay attention to Canon Law?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    Richard …

    This website indicates that the practice of removing an accused priest early on — a practice some perceive to be unjust — has been going on since long before the Dallas charter.

    And — despite what Fr. Corapi is asserting — Dallas has nothing to do with this case. There’s no criminality involved (as yet) and nothing involving a minor. According to his superiors, he’s accused simply of conduct unbecoming a priest. Which could mean almost anything.

    Dcn. G.

  • Daniel T

    “A non-profit would have the IRS on him anytime he mentioned politics.”

    Actually, political action committees are tax-exempt non-profit organizations. The IRS would mainly get on someone’s back if they were set up under 501(c)(3) and accepted tax-deductible donations. Catholic Answers is a 501(c)(3) organization that set up a separate organization, Catholic Answers Action, under section 501(c)(4) to distribute their voter guides. The guides are not in violation of 501(c)(3), but by having the separate 501(c)(4) they save the legal expenses of defending challenge. Tax exempts, unlike for-profits, have to make available to the public their annual information return. You can use a free service on http://www.guidestar.org and look up Catholic Answers Action. You can not look up Santa Cruz Media, since for-profits are not required to disclose their income (though they could do so voluntarily).

  • Richard W Comerford

    Deacon:

    Thank you for the link.

    However just because an injustice had became embedded in some parts if our Church bureaucracy before Dallas does not make it right. Norm 7 of the Dallas Charter reads in part:

    when a “credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by priests, deacons or other church personnel is made, the alleged offender will be relieved of any ecclesiastical ministry or function.”

    Note that this conflicts with Canon Law:

    “Can. 1722 To prevent scandals, to protect the freedom of witnesses, and to guard the course of justice, the ordinary, after having heard the promoter of justice and cited the accused, at any stage of the process can exclude the accused from the sacred ministry or from some office and ecclesiastical function, can impose or forbid residence in some place or territory, or even can prohibit public participation in the Most Holy Eucharist.”

    As Cardinal Dulles noted there is a lack of due process and justice in the Charter:

    http://www.elephantsinthelivingroom.com/Rights_of_Accused_Priests.doc

    The Dallas Charter has essentially enshrined an injustice. And like all injustices that have been allowed to fester it has been extended beyond its original bounds.

    “There’s no criminality involved (as yet)”

    I hope not. But one SOLT Communication mentioned that Corapi was accused of alleged drug abuse. This may indeed be a criminal matter.

    “According to his superiors, he’s accused simply of conduct unbecoming a priest. Which could mean almost anything.”

    The same SOLT communication mentioned another accusation of sexual misconduct with several women.

    Simple Justice and Canon Law require that before an accused priest can be suspended (or excluded) a promoter of justice, an investigator and an advocate must first make an appearance. A copy of the proofs must be presented to the accused. A preliminary investigation must be completed which includes a chance for the accused to defend himself.

    None of this happened in the Corapi case or in the case of many other priests. I worked the cases of two accused priests who were without doubt innocent but flushed down the toilet by the Church bureaucrats.

    Justice, not suntans, should be the focus of our attentions or what sane young man will ever enter the American Catholic priesthood again?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    Richard…

    You’re obviously much better versed in this sort of thing than I am. Thank you for your insight. But I don’t think we really know what’s transpired so far in the Corapi case. According to Fr. Corapi’s original statement, it was ten days from when he first learned of the accusations to when he was placed on administrative leave. It’s entirely possible that his superiors had the accusations in their hands a few days before he knew about them. And I suspect some preliminary investigation of some sort must have transpired in the ensuing ten days, to determine if the accusations were credible.

    Dcn. G.

  • sj

    I see two SOLT statements on their website and neither mentions drug abuse or sexual misconduct. The only reference I have been able to find to drugs or sexual misconduct is by Father Corapi himself (other than a brief assertion that the “claim of misconduct does not involve minors” and a reference to an “alleged victim”).

  • John Stevens

    For those who criticize Santa Cruz Media and Fr. Corapi rergarding the sale of material perhaps they should ponder the following.
    S.O.L.T. currently provides no support for Fr. Corapi for any of his needs. The current relationship he has with them requires him to be totally self supporting. He is responsible also for the cost of his legal defense. Employees of Santa Cruz Media may have families to support. At the very least they must support themselves. Who, pray tell, should be responsible for financially providing for tese needs during this indefinite period of time? Perhaps those who criticize would like to give up their income during this same time as an act of penance for the injury done to the Church with this matter.
    The clarification from S.O.L.T. that this was a prudential decision is appreciated. Fr. Sheehan’s original statement intimated that the administrative leave was mandated by Canon Law. I requested from Fr. Sheehan what statute was being applied. His response as to statute left no doubt that it was a prudential decision.
    Currently all new priests coming in to S.O.L.T. are provided for by the Society. They are looking for ways to now bring the older priests in under this new arrangement In an article in the National Catholic Register Fr. Sheehan commented that they never thought Fr. Corapi’s public ministry would be so profitable. I get the strong impression that when the smoke clears, and Fr. Corapi is reinstated, his public minstry and finances will be under the jurisdiction of S.O.L.T, and they will provide for his support. That helps me put the prudential judgment in better perspective.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Deacon:

    “And I suspect some preliminary investigation of some sort must have transpired in the ensuing ten days, to determine if the accusations were credible.”

    SOLT announced AFTER Corapi had been suspended that the Bishop had ordered two outside priests to be appointed as investigators.

    A preliminary investigation is required under Canon Law before a priest can be suspended (or excluded from ministry). Some of the elements are:

    * The Ordinary believes there may be some truth to the accusation.

    * An investigator and an advocate are appointed.

    * The Ordinary’s Promoter of Justice (under Canon Law every Ordinary must have one) reviews the case

    * The accusations are reduced to writing, the relevant Canons which were allegedly broken by the accused are cited; any and all evidence is categorized and all of the foregoing is to the accused.

    * The accused, aided by his advocate, presents his defense.

    The Ordinary then makes a decision whether to continue the investigation; and, if he decided to proceed then and only then can he suspend in whole or part the accused priest from his sacred ministry.

    Sadly this process seldom happens. (One Promoter of Justice I contacted insisted that his role was to promote “fair housing” before the State legislature. However he did ask me to keep him informed as to the fate of the accused priest in question)

    In the Corapi case, as in so many others, the accused priest was unjustly suspended without due process in violation of Canon Law. Now I admit that Corapi does look like a Satanic Priest. But, as Cardinal Dulles has pointed out, the lack of simple justice in these cases impacts negatively on the faithful.

    The biggest problem IMO is a growing mistrust between the faithful and our vast Church bureaucracy. The only remedy to this distrust in not more bureaucrats but more Saints. Particularly Saintly Bishops.

    Catholic bloggers must look beyond the particulars of this and other cases (Goatees, sock puppets, celebrity status and the like) and at the larger question as to how to build a civilization of love in the USA when we have this demonic problem of predatory priests.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Daniel T

    Is Father Corapi and exclaustrated member of SOLT? It seems like he could be granted an indult to live outside community for a limited period of time, and there is nothing about Father’s arrangements that suggest he plans to return to community life. It doesn’t seem as though there is much cooperation with the local ordinary of his place of residence. Is he claiming illicit actions on the part of the Bishop of Corpus Christi due to his not extending an indult of exclaustration beyond 3 years?

    Even if that is not the case, isn’t this an internal manner of SOLT and the canons regarding possible dismissal of him as a member entirely different from the penal process previously referred to? It doesn’t seem to be the ordinary hearing a case, but the superior. This hasn’t reached the stage of a dismissal, but is a suspension while an investigation proceeds.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Daniel:

    All very important questions. Allow me to give you my best guess which with $25.00 will get you a cup of coffee.

    * Corapi joined SOLT when it was a pious association and its members did not take vows or live in community and were expected to support themselves.

    * SOLT is now a Society of Apostolic Life wherein some members take vows and live in community; but not Corapi..

    * Corapi and some other early members of SOLT are still bound by the looser Pious Association rule.

    * SOLT comes under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of the Diocese where it makes it headquarters.- CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas

    * The Bishop of Corpus Christi ordered that two outside priests be appointed to investigate Corapi AFTER Corapi was suspended.

    * Who pulled the trigger to suspend Corapi without a preliminary investigation? The Bishop or SOLT? I do not know.

    Again, IMO, Corapi is not the story here. The real story is justice for all accused priests as set forth in Canon Law. We have to recruit a new generation of American priests. Why should young men entrust themselves to a bungling Church bureaucracy?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • anthony

    I think this discussion goes no where because people are talking about a number of different issues: the reasons that lead to Fr Corapi being put on leave (which no one really knows the facts), the fairness of the Dallas Charter (which does not apply to the Corapi case), the fairness of the system that puts priests on leave for whatever grave charges, and there are a few more that get thrown in the mix. one can see how the blogosphere is not really a good tool to provide insightful discussion or real clarity. it is great at stirring things up…but not much more, IMHO!

    Also i think the situation with Fr Corapi and his community is deeper than some of the above comments suggest. the only ones who can speak about it with real knowledge would be the order or Fr Corapi, everyone else is giving conjecture but not facts. On Fr Corapi’s website it states:

    “Ecclesiastical Status
    Perpetually professed priest in good standing with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, a society of apostolic life of the diocesan rite with headquarters in Robstown, Texas.”

    that sure sounds like he has made some sort of a profession of evangelical counsels, but it is just a conjecture on my part….it could have said he was a member in good standing, but perpetually professed has deeper meanings but they could be vows or promises etc.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Anthony:

    “the fairness of the Dallas Charter (which does not apply to the Corapi case)”

    If it does not apply then why is the Dallas Standard (cited above) applied to the Corapi (and other) cases rather than the relevant Canon law (cited above)?

    BTW before he was suspended Corapi railed against the Dallas Charter as “unjust” as did Cardinal Avery Dulles.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • brother jeff

    He is in good company wirh cardinal dulles. Thanks for your insights mr comerford.

  • anthony

    in the statement of his superior when placing Fr Corapi on LOA he did not say he was doing it in compliance with the Dallas Charter (which deals with sexual abuse of minors and therefore criminal acts). He was placing him on leave until the outcome of an investigation. Now you may question if he is following canon law in doing this, but they are two separate issue, the application of the Charter and the procedures a bishop uses when he places a priest on leave when the accusations do not concern a minor or criminal activity.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    anthony raises a good point. The only person to mention the Dallas Charter is Fr. Corapi (and his colleagues at Santa Cruz Media).

    Since there doesn’t appear to be a minor involved here, blaming this on Dallas is something of a red herring.

    Dcn. G.

  • Daniel T

    Richard:

    If Father is only bound by looser rules of a Pious Association of the Faithful, how would SOLT be able to grant him any priestly faculties other than we he visits SOLT communities? Under the circumstances, it seems he would be required to obtain faculties from the local ordinary where he resides, and the Bishop of Helena states that he has no priestly faculties there. It would also seem that since Father Corapi has a media studio in the Diocese of Helena that regularly produces programming, per the complementary norm for canon 831.2 he would require the permission of the ordinary as well as the permission of his superior. These issues seem they could be easily enough resolved, it just seems from various statements that there has yet to have been much effort to resolve them. Statements by Santa Cruz Media inc. as to owning all of Father Corapi’s intellectual property while not being under the jurisdiction of any bishop or church official can’t be helping his case on there issues.

  • william

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt

  • Steve

    Speaking in general, I think it’s a very scarey thing to be a priest in this country. Any day, the bishop or superior has the right to take away your faculties and ministry, for whatever reason he chooses.

    Read the following article, which is very eye-opening:

    http://catholiclane.com/father-john-corapi-and-the-state-of-due-process-for-accused-priests/

    There have been priests sent to jail with no real proof of wrongdoing! No defense was offered to the priest by the diocese. The accusers weren’t even asked for dates, places, details, etc. They were just assumed to be in the right and paid off. “Just like going to an ATM.”

  • Richard W Comerford

    Deacon:

    RE: “Red herring is an idiomatic expression referring to the rhetorical or literary tactic of diverting attention away from an item of significance.”

    “The only person to mention the Dallas Charter is Fr. Corapi”

    As cited above Cardinal Avery Dulles published a paper on this matter wherein he decried the lack if justice for accused priests. .Also Corapi’s former Ordinary, now retired from the Corpus Christi Diocese published an extraordinary statement wherein he decried the injustice in the Corapi and other cases. The lack of justice in the the American Church bureaucracy first for alleged victims and now for alleged predatory priests is astounding.

    “Since there doesn’t appear to be a minor involved here, blaming this on Dallas is something of a red herring.”

    The unjust Dallas Charter is being misapplied to all accused priest whether or not a minor is involved. If Dallas did not cause Corapi’s Ordinary to pull the trigger then under what authority was he publicly suspended from his sacred ministry in violation of Canon Law. (By which I mean no appearance of investigator, promoter of justice, advocate, The “proofs’ or opportunity for the accused to present a defense before suspension.)

    I say again. The story here is not Corapi. It is a bloated and unresponsive Church bureaucracy. Almost fifty years into the scandal they still do not get it.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Daniel:

    “If Father is only bound by looser rules of a Pious Association of the Faithful, how would SOLT be able to grant him any priestly faculties other than we he visits SOLT communities?”

    SOLT comes under the Bishop of Corpus Christi. That Ordinary grants Corapi permission to function as a priest. It is that Bishop who withdrew his permission and directed SOLT to assign two outside priests to investigate Corapi AFTER Corapi had been suspended.

    “It would also seem that since Father Corapi has a media studio in the Diocese of Helena that regularly produces programming, per the complementary norm for canon 831.2 he would require the permission of the ordinary as well as the permission of his superior. ”

    THE Bishop for Helena issued a statement stating that although Corapi lived there he was not a priest of the Diocese and that his authority to act as a priest came from the Bishop of Corpus Christi.

    “These issues seem they could be easily enough resolved, it just seems from various statements that there has yet to have been much effort to resolve them.”

    For 17-years now some members of SOLT (to include Corapi) have lived under the rules of the old pious association. Others have lived under the new rules. Perhaps this is why the Bishop of Helena described this case as “complex”?

    “Statements by Santa Cruz Media inc. as to owning all of Father Corapi’s intellectual property while not being under the jurisdiction of any bishop or church official can’t be helping his case on there issues.”

    It means that Santa Cruz Inc. is claiming it can continue to sell Corapi’s very expensive tapes no matter what the Bishops say about the Corapi case. This means money continuing to come into the company coffers which translate into hiring lawyers which makes Corapi potentially very dangerous. Most accused priests, guilty or not, go quietly into the night. Corapi does not have to.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Anthony

    “in the statement of his superior when placing Fr Corapi on LOA he did not say he was doing it in compliance with the Dallas Charter (which deals with sexual abuse of minors and therefore criminal acts). ”

    Yes. Absolutely right. SOLT said it was doing so in compliance with Canon Law and that the Ordinary had directed SOLT to appoint two independent priests to investigate Corapi AFTER Corapi was suspended. This is not only a violation of simple justice but of the due process set forth in Canon Law. Sadly the unjust Dallas standard is now being applied to all priests accused of misconduct.

    The Corapi case coming on the heels of the Philadelphia Scandal (37 alleged predatory priests found by the Grand Jury to still be in active ministry. 21 of te haccused so far suspended by the new Cardinal. The old Cardinal allegedly getting a walk because he is too old an senile to stand trial,) raises questions about justice in the American Church bureaucracy.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Steve

    “Any day, the bishop or superior has the right to take away your faculties and ministry, for whatever reason he chooses.”

    The Bishops, or more accurately their bureaucrats, have the power to suspend a priest without due process but not the the right.

    The Bishops are not only bound by simple justice but by the due process procedures laid out in Canon Law – which sadly are usually ignored in these cases.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford.

  • Steve

    Richard,

    Well stated, my friend. What Saints was it that wondered if there were any bishops in heaven? I forget. Saint John Bosco, maybe?

    I remember the old joke about bishops… “How many cardinals does it take to make a bishop? Three. Two to hold him down, and one to remove his spine.”

    Luckily, the newer bishops that have been appointed lately seem to be much more faithful and courageous that the older ones, who seem more like business managers than shepherds. (No names mentioned!)

    God bless!

    Steve

  • Daniel T

    Richard:

    You seem to have a tendency to state things slightly differently than they have otherwise been stated. I have not seen any statements coming out of Helena that indicate “that his authority to act as a priest came from the Bishop of Corpus Christi.” SOLT says the Bishop “advised” them, you say “directed” them. You indicate his former ordinary has decried his public suspension, when he actually was writing in more general terms about announcing a suspension, not decrying the suspension itself.

  • anthony

    Mr. Comerford, hmmm…….seems the bishops, the superior of SOLT have all got it wrong but you? amazing! i hope you give them a call!

    do you have a link that states the bishop of Corpus Christi ordered the superior to suspend Fr Corapi?

    A few years ago the Friars of Renewal had accusations made against a friar, the superior had to put him on leave while there was an investigation and the friar eventually had to go to trial. the point is at that time the friars of renewal had the same ecclesial status as SOLT does and it was all handled by the superior of the community.

  • jkm

    Once again the waters are muddied, not least because almost everything stated on this issue, from all perspectives, is based on conjecture at best and calumnious rumor-mongering at worst. One more attempt at clarification: administrative suspension and withdrawal of faculties are two different things. The canons that cover administrative suspension of priests, not the Dallas Charter, are operative here, and no one knows enough to say whether they have or haven’t been followed. On the matter of faculties, the authority inheres to the ordinary of a diocese, who may grant or withhold faculties at will. Every priest acts in the name of or is a “guest” of the ordinary, and that goes for whether he is acting in the diocese in which he is incardinated or has requested temporary faculties while living in or invited to preach/celebrate/etc. in another diocese. Religious priests may receive faculties limited to facilities of the community, but it is common in any case to request faculties from the bishop of any diocese in which he performs publicly the offices of priesthood. This is especially true in the case of SOLT, which is under the authority of a diocesan bishop. Again, there is no clear information about where, if anywhere, Fr. Corapi has been incardinated or has had faculties; all we know is that he does not at present have faculties and so may not preach, celebrate the sacraments, or represent himself as a priest in public anywhere. As to the justice or injustice of that situation, like the truth or falsehood of the allegations, the answer here is similar to those on many math tests: INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION AVAILABLE. Fr. Corapi’s supporters do him no service by sending petitions to the Bishop of Corpus Christi demanding (often in sacrilegiously insulting terms) that the principle of Innocent Until Proven Guilty be enforced, as though this were an trial conducted in US criminal courts instead of an investigation (to which no presumptions of guilt are attached, and for which no legal defense fund is necessary) conducted according to canon law by legitimate authority. The ONLY thing we know for sure will help all concerned and can do in good conscience is pray. I’m off to do that now.

  • anthony

    jmk
    you said it all and hit a home run. until the results of the investigations are released, this should be the last word, your summary is spot on and the best we can do now to is hold everyone in prayer and be quiet. so following my own advice ! i am out of here…… the pascha of the Lord is near.

  • Brother Jeff

    Jkm, you and Bishop Gracida (and Mr. Comerford) would seem to have clearly different views of the situation.

  • Daniel T

    jmk:

    I like your comments, one thing I’d add is that in the US criminal courts, innocent until proven guilty does not mean that a suspect necessarily walks around free until his guilt is proven in court.

  • Daniel T

    Brother Jeff:

    Perhaps because you and Mr. Comerford have read into the bishop’s statement what you would hope he would say, vs. what he said. As I have pointed out to you a number of times, he has commented about making public a suspension, and has not commented against making such a suspension. Perhaps you might ask him to issue a new statement to clearly say what you’d like him to say vs. what he did say.

  • Elaine Gilbert

    Well said John Stevens. It appears to me that there is a lot more to the story then we are being told. Why not a simple drug test and lie detector test from the very beginning which could have put an end to all this?

  • CatholicGrandma

    Reply to: Benedict Newman, re:
    “The Catholic Church in the USA is rotten to it’s core and the bishops are to blame.”

    I would agree there are many Bishops in the US who are defiant of Rome. It’s unfair to lump them all in the same category, though.

    Bishop Olmstead, of the Diocese of Phoenix, is a prime example. He has taken a great deal of “heat” for the decision to take on the Catholic Healthcare system and a nun, for allowing an unneccesary abortion to take place in one of their hospitals.

    There is indeed a schism within our church, but it’s not a bad thing. It is bringing to light those who are not honoring Canon law and the magesterium of Rome.

    In the end, it will all work out, because the gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ’s Church!

    St. John said: “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of many Bishops.” So, I pray for them and hope they will repent of their rebellion.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Daniel:

    “I have not seen any statements coming out of Helena that indicate “that his authority to act as a priest came from the Bishop of Corpus Christi.”

    See Mr. Google.

    “SOLT says the Bishop “advised” them, you say “directed” them. ”

    No. I did not quote the SOLT spokesman. I accurately descried the basis for authority in this case. SOLT does not report to a congregation in Rome. Instead It reports to the Ordinary of Corpus Christi. The SOLT priests serve at the pleasure of said Ordinary. When a boss in any organization tells you to do something it is not a suggestion it is an order or direction.

    “You indicate his former ordinary has decried his public suspension, when he actually was writing in more general terms about announcing a suspension, not decrying the suspension itself.”

    No. You are quite wrong.

    “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…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.”

    Attacking me does not help resolve the crisis facing the American Catholic Church.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Anthony:

    “Mr. Comerford, hmmm…….seems the bishops, the superior of SOLT have all got it wrong but you? amazing! i hope you give them a call!”

    Tens of thousands of human beings have been abused by thousands of predatory priest all at the time of abuse in good standing with their Bishops. These same Bishops protected and in some cases even promoted predatory priests. And almost 50-years into the Great Scandal we find a Grand Jury indicting 37 active priests from a single Archdiocese.

    Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida (who the supervising Ordinary for SOLT for decades) and Cardinal Avery Dulles (cited above) have described this Scandal and its inherent injustices far better than I ever could.

    “at that time the friars of renewal had the same ecclesial status as SOLT does”

    I hope not. Perhaps the reason the Bishop of Helena described this case as complex is that some older SOLT Members (Like Corapi) still operate under the rule of the old pious association while other newer members operate under the new rule.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Michael

    To Richard Comerford.
    You seem to now quite a lot about Canon Law.
    Are you a Canon lawyer?
    Regardless, if you know, please tell me under which canon(s) Fr. Corapi was placed on administrative leave and whether a bishop or an order superior can simply “pull a priest” based in his mind that doing that is a “prudential decision’ and what Canon law covers that?
    I want to read up on them.
    Thanks very much.

  • Richard W Comerford

    “Again, there is no clear information about where, if anywhere, Fr. Corapi has been incardinated or has had faculties”

    The Bishop of Helena cites the Bishop of Corpus Christi as the source of Corapi’s authority to pursue his sacred ministry. Corapi’s claims on this matter echo the Helena Ordianry.

    “instead of an investigation (to which no presumptions of guilt are attached, and for which no legal defense fund is necessary) conducted according to canon law by legitimate authority.”

    Under Canon Law (cited above) a preliminary investigation is launched only if the Ordinary finds some “truth” in the accusations. The accused priest can only be excluded from his ministry in whole or part after the preliminary investigation has been completed and which confirms that there is some “truth” to the accusation.

    In the Corapi case (and too many others) the accused priest has been suspended without due process, without a preliminary investigation and without simple justice.

    Under such conditions what young men will enter the American priesthood in the future?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • jkm

    The smoke of obfuscation continues. Father Corapi’s website (there is no way of knowing who is responsible for the postings there) has just posted a piece by the late Avery Cardinal Dulles, published in 2004, critical of the earliest draft of the Dallas Charter and enumerating the reasons why priests accused of the sexual abuse of minors must be accorded the presumption of innocence. As I (not to mention all those with responsibility for the investigation) have mentioned before, the Charter does not apply in this case, so it is disingenuous at best for this unrelated article to be resurrected and posted without context, offered as support for the case of those (including Fr. Corapi, based on his own public statement) who imply or insist that Fr. Corapi is being railroaded. Cardinal Dulles’s article calls for due process to be carried out exactly as is being done in this case, citing the Australian Bishops Conference policy as a model–”‘All persons are presumed innocent unless and until guilt is either admitted or determined by due process. If church personnel accused of abuse are asked to step aside from the office they hold while the matter is pending, it is to be clearly understood that they are on leave and that no admissions or guilt are implied by this fact. Unless and until guilt has been admitted or proved, those accused should not be referred to as offenders or in any way treated as offenders.’ A corollary of the presumption of innocence is that an accused priest may be prohibited from exercising public ministry while his canonical case is pending . . .” With the exception that the accusations in this case do NOT fall into the defined category of abuse of a minor, this is precisely the process being followed. I am puzzled as to why, whenever we seem to be reaching a point of more light than heat in all of this, Fr. Corapi’s website pours more gas on the fire.

    [Thanks for that, jkm...and your last sentence sums up my thoughts, as well. Unless there is something here that Corapi and Co. are not telling us, the constant referring back to the Dallas Charter is, at the very least, curious. Dcn. G.]

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Michael:

    “You seem to now quite a lot about Canon Law.
    Are you a Canon lawyer?”

    I am a semi-illiterate knuckle dragger. During the height of the Great Scandal I worked several cases as a gumshoe. I was advised to carry a copy of Canon Law with me. Good advice. To my shock I found that Canon Law is not written for or directed to the egg heads (Canon Lawyers) but to the faithful; and that the faithful have both obligations and rights under Canon Law. (Canon I found out has nothing to do with artillery. It means rule, regulation or norm).

    “Regardless, if you know, please tell me under which canon(s) Fr. Corapi was placed on administrative leave and whether a bishop or an order superior can simply “pull a priest” based in his mind that doing that is a “prudential decision’ and what Canon law covers that?”

    Good question. The controversy here surrounds whether Corapi was given simple justice and due process as set forth in Canon Law. The Ordinary can pull a priest but only under the following conditions:

    “Can. 1722 To prevent scandals, to protect the freedom of witnesses, and to guard the course of justice, the ordinary, after having heard the promoter of justice and cited the accused, at any stage of the process can exclude the accused from the sacred ministry or from some office and ecclesiastical function, can impose or forbid residence in some place or territory, or even can prohibit public participation in the Most Holy Eucharist. Once the cause ceases, all these measures must be revoked; they also end by the law itself when the penal process ceases.”

    Link to Canon Law in English:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P6W.HTM

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr jkm:

    “I am puzzled as to why, whenever we seem to be reaching a point of more light than heat in all of this, Fr. Corapi’s website pours more gas on the fire.”

    The story here is not Corapi but the Church bureaucracy. Canon Law is clear. No accused priest can be excluded in part or whole from his sacred ministry without a preliminary investigation which includes the appearance of an investigator, promoter of justice, advocate, the proofs and a defense by the accused.

    Corapi was suspended prior to the preliminary investigation. More importantly so are other accused priests. This and the bad news coming out of Philadelphia (A Grand Jury indicted 37 priests from one diocese.) indicates that the American Church bureaucracy still does not get it.

    What we need now are Saints. Particularly Saintly Bishops. Not more bureaucrats or bureaucratic procedure.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Ed

    Since the beginning of this I have assumed that the reason for pulling Corapi was that the accusations were so serious and credible they felt it was the wisest choice.

    Look – here’s the deal. Disgruntled people send missives to bishops about priests ALL THE TIME. I doubt there is a priest in ministry who hasn’t had some kind of vague accusation filed about them with the chancery. And not just sexual accusations – Father is manipulating my aged grandfather and trying to get him to change his will…etc. Every priest has a file on him and hardly any are suspended – for good reason. Most of those kinds of accusations are spurious. I tend to think that *his superiors* (NOT THE BISHOP) suspending him indicates they went…hmmmm.

    Every time Corapi and his camp open their digital mouths it makes the situation look worse. As commenters point out – no one except Corapi has brought up the Dallas Charter. To do so constantly seems like acts of desperately creating diversionary smoke.

  • Daniel T

    Mr. Comerford:

    Mr. Google has a hard time finding a statement which does not exist. It has no difficulty finding the following:
    http://www.diocesehelena.org/bishop/press/2011-03-21-statement-corapi.html
    The statement makes no mention of what you claim the Bishop citing the Bishop of Corpus Christi providing faculties to Father Corapi.

    When you quote Bishop Gracida, your … leaves a big gap. As I mentioned, in that gap he says:
    “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. ”

    As I have said, no where does he question whether a suspension is proper or not, only whether the public announcement of the suspension is the best thing to do.

    While you continually want to draw everyone’s attention to canon 1722, you seem to not want to consider canons 694-704 related to the dismissal of members of Societies of Apostolic Life. In certain circumstances, dismissal can be ipso facto. In other cases, “Can. 703 In the case of grave external scandal or of most grave imminent harm to the institute, a member can be expelled immediately from a religious house by the major superior or, if there is danger in delay, by the local superior with the consent of the council. If it is necessary, the major superior is to take care to begin a process of dismissal according to the norm of law or is to refer the matter to the Apostolic See.”

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Daniel:

    “The statement makes no mention of what you claim the Bishop citing the Bishop of Corpus Christi providing faculties to Father Corapi.”

    I do not follow. Are you claiming that the Bishop of Corpus Christi is NOT Corapi’s Bishop?

    “When you quote Bishop Gracida, your … leaves a big gap. As I mentioned, in that gap he says:
    “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. ”

    Out of context. That passage refers to priest accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. Corapi as the retired Bishop points out has not been accused of misconduct with a minor.

    “As I have said, no where does he question whether a suspension is proper or not, only whether the public announcement of the suspension is the best thing to do.”

    That is simply not correct.

    “canons 694-704 related to the dismissal of members of Societies of Apostolic Life. In certain circumstances, dismissal can be ipso facto. In other cases, “Can. 703 In the case of grave external scandal or of most grave imminent harm to the institute, a member can be expelled immediately from a religious house by the major superior or, if there is danger in delay, by the local superior with the consent of the council. If it is necessary, the major superior is to take care to begin a process of dismissal according to the norm of law or is to refer the matter to the Apostolic See.”

    What are you talking about? These Canons apply to religious who live in community and have taken the vows of poverty, chasity and obedience.

    Corapi has not taken religious vows. He is not required to live in community.

    As I mentioned above it is a waste of time attacking me personally. Such attacks do not resolve the Great Scandal. But if it makes you happy go ahead.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • anthony

    Mr Comerford, regarding your response to me in #51, i was not referring to the pedophile crisis in the church, but the specific case concerning Fr Copari. The Bishops involved and the superior of the order are the only ones with real information on this. You have no inside knowledge of the situation or the charges, yet your opinions come across as if you know the situation and can speak with authority on it. Just like i give Fr Copari the benefit of the doubt till proven otherwise, I also give the bishops and his superiors the respect that they are handling a very difficult and sensitive matter in the best way they can and there are no facts that they are not doing just that.

  • Daniel T

    Mr. Comerford:

    You wrote:
    “THE Bishop for Helena issued a statement stating that although Corapi lived there he was not a priest of the Diocese and that his authority to act as a priest came from the Bishop of Corpus Christi.” I’ve indicated that I do not see the latter part of that in the statement, there is no evidence that I have come across that Helena has indicated affirmatively that Father has any authority to act as a priest from the Bishop of Corpus Christi. I am not claiming “that the Bishop of Corpus Christi is NOT Corapi’s Bishop”, but that I have not seen any evidence from either the Bishop of Helena nor the Bishop of Corpus Christi that it is the case.

    If you feel I am quoting the bishop out of context, let’s add the sentence previous to the beginning of my quote:
    “The procedure operates something like this. A person accuses a priest of sexual misconduct (again, not involving a minor). ” Therefore, the passage does not apply to priest accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, but rather a case not involving a minor.

    The canons I mentioned govern members of Societies of Apostolic Life. Father Corapi says about himself that he is a “perpetually professed priest in good standing with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, a society of apostolic life of the diocesan rite with headquarters in Robstown, Texas. But apparently he is not a member of the Society when it comes to canon law, he then claims prior agreement in Pious Association of the Faithful.

    I don’t see how pointing out some inconsistencies in your statements are a personal attack on you. So my pointing out inconsistencies in your statements do not help to “resolve the great scandal”, though you must feel that your statements with their errors do?

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Anthony:

    “The Bishops involved and the superior of the order are the only ones with real information on this”

    No. They clearly do not. Right now probably only Corapi and hsi accuser know what is going on. Corapi has only one Bishop – the ordinary of Corpus Christi. That good gentleman pulled the trigger on Corapi prior to investigators being named and assigned to the case. The Ordinary had no idea as to guilt or innocence in the case without an investigation.

    “You have no inside knowledge of the situation or the charges,”

    I certainly hope not. That would put me in a very precarious legal situation.

    “yet your opinions come across as if you know the situation and can speak with authority on it.”

    No. I am just citing Canon Law. Now that speaks with authority.

    “Just like i give Fr Copari the benefit of the doubt till proven otherwise”

    Good for you. But these day there are few, very few, priests I would trust.

    “I also give the bishops and his superiors the respect that they are handling a very difficult and sensitive matter in the best way they can”

    Really. And how many times have we heard that over the past 50-years. Tell that to the tens of thousands of innocents who were abused by thousands of predatory priests who in turn were protected and sometimes even promoted by Bishops.

    “and there are no facts that they are not doing just that”

    And the Ordinary directed that two outside priests be appointed to investigate Corapi AFTER Corapi had been suspended. Yup. That is justice, due process and respect for Canon Law in our American Catholic Church bureaucracy

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Daniel:

    “I am not claiming “that the Bishop of Corpus Christi is NOT Corapi’s Bishop”, but that I have not seen any evidence from either the Bishop of Helena nor the Bishop of Corpus Christi that it is the case.”

    Well who do you think told Corapi he can legally function as a priest?

    “The canons I mentioned govern members of Societies of Apostolic Life. ”

    They apply to vowed Religious living in community. That is not Corapi.

    “I don’t see how pointing out some inconsistencies in your statements are a personal attack on you.”

    Alleged inconsistencies.

    As mentioned above if it makes you happy spending your time attacking me. Please go ahead. It does nothing to resolve the Great Scandal.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Deborah

    For what it’s worth. I emailed S.O.L.T. asking for clarification regarding the vow of poverty as I have difficulty reconciling in my mind a priest who owns a private corporation with my concept of a priest as one who emulates Jesus.

    This is the response I received from Fr Gerry Sheehan:

    “Our Founder Fr. Flanagan gave Fr. John the freedom to give his gift of preaching to the Church. No one foresaw how big it would become. It was only in 1994 that our constitutions were approved by Rome. We never made Fr. John come under those constitutions, but allowed him the freedom granted him by our Founder. We will have to now ask Fr. John to come and live under those constitutions or to choose another way of life. I hope you understand. Fr. Gerry”

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Ed:

    “Every time Corapi and his camp open their digital mouths it makes the situation look worse. As commenters point out – no one except Corapi has brought up the Dallas Charter. To do so constantly seems like acts of desperately creating diversionary smoke.”

    The Dallas Charter has been a matter of controversy since it was announced. (See Cardinal Avery Dulles) Corapi attacked it as unjust before he was suspended. Many others have called it into question.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Richard W Comerford

    Deborah:

    Great effort. Thank you. So apparently this situation has been going on for 17-years. I had read about it in another article but I am glad to see it confirmed.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Dr. Mary

    Nobody has seen fit to mention that the text of many of Fr. Corapi’s sermons is “the devil,” or “satan.” Isn’t it strange that both an exorcist Fr. Euentauer (sp) and Fr. Corapi are accused of improprieties…Satan at work?

    I’m coming back to the church, thinking of it as the church of my childhood. Fr. Corapi’s sermons have helped me and I found myself taking notes. I did not know his recent absence from the air in 2009-10(?) was due to illness. No doubt he already went through one kind of hell. Yet I know he would respect his superiors and the laws of the church and be the first one to say “get on with it.”

    I like others will feel his loss for the time he is off the air. And I too think he has a right to name his own accuser since it is a female adult. If cannon law needs revision, then do it. I watched with horror at the behavior of the Bishops in not removing errant priests for decades, or shuffling them around. I don’t recall the name of the Cardinal in Boston who actually protected these priests, but I almost choked when I saw him always near the Pope in public events. What does that tell us! Still I’m coming back and Fr. Corapi can take credit for that, and for enriching my spiritual life.

  • Steve

    Dr. Mary,

    Don’t worry about the Boston bishop being near the Pope. Judas Iscariot was near Jesus the whole time before he betrayed Him, too. Jesus said he would get rid of the chafe when harvest time came.

    Welcome home! In the meantime, you might also enjoy talks by the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, which you can get from the following link: http://www.fultonsheen.com/

    I believe that Fr. Corapi was a “fan” of Bishop Sheen.

    Steve

  • Richard W Comerford

    Dr. Mary

    “Nobody has seen fit to mention that the text of many of Fr. Corapi’s sermons is “the devil,” or “satan.” Isn’t it strange that both an exorcist Fr. Euentauer (sp) and Fr. Corapi are accused of improprieties…Satan at work?”

    Good point. Satan at work indeed? However there is a difference. Father E> admitted in a statement to misconduct. (Although the degree is in dispute.) Corapi has denied the allegations.

    “I’m coming back to the church, thinking of it as the church of my childhood.”

    Wow! Welcome back. Congratulations.

    “And I too think he has a right to name his own accuser since it is a female adult.”

    She may be an incompetent adult.

    “If cannon law needs revision, then do it.”

    Canon Law if fine. However it is rarely followed. And it is not being followed in this case.

    “I watched with horror at the behavior of the Bishops in not removing errant priests for decades, or shuffling them around ”

    The Scandal has been with us for almost 50-years. Recently in a Philadelphia Grand Jury found that 37 active priests in that diocese were predators.

    “I don’t recall the name of the Cardinal in Boston who actually protected these priests”

    Law aided by By Bishop of McCormack who is back in the bews. The Deacon has a story on him.

    “Still I’m coming back and Fr. Corapi can take credit for that, and for enriching my spiritual life.”

    Again. Welcome back. That is wonderful.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Angela Sullivan

    Father John Corapi was not accussed of a crime and also has not been found guilty of anything. Innocent Till Proven Guilty. I am sure Bishop Rene Gracida is familiar with CANON LAW.
    EWTN was dead wrong, they can hide behind canon law all they want. Father John Corapi has been treated like a criminal. This has backfired and many people I know are pulling support from EWTN. That is a fact. My family will purchase DVDS CDS and Videos From Santa Cruz Media and we will Watch Father Corapi anytime we want. Mother Angelica was very specific when she stated that she would blow up the Network before HANDING IT OVER TO THE BISHOPS.

  • Daniel T

    Mr. Comerford writes:
    “Well who do you think told Corapi he can legally function as a priest?”

    I’m sure a lot of people are asking that same question. I don’t have the answer, but it seems both bishops have indicated it was not through them but through SOLT. It seems possible to me that he might have had faculties some years ago through the Bishop of Sacramento when he was living there. As it’s been some time since Father lived in the Sacramento diocese, I imagine they would also say he did not have his faculties from them. It seems even longer since he last lived in Corpus Christ or with his community. While it seems the majority agree that Father currently has his faculties suspended, and that SOLT is the one doing the suspending, it is less clear as to who was providing him with faculties prior to this incident. I would think it would be SOLT if anyone, but those would be limited and would not allow him to hear confessions. All indications seem that in recent years he has indicated that he does not hear confessions, though his reason was for his own protection.

    To the suggestion that he might have some inside knowledge, Mr. Comerford responds:
    “I certainly hope not. That would put me in a very precarious legal situation.”
    Why not just come out and say “yes” or “no”, to avoid a precarious legal situation?

    Mr. Comerford says that the canons I referred to governing members of Societies of Apostolic Life “apply to vowed Religious living in community. That is not Corapi.”
    Anyone reading the very first canon would see that it says the members of such societies are “without religious vows”. So the canons do not apply to “vowed Religious”, but members of Societies of Apostolic Life. I’ll concede that Father Corapi does not live in community, but the canons take into account members living outside of the community.

  • Daniel T

    The response that Deborah received from Fr. Sheehan seems to me to solve a number of problems that would arise even after Father Corapi might be cleared of the accusations that he alone alluded to. Either he comes to fully abide by the constitutions or find another way of life outside the community. Of course, some will indicate that is not within their power as a prior agreement with the founder remains binding; but that would seem to mean he could insist that he is a member of SOLT but that SOLT would not be bound to provide him priestly faculties.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Ms. Sullivan:

    “Father John Corapi was not accused of a crime”

    We do not know. He has been accused of, among other things, alleged drug abuse which is often a crime. He has also been accused of alleged sexual misconduct with several women. In some jurisdictions adultery is still a crime as is sexual misconduct with an incompetent adult.

    “also has not been found guilty of anything”

    Sadly an accused priest undergoes a preliminary investigation if the Ordinary believes that there is some “truth” to the accusation. Subsequent suspension tends to carry the stigma of guilt even if in the end the accused priest is exonerated.

    The relevant Canon:

    “Can. 1722 To prevent scandals, to protect the freedom of witnesses, and to guard the course of justice, the ordinary, after having heard the promoter of justice and cited the accused, at any stage of the process can exclude the accused from the sacred ministry or from some office and ecclesiastical function, can impose or forbid residence in some place or territory, or even can prohibit public participation in the Most Holy Eucharist. Once the cause ceases, all these measures must be revoked; they also end by the law itself when the penal process ceases.”

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Daniel:

    Do you not have anthing better to do than attack me? OK. If it makes you happy.

    “I’m sure a lot of people are asking that same question. I don’t have the answer, but it seems both bishops have indicated it was not through them but through SOLT.”

    The Bishop of Corpus Christi is Corapi’s Ordinary.

    “Why not just come out and say “yes” or “no”, to avoid a precarious legal situation?

    Because it enables you to complain about unimportant things and thus keeps you happy and sweet.

    “Anyone reading the very first canon would see that it says the members of such societies are “without religious vows”

    Some may take private vows and live in community. Some like Corapi do not live under the rule of theSocieties of Apostolic Life

    “So the canons do not apply to “vowed Religious”, but members of Societies of Apostolic Life.”

    Corapi and other older members of SOLT live under the rule of a Pious Association while other newer members live under the Society rule. This state of affairs hs been going on for about 17 years now.

    Happy? Feel better?

    Good.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford.

  • jkm

    Mr. Richard W Comerford,
    That’s Miss jkm to you, thank you kindly. And I agree that the goal of due process in investigations of clerical conduct has taken a hit, for reasons that in many cases are regrettably understandable. But unless you DO have inside information in this case, you do not know whether the canons have been violated. You do not know whether a preliminary investigation preceded the administrative leave and suspension of faculties. So we can let that go in this case. We can also let go any discussion of the Dallas Charter in the context of this case, where it does not apply. We can stop speculating about who withdrew faculties because we don’t have a clue who may have granted them in the first place. As a member of SOLT, which is under the aegis of the Bishop of Corpus Christi, you are correct in saying that technically the Bishop of Corpus Christi is Fr. Corapi’s ordinary. But there is nothing ordinary about his circumstances, so again, we don’t know.

  • anthony

    Miss jmk thank you for your posts, you are a voice of clarity and really keep to the facts and not some agenda or ideological driven comments. i hope others will take the time to really read and digest your points, it can keep a lot of drama and ego out of this discussion.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    jkm…

    Game. Set. Match.

    Thank you.

    You’ve helped remind us that what we think we know may be less than we realize — and what we really know ain’t much at all. The rest is conjecture.

    Dcn. G.

  • RIchard W Comerford

    Miss. JKM:

    “But unless you DO have inside information in this case, you do not know whether the canons have been violated. You do not know whether a preliminary investigation preceded the administrative leave and suspension of faculties.”

    No. As set forth in Canon Law if the Ordinary believes that an accusation has some “truth” in it then he proceeds with a preliminary investigation wherein an investigator, promoter of justice, advocate and the proofs make an appearance and the accused priest presents his defense. Only after the foregoing can the accused be suspended or excluded in whole or part from his priestly ministry.
    In the instant (as the evil lawyers would say) case SOLT first announced that the Bishop had directed that two outside priests be appointed as investigators and then that it was conducting a preliminary investigation AFTER Corapi was suspended.

    “So we can let that go in this case.”

    No. Canon Law applies to the entire Church to include the Anti-Christ Corapi.

    “We can also let go any discussion of the Dallas Charter in the context of this case, where it does not apply.”

    No. If the Bishop did not suspend Corapi under Canon Law it is charged then he misused the Dallas Charter as authority.

    “We can stop speculating about who withdrew faculties because we don’t have a clue who may have granted them in the first place.”

    The now retired former Bishop of Corpus Christi.

    “We can stop speculating about who withdrew faculties because we don’t have a clue who may have granted them in the first place.”

    Not technically. In fact and in norm.

    “But there is nothing ordinary about his circumstances”

    Most accused American priests today are not afforded the due process set forth in Canon Law which makes his circumstances quite ordinary.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • jkm

    You may keep lobbing. We’ve left the court. God bless you, too.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Miss jkm:

    Thank you for granting me permission.

    For almost 50-years now we have seen justice denied to the victims of predatory priests, accused priests and the faithful in the pews who have paid for the $2.6 billion in settlements. During this time period there has been a lack of transparency as well as a failure to adhere to the dictates of simple justice and procedures set forth under Canon Law.

    Remarkably, given this history, there has been an outpouring of contempt for Corapi by high profile Catholic bloggers who simultaneously demand that the faithful shut up and trust the same Church bureaucracy that has betrayed thousands of innocents to predatory priests. If this continues the Corapi case may seriously harm an already weakened Church.

    Clearly there is something very wrong here. The Corapi camp toutd his innocence and also alleges that his Bishop and SOLT are not complying with Canon Law. On the other hand Corapi’s anonymous accuser alleges his misconduct while his Bishop and SOLT claim that they are acting in accordance with Canon Law. There is no middle ground left. One side or the other is lying.

    To ignore this contradiction is to ignore again the thousands of victims of predatory priests.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • MBA

    A lot of abuse of due process has occurred. See the update from Rev Sullivan http://www.fathercorapi.com/default.aspx

  • Richard W Comerford

    Re: This is really sad

    Since the tennis ball players have left the court I guess it is safe to post the following in whole:

    Father Corapi on Administrative Leave – An Update from Rev. Michael Sullivan, J.C.L.
    Fr. John Corapi has been suspended from priestly functions because of an accusation against him from a former employee. There seems to be a great deal of speculation and confusion regarding what this entails.

    When an accusation arrives at the desk of a Religious Superior or a bishop, the procedure calls for a quick, confidential assessment as to the veracity of the accusation. With the advent of the Dallas Procedural Norms the necessary pieces of information required before imposing administrative leave varies from diocese to diocese and Order to Order. In most cases, if an accuser knows the name of the priest, the location at the time of the alleged incident and the year the priest was serving, the accusation is considered “credible.” The accused is supposed to be provided with the opportunity to respond to the accusations in a face-to-face meeting with his Superior prior to the imposition of suspension or administrative leave. In Father Corapi’s case, this never happened.

    When a priest is on administrative leave he is to refrain from any public actions as a priest, such as offering Mass or hearing confessions, or from dressing as a priest in any public forum. The decree from his superiors clearly spells out limitations upon Fr. Corapi, but does not preclude him from speaking publicly provided he does not dress as a cleric and does not offer Mass publicly. Fr. John Corapi has observed these directives. Church bodies are to observe these limitations, though the order does not apply to lay organizations or Church organizations beyond the scope of what has been decreed.

    Several Catholic media sources have removed Fr. Corapi from their outlets. This is over and above what is required by canon law and the Dallas Norms. Nothing in the order placing Father Corapi on administrative leave precludes distribution of previously recorded materials. Santa Cruz Media is in full compliance with Canon Law and the administrative leave under which Fr. Corapi is functioning.

    Fr. Corapi is doing all in his power to cooperate and work with his Religious Society to see that this allegation is quickly cleared up and he is allowed to return to full ministry. The length of this administrative leave is strictly up to the Society and their process of inquiry before a decision is rendered.

    We continue to ask everyone to pray for Fr. Corapi, for the accuser and for a quick resolution to this matter.

    God bless you,

    Rev. Michael Sullivan, J.C.L. ”

    I fear the lack of simple justice and due process as set forth in Canon Law in the Corapi case will further harm our already much damaged American Church.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Jane

    I know Fr Corapi and I know the accuser. The alligations made against Fr Corapi are false. The accuser has an agenda. I am sure the public will find out soon enough the details behind her bogus claims. I pray the women repents. Fr Corapi is innocent of any alligations made by this women. I say not more.

  • J & K

    We are so sad to hear about Father Corapi. The horrible things Satan will do to destroy God’s gifts are very sad.

    You are in our prayers Father Corapi.

    My ten year old son has an assignment in school to write
    about someone in our world, (living or dead), that has done something to bring about peace or justice. He came home from school and said he wants to write about Father Corapi. I spoke with him about how this may not be a good time to write this on Father Corapi and my ten year old said, “Mom, this will help Father Corapi!”

    OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES! AMEN…..

  • Deb

    Jane, if all this is true, it would seem very obvious, why has he been gone almost 2 months? Something that flimsy would be easy to discount. I think without documented proof, gossiping that the women did this and that is wrong and maybe there is a lot more you don’t know about…this isn’t a public investigation.

    I hope and know Father would not want to be put up on such a high pedestal. Support is one thing, the “he would never do it” makes him inhuman and not subject to sin, that is like making an idol to me.

    You can be supportive as some have been saying he was a good preacher, said the right things, but is also human and they would pray for him and support him if he comes out with a different statement later. That is a balanced view, the anger I’ve read on some sites makes it seem that they felt a little too passionate about him.

  • Jahk

    “What a shame that Corapi’s own company is not following the lead of …”.

    Not! Ever paid legal fees? As it is, his website has reduced everything to 50% off. I figure it is an effort to pay bills, not get rich.

  • Deb

    I don’t see everything 50% off, especially this page
    http://www.fathercorapi.com/DVD-Sets-C12.aspx

    I wouldn’t mention legal fees, that is if you are criminally charged, their shouldn’t be any if they are just investigating people.


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