Corapi reaction — UPDATED

For those seeking more…

Bishop Gracida has posted what he says his his final comment on the case.

Phil Lawler dissects the case and asks “Why were the warning signs ignored?”

Deacon Scott Dodge says people may want to prepare for perhaps more revelations, and pray for holiness in our present day.

“God may not be finished with him yet” is the hopeful message from Fr. Joseph Jenkins.

Mark Shea has a long and exhaustive post that, among other things, looks at Corapi’s military record.

“Pray for him, he seems very troubled” is the first response from Fr. Z.

Dr. Gerard Nadal says “Go home to your brothers, Fr. Corapi.

“Terrible.  Sad.  Infuriating” are some of the words to describe this situation over at  Creative Minority Report.

And Elizabeth Scalia concludes, “The author of chaos is loving this story.”

I’m sure other reaction will come in as this unfolds.  I know many are waiting to hear from John Corapi himself on all this.  Stay tuned.

UPDATE: The Black Sheepdog tweeted the following this morning:

UPDATE II: A SOLT priest, and webmaster for their site, shares his feelings. A must-read.

Someone has abused the system and is posting comments using another person’s name on this thread.  Comments are now closed.

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48 responses to “Corapi reaction — UPDATED”

  1. Let us pray for the people that have spread these lies about a holy man. People have assumed his guilt, but this is just another case in the Ultra Right trying to squeeze out a truely Christian man that exemplafies how Jesus lived. This is just like what Cardinal George was doing to Fr. Pfleger.

  2. Fr John (I doubt you are),
    Tell us where Jesus kept his real estate holdings and luxury toys. Perhaps Jesus drove out the money changers in the Temple so he could set up his own concessions? Or are you referring to living with a prostitute as Corapi’s claim to the holy life?

  3. “Ultra Right”? Lies about a holy man? People have assume his guilt? My goodness talk about deceived.

    If any thousands have assumed Father Corapi’s innocence until yesterday when these statement came out (a news outlet puts it well: devastating).

    SOLT must realize that by releasing such a statement they will have to sustain the allegations in a court of law if Corapi decides to sue them for slander. I doubt they would have release such damning information without the documentation and witnesses to back all of it up.

    I feel sorry for Father Corapi, and I can understand the lure and temptation of fame, money and sex, but given his stern, fire and brimstone preaching, he has totally disgraced himself if all of this is true.

    If SOLT and the Church superiors are guilty of anything is lack of supervision and having given Father Corapi such freedom for such a long time to represent the Church. Lamentable, sad, distressing and just a horrible mess.

  4. For a Bishop Emeritus to speak publicly about the actions of a Bishop and head of an apostolic society is telling in and of itself. The process is flawed.

    Should Fr. Corapi have been given the freedom to have his own ministry and company in the first place is of question.

    I fear the situation cannot be salvaged at this point. It’s a lose on both sides. The order will suffer without Fr. Corapi. Fr. Corapi will be as effective as he could have been. The current Bishop has lost a degree of credibility.

    The leaders and Fr. Corapi must find their own way. I would urge both the leaders and Fr. Corapi to step back, take a deep breath and do what is right – whatever right in this case is.

    It would seem to me a meeting is in order. A pastoral meeting without attorneys and canonists. A frank open communication that could solve the problems.

    Unfortunately, blogs are news outlets and like the traditional media, bloggers have resorted to sensationalistic writing to be read. And that is sad.

  5. It seems from the timeline that Bishop Gracida would have been the Bishop of Corpus Christi that was overseeing SOLT at the time that Father Corapi was “given freedom to acquire and use wealth which can in itself have a corrupting influence on anyone.” He would have assisted SOLT in acquiring their status of being a Society of Apostolic Life which then gave them the authority to provide priestly faculties (and provided Father Corapi with his original faculties as his bishop), and yet allowed SOLT to give exceptions to some members for living according to the new Constitution and Canon Law.

    According to Father Corapi, it is Bishop Gracida and founder Father Flanagan that advised him to pursue his civil suit of breach of a $100,000 non-disclosure policy. It seems to me that Bishop Gracida should perhaps explain his own personal role in all of this to a greater degree rather than continually attack his successor.

  6. After reading the SOLT statement, I must add that I, like many, hoped the allegations were false. It now seems that where there is smoke there is fire.

    To Fr. Corapi: In the words of Jay Leno, “What the hell were you thinking?”

  7. Someone asked in another blog “did not SOLT know about Father Corapi’s activities?” At least the knew about his million dollar house, the cars, the boats, the “groupies”, the money flowing without accounting. Why are they taking action now and not before? Father Corapi’s behavior seem inexcusable, but his superiors lack of nerve to supervise him and bring him to the fold seems very bad indeed too.

  8. I tried too post this on retired Bishop Gracida’s site, but I couldn’t get signed in.

    Given the seriousness of the allegations, suspension during the investigation was appropriate, as it is in other cases involving violation of celibacy. And just how would it have been better if his groupies had learned of this now, rather than at the beginning of the investigation (which he seems to have done his best to stymie)? Can you say “cover-up?” That’s what the lay faithful say when they find out that Church officials let someone remain in ministry despite serious allegations.

    This was a nice attempt to wipe the egg off your face, but it won’t work, and the fact is your vigorous defense of your protege Fr. Corapi has greatly diminished your credibility. And now you’re (rightly) “throwing him under the bus,” too, when you write, “I have had no direct contact with Father Corapi in many years.”

  9. One thing is for sure: the devil hates priests and those in positions with such visibility better be prepared to ask for God’s graces because the attacks will be strong. Sadly, Fr. Corapi’s case is the last one in a series of many. I have had priests ask me to pray for them after confession; I can see why.

  10. There is nothing in the letter from SOLT that actually proves anything. It is just allegations. This is another attempt to discredit a good priest and a good man. None of the allegations will hold up to scrutiny. Let us all pray for Fr. Corapi and his superiors, for they are the ones that are truly sinning here.

  11. I would assume he will now release the audiotapes. This will get worse before it gets better.

  12. Assuming the allegations of “sexting” are correct, it just made me think how deep the roots of lust can run. There is a weed near where I live called “bittersweet” and it is notorious for having very deep and strong roots out of all proportion to the weed itself, which is relatively harmless looking.

  13. @Brother Jeff: Lately we could say that “lust is the root of all evil” asking Saint Paul for modifying his words. How many good men fallen to lust both in the religious and political worlds? Yes, the roots do grow out of all proportion. I can attest to that as a man and as temptation is always out there in this oversexed society.

  14. Fatherjohnhollowell,

    How can you possibly know that “None of the allegations will hold up to scrutiny” since you were not with Father Corapi during all the time the alleged misdeeds were taking place nor have you seen the evidence the investigators have? And how can you possibly know that Fr Corapi’s superiors “are the ones that are truly sinning here?” Are you not rash judging them? In publicly stating your rash judgment, are you not calumniating them?

    They did not give the proof, that is, all the evidence which they have in their possession, in support of their conclusions. There is no way they could have published the entire file. But, unlike you, they have made an investigation and have seen evidence which, in their judgment, supports their conclusions. Unlike you, they are in a position to make an informed judgment about Fr. Corapi.

    You need to retract your baseless statements and unjust accusations.

  15. Fr. Corapi didn’t pay (or offer to pay) someone 100K to keep quiet about his holy lifestyle, Fr. John. The public records about his real estate holdings in Montana are on the web for anyone to view.

    Get real.

  16. “There’s a scene in Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Franco Zeffirelli’s film about Francis, that caputres for me the essence of this saint. The setting is one of stark contrast. Francis and a handful of his shabbily dressed followers are standing amid the pomp and glory of the Vatican court. Francis, who has come to ask the pope for his blessing, speaks joyfully about the beauty of the natural world and the incomparable gift of God’s loving grace. Struck by Francis’s guileless simplicity, the pope says, ‘My dearest son, in our obsession with Original Sin, we too often forget — original innocence.’ Francis’s emphasis on innocence, hope, and the positive possibilities of faith in God give me encouragement that underneath all the barnacles and cultural accretions that burden Christianity and obscure it from view there is a pure, powerful heartbeat of love that draws us closer to God, our creator and redeemer.”

    -John Michael Talbot, The Lessons of St. Francis

  17. I’m with naturgesetz – Bishop Gracida seems to be carefully maintaining control of his combox.

    I quote the bishop:
    “Instead of rushing to publicly suspend Father Corapi these people should have quietly launched an investigation into the accusations and, if they proved to be credible, they could have quietly removed him from active exercise of his public activities and then after further investigation determined whether or not to take more drastic canonical disciplinary action against him.”

    How convenient of the bishop to forget that it was Corapi himself who announced to the world back in March what was going on with the accusation – no doubt to get his own spin on it out front and try to control the message. I’m sure SOLT would have liked nothing more that to keep this quiet.

  18. As I read, it seems to me that people are looking at the world as black and white, saintly of evil, good or bad. It seems to me there are gray areas as well.

    Gerard Nadal #25 says it well: “Rejoice if Father Corapi helped bring you closer to Jesus, and now you can return the favor. Lift him up in prayer.” I think Fr. Corapi did well in bring many to the Church, hopefully they will not follow him out of it if he chooses that path.

    Several people have mentioned possible addictions, and having been a member of AA for 30 years, his story sounds sadly familiar to me. One thing I heard over and over in AA was don’t put yourself in a public position, it is ever so dangerous to your sobriety. Perhaps Fr. Corapi made an unwise choice that allowed his illness (addiction) to once again hold him in its grasp.

    Addiction is not evil, any more than any other sickness. Nor is it curable, but with the grace of God some manage to arrest it and with care, live soberly and useful lives. Some of the best succumb to the disease in end, just like some succumb to cancer.

    I might suggest that Fr. Corapi is not doing the works of Satan, and perhaps even his sins are lessened by the presence of this disease, a horrible disease that steals a persons body, his mind, and his spirit.

    I pray for him, and if I am right a lot of us in recovery will also be praying for him, and for ourselves that we will die sober and lucid. For those who do not manage to recover, I hope that God will receive them in His arms to comfort and console them for their many trials at the hands of this illness.


    Mike L

  19. Well said. He brought thousands of people back to the Church. Here is to hoping that God has the last laugh in this situation. He can bring good out of any bad situation.

  20. After reading the blogs of Mark Shea, The Anchoress, Father Z, Phil Lawler, Gerald Nadal, and many others along with commentaries in other websites what surprises me is the amount of rancor, fractiousness and dislike among all these Catholic writers and organizations. Mark Shea against Michael Voris, The New Oxford Review against Mark Shea, the Corapi groupies against everyone else, priests against priests, bishops against bishops, Phil Lawler against liberals, liberals against conservatives, traditionalists against new mass, Vatican II reformers against traditionalists, on and on and on in all areas of the Church. It almost makes me sympathize with Ann Rice and her decision to vow out of a “fractious bunch” I think she called us.

  21. Rudy …

    You’ve put your finger on one main reason why, as The Anchoress put it, “The author of chaos is loving this story.”

    The best thing John Corapi could do at this juncture is step out of the spotlight, thank his “fans,” encourage them to pray, and then settle this matter privately.

    Dcn. G.

  22. I for one cannot read Mark Shea. Like some tv shows are unwatchable, he is “unreadable.” In love with his own slightly above average prose.
    Gratuitously condescending, mean, obsessed with John Corapi and vindicating his own judgment, and his “followers.” Yes, Rudy, the blogosphere has turned off many in this episode. It is true that Corapi issued the letter on Ash Wednesday, but that didn’t mean the lightly read Catholic blogs had to trumpet it over and over.

  23. Deacon Greg,

    IMO, it’s too late to settle this matter privately. For the good of the Church, at this point, this needs to come to a conclusion in public view.

  24. Fr. Corapi needs to stand up for his innocence. The vitriol that both bloggers and the Church Hierarchy has focused toward good Catholic Priests will come back to bite them.

  25. Addictions/compulsive behaviors may not be evil in themselves and may even reduce one’s culpability for serious sin committed while in their grip. But I am convinced more and more that addictions are satan’s favorite tool to cause us to indulge in gluttony (money, power, fame, sex, greed, consumerism, sloth, food, drink, mind-altering drugs) You can find addictions behind virtually all of the 7 capital sins in today’s world.

    Addictions are a human’s attempt to satisfy our craving for God – which is why 12-step programs, which recognize that, are the only therapy with any real success. Addictions are so seductive because in the beginning they give a good facsimile of the kind of ecstasy that we get from union with God in prayer – that longing for God which He put into our hearts and souls. That is also why they are so attractive to satan – what better way to satisfy his hatred of God and man than by filling up our God-space with crap that will eventually destroy us, body and soul.

    I think it is pretty obvious that Fr. Corapi is in the grip of both. If he is unable to come to that awareness on his own, then frankly I hope something happens to remove him from his addictions so he can get away from the things he loves more than God right now. Maybe then he can regain the abilty hear and respond to the Holy Spirit.

  26. “Fr. Corapi needs to stand up for his innocence. The vitriol that both bloggers and the Church Hierarchy has focused toward good Catholic Priests will come back to bite them.”

    Perhaps, Just as the sin of priests and bishops who excused and protected and covered up the sins of their brothers in Christ will also come back to bite them.

  27. Fatherjohnhollowell,

    If Fr. Corapi is innocent, he should indeed stand up for it. Up to now what he has done has been more in the nature of running (attempting to resign) and obfuscating (focusing on the accuser and the process, rather than the substance of the allegations).

    You write of “the vitriol that both bloggers and the Church Hierarchy has focused toward good Catholic Priests.” I don’t question that there has been vitriol from bloggers, but I’d like you to quote several examples of vitriol from various members of the hierarchy directed at good Catholic priests, because, frankly I doubt there has been any.

    And again I ask: How can you know that the allegations against Fr. Corapi are false, and what sufficient ground do you have for forming a judgment that Fr. Corapi’s superiors are sinning in this matter and for publishing that judgment?

  28. Fatherjohnhollowell

    I have not asserted that they are true.

    Now, will you answer my questions?

  29. One person can do immense damage, let’s remember Martin Luther and how out of his obstinacy (right or wrong) the unity of the Church in the west was shattered perhaps until the Second Coming.

    Father Corapi’s affair may not be to that scale, but it has been exceedingly divisive, or at least has reveal divisions that were there all along and were accentuated by the mess.

    It is also lamentable to see how people can become attached to a personality to the point of fanaticism.

    But in the end it does not matter to me. Father Corapi is not the fount of my faith. I believe in Jesus Christ and I base my faith on the Church not on what one or many persons say, but on the Magisterium of the Church, Holy Scripture and the Tradition. Yes bishops, priest, deacons, religious and lay people make mistakes and commit sin (what’s new?) and sometimes the Church Hierarchy my act unjustly. But it is not on the persons that I have faith, even the pope could disappoint us, I feel secure in my Catholic faith because I believe it is the Church of Jesus Christ, founded by him and left to his Apostles and their successors in leadership. I believe in the ultimate triumph and truth of this Church because it is divinely appointed. So even if there are fallen priests, fractious Christians, heretics, apostates, even evil men in this Church, it is still the One True Church of Jesus Christ forever.

    Ultimately I will account in heaven to God for my sins and no one else’s. God will ask me about the beam in my eye and not the Hierarchy’s, or Mark Shea or John Corapi. So what matters is our individual search for holiness and our relationship with Christ who commands us to behave as a brother to others and to pray for our enemies; in other words we need to act as Christian Catholics and let God worry about everything else (What is it to you if I want him to walk with me even to the end of the age? to paraphrase our Lord).

    My faith in the Christ and the Church is secure because it is objective.

  30. I think I’m losing my mind.

    From SOLT;
    “He did have sexual relations and YEARS (my caps) of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute.”

    ‘He holds legal title to OVER $1 MILLION IN REAL ESTATE, NUMEROUS LUXURY VEHICLES, MOTORCYCLES, AN ATV, A BOAT DOCK, AND SEVERAL MOTOR BOATS (my caps), which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society.”

    And this was not known to the administration of the SOLT community and EWTN?

    EWTN needs to come out with a statement post-haste. They were the ones who endorsed and promoted him.

  31. Yeah, that is not consistent with a promise of poverty. My understanding is that diocesan priests do not take vows of poverty so I guess, technically, a diocesan priests could own all that stuff without being in violation of anything.

    Does he really have “numerous” luxury vehicles? Does that mean five, ten? Aston Martins? Rolls Royces? “Several” motor boats? How many and what kind? Hinckley, Tiara? I don’t know any wealthy person with more than one boat. One ATV does not bother me, especially in Montana.

    Just gets weirder and weirder.

  32. EWTN is a promoter of cults of personality, beginning with Mother Angelica. You can’t really cast blame on them now for that since it is so obvious to anyone.

    But as to the rest of it, let’s hope they start checking their guest speakers out more carefully.

  33. But you could say that about every catholic media outlet, including blogs. All promote certain people they like. Certain books they like.

    Mother Angelica founded the whole network when there was a desperate need for a Catholic voice in the media world, and the American bishops couldn’t get their act together to do it themselves. So I can’t go along with you on that front. She has also suffered enormous physical pain in silence and I’m reasonably sure she will be welcomed into Heaven quickly and with open arms.

  34. Brother Jeff,

    I never said M. Angelica wasn’t a good person but EWTN was clearly built on the strength of her personality and the adoring followers (contributers) it attracted. Had she been deceptive, living a hidden sinful life, and was found out she also would have done great harm to the Church. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case.

    That is simply the way they have chosen to do business, by having ‘personalities/celebrities’ out front and center. It’s a dangerous thing to do, especially when you have to constantly raise money. There is a temptation to use people for that purpose and look the other way in questionable situations. I’m sure the popularity of Fr. Corapi and the viewers he drew to EWTN caused more than a little conflict of interest and concern as the change in him became apparent

    IMO it is never good to put anyone on a pedestal, for our sakes and maybe most especially for theirs.

  35. I agree with that. Christ always has to be front and center.

    I go back to the bittersweet weeds I was pulling out of my small garden area this morning. I was amazed at how deep and strong the roots were. They wound all over the place and as I was pulling them up it was like that scene in Bridge Over the River Kwai where Alec Guinness pulls up the buried fuse line to the bridge. Yards and yards of buried line where nothing was visible to the naked eye.

    Sin is like that obviously, it puts down roots in us. And it’s kind of scary. Only repeated applications of Christ’s grace will ever remove it.

  36. EWTN has always been between a rock and a hard place on the “personality” stuff. It’s dangerous. They learned this early on with John Bertolucci and then Ken Roberts….etc.

    But you have to have a human being up there. You can’t just put a camera on a page of a book. And if the person teaching or talking is boring then you get slammed for just having “talking heads” and not being with the times and not being all up to date with how the church has to evangelize now…..

    And then they try to get too jazzy and it either ends up lame or the little old ladies whose checks support them get offended and complain.

    And then they get burned by a Fr. Francis Mary Stone or John Corapi….I’m sure they are tearing their hair out as we speak.

  37. “The author of chaos is loving this story.” ??

    Let us all look in the mirror and see that the “author of chaos” is us.

  38. Deacon Greg,

    Can you check the IP Addresses of the Father John Hollowell postings and then eliminate the fraudulent comments?

    [Not easily. I just did a quick survey. The numbers for that are all over the map. And eliminating them would also involve eliminating people who responded to them, and it’s impossible for me to tell just by reading what’s legit and what isn’t. Enough. Comments are closed. Dcn. G.]