Fr Corapi Update

If anyone needs a dose of vinegar tootle over to the combox on my post about priests and pedestals. Some Father Corapi fans have misinterpreted my post to be an attack on the good man and my brother priest. It was not.

As I stated (I thought) clearly, I wish him the best and don’t really have an opinion about him because I don’t know him. However, I have gone on to make some general observations about the difficulty of being a priest. These observations are not necessarily about Fr. Corapi. They apply to all priests.

However, the vitriol from some in the combox means I must not have communicated very clearly. Let me try again. This time very slowly and clearly:

1. I don’t know Father Corapi. I therefore have no opinion about him one way or the other.
2. All I have ever heard about him has been fantastic.
3. I always give people the benefit of the doubt. Therefore I will believe him innocent until proven otherwise.
4. There are bad and mad people out there who wish to attack Christ and his Church and his priests. They are bad people and should not do this.
5. We should pray for Fr Corapi, that God will sustain him in this trial.
6. It is very difficult to be a priest for lots of complicated reasons.
7. We should love and support our priests as never before.

  • Teresa

    I agree with your points. Here are my thoughts on the issue – just think the whole zero tolerance policy needs to be changed with regards to how both the investigation and the treatment of priests is handled so it doesn't give the impression of guilt until proven innocent instead of vice versa.

  • priest’s wife

    very charitable of you to 'clarify'- but this post is not as beautiful as the previous one! :)Pray for priests!

  • Nod

    Father, I thought you were amazingly clear the first time. 'Nuff said.

  • The Lady of the House

    Father, the vitriol in your combox is probably not about you at all, except that you pointed out a distressing truth. There's a strange worship of cult figures (priests or otherwise) by people that refuse to hear anything negative. Put no trust in princes… May the Peace of Christ, disturb us.

  • inhocsig

    This post is much better than your first. We all make mistakes.A "zero tolerance policy" in the Church should apply only to the four sins that cry out to God for vengeance!Otherwise it's innocent until proven guilty and we protect our own. The old "Army Officers Guide" put it best; "All the brothers are valiant and all the sisters virtuous."None of us who have enjoyed Father Corapi's preaching and teaching over the year's "worship" him. That dog won't hunt. We admire him for being willing to put on the armor of God and going forth to do battle with "principalities and powers" in a manly way. So when the heavyweights (Longenecker, Shea, & Scalia) of Catholic blogging cry foul after the strong reaction with their posts trying to cover all bets, well I offer them the comfort of Tony Soprano's mother: "poor you".And should to the glee of the Church's nancy boys, it be revealed that the good father got himself liquored up and lay with women. We'll do what they call "the Christian thing" – sober him up; get him right with God and follow him back to the front lines in the battle of good vs. evil

  • RichnHim

    Man, I thought my nobody could top my Calvinist brethren for flame throwing. I guess Catholics have the same problem. Love you Fr. for your fair and balanced commentary. May God guard all our tongues while this thing works it's way out. May our tongues be seasoned with grace. If Catholics hate us Protestants so much, maybe the Tiber isn't so inviting after all.

  • Sed libera nos

    Thank you for your first article Father Longenecker. You were perfectly clear in it. The warning against personal vanity applies to all of us. However, people have become so enarmored of Fr Corapi that without thoughtfully considering what a person has actually written. If it does not praise Fr Corapi or defend him and attack the accuser then many seem to deem the person to be a dissident and uncharitable. In charity I assume that is primarily due to a cursorily reading of your article as such people seem to have a love of doctrine and the Church.I think they forget that there are a great number of Catholics in the Church who haven't heard of Fr Corapi or are not very familiar with him. Due to that it unfair to ask us to make a judgement upon the character of a man we do not know the slightest. Before people start criticizing. Do all of us who withhold judgement and offer prayers need to flash our Catholic credentials?As far as myself personally I am part of the "Tridentine traditional movement" which is loyal to Rome. Some of us are more familiar with Fr John Hardon (at least some of his writings), Fr Dubay, etc. All these priests have sound reputations and an evident love of orthodoxy (in the catholic sense). Please don't claim that all who take a wait and see attitude are dissidents and uncharitable. That would be very uncharitable since many of us don't really know much about Fr Corapi or the accuser. In my parish many make a sign of reverence during the procession/ recessional and a number would kiss the priest's hands if the priest was more comfortable with the practice. It is a wonderful old tradition and evidence of love and respect for priests and the priesthood. Would such people seek to destroy the priesthood?Love of the priesthood should not lead to idolatry of any individual. Unfortunately, the misplaced vitriol I have read in some of the comments seems to indicate that some have erred in that area and placed him on a pedestal which is higher than any human (other than Christ and our Lady) belongs. Not even the saints were perfect. Their heroic virtue does not mean they were sinless or incapable of sin. That is just standard Catholic doctrine it seems some forget. Right now we do not know if Fr Corapi is guilty or not (though I hope he is). Let us pray for both and may the innocent be vindicated.God bless

  • shadowlands

    richinhim said'If Catholics hate us Protestants so much, maybe the Tiber isn't so inviting after all.'Some of us Catholics don't even like each other. It's caused by fear, which is caused by a lack of perfected love. Wait until life and the purgatorial fires have finished with us, we'll be the most amicable, inviting bunch out there.Course some of us are just plain nuts…………

  • Sed libera nos

    @RichnHimLol, Don't worry- a good number of Catholics are converts from protestantism.Personally I converted due to the overwhelming evidence that either Chist lied when he said the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church or that the Catholic Church was the only true Church. Studying early Church history showed that nothing like the protestants existed before the Waldesians (which evolved into a semi-protestant group later on). It is always best one becomes a Catholic due to fact rather than impressions and evidences as they tend to out last the intial glow of "first love." Besides basing one's faith upon a person (aside from Christ) is a very dangerous proposition. Actually that is what caused many people to become protestants in the beginning. Historically Luther was very popular (unlike in the movies) it was the catholic clergy who were attacked and reviled in Wittenberg and Worms.Unfortunately, baptism may take away original sin but not concupscience. You will find imperfect people everywhere in this life. Besides after reading the history of Luther on I am shocked anyone followed Luther to begin with. He even treated other protestants horrible. It was really bad.

  • bloodypapist

    Hero worship, ahoy!It brings to mind all those people (a friend of mine, distressingly, among them) who started delving into the murky waters of conspiracy theorizing when poor Fr. Euteneuer's misdeeds caused him to be removed from office. Fortunately, Fr. Euteneuer came out with a full (we suppose) admission, and put that to bed.Your original post was clear, balanced, and well said. Vitriol in response to it is less a sign of your poor communication, and more a sign that many (good) people simply will not be communicated with.

  • railrider

    Father, you need not apologize, eventually the truth will prevail, you were more than fair in your words.

  • Gail F

    inhocsig: You seem very reasonable and balanced, but many of the people who are writing in the comboxes of any post on Fr. Corapi are not. Check out the National Catholic Register combox! Many posts come very close to cultish, or at least to hero worship. Fr. Corapi is very charismatic, but he is also just a man like the rest of us. On the other hand, some of the comments are gleeful and spiteful — as if, being popular and preaching about holiness, Fr. Corapi must be a hypocrite. It is nastiness all around, I'm afraid.That is what is so distressing about this. Fr. Corapi is a powerful preacher and one naturally wants to assume his innocence. By American law, we are SUPPOSED to assume his innocence. But Church law, at least as it's being applied, seems to assume his guilt — and of course no sane person should want to cover up misdeeds. The sad truth of how priests have been treated lately is that many good men have had their reputations and lives ruined by false accusations. You cannot fix one injustice with another injustice. We must strive for holiness and justice for EVERYONE.

  • Catholic Defender

    Hello Father,You nailed it. Yes, even we don't know much about Fr. Corapi, we should pray for him and all priests like you because you are the easiest target of accusations left and right even most of those accusations were ill-mannered. Catholics should pray for its priests… we owe our faith to them. God bless Fr. Corapi.

  • Jeanette O’Toole

    "Fortunately, Fr. Euteneuer came out with a full (we suppose) admission, and put that to bed.@bloodypapist — Fr. Euteneuer's admission was not altogether truthful nor in any way full; have you read the statement of the parents of the woman "gravely harmed" by FTE?Beyond the "grave": A father's (and mother's) statement about Euteneuer and their gravely harmed daughter

  • Jeanette O’Toole

    @Fr. Longenecker — a friend sent me the link to your previous post, and I was surprised (although I suppose I shouldn't have been) at the acidic commentary you were receiving. A saintly priest once asked me when I was similarly beside myself with this and that, "Have you been to Confession recently?" I just smiled a little and said no.And then, of course, in addition to the reception of the *daily* Bread, there is the Rosary for power to get one through the day and its many sufferings (and for authoring fair commentary, I would imagine, as well:))."Promote the Rosary. Urge the Rosary. Teach the Rosary. Shall I say, advertise the Rosary. It is through the Rosary that we can bring countless souls back to Christ from whom they have strayed…" –Fr. John A. HardonP.S. I just read the reviews on your book, Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing. It looks very good.:)

  • Elizabeth

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Teresa

    @JeanetteHow dare you judge Fr. Euteneuer's admission as being less than truthful when none of us knows the facts and were not present at the time when whatever occurred between Fr. Euteneuer and his accuser. The accuser's accusation may or may not be true but for you to believe the parents story when they weren't present during any of the shenanigans between the accuser and Fr. Euteneuer is absurd. I personally find it troubling and odd that the Father or parents of the accuser would give details that they were told by their daughter to be published by a blogger/author so freely, especially while the whole situation is being investigated. That act in itself seems to be more evidence of a getting even mentality more so than telling the facts or letting the facts coming out after the investigation is finished.

  • st_columba

    Teresa: The zero tolerance policy is used for accusations regarding a sexual nature, which we call mortal sin and which psychology says does long-lasting damage to a person's mental and emotional health as well as spiritual.So, it is extremely important to understand that the new policies of the Church must immediately act to protect the faithful who may have been involved in a sexual way with a priest. Finally, in a sense, the policy is coming into line with the Catholic belief (that sex acts are always GRAVE).A priest needs to be removed immediately, because the Church's investigators must carry out their inquiry without the appearance that he is in the workplace influencing the investigation or swaying the answers of superiors, co-workers, etc. Also, there is the sneaky and addictive behavior that accompanies sins of a sexual nature which call for the person to take a leave. Notice that if there is an accusation against a high school teacher, they are also removed from the classroom and placed on leave while an inquiry takes place to verify the evidence of credibility.It is terrible that the leave of absence alone brands the priest with "guilt." But it is a necessary action for the Church to be swift in her policies, and transparent in her goal to put the protection of the faithful first, as the urgent priority.I remember the good old days. I saw what happened to my brother priests who reported these matters, especially when the accused was a popular priest. The mode of acting was "shut up, no one needs to know about this, let's just pray and the problem will go away," or in the worse case scenario, "you need to be punished for being a whistleblower, and threatening scandal against the image of mother Church."Thank God, thank Blessed Mother, and thank all of heaven for the new policies in place to deal with sexual sins of the clergy. I would shudder at the thought of going back to our old way of handling priest problems.

  • st_columba

    Fr. Dwight: I have seen the priest sexual scandals up close. In the good old days, prior to the Charter of the bishops, I personally dealt with a very popular priest who was, as we say now, committing "boundary violations." All I can say is that the hateful vitriol you received is very typical, typical because the main points of your post were SO TRUE. At least we are not in the good old days, when our priestly fraternity was the good ol' boys club that actually punished priests for saying out loud many of the things you are trying to say.When it comes to our doctrine, our liturgy, and our prayer life, I want to see all the glories of Catholic Tradition restored. But when it comes to the old ways of putting priests on a pedestal to the point where they could molest and fondle the faithful to their hearts content in their private life, I say, "hell no." As if billions of dollars and countless lost souls who have now apostasized are not enough to teach us a lesson.Fr. Dwight, THANK GOD, thank God, for your words. There is nothing more sickening than blind faith in any person, instead of faith and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone perfects our faith.

  • Jeanette O’Toole

    @Teresa — The parents love and trust their daughter, and by issuing a statement, they are helping her to heal. It's natural for parents to want their child to get better. Their actions are explained well in their statement.

  • Teresa

    @Jeanette I can understand her parents believing their daughter but I just didn't like how you were accepting her version of the events over a Fr. Euteneuer's admission of guilt or version. I am just saying that her father wasn't there when any of the improprieties took place so while he may want to believe his daughter's story he really doesn't have full knowledge of what happened. I don't either but I find it odd for a priest to come out in public to admit wrongdoing and not admit all of his wrongdoing. But, I don't know what happened so I'm not saying one of them is more wrong or more right than the other. Actually I would say as two consenting adults both having full knowledge of their vocations and obligations that they are both in the wrong.

  • Teresa

    st_ columba,I get what you are saying. I just don't like the perception the process gives to priests looking guilty before the findings from the investigation are known. I don't agree with how the accusations were handled in the good old days either. Covering up a criminal act or morally illicit act is wrong. I have experienced the effects of a cover up by what many consider to be a good conservative Catholic university, just so this college could maintain a good record or its good name. All I ever wanted to do was to protect other women from going through the horrible experience that I went through, but then I got scapegoated. Believe me I lost my Faith for a long while but eventually started coming back to the Church. I have experienced the effects of putting priests, a counselor, or those in power up on pedestals. They only care about covering their own butts.

  • Patm

    I am so sick of reading offended Catholics here and at other sites who can do nothing but huff "how daaaaare you" at other Catholics. Like it or not our priests and bishops have given us reason to hesitate before exclaiming "it's not possible for Father so-and-so to have fallen."Maybe stop being hysterical at each other and just pray.

  • Dave Armstrong

    Hi Fr. Longenecker,I haven't been following the Fr. Corapi situation up till now. When I have heard him on the radio, I liked what I heard very much. Someone directed me to your posts. I wanted mainly to note that since you have now clarified twice in two posts that you bear no ill will towards Fr. Corapi and assume that he is innocent until shown otherwise, and that you weren't blasting him personally in your observations, then that ought to put the matter to rest, insofar as your own motivations are concerned.It's a simple enough ethical notion: take someone at their word. But for some reason many have not granted that charity to you. I think it's sad. In being quick to condemn unjust accusations, they made several of their own towards you.I thought your first post was very insightful, and I understood it. In my reading of it, I perceived that you used a situation to "springboard" off of in order to make a more general observation. But this is a "technique" often misunderstood (I know from much firsthand experience, myself).I think your post was an example of self-examination of a refreshingly frank, honest sort that almost never happens among any sub-group of people. It took guts to write it, and I commend you for that. It was real, and that is a quality we can all use more of. We live our lives wallowing in many illusions (many about ourselves).Your grace in the face of all the bitter personal attacks against you was inspiring.God bless you, and we can all surely agree to pray that the Fr. Corapi situation will turn out well and not be the cause of further scandal.

  • Jeanette O’Toole

    @Teresa — Someone on another blog mentioned that in politics, the accused politician will sometimes air a little dirty laundry in order to stop the questioning that could eventually lead to the more serious crime. I can't remember the term for it.And keep in mind the women Father saw (for exorcisms) were possessed, which means they were not "consenting" adults. Unless, of course, you mean the devil consented for them, which could be true I suppose, but it wouldn't make it right or proper for FTE (an exorcist!) to take advantage of that situation.

  • Teresa

    The problem is that not one of us even parents, lawyers, other priests etc. know what went on between Fr. Euteneuer and the woman/women but the women, Fr. Euteneuer and God so for us to assume that one party is more responsible or at fault then the other is irresponsible. It is a terrible situation all around and much prayer is needed for all involved.

  • The Lady of the House

    Jeanette, Teresa is a friend of an extremely close friend of Fr. E's.

  • Teresa

    "Jeanette, Teresa is a friend of an extremely close friend of Fr. E's."What? I'd like to know who so I could meet this person. Okay, and believe it or not I have had such hatred for another priest who wronged me (not abused but swept something under the rug) after he took over for a much-loved President at a very Catholic college like around 11 years ago. But, slowly over time I have forgiven him in realizing that even priests are human.

  • Kenneth

    Concerning Father's suggestion to tootle over and inspect the vitriol to be read in the combox surrounding his post "Priests and Pedestals."Well Father, I suppose the "vitriol" goes both ways and even down the middle! Now this may be labeled as vitriolic, but isn't that type of deflection of the objections of others, just one of the things your first post warned against. This quote for instance speaking of priests, I assumed, do to the use of the pronoun "we" that Father D put to use:"Meanwhile the real friends–those who would criticize us and bring us down to earth–often simply walk away or worse–in our egomania–we drive them away, refusing to take criticism, we see them as 'naysayers' and we are glad to see the back of them."So, where is a reader supposed to land here, Father Dwight.Refusing to take criticism seems to be a bad thing — is that what you were saying there? But if we can label it "vitriolic", then it's okay? Yes, that is a bit confusing, at best.

  • The Lady of the House

    Dear Teresa, human foibles and the hurts which can be very real are one thing. When a priest sexually abuses a person under his spiritual care that is entirely another. It does absolutely devastating physical, mental, emotional and spiritual damage that very often does not fully get healed for one's entire life. Absolutely devastating. I know the victim personally. Sure they can be forgiven, but a severe canonical penalty should be imposed + criminal penalties if called for. Here is the link on your blog to your question about his close friend. See your comments at the bottom. God bless,

  • Teresa

    "Teresa is a friend of an extremely close friend of Fr. E's" "Here is the link on your blog to your question about his close friend." His or mine? That is the first time I had heard of Anne(?). And to my surprise she just popped up and commented on my blog. Probably because she has a google word alert that lets her know when a someone posts on "12th and Delaware". "human foibles" Not even close. Let's just say this priest not only looked the other way but he made sure that his staff took care of me the first couple weeks as president and his staff scapegoated me in order to save both their and the University's reputations. If any other poor woman/girl has to go through what I went through because of a certain guy being allowed to walk free then I pity the priest and those of his staff who were complicit in the cover up just to save the colleges reputation.

  • The Lady of the House

    Teresa,Ok, mea culpa. About the other, that is sad.

  • Teresa

    @The Lady of the HouseMea Culpa accepted. That's okay, struggles make us stronger. Who knows you never know you might be talking to a future author? :)

  • 4unborn

    Your comments were fair and insightful. I hope and pray that Fr. Corapi was not so proud that he ignored the temptations of his celebrity and cult-like status.

  • Fr Longenecker

    Kenneth, I am quite happy to accept criticism that is offered in a constructive and rational manner. However, you must admit that some of the comments on the priests and pedestals post were downright personal, irrational and nasty. They were truly vitriolic.Others were more even tempered, but I don't think they read the post carefully. I was not attacking Fr Corapi at all, but observing (from my own personal experiences) the pitfalls of the priesthood and especially the pitfalls of being on the 'celebrity circuit'Accepting criticism that is fair is one thing, and I honestly believe I can do this. Kowtowing to irrational tirades is a different matter.Now if all the commenters had taken me to task I would backtrack, correct to post or take it down (all things I have done on this blog before) The fact that the majority of commenters supported me and liked the post re assures me that my further clarifications were sufficient.

  • Laura

    Reading some of the vicious comments on your previous post, one in particular, literally brought tears to my eyes. The thought of you reading that made me sick. I'm so sorry, Father, and I'd personally like to thank you for your vocation and your willingness to share your faith and insights with us through your blog. I know I have greatly benefited from it. Many people are very sensitive to attacks on priests today, which is good. Its so important to support our priests, but any response which so clearly leaves behind the bounds of Christian charity I find quite suspect. Its ironic that in leaping to defend the honor and dignity in one priest, someone can so quickly and grossly malign another priest…I thought your post was very clear, insightful and not at all confusing. No faithful Catholic wants to believe that someone they have trusted, admired, and learned so much from could be guilty of such charges. Especially one who presents the Church's teachings so clearly and compellingly. But the fact is, there are some priests out there who appear to be very good and yet lead evil lives. Its a serious scandal and very disillusioning. I hope and pray with all my heart that Fr. Corapi is innocent, and I pray that as he bears this awful suffering, that God may be with him and that God may use it for good. But to say that a priest cannot possibly be guilty because he says good things, in my opinion, is naive. A few years ago I would have thought quite differently. I probably would have insisted this was merely an attack of the devil without in the least believing it possible that a good priest could fall. But since then I have witnessed a priest lead a duplicitous and grossly immoral life. This was a priest I was sure was a saint. This only shows that such things are possible. It doesn't mean that every priest is guilty, and its a sad thing to view every priest with suspicion, however, its equally dangerous to put blind faith in human beings. I still hope and pray for Fr. Corapi, who has taught me much about the faith, and I place my faith in God that His truth will triumph.

  • Theoden

    Fr. Dwight, you sound uncharacteristically diffident about this clear example of political correctness creeping into Mother Church. By not commenting on the manifest illogic and injutice of so-called "zero tolerance," you have essentially "dammed him with faint praise." The fact that you do not know him personally does not prevent you from having an opinion about his significant public ministry. Teresa over here has the right angle. Whatever your hesitations about your brother, this ain't the time to sound tentative. Get in the game, Padre….

  • The Lady of the House

    Yay, for zero tolerance! Every doctor going into the profession knows it's not if he's sued, but when he's sued. They go in anyway. There is zero tolerance in the field of psychology. One psychologist in our area lost his license immediately for speaking in a sexually illicit manner to a client (after it was investigated). That is his entire schooling and livelihood… gone. It was still the right thing to do. It works in the secular professions, the priesthood is a much, much higher and lofty calling. If there is an accusation, remove the priest, investigate, and put him back if it is unsubstantiated. The protection of souls come first. We're not here to be comfortable. The eternal destiny of souls entrusted to their care, is too great to mess around with. Even more important then how the priest feels.

  • Schloeder

    The recent allegations of serious impropriety against a well known Catholic priest may have been trumped up by a disgruntled former employee…

  • The Lady of the House
  • Thomas G

    You state you "have no opinion of Fr Corapi," because, "you don't know the man."You don't have to "know the man" to have an opinion. I don't know the man, but I have an opinion.I don't know you either, but I do know that from what I have read of your writings about Fr Corapi, as he would say "you are not being objectively truthful."You need to form your conscious.

  • mlb4nd

    Have always liked father corapi's preaching..He has had a positive effect on me and others I know…I pray for him and hope he is innocent.Unrelated silly side note..Why in the world after appearing on the public seen 20 years ago with a graying beard would he at age 63 dye it jet black…Crazy