The Neverending Story Corapi

The Te-Deum blog has a very good, very even-handed post on l’affair Corapi and most recent discussions on the case:

For many people, Fr. John Corapi’s recent decision to abandon public ministry as a priest, and the title, “father”, has been painful. There have been many misunderstandings about certain facts, and not all of the facts known to date have circulated. Here are two interviews – one in video form and the other in audio form. What is refreshing about these two interviews is that they discuss reported facts.

Both interviews touch on this area of his life with SOLT which is where much focus is taking place.

I’m pretty much done with the story until something new breaks — and that means this will very likely be my final post on the subject, because nothing new will break. The whole thing is at an impasse; Corapi has resigned from SOLT and the investigation has come to a complete halt. This is a story that is just going to hang, unresolved, forever, with Corapi singin’ the “I ain’t gonna lay down and die” blues while re-establishing his brand, others trying to figure out what his actual clerical status may be, and his die-hard fans screaming IN ALL CAPS at anyone who asks a fair question.

And perhaps Corapi prefers that it all remains unresolved. Aura of mystery, the glamor of being the black sheep. I could see that.

It is only because of the question of his clerical status — which still does matter — that I am linking to the well-done post at Te-Deum blog, where this comment caught my eye:

SOLT did not become a SAL until after Father had been a priest for a few years, so initially he would have had to be incardinated in a diocese. Bishop Gracida states Father never did any parish work in his diocese, while Father’s bio says he did.

The canons for SAL’s (731-755) require members to turn over any income from their ministry to the SAL, and to have some type of community life. Canon 754 does not seem to permit the SAL from giving faculties to a cleric that has lived outside of his community beyond a few years, requiring him to get his faculties from the bishop of the diocese where he resides.

What has not been stated is whether or not Father still had any faculties considering his extended period outside of the community. Therefore, was the process that was just getting started entirely to do with dismissal from SOLT vs. having anything to do with removal of his clerical status? As he resigned from SOLT, dismissal is moot. Since he is not a member of SOLT, he would have no faculties from them and would need to obtain faculties from Bishop Thomas of Helena if he had any desire to resume priestly ministry. There is no indication that he has done any public priestly ministry for some time. Bishop Thomas’ office seems to have made it clear that Father Corapi had no faculties in Helena. It seems unlikely he would seek them now, and I suspect Bishop Thomas might pursue having him laicized. If he did, it seems Father would not have much recourse after dropping his case and indicating that his ministry had little to do with faculties.

I know it’s been a long time since Corapi heard confessions or was seen celebrating a mass (I don’t think he ever did one for EWTN) so there is reason to believe he has been without faculties, anywhere, for a while. Perhaps, as indicated above, he’d lived apart for so long that SOLT no longer could incardinate him, and he never bothered to apply for incardination from the bishop in Helena.

If that is the case, it is certainly to Corapi’s credit that he did not offer mass or hear confessions, but he should have just been straight-up about it; in doing so he would have kept precisely these sort of questions at bay. I know his most ardent fans have no questions, but others do, and they are fair ones.

Perhaps Corapi really loves preaching and marketing, but doesn’t really want to be priest anymore, and if not, he should just say so, already.

It would, I think, help tamp down all the speculation, and also be a kindness to many of his fans who are upset about all the uncertainty feel a bit more secure…and calmer.

Speaking of calmness, I’m not even going to bother opening comments, and if people jump to other threads to post Corapi comments I’ll trash them. Everyone has more than had their say on this issue, and none of us actually knows anything new, so I’m not going to subject myself to the flings and arrows of Corapian Fanwrath when I can just re-read it on other threads.

The email I got the other day from one of them telling me I was “outside the church and condemned to hell” or whatever has more or less worn out my patience.

More thoughts here

About Elizabeth Scalia