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Fr Corapi: The New Luther?
Posted on July 10, 2011 by Fr Stephen SmutsFr Corapi: The New Luther?Spero News:
I have never had promiscuous or even inappropriate relations with her…I never paid anyone off to remain silent…I resigned because the process used by the Church is grossly unjust and…immoral…I [will not] commit to the suggestion of the Society [to] essentially crawl under a rock and wait to die. –John “Black Sheep Dog” Corapi, from his latest statement.
What would it matter if, for the sake of greater good and the Christian Church, one were to tell a good, boldface lie?–Martin Luther
While only the avid readers of the “Corapi corrupted” saga might immediately grasp the boldness and baldness of the lies on BS-Dog’s latest blog, any ten-year-old can tell you that the Corapi statement of his innocence and SOLT’s statement of his guilt both cannot be true. Like Luther’s tract on the sacraments versus the teachings of Luther’s one-time hero Augustine, they are simply incompatible, and you must choose one or the other. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that the “Church” championed by the Society of Our Lady and its famous former member (and his followers) might soon be different from each other too.
Corapi’s five denials of SOLT’s charges, while two more than Peter’s three denials of Christ, are still ninety less than Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five ["Trick-or-Treat"] Theses, so we (or any ten-year-old) can easily examine their contents. Now, on Corapi’s refutation of SOLT’s first charge, that the former Father violated his perpetual vow of poverty, we have to concede Corapi at least one point. “At every step of the way,” maintains Corapi, “through the entire past twenty years, the Society of Our Lady’s leadership knew of my financial independence,” so why didn’t they say something sooner?
Few, and even I suspect Corapi himself, would describe a man owning over a million dollars in land, along with several nice cars, boats and motorcycles, not to mention a prosperous media company as living in poverty, but because he was living so long and openly in luxury, I (and many others) were extremely surprised he was bound by this vow. As Father Joe Jenkins said on his holy site, Blogger Priest, “I think that the leadership in SOLT must be faulted for allowing this situation to grow so out of hand. They should have reigned him in years ago. Their passivity has now made for a far worse and more scandalous situation.”
Although Corapi’s situation reminds me much of the downfall of Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, the exorcist priest who roamed the country abusing women until the outcry of the abused (with the help of the Catholic press) forced his bishop to put a stop to it, it is probably more similar (according to Phil Lawler of Catholic Culture) to the case of the late Father Marcial Maciel. “Like…the disgraced founder of the Legion of Christ, John Corapi has worked for years as a celebrity priest: encouraging a cult of personality, setting his own agenda, raising large sums of money that he spent at his own discretion, and—most dangerous of all—accountable to no one.
It was a formula for disaster, and now the disaster has occurred…
… by scoffing at the opportunity of returning to the SOLT community, and declaring the humble but holy choice of celebrating the Eucharist (which as late as June 23, Corapi called “the primary reason a priest is ordained”) and hearing confessions not even an option, Corapi finds himself at the same spot as Luther did after posting his Ninety-Five Theses but before his excommunication and split with Rome…
While thought provoking, it is not one of the best of comparisons it has to be said.
Luther broke with the Church over doctrine and was subsequently excommunicated. Fr. Corapi is seeking laiciaztion so he can pursue his options of debasement against him. Fr. Corapi shuld be compated to Catherine of Siena who had more things to say to Bishops and Popes very directly and they made her a Doctor Of The Church regardless.. That’s who Fr. Corapi should be compared with.
Mike G on July 10, 2011 at 20:54 said:
Corapi’s statement is carefully crafted to look like he is rebutting SOLT’s accusations, but he does nothing of the kind. Anyone with a brain can see right through this. This is very evasive and vague. He doesn’t directly respond to any of the accusations. Looks like the response of a guilty person.
1. He doesn’t deny the millions he has and the many luxurious possessions, which is a gross violation of the promise of poverty. He merely says he was financially independent. That still doesn’t give him an excuse for his excesses and breaking the promise of poverty.
2. He evades the sexual impropriety accusations by limiting his response to one woman. He avoids the charges of cohabitation, sexting and having a more recent mistress completely. Very slick.
3. He says the reason for the payoff in the non-disclosure agreement was not to silence anyone, which is dubious at best. He does not deny that he paid or offered the $100,000.
4. His explanation about his resignation is lame and rings hollow. He could have had a fair process and given his side of the story if he had released the witnesses from the non-disclosure agreement. He purposely ruined the process and stallled the investigation himself.
5. Then he immediately gets back to business marketing mode, gives a false impression of what his choices are and promotes himself.
6. He doesn’t address the grave charges of sacramental impropriety, he does not address the drunk driving incident of 1999, which is public record.
Perhaps SOLT will feel compelled to release the emails and sexting records, as well as his real estate titles and records of his other luxurious merchandise. He is declared not fit for ministry, but his followers ignore the obvious and blindly follow him over the cliff. He is taking his followers for fools and continues to play them like a fiddle.
Was Father Corapi complicit in Father Euteneuer's downfall?Sunday, March 27, 2011
By Tom O'Toole
On Ash Wednesday I learned that a former employee sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several other adult women.
There seems to no longer be the need for a complaint to be deemed “credible” in order for Church authorities to pull the trigger on the Church’s procedure, which was in recent years crafted to respond to cases of the sexual abuse of minors. I am not accused of that...[but] I have been placed on "administrative leave"...I’ll certainly cooperate with the process, but personally believe that it is seriously flawed, and is tantamount to treating the priest as guilty “just in case”...The resultant damage to the accused is immediate, irreparable, and serious, especially for someone like myself, since I am so well known. I am not alone in this assessment, as multiple canon lawyers...civil and criminal attorneys [agree]...All of the allegations in the complaint are false, and I ask you to pray for all concerned. --Fr. John Corapi, SOLT, 3-18-11
Father Thomas Euteneuer has performed a valuable service in giving us...Exorcism and the Church Militant. Everyone...can profit from a careful and prayerful reading of this book. Priests especially should profit from this material [as] preparation for this dimension of spiritual warfare is singularly lacking in almost all seminaries, novitiates, or other Catholic institutions of learning. One of the reasons for this is that many such institutions have faculty that...don’t necessarily believe what the Church believes. This leaves a terrible void...Hopefully this fine book will inspire many priests to equip themselves with the necessary weapons to fight for souls in this arena. --Rev. John A. Corapi, SOLT, STD, Foreword, Exorcism and the Church Militant.
The Greatest of these is Love. --1 Corinthians 13:13
The above poster depicts the better (if not last) days of the Church's once-dynamic duo of rock-star padres, Fathers Corapi and Euteneuer. Although in some ways it seems an eternity ago, the date tells us it was just last July when the "rocking reverends" were flying high, topping the preacher pop charts on their ironically titled (at least in retrospect) "The Greatest Event of 2010" tour. Ironic in that, although so far only Euteneuer has crashed and burned, the above statement from Corapi shows that now he too has been accused of things that only true rock stars are supposed to do. And, while I pray that (unlike Euteneuer) Fr. John's word is true and the accusations against him are false, both his dubious dealings with Euteneuer and his own defiant denial of any wrongdoing show Corapi has a ways to go in discerning the difference between a rock star and a saint.
We'll look at the curious connection between the two popular preacher-priests in a moment, but let's start by examining the interesting choice of words Corapi uses to show his innocence. After adopting a rather mocking tone of his accuser in the above quoted statement, he then accuses Church authorities of "pulling the trigger" too quickly in deeming these incredible charges "credible."
Corapi then states that he (not to mention several of his lawyer buddies) doesn't understand why a "flawed" Church law designed to deal with those low-life pedophiles should apply to his case, especially when he is "so well known" and they are not. Finally, although Corapi says he will condescend to go along with his forced "administrative leave," his defiant tone makes his parting warning, that these accusations will cause him "immediate, irreparable, and serious...harm" sound more like the beginnings of a self-righteous lawsuit than a sermon written to save men's souls.
As far as the Corapi-Euteneuer connection goes, JC (even Corapi's initials are ironic!) was TE's spiritual director for several years up until the summer of '09, when an interesting thing happened. It should be noted that Euteneuer, because of JC's heavy preaching schedule, usually got to see Corapi only once a year for several days of spiritual counseling, but Euteneuer stuck with him, perhaps figuring Corapi was one of the few priests who could understand the temptations of the reverend in the limelight. But this particular summer, Euteneuer arrived at Corapi's expansive Montana ranch (funded not only by the fees accumulated by Corapi's wildly successful talks and tapes but by the $2,712,281 JC won in a medical malpractice lawsuit) with a particularly heavy heart.
Not only did Euteneuer bear on his soul the burden of the past year's sexual abuse that he had inflicted on one of his exorcism victims, but he had in his hands this woman's diary, which documented his sin to the world should the public ever see it.
Now we don't know what, if anything, Euteneuer told Corapi of his sins, or if the damning (to TE) diary was even mentioned. But we do know that after that visit, Corapi was no longer Euteneuer's spiritual advisor. We also know that when Euteneuer returned from his trip and the victim, who was tricked by Euteneuer into handing the diary over to TE by his claim that it might fall into the hands of a Satanic cult if she took it on vacation with her (I guess you would have to have been brainwashed by Euteneuer to understand that logic, which at the time she was) asked for her diary back, she was shocked to learn TE had burned it, claiming, "Father Corapi told me to do so."
Again, we don't know if Corapi indeed said this, or if it was just one of the many statements Euteneuer made to save his own rear, at a time he should have been more concerned with his soul. Still, it seems strange that at a time when Euteneuer needed spiritual direction the most, TE left (or was told to leave) Corapi's spiritual direction. Afterwards, Corapi still maintained a professional relationship with Euteneuer (writing a foreword for Euteneuer's exorcism book and keeping the popular pro-life priest on as his warm-up act for the great summer tour event) but little else.
For, by the time Cincinnati rolled around, Corapi, surrounded by bodyguards, didn't give Euteneuer (or anyone else not in the JC posse) the time of day, figuring the fact that he allowed TE — and no other vendor — to sell the Euteneuer books at what would usually be an exclusive Corapi memorabilia event (where, for the record, both JC and TE sold an insane amount of stuff that day) should be consolation enough.
And so, while presuming Corapi's innocence in the sex and drugs scenario until the Church rules on his case, there is at least one virtue we can say the once-pale gray-haired priest, who now sports a jet-black beard and Hollywood tan, lacks. It is one thing for Corapi to question Church authorities for taking these allegations seriously — indeed, the fact that Corapi has made a living by talking about his past debauchery and drug-addiction should be enough for his superiors to give them a second look — but it is quite another to claim that such charges will cause him "irreparable damage."
Rather than damage an innocent man's reputation, the history of the saints (and other recent holy heroes) shows quite the opposite. When a young St. Macarius the Great was accused of impregnating the village virgin, the townsmen "...seized me, led me to the village and hung pots black with soot and other things around my neck and led me through the village and beat me almost to death" (talk about "pulling the trigger"), only to realize his true holiness when he still spoke kindly of her and she finally recanted.
When Padre (now Saint) Pio was falsely accused of wrongdoing, and was no longer allowed to say Mass in public, he merely said, "His will be done," adding, "the will of the [Church] authorities is the will of God." And finally, when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was falsely accused of pedophilia, and the not-always orthodox priest not only obediently accepted his public humiliation, but refused to in any way demean his accuser, his status grew rather than diminished when his innocence was proven.
In other words, Corapi might not be guilty in what he did in the Euteneuer scandal (or his own case) but in what he failed to do. By being so wrapped up in his effort to reach the masses, Corapi failed to see that the individual souls entrusted to him (not to mention his own) were neglecting "to equip themselves with the necessary weapons" to win the age-old fight against Satan.
It may be too late for Corapi to resume the role as Euteneuer's spiritual advisor, but if he is wise, Corapi will spend this period outside of the public eye in confession and in front of the Blessed Sacrament so that he will regain the grace needed to be a more effective confessor and advisor for individuals in the future. If the accusation has revealed the Corapi pride, let us pray that his time away from preaching is enough to keep him from the fall, and that he learns what really is "the Greatest" event of all.
Tom O'Toole is a proud Notre Dame alumnus and syndicated writer. He is the author of Champions of Faith: Catholic Sports Heroes tell Their Stories. See his website: FightingIrishThomas.com