The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) has issued a statement about Fr. Corapi, which reads in part:
SOLT’s fact-finding team has acquired information from Fr. Corapi’s e-mails, various witnesses, and public sources that, together, state that, during his years of public ministry:
He did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute; He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs; He has recently engaged in sexting activity with one or more women in Montana; He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society.
SOLT has contemporaneously with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.
SOLT’s prior direction to Fr. John Corapi not to engage in any preaching or teaching, the celebration of the sacraments or other public ministry continues. Catholics should understand that SOLT does not consider Fr. John Corapi as fit for ministry.
Elizabeth Scalia (a.k.a. “The Anchoress”) made the following comments on her blog:
What now? Well, SOLT says “with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.”
Heh. Good luck. Corapi sent a letter to SOLT resigning from the Society on June 3rd. Perhaps they have not yet “accepted” that resignation, but it seems highly unlikely to me that John Corapi — who has rebranded himself as the “Black Sheepdog,” with the stated intention of broadening his public outreach in order to guard and feed “the entire world” is going to get back into his grey robes and live in community with his confreres.
But see, this was the problem, to begin with. Corapi’s bio stated that he was a “fully professed priest” with the SOLT, but apparently his profession did not involve a vow of poverty, and the society allowed him to live independently (which flies in the face of the whole notion of “community” and “society”) and to work without supervision or accountability.
Frankly, if John Corapi is in spiritual turmoil, right now — and if the statement is true, it would seem that he is — then this society, by their inattention to their “fully professed” priest, has some culpability for that.
Is the statement true? I know a lot of Corapi’s fans are insisting it “cannot be.” But of course, any man can sin; no one is perfect, save Christ (with whom, it must be admitted, a few of the self-proclaimed “Corapians” sometimes seem to confuse him). Since Corapi has amply demonstrated that he’s a man who is not afraid of bringing lawsuits, we can assume that SOLT has information which would prevent them from being sued for libel, and that they’ve dotted all their i’s and crossed their t’s.
If they have not (and nothing about this crew suggests that they are masters of organization, to me) the Black Sheepdog will eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
More importantly, if the SOLT has the proof they assert, then John Corapi is in serious trouble and he needs prayers, as do his fans, and really, the whole church. A great deal of healing will have to take place.
This case reminds me of the PTL and Jimmy Swaggart scandals that rocked the charismatic evangelical world back in the late 1980’s. The media had quite a field day with those stories, and churches and ministries across the country were hurt financially, as many people decided to close their checkbooks to these organizations whose trustworthiness they now questioned. (My father was working for a Christian ministry at the time, and the downturn in contributions was a factor in his losing his job.) I wonder how this episode with Fr. Corapi will affect Catholics here in America, or at least the SOLT.
Anyway, we should keep in mind the remarks of another Catholic blogger, Fr. Z:
Fr. Corapi’s case makes me very sad. There: I’ve said it again. I have paid as little attention to it as I can, though I couldn’t ignore this last wave of bad news. I pray that eventually Corapi will get things sorted out.
Corapi has an immortal soul. He is need of a Savior just like the one writing this and you who are reading this. And I would remind you that you, dear reader, are not sinless and neither am I. Many people who admired Corapi will want to know what happens in his case, but I urge you to examine your consciences for your motives. Those who didn’t like him, consider first your own state of soul and God’s mercy. In any event, pray for him, who seems to be very troubled, and for all the people who have been harmed in the matter.