Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bishop defends Father Corapi

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, TX, retired since 1997 came out on June 18 in support of Father John Corapi's decision to leave the public ministry of the priesthood. Bishop Gracida wrote on his blog Abyssum Abyssum Invocat the following:
I believe that he is justified in not seeking to clear his name through a canonical process; at the present time such processes are very flawed in most dioceses. Rather I would like to believe that he intends to try to clear his name through the civil courts. Since I believe that his accuser is a former manager of his media company who he terminated with some kind termination agreement, and since she has evidently sought revenge for her termination by writing to the Bishop of Corpus Christi denouncing Father John, I believe that it is possible for him to do so and I wish him every success in such an endeavor. The basis for his lawsuit would probably be defamation of character, libel, extortion, breech of contract, or whatever.
His post was longer, but that statement was the nut graph in my opinion. As I conjected Sunday (see Things to consider on Father Corapi leaving the priesthood), in light of Father Corapi's new ministry after leaving the public ministry, "perhaps he would be the Church's ally if he were to help purge impurities within Her walls."

Even though the bishop's statement above was made a day before my Sunday blog post, I didn't read it until today. So let me dovetail from my "Possibilities if Father Corapi is right" scenario from Sunday. If Father Corapi was right to step back from his public ministry, might one of the "consequences" of that action be to draw attention to a canonical system drastically flawed? Would Bishop Gracida have ever made such comments about a "very flawed" "canonical process" in "most dioceses"? In a best-case-scenario for Father Corapi, did his action set in motion a much-needed fix in canonical processes? Whether or not he anticipated this deliberately or whether he hoped something like this would happen I can't say for sure. But if the Church's processes wind up corrected as a result of Father Corapi's action, might that be considered a good fruit of his action? ( Granted, God in His sovereignty can work with good or bad actions that good fruit might be the result.)

One other thing I will cite here is Father Corapi's reaction to some of the accusations he's had in the last few days that he's out to get rich by selling his stuff and going off on his own. The bishop made a brief defense of that speculation by stating: "As a member of that Society (The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) Father John is not bound by a vow of poverty." And Father Corapi's own defense read on his blog earlier today (at The Black Sheep Dog):
Concerning money, most people know me through radio and television. My broadcasts for 17 years on both radio and television were absolutely free to the public. I was never paid for them by EWTN or any radio station, nor did EWTN or any radio station ever charge anyone to view them. The past several years I never charged a fee to speak at events either. Furthermore, I have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to various Catholic organizations, and directed millions more from benefactors that wanted to give it to me. I did not accept charitable contributions, although I could have received millions.
So that is his side of that issue.

One thing I find unspoken in this ordeal is back to what if Father Corapi is guilty of some ill behavior, and we consider the "Bishop was right" to suspend him scenario? Father Corapi would be guilty, his critics vindicated, and the powers that be would appear right to have identified a credible accusation. Would that absolve a canonical process that is still flawed in the minds of Father Corapi's supporters, such as Bishop Gracida? And would that absolve a canonical process that is flawed even according to those who are troubled by Father Corapi's decision, such as Catholic radio talk show host Al Kresta who wrote today:
I personally know 6 priests who have either been removed permanently or are awaiting disposition or have been looked at and left in ministry. All of them have complained about the process including the one that has been left in ministry. Obviously there is a problem.
Finally, I have seen a number of Father Corapi's critics defending Father Corapi's suspension, but I have not seen much in the way of why the accusation was seen as credible. Some of my comments appear first in the Al Kresta link above. The Society in which Father Corapi was a member (SOLT) made the following statements on Monday: "due to the gravity of the accusation...Fr. Corapi was suspended from active ministry" and also "If the allegations had been found to be credible, the proper canonical due process would have been offered to Fr. Corapi..." Neither of these statements sound like the accusation was deemed credible before the suspension began. I'm willing to hear the credibility of the accusation, but I have not seen the reasons yet.

1 comment:

  1. It bothers me the way the Church avoids confrontation. As I understand if anyone makes an accusation against a priest regardless whether it is credible or not, the Church settles because it is cheaper than going to court. What is this? Where is truth? If Father Corapi is not guilty, Why should he act as if he was and settle with the dishonest accuser?