Thursday, July 7, 2011

A question raised by the timeline of the Corapi saga

With an emphasis mostly on SOLT's statements regarding the John Corapi saga, I feel there is an unresolved question in this matter.

March 18, 2011
The Regional Priest Servant of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity (SOLT), Fr. Gerrard Sheehan, announces that Fr. John Corapi had been placed on administrative leave based on an "allegation that Fr. Corapi has behaved in a manner unbecoming of a priest."

June 17, 2011
Fr. Corapi publicly announces he is leaving the public ministry of the priesthood because of a flawed canonical process in the Church. He writes: "My canon lawyer and my civil lawyers have concluded that I cannot receive a fair and just hearing under the Church’s present process." He signs off as "John Corapi."

June 20, 2011
Fr. Sheehan responds to John Corapi's June 17 statement which includes the following excerpt (emphasis mine):
Although the investigation was in progress, the SOLT had not arrived at any conclusion as to the credibility of the allegations under investigation. At the onset, the Bishop of Corpus Christi advised the SOLT to not only proceed with the policies outlined in their own constitutions, but also with the proper canonical procedures to determine the credibility of the allegations against Fr. Corapi. We reiterate that Fr. Corapi had not been determined guilty of any canonical or civil crimes.
July 5, 2011
Fr. Sheehan issues a "press release" on behalf of SOLT, an admittedly unusual move done because SOLT asserts that John Corapi is "misleading...individuals through his false statements and characterizations." A detailed description of accusations is included:
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.
July 6, 2011
Fr. Sam Medley, webmaster for SOLT, writes on his blog (emphasis mine):
We had way too much info to be able to suspend [Corapi] in the first place that ought to have humbled him, but because people see him as gifted they are not permitted to see his faults. ... Please do not listen to him trying to turn you against the Church authorities that have been trying to bring him in for years.
[EDIT: July 28, 2011 - It appears that the comment section for Fr. Medley's blog post has been removed. The above quote was one of his own comments to his post and no longer appears available on that site.]

>>>>end of timeline

My greatest question when pondering the comments in this timeline revolve around the last three entries:

Why did Fr. Sheehan stress on June 20 that SOLT had not even yet determined if the allegations against Corapi were credible, and then on July 5 give graphic details of his guilty behavior?

Some folks I've chatted with about this discrepancy have posited that SOLT came across new incriminating information in the 16 days between June 20 and July 5. But according to Fr. Medley, they had "way too much info" on Corapi "in the first place" and that Church authorities had "been trying to bring him in for years."

Whether or not Fr. Corapi is guilty on all counts or whether he is completely innocent is not a factor in this discrepancy. Not all believe SOLT has handled the case well, even if Corapi is guilty. Former Bishop of Corpus Christi Rene Henry Gracida wrote on July 5 in response to SOLT's press release: "[I]t seems to me that the issuing of the statement is an effort by the SOLT leadership to justify their own mishandling of his case from the beginning."

In either case the question remains:

Why did Fr. Sheehan stress on June 20 that SOLT had not even yet determined if the allegations against Corapi were credible, and then on July 5 give graphic details of his guilty behavior?

Perhaps there is a simple answer. I am willing to accept it. But I would like to hear it.


  1. They mentioned about Corapi sexting and luxury items. Did they retrieve these text messages, and do they have recents of these luxury items that can be trace back to Father Corapi?

  2. SOLT acts as if they do and they certainly might. In the context of my post here, though, Fr. Corapi's guilt or innocence doesn't affect the question posed. :) Thanks for readying as always. :)