My Two Cents on Fr. John Corapi aka The Black Sheep Dog

Since I've started this blog in November, the Catholic "world" has been a quiet place.  That all changed in March when the announcement was made that Fr. John Corapi was being suspended  because of allegations of drug use and sexual misconduct.  The charges come from a former employee of Santa Cruz Media Inc. who also physically attacked another employee there.

The most recent statement from Father is his announcement that he has filed a civil defamation suit on the advice of Fr. James Flanagan, Founder of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and Bishop Rene Gracida, the Former Bishop of Corpus Christi.  Both Bishops feel it is the only way Fr. Corapi could receive a "fair and just hearing."
If you're reading this and saying, "Who's Fr. Corapi?," let me explain.
Go to YouTube and click on any number of videos and watch Father preach.  Trust me.  Even if you're not Christian, you'll learn something.  The man is a gifted speaker and he has brought many people to the Catholic Church including those Catholics who have left.
After waiting three months under suspension, Father decided to take matters into his own hands.  On his new web site, he explains things so I won't go into it here.  On both his old and new Facebook pages the walls have been burning up with the back and forth of what he should do, how he should do it and when.
Usually when you "like" a page, uh, you like it, but apparently in Fr. Corapi's case it means you can rip him to shreds and those that don't agree with you.  Sadly, a lot of very thoughtful and eloquent people have left both pages in disgust.
The Catholic bloggers have also taken sides and EWTN dropped his programming even though everything that was being shown were reruns of his talks.  It's a real fire storm out there and it's becoming divisive within the Catholic Community.
After reading a lot about what was going on, I've come to my own conclusions:
I like Fr. Corapi.  I'm not a rabid fan.  I'm cautiously optimistic about the outcome of all this.  I'm not a lemming and I won't "follow" him right out the Catholic Church doors.  I believe the man will stay true to Church teachings.  He just won't do it as a priest.
A lot of people are angry about that, too, because as Catholics, we believe once you are ordained, you are a priest for life.  Okay, so he can't preach like he did before or write books like he did before?
People are also comparing Fr. Corapi to Padre Pio.  Padre Pio became a Capuchin priest in 1910.  He lived in an isolated monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy.  There on September 20, 1918 he received the stigmata or the "wounds of Christ."
I recently read the book, Padre Pio:  Miracles and Politics in the Secular Age by Sergio Luzzato.  It is an eye-opening and objective account of how the Church and the Fascist government handled the little monk.  The Church sanctioned Padre Pio many times because they were suspicious of his wounds and the many women that surrounded him.  The Fascist Government just thought it was a good idea to align their beliefs with the Church.
There's no doubt that Padre Pio suffered.  He suffered from his wounds and he suffered from what the church and the people around him did to him.
Some say Fr. Corapi should suffer, too.  That he should stay silent and let the Church investigate the charges and clear his name.  But Father has already stated that the Church is not in a hurry to do that and that's he's been abandoned by the Church before when he was falsely accused by a woman who later told the police that Father had come through the television set and raped her!
I think Fr. Corapi is suffering.  Terribly.  But being obedient to the Catholic Church and it's teachings doesn't mean being a doormat and no priest should have to suffer through something like this.  There needs to be drastic changes in the way accusations are being handled so that every priest is given a "fair and just hearing."
I believe Father should fight with everything he has to clear his name and when the dust settles, he should move on with his life.  If he is no longer a priest, I'm sure that will be a painful loss to him as well as to the Church and the people who care about him.  But I don't think his voice should be silenced.  
Not ever.

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