The past few weeks have proved to be a most confusing time trying to figure out the assertions made against the “former Father John Corapi” now taking a leave from ministry. Today, a “Press Release
Concerning Fr John Corapi from SOLT Regional Priest Servant” was released. It is a disturbing piece of information but something that deserves our time, patience and prayer. Someone accused me of misjudging Corapi when the allegations surfaced; my only response is that it is possible that a former addict could have a relapse. We need to exhibit Christian forgiveness and beg God for His Mercy. We need to beg the Holy Spirit to warm John Corapi’s heart to return to the regular observance of his vowed religious life. Here’s the text:
Gerard Sheehan, SOLT Regional Priest Servant Society of Our Lady of the Most
Holy Trinity Robstown, Texas
Fr. John A. Corapi
submitted his resignation from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity
(“SOLT”) early in June. SOLT is a Society of Apostolic Life of
Diocesan Right with its regional office in Robstown, Texas.
While SOLT does
not typically comment publicly on personnel matters, it recognizes that Fr.
John Corapi, through his ministry, has inspired thousands of faithful
Catholics, many of whom continue to express their support of him. SOLT also
recognizes that Fr. Corapi is now misleading these individuals through his
false statements and characterizations. It is for these Catholics that SOLT, by
means of this announcement, seeks to set the record straight.
A woman, well known to Fr. John Corapi, mailed SOLT a signed letter detailing allegations of Fr. Corapi’s sexual activity with adult women, abuse of alcohol and drugs, improper sacramental practices, violation of his promise of poverty, and other wrongdoing.
After receiving the allegation, SOLT formed a three person fact-finding team to ensure that it handled this matter in accordance with canonical norms. The team included a priest-canonist, a psychiatrist, and a lawyer. Two were members of religious orders, and one was a lay Catholic. Two were men, and one was a woman. All three have national reputations and substantial experience in ecclesiastical processes related to priest disciplinary issues.
As the Society was engaging this team, Fr. Corapi filed a civil lawsuit against his principal accuser. He contended that she had defamed him and breached her contract. The contract, according to Corapi’s lawsuit, contained a provision binding the woman to silence about him. He offered the woman $100,000 to enter this agreement.
SOLT’s fact-finding team subsequently learned that Fr. Corapi may have negotiated contracts with other key witnesses that precluded them from speaking with SOLT’s fact-finding team. Many of these witnesses likely had key information about the accusations being investigated and declined to answer questions and provide documents.
When the fact-finding team asked Fr. Corapi to dismiss the lawsuit, to forbear from foreclosing his mortgage, and to release her and other individuals from their contractual obligations to remain silent about him, he refused to do so and, through his canonical advocate, stated: “It is not possible for Father Corapi to answer the Commission’s questions at this time.”
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.
Father Sheehan will not be available for comments as he is attending the SOLT General Chapter from July 5-23.