Father John Corapi has announced that he will not obey the order from his superior in the Society of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity (SOLT) to leave his private Montana compound and live with other members of the community. In a stinging public statement released July 5, Father Gerard Sheehan, SOLT’s regional priest servant, had announced that the popular preacher and television personality is not “fit for ministry” and revealed that an investigation of Corapi’s affairs found a pattern of misconduct, including sexual relations and cohabitation with a woman, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and embrace of a luxurious lifestyle that was “a serious violation of his promise of poverty.” SOLT ordered Father 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.” In his response, Father Corapi said that “if I were to commit to the suggestion of the Society, then I would essentially crawl under a rock and wait to die.” He added, “I resigned [from priestly ministry] because the process used by the Church is grossly unjust, and, hence, immoral. I resigned because I had no chance from the beginning of a fair and just hearing. As I have indicated from the beginning of all this, I am not extinguished!” Father Corapi also defended his lifestyle, stating that “the Founder of the Society of Our Lady, Fr. James Flanagan, encouraged me to support myself and the Church as well. He said they could not afford to support my ministry and me personally because of the unique nature of the mission. At every step of the way, through the entire past 20 years, the Society of Our Lady’s leadership knew of my financial independence … I have never relied on the Society for shelter, clothing, transportation, medical care, or legal counsel and instead, using my history of success in business, set up my mission as any savvy business man would, meanwhile continuing to support the Society and many other Catholic Charities.” Commenting on the allegation of sexual impropriety, Father Corapi said that “this song of greed has been sung many times before. I have never had any promiscuous or even inappropriate relations with her. Never.” “I never paid anybody off to remain silent,” he continued. “On two occasions there were standard severance agreements executed with former employees and independent contractors. These agreements contained very common non-disclosure provisions. Any attorney who would not include such provisions in such agreements would rightly be guilty of negligent and actionable conduct.” Father Sam Medley, webmaster of the Society of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity, attributed the scandal to a lack of fidelity to the society’s charism. “This whole Corapi conundrum would have never happened if we would have been faithful to our SOLT Charism of ecclesial teams-communion,” he said. Father Medley added: “I was asked years ago by my superiors if John Corapi could come and work in the community life of the media apostolate I was running at the time,” Father Medley recounted. “YES, I cried! Please bring him back to community life! Canon law tells us that no one from a community should live outside for an extended period of time. This would have also meant the regulation of his bank account and other violations would have been remedied. Sadly this didn't happen.”
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 Press Release Concerning Fr John Corapi from SOLT Regional Priest Servant July 5, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From: Rev. 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.
I have seen many "hits" come through my site regarding John Corapi. These are the latest and the final posting that I will have on my site. I too followed this man who led thousands back into a deeper faith in the Catholic Church and was shocked by his statement(s) about leaving the priesthood as well as his new persona of "The BlackSheepDog" which was trademarked by him on April 10, 2010. When I did see him on television with his "hollywood tan" and jet black dyed goatee I knew right away that something was not right with his life and that he indeed was having a relationship with a woman. Prayers are needed for his conversion as well as a true spirit of humility.