Monday, March 21, 2011

Mark Shea and Pat Archibald on Fr. Corapi

Two posts of note on the Fr. Corapi situation.

Mark Shea posted HERE and takes the healthy position of reserving judgment. As I've pointed out,thought it's tempting to make a judgment based upon what we know about Fr. Corapi and what we know about the injustices of the 'zero tolerance' policy -- we have zero details.

So what do we "do" about the question of Fr. Corapi vs. his accusers? I think the wisdom of Professer Digory Kirke should be our guiding light: How about if everybody minds their own business and lets the investigation proceed so that the facts, whatever they are, will be uncovered?

This situation has not begun to unravel - and so we need to let the situation take it's course. To a point, that is, because we've been letting our priests get sidelined ad infinatum - and many of them on allegations that have no merit.

I don't know what the answer is, but this much I know: There's been way too much minding our own business. Way too much.

I am certainly not in any position to judge the facts in this particular case, but I must believe Fr. Corapi is innocent until proven otherwise. Beyond that, all I have is my gut feeling and my hope, both of which tend toward innocence. Time will tell. I’ve been wrong before.

But beyond the particulars of his own case, Fr. Corapi takes issue with the process, a process which seemingly holds the accused guilty until proven innocent. The truth is that someone of the prominence of Fr. Corapi may never recover his reputation, even though he be as pure as the driven snow, forever stuck in scandal limbo.

It would seem that the destruction of reputations, even of the innocent, is the inevitable consequence of a zero-tolerance policy administered by those seeking to avoid embarrassment. In the past, accusations would be ignored to avoid embarrassment, destroying lives. The flip side is that acting on any and all such accusations without meaningful due process will destroy lives too.

This topic hits home for me. As someone who was once accused of all kinds of baseless and crazy things in a wrongful termination suit, I know how it feels to be falsely accused. It is frustrating, saddening, infuriating, and much more. But the one the one emotion I retain from that horrible experience is gratitude. My employer, also implicated in the suit, stuck by me and defended me until it was eventually dropped. Wrongfully accused priests no longer have this luxury.

A zero-tolerance policy without due process that de facto impugns the reputations of the accused is immoral. The Church has a duty to protect the innocent, even if the innocent is a priest. Of course, the Church has a moral duty to make sure that the scandal of abuse and coverup is never repeated, but it cannot willfully sacrifice the reputations of the innocent as indemnification. The end does not justify the means. I do not know that any of this applies to the Father Corpai case, but we have seen this happen in other cases too and it is wrong.

It is wrong.

We can't continue to keep minding our own business.

Here are the statements of his superior and the local Bishop - both of whom are urging the presumption of innocence and state that in no way does it mean that he is guilty of the charges. They are both decent and fair statements.

Statement from Rev. Gerald Sheehan, Regional Priest Servant

Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

18 March 2011

Today, as Regional Priest Servant for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, I have the unhappy responsibility to announce that Father John Corapi, SOLT has been placed on administrative leave from priestly ministry, in accordance to the Code of Cannon Law of the Catholic Church. We have received an allegation that Father Corapi has behaved in a manner unbecoming of a priest and are duty-bound to conduct an investigation in this accusation.

It is important to keep in mind that this action in no way implies Father Corapi is guilty of the allegation. It is equally important to know that, based on the information we have received thus far, the claim of misconduct does not involve minors and does not arise to the of criminal conduct. Consequently, this matter will be investigated internally, and unless and until information suggests otherwise it will not be referred to civil authorities. In the event that we learn of any occasion where the criminal civil law may have been breached we will immediately refer the matter to civil authorities.

Statement of Bishop George Leo Thomas, the bishop of the Diocese of Helena

“It is important to accord Father Corapi the principles of due process, including the assumption of innocence, until a full investigation is carried out by his superiors. More importantly, I appeal for prayers on behalf of everyone involved in this very complex situation.” Father Corapi has a personal residence in Kalispell, Mont. He does not hold priestly faculties in the Diocese of Helena, said Diocese of Helena Chancellor Father John Robertson.


Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

Carol, where's the post? There's nothing under the title.

Anonymous said...

Restore DC

Maybe that's the point.

They had nothing to say, which would be a blessing, especially when it comes to Mark Shea.


Carol McKinley said...

LOL - sorry ladies -- I published prematurely then got a phone call!

I'm getting on it!

Anonymous said...

We are waiting.


Anonymous said...

While we're patiently waiting Carol, I see that the Daughters of St. Paul are suing your esteemed Cardinal O'Malley over their pensions.

What is the Church coming to?


Anonymous said...

I say Congrats to the Ladies in Blue for trying to protect the laity who worked for that pension!

Carol McKinley said...

LOL. You're an impatient bunch!

Some pretty compelling statements in the article on the Daughters, eh?

Anonymous said...

There's something fishy going on. I get the distinct impression that there is a lot more behind all of this which we might never know in this life.

I went to another blog and read other articles on Fr. Corapi. The oddest was from that "Fr. Z" warning about forming "attachments" to priests (with his resident minions and toadies, he should talk).

Unfortunately, I am one of those that is quick to believe the worst. However, in this case, I do not think Fr. Corapi is guilty. Rather, I think he is being used as a scapegoat as a warning to other priests: this will happen to you, too, if you cross these lines.

Not being one of his follower nor possessing any of his DVDs/CDs or whatever, I do not know how outspoken he is but I understand that he is.

Does anyone here know if he has said in the past year or so something that would ruffle more than a few feathers?


Lynne said...

I would think that priests like Father Z and Father Longenecker who have a large following would want to be *very* careful about who they surround themselves with. Priests are especially vulnerable to false claims due to the nature of their ministry.

I have no idea if Father Corapi is guilty or innocent but I am tired of seeing priests thrown under the bus.

By the way, Father Z and Father Corapi were ordained together (along with others) by Pope JP II.