Sunday, June 19, 2011

Opinions on John Corapi

Apparently the biggest current story in Catholic blogs, Fr. John Corapi is walking away from the priesthood after three months of being suspended because of accusations of drug use and having an inappropriate relationship with an adult woman.

I'm neither a fan, nor an opponent of John Corapi. I don't have much light to shed on any of this, but I do have complaints about everyone all around! Bloggers, John Corapi, whoever. I'll include links to the related posts.

Father Corapi. I really can't see how giving up after just three months is the best move. Shouldn't he at least give it a while longer, so more people will believe him when he says the case will never go anywhere? Couldn't he find some friendly bishops to back him in reforming the investigation process?

My thoughts mostly lean toward this: The situation may be completely unfair, and I may be able to imagine myself reacting the same way, but I still think he should have held on.

Jimmy Akin. I'm usually a Jimmy Akin fan, but I think he's pulling things out of context a bit in his blog post on this. The whole "Black SheepDog" name is weird, but is it "really disturbing?" Hardly. And when Corapi says not to bother the Bishops, he seems to mean, "Sending the bishop angry letters won't help anyone." Akin seems to imply Corapi is saying, "Talking to the bishops is always futile because they don't listen."

Well, that's actually enough individualized criticism for me. On to generalities.

To all the harsh commenters: He's a human. We all have limits and failings. At least try to give him the benefit-of-the-doubt.

To all his super fans: Let's not be so quick to demonize the bishops for everything they do that isn't exactly what you think they should do. Exercise due caution in following Corapi from here on out. What special revelation have you been given that lets you just know that his accuser is a liar?

Now, for some actually informative posts on how these cases are handled:

Father John Corapi and the State of Due Process for Accused Priests by Ryan McDonald at Catholic Lane, confirms some of what John Corapi said in his farewell speech.

Find out What can an ex-priest do? by Deacon Greg Kandra.

And Deacon William T. Ditewig, Ph.D. gives some defense for the way the Bishops handled this case in Fr. Corapi: "Soft you; a word or two before you go".

Update 6/21:
Find one of the best blog entries I've read on this at The Curt Jester.

And some details from Fr. Corapi's religious superior make this sound a lot more like Fr. Corapi's fault, in that he contributed to the problem of the case being impossible to investigate with a lawsuit of his own, at The National Catholic Register.

Update 6/23:
Jimmy Akin has a second post on National Catholic Register, which rectifies the problems with the first, and is much more in tune with my thinking (and much better expressed than anything I said on the matter).


Harvey and Kristen said...

Funny how 2 people can read the same thing and come to different conclusions.

I disagree with your assessment of Akin's column.

Firstly, it is, actually, 'really' disturbing! By choosing to minister outside of his ecclesiastical authorities, he's setting a precedent: "If you disagree with your bishop, just ignore him." This is disturbing if you or I do it, but when a public figure like Corapi does it, it's very disturbing. Even more so because he wears a collar! In fact, it causes scandal (think Dale Fushek and Alberto Cutie).

Secondly, I don't think Akin is implying what you imply he's implying when he quotes Corapi saying Please don’t bother the bishop or complain because it will do no good and it wastes valuable time and energy, both his and yours. Akin isn't saying that bishops don't listen, he's saying Corapi won't listen to the bishops.

As for the Black Sheep Dog thing, I have 2 cents of my own. What if Corapi didn't intend for his moniker to be the Black Sheep-dog, but the Black-sheep Dog? ie: instead of being the sheep dog that's outside of the fold, maybe he's the sheep dog that goes for the black sheep? I guess only time will tell, but I doubt it's the latter since he is a public speaker.

Nathan Cushman said...

Yes, it is funny how two people can read the same thing and come to different conclusions...

For example: The way we read my post. Addressing your issues, I reworded a couple parts.

First, the situation may be disturbing, but Akin seemed to say it was the name "Black SheepDog" that was the "really disturbing" thing, which seems to be making more out of the name than there is.

On the second issue, I was not talking about what Akin thought of the bishops. I was talking about what Akin thought about what Corapi said about the bishops. Maybe reading my revised post will clear that up.

Anyway, perhaps I should have made a simpler and shorter statement:

Too many people on both sides seem ready to presume too much. Being certain of Corapi's guilt or innocence, or being eager to comdemn or applaud the bishops, etc. Meanwhile, we really know very little.

I've heard everything from, "the bishops are useless wimps, and Corapi's a heroic martyr," to, "Corapi's a lying drugged out womanizer possessed by demons."

Nathan Cushman said...

And to clear up another thing, Jimmy Akin's post wasn't really bad. I mostly agreed with him. I just thought he was wrong in those particular places I mentioned.

Though I didn't show it, I was far more annoyed with the bizarre combox nonsense which I really shouldn't have ever read in the first place.

Nathan Cushman said...

Just to wrap this up. In the statement released by Fr. Corapi's religious superior, it sounded like there was credible evidence for his guilt in the charges. So I just want to even more strongly recommend that his fans exercise caution, and make sure their loyalty to Christ and the Church comes first.