SOLT: Father Corapi Unfit for Ministry
BY Register Staff
July 17-30, 2011 Issue | Posted 7/8/11 at 6:23 PM
Father Gerard Sheehan, regional priest servant of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), said in a press release dated July 5 that popular priest and speaker Father John Corapi violated his solemn vows multiple times during his 20 years of public ministry.
Father Sheehan (above) said in the release that Father Corapi has inspired countless thousands of Catholics, “many of whom continue to express their support of him.”
However, he added, “SOLT also recognizes that Father 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.”
The press release follows in full:
Father 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 Father 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 Father 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 Father John Corapi, mailed SOLT a signed letter detailing allegations of Father 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, Father Corapi filed a civil lawsuit against his principal accuser. He contended that she had defamed him and breached her contract. The contract, according to [Father] 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 Father 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 Father 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 Father Corapi’s emails, 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 Father 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 Father 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 Father 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.
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