The below are my comments on the situation of Fr. Corapi regarding the charges that have been leveled against him. I may appear uncharitable in places as that is a weakness that I struggle with. I have tried to convey my thoughts as charitably as I am able. Please forgive me if I have failed to do this in any way.

John Stevens    


     I am one who still supports Fr. Corapi. I do not adulate people no matter who they are. I do not place Fr. Corapi on a pedestal. But for God’s grace he is capable of anything. I would like to offer a number of things for consideration. They may not be in order.

1)      The accuser of Fr. Corapi is his god daughter. He has said for a long time that she needs prayer because she and her husband have been struggling with drug addiction for many years. He commented on this during his conference in San Antonio in August, 2010. He may have commented on this even earlier. He said he has tried to help them overcome their problems and that they need help. If you read the lawsuit he has filed against her you will see that the confidentiality statement is quite appropriate for the circumstances. She lists in her LinkedIn profile that she is the owner of Santa Cruz Media and also has tried to take his copyrighted moniker “The Black Sheep Dog” as her own. This is theft. Fr. Corapi has a right to sue her for protection of his property. If she has lied, he also has a right to sue her for damage to his good name. Many have claimed that the $100,000 she has received is hush money to keep her quiet. This is not at all clear. As she is his god daughter, he has tried desperately to help them over the years. I am sure this includes, but is not limited to, financial compensation.

2)      Fr. Corapi initially said he would co-operate with the investigation despite disagreeing with the process. Bishop Rene Gracida advised him that he could not clear his name through the canonical process in the Diocese of Corpus Christi and suggested he proceed civilly. On that basis Fr. Corapi filed the suit. Depending on the diocese the canonical process may or may not work. In my opinion, Bishop Gracida is one of the best bishops we have had in the U.S. in many years. Someone I know asked Fr. John Hardon back around 2001 AD what he thought of the condition of the hierarchy in the U.S.  Fr. Hardon responded that he thought there were about 6 bishops that were 100% faithful to the teachings of the Church. He felt there were about 40 bishops that were pretty much faithful to the teachings of the Church. Fr. Hardon then said that he considered the rest to be ‘non-believers’. I would consider Bishop Gracida to be one of the 6. Well, the hierarchy in the U.S. has definitely improved since 2001 but it is obvious that there is a lot rot still existing in places.

3)      Read closely everything that Bishop Gracida has had to say. He definitely does not appear to be distancing himself from Fr. Corapi as some bloggers have suggested. As a good bishop, he has stated correctly that he does not have personal knowledge of the particulars of the charges against Fr. Corapi. He continues to state that what the Diocese of Corpus Christi and SOLT have done is wrong. By saying that he had hopefully placed his last post on the matter he was saying that he would not participate in the back and forth fighting that is going on between those who either support or oppose Fr. Corapi.

4)      I have a problem with some of the statements by SOLT. Fr. Sheehan stated in NCR that Fr. Corapi was suspended in accordance with Canon Law. I could not find any statute that would mandate such action. I wrote to Fr. Sheehan and he sent me a response referring to statute 1722. Well, the local bishop can do pretty much whatever he wants, but statute 1722 does not call for suspension as it occurred with Fr. Corapi. I think Bishop Gracida has also indicated this was wrong. One of the problems we have had over the last 40 years or so is that heterodox prelates have used obedience as a hammer to destroy orthodox priests. A reading of the Catholic Encyclopedia on ‘Religious Obedience’ would be very instructive. This obedience is not absolute and its application to Fr. Corapi’s case is confusing at best. There is the example of St. Padre Pio who submitted to injustice and lies in all humility. There is tremendous grace in this approach. Then there is the approach of directly fighting lies and injustice. Fr. Corapi is a fighter and this is the approach he seems to be taking. It doesn’t sit well with those who would seek to silence him. My initial reaction has been that the Padre Pio approach is preferred but Bishop Gracida seems to support Fr. Corapi’s approach. Due to the fact that I consider Bishop Gracida one of the finest prelates we have ever had, I reserve judgement.

5)      It is not at all clear that SOLT has ordered Fr. Corapi back to headquarters prior to their recent statement. In NCR in April, Fr. Sheehan had talked about the original arrangement with Fr. Corapi and other priests prior to 1994 where they were expected to provide for themselves. He stated that the constitution had since changed. New priests were now provided for by SOLT. Fr. Sheehan said that they were looking at ways to bring the older priests under the new constitution. In the same statement he said that they never realized that Fr. Corapi’s ministry would become so profitable. That last part speaks volumes. SOLT was interested in bringing Fr. Corapi’s ministry in house although his statements seem to suggest that they were looking at their options in this matter (reconciling priests who were not under the new constitution). In my opinion, that would have been a good thing for Fr. Corapi’s spiritual development. However, I think SOLT should have been more forth right about their motivations. I am sure it was for his spiritual well being but the money was also on Fr. Sheehan’s mind.

6)      I don’t believe that SOLT had required Fr. Corapi to return prior to his suspension. Fr. Sam Medly stated that he was trying to get his superiors to demand this but that his requests were not acted upon. In late June Fr. Sheehan stated in NCR that he was disappointed that Fr. Corapi had decided to resign but that SOLT would assist him in this transition – all the while taking care to protect his good name. Barely a week later Fr. Sheehan issued his statement declaring that Fr. Corapi was guilty of abusing alcohol and drugs, sexting, cohabitation, sacramental abuse, and that he was unfit for ministry. Fr. Sheehan stated that contemporaneously with the release of his July 5th statement he was demanding that Fr. Corapi return under obedience and drop the

 lawsuit. It seems that this was the first demand under obedience that was made. It may, or may not , have been suggested earlier. It certainly wasn’t demanded as Fr. Medley indicated in his statements. It is my feeling that Fr. Corapi would have been required, under obedience, to obey a demand for his return to headquarters before the accusations and suspension occurred. So as to protect his civil rights, I do not believe he is required, under obedience, to obey the demand at this time.

7)      In late June Fr. Sheehan promised to do all possible to protect Fr. Corapi’s good name. On July 5th he and Fr. Medley participated in a serious violation of the Eighth Commandment by detraction against Fr. Corapi’s good name. Whether the accusations are true or not – SOLT had no business as a Catholic society in making such information public. You talk about saying one thing and doing another.

8)      Some have criticized Fr. Corapi for bragging by always telling his story about his past and conversion. With all the adulation that many give to Father I agree that he must always be cautious about pride and I suspect that he struggles (not always successfully) with this. However, Father is not always bragging about his past. He mentions it frequently but not always. I maintain that it is a necessary part of his ministry. Many in our society (including modernist Catholics) think that having vast wealth, sex with beautiful movie stars, moving in prestigious circles, etc. is the equivalent of going to heaven. They would give anything for that life. Well, Fr. Corapi was able to tell them that he had been there and done that. It left him totally unfulfilled and ultimately destitute, homeless, and nearly dead on the street, completely deserted by all the beautiful people who couldn’t care less whether he lived or died. Father was able to speak from experience that fulfillment was in surrender to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and not to the lures of Satan. Few were able to convey this message as well as he.

9)      Despite claiming to be objective and praying for Father Corapi, most bloggers who have their writings posted on New Advent have almost salivated at any opportunity to cast aspersion on Father from the beginning. A few bloggers have tuned down their rhetoric and become more charitable. However, many of the bloggers continue to role in the mud. One has claimed that he never had anything bad to say about Fr. Corapi until he resigned in June. However, in April he was claiming that the accused was the only one acting appropriately and that the VP at Santa Cruz Media was just a fetch bucket for Fr. Corapi. They do Catholic discourse a serious injustice.

10)   Regarding Father’s appearance – age and poor health will definitely change one from looking young and vibrant into one who looks old and on the downside of life. It is what it is. I have no idea why he now dyes his beard. Perhaps it is a vain attempt to offset the ravages of time. Haven’t we all been a little vain at times? Regarding his tan I can speak with authority. I am an expert in health and wellness. Father suffered from severe vitamin D deficiency which has devastating effects on one’s health. The best remedy for D deficiency is a lot of sun exposure. He understandably enlisted the aid of a personal trainer to help restore his wasted health and physical condition. However, I do believe his choice of a female trainer was problematic.

11)   Father Corapi’s wealthy lifestyle has been known by SOLT for some time. There is no evidence that SOLT has done much to correct it until very recently. I am being somewhat uncharitable in speculating but I wonder whether the recent large settlement that SOLT made could have anything to do with the recent interest in the wealth of his ministry? I certainly don’t know the answer to this but it does seem to be a coincidence. Certainly a wealthy lifestyle is not conducive to his spiritual growth. Fr. Corapi should consider this.

12)   It seems that the problem appears to coincide with the arrival of Bishop Mulvey in Corpus Christi. I don’t know much about Bishop Mulvey but it was he that demanded that Fr. Corapi be suspended (which was not mandated by Canon Law). Bishop Mulvey has ultimate authority but he was not following the directives of Canon Law in suspending Fr. Corapi in my opinion. I suspect he may not appreciate Fr. Corapi’s style or orthodoxy and felt he could bury Father with this. If true, the accusations by Father’s god daughter were fortuitous for Bishop Mulvey or anyone who might have  wanted to silence Fr. Corapi. Perhaps this is why Bishop Gracida felt that he could not clear his name in the canonical structure within the Corpus Christi diocese.

13)   When these charges were first made, Bishop Mulvey / SOLT could have demanded that Fr. Corapi take a drug test and a lie detector test. They could have requested (but not demanded) that his accuser do the same. Based on the results of these tests it could have been quickly determined whether any of these charges were credible or not. If credible, an investigation could have been launched under Canon Law giving Fr. Corapi an opportunity to defend himself. Depending on the outcome of the investigation Father might then have been suspended. If the charges were found to not be credible they should have been immediately discarded.

14)   Time will tell if Father Corapi will have a ministry in the Church or not. At this time I believe Fr. Corapi. I believe he is capable of everything he is accused of. Father has categorically denied the charges. He has moral weaknesses but I cannot believe he would so publicly lie about everything. That would be destroying the character of others to maintain his standing. I tend to be a good judge of character and I cannot believe he would do that. If Father is lying then he desperately needs help and we should pray all the more for his immortal soul. I would not follow his ministry in the future if I found him to be lying although I would listen to his past lectures that are filled with orthodoxy. I could continue to follow Father if he sinned, but not if he continued to sin and proceeded to maintain a lie about it. Personally, I don’t care for the new title or the leather jacket but that is just my preference. Saints sin and seek reconciliation through God’s mercy. The reprobate live in sin and call God’s justice upon themselves.

15)   Several responders to Fr. Medley’s blog suggested that Fr. Corapi was contributing to the support of SOLT. Fr. Medley replied that Fr. Corapi had never contributed anything to SOLT except for several projects which he had sponsored. (?????) I am confused. I guess he means that Fr. Corapi never supported SOLT, except for when he did. Well, I never told my children that I loved them, except for when I did, which was every day.

16)   Several people were confused by Fr. Sheehan’s statement asking Fr. Corapi to please not foreclose on his mortgage. They asked Fr. Medley if that meant that Fr. Corapi held the mortgage on SOLT property and Fr. Sheehan was asking him not to start foreclosure on it. Fr. Medley replied that this was not the case, Fr. Corapi did not hold the mortgage on any SOLT property, and that Fr. Sheehan was simply indicating a reason why Father would need so much money – to pay for his expensive mortgage. I have a difficult time interpreting Fr. Sheehan’s statement in this light, but if it is an accurate reflection of what he was saying then he was being very sarcastic. The tone seems to suggest one who is either angry or hurt who is trying to get back at the person who has caused this anger or hurt.

17)   We are told that ‘by their fruits we will know them’. Thus far I have not seen any good fruit coming out of this either by Fr. Corapi or by SOLT or the Diocese of Corpus Christi. I have also not seen any good fruit coming from Father’s accuser or the Catholic blogoshere either. Time will tell if Fr. Corapi has taken the right step and will produce good fruit. If he is able to reach a wider audience with sound, orthodox Catholic doctrine then the fruits will be there. If he becomes more of a political commentator then we will know that we are seeing bad fruit. Our salvation is not in politics or any political party. I pray that Fr. Corapi will continue to produce good fruit.

18)   We Catholics need to quit attacking each other (I have been as guilty as anyone else). Let’s just pray for the eternal salvation of everyone involved. Ultimately, that is the only thing that counts.

John Stevens                             July 11, 2011

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
This entry was posted in CANON LAW, THE CATHOLIC PRIEST. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Thank you for this article w/c has uplifted my hurting heart…I believe in my innermost soul that Father Corapi is innocent…Fr. John Corapi is truly CHRIST beloved best friend…Christ is sharing HIS most sorrowful passion and CROSS.

  2. My reference to ‘Religious obedience’ was from the ‘Catholic Encyclopedia’ which can be viewed at the New Advent website. This is in reply to the question from JoAnne Meyers. Since I don’t have a Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress account I am replying from my daughter Elaine’s Facebook account. Sincerely, John Stevens.

  3. agnesgoh says:

    Thank you, Bishop Gracida, for the explanation. I think I’m beginning to understand. There’s a distinction between a priest and his priestly ministry. A priest remains a priest forever, but in order to serve as a priest, he needs authorization from a bishop. In Fr Corapi’s case, it would probably be difficult to obtain authorization in any US diocese, since all the bishops of the US were sent a memo about his suspension by the General Secretary of the USCCB. (I know of a wonderful priest who is serving in a diocese overseas, because he had been too outspoken on the truth in his own country.)

    In future I shall not be too quick to form a negative impression when a priest does not introduce himself as Father or decline to say Mass in public, since he may only be complying with a suspension order. There’s another priest I know of who is under suspension. The suspension has not been made public, and I came to know about it only because he mentioned it to mutual friends, but we do not know the details. He is still a member of his congregation, looks after its infirm members, and is very much involved in prolife activities.

    Thank you also for posting articles about falsely accused priests. My heart breaks when I read them. I shall carry them in my heart in prayer from now on. By their endurance, they could perhaps strengthen other priests in similar situations, and even purchase the salvation of their accusers.

  4. abyssum says:


    Thank you for an excellent comment! One of the best my Blog has received!
    In response to your question, I do not believe that SOLT can reject Father Corapi’s resignation from the Society. However, since he is a priest his resignation does not take effect simply because he has submitted it. There will have to be a canonical process whereby, if he ever wishes to enjoy again all of his priestly faculties to minister as a priest, he will have to find a “benevolent bishop” who will adopt him. The Church does not allow a priest to be a “vagus”, that is a wanderer. He would have to be incardinated in a diocese somewhere. However, it appears that he is willing to live and function as a suspended priest since he is free to teach as long as he does not represent himself as “Father John Corapi.”


  5. agnesgoh says:

    Thank you so much, Bishop Gracida, for posting this. It’s the best attempt I’ve seen to discuss the whole saga in an reasoned objective manner.

    There are many calls for Fr Corapi to imitate Padre Pio in one particular aspect. This is unhelpful. Fr Corapi is not called to be Padre Pio. He is called to be Fr Corapi. If he tries to be Padre Pio, at best he will end up a half-baked one. But if he is faithful to his vocation as Fr Corapi, then he has every chance of ending up a great Fr Corapi, even Saint Corapi.

    If we have to play “imitate the saint” game, then why Padre Pio? What about Saint Paul? Instead of submitting to the church authorities of his time, he exerted his civil rights as Roman citizen and appealed to Caeser. He also used his political savvy one time to divert the Sadduccees and Pharisees so that they ended up quarelling with each other. He was also mainly a preacher and earned his own living as a tentmaker.

    I brought this up merely to show how unhelpful it is to ask someone to imitate a particular saint in a particular action. Everyone is unique and has his own mission. What is right action for one may not necessarily be right for another. We need people who submit, and we also need people who fight. Who knows? Perhaps Fr Corapi has been called to earn his own living for just an occasion as this. Most priests have no resources to fight an accusation. Perhaps Fr Corapi does, and he has every right to exercise his civil and human rights, regardless of guilt or innocence.

    A curious point: Fr Corapi resigned from SOLT in early June, yet in July SOLT demanded certain actions under obedience? Does this mean that SOLT rejects the resignation?

  6. Rocco Bender says:

    is it the Roman Catholic Church or La Cosa Nostra? ” You have no power over me unless it was given to you from above”

  7. franas says:

    I’ve a serious concern that there appears to have been no one from the “hierarchy” who has had bothered to reach out to Fr. Corapi as a show of Christian and fraternal love even if it is just for brotherly correction. Did anyone ever call or visit Fr. Corapi … or even just sending a note? This is a deafening silence which speaks of the complacency and spiritual bankruptcy of the American Church. Anyway, thank you for a balanced reporting. Please permit me to share this:


  8. Excellent article. It seems from the beginning of this, That SOLT nor The Bishop were interested in the Truth. Father Corapi had stated that The Bishop sent a Libelous letter to SOLT forcing them to pursue this. Then we have SOLT contradicting themselves their very first statements states that Father Corapi is in good standing. That they were investigating, then SOLT states that Father Corapi has filed a civil suit which has prevented them from continuing the investigation, They say at this time their is NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE! Then on July 5th the most slanderous accusations are released about Father Corapi. Did Father Corapis Canon Lawyers view this evidence? Did the Psychiatrist that was part of their “TEAM ”Examine Father Corapi? Was at anytime a forensic computer expert allowed to view this so called evidence? Father Corapi has at many times spoken about Rescue Missions, all one needs to do is view his conversion story and tapes which confirm this. These missions involved drug addicts and Prostitutes one was a Carmelite Nun. When Father Corapi spoke about rescuing a Priest from a crack house, he must have had a contact person which enabled him to enter the Crack House. Father cannot reveal the name of the Carmelite Nun, we all know this. Father Corapi appeared on EWTN Live with Father Mitch Pacwa, he talked about being followed harassed how they were always trying to get something on him etc. The video is available on youtube the title was “Fear Is Useless” it is a 52 minute interview with Father Corapi. The accuser who is his Goddaughter and her husband worked for him, he brought them back to the Faith. They signed the standard Severance agreements that anyone signs who works for this type of company. one only has to look up the definition Of severance agreements the wording in WIKIPEDIA is exact wording in Father Corapi’s standard agreement. Father Corapis agreement was Standard not a payoff. The amount is not that much whenyou realize that her and her husband worked at Santa Cruz for 10 years. Her husband even continued doing video work for Santa Cruz. Do remember there are Children involved and Father Corapi was considering this when he was forced to fire her. Much has been made of Father Corapis Tan etc. Father Corapi was very sick at one time this was also on EWTN he suffered severe vitamin D defficiency which is treated with Sun Treatments to help the Body produce Vitamin D. When you have these types of treatments it does make your hair brittle an bleached. Perhaps Father thought he looked too much like a negative photo, especially in the glaring lights of stages etc. Many people believe that they will not appeal to the young if they look too old. This is a common perception with many in the media. Father Corapi suffered a severe Illness, this in itself can devestate a person. The Sudden Change. Many should try to put themselves in Father’s Shoes he is going through such pain and trauma, and sometimes we do alter our appearance for reasons that are not as sinister as many Catholic media sites have implied. Father Corapi has brought many back to the Faith he is a brilliant Theologian and speaker. He preaches the truth and has worked very hard for 20 years traveling constantly. I am heartbroken that SOLT and Bishop Mulvey have made a MOCKERY of Catholic Justice.

  9. Thank you for this thoughtful response. It is most helpful and encouraging.
    God Bless!

  10. Nita Austin says:

    guilty or not….this mess is not doing the Church any good….. makes everything smack of another cover-up…… I think, Corapi needs to put the good of the church before the good of himself….his doing the Black sheep thing…dying his hair, hiring a women trainer, seems to me he is acting like a rebellious child, who needs to be sent to his room after praying several Hail Marys,,,,,,,,has no business in Church, which a priest should be above those earthly things……my opinion…and I am Catholic, but I see the warts in the Church, when most do not….

  11. Apparently, Fr. Sheehan, the superior of SOLT, stated this to a fellow who contacted him directly about what is going on with the Fr. Corapi case: “Bishop Mulvey is throwing SOLT under the bus in this”?

  12. Finally, a note of clarity and grace on this matter. Thank you, Bishop. You carried me back in time to when I listened with my Grandfather to Archbishop Sheen.

  13. All I can say is thank you. This peice was sorely needed! God Bless!!!

  14. Some excellent points you have made John. It seems like Fr. Sheehan did an abrupt 180 degree turn in a matter of days. Either you stopped the investigation because no one would talk and therefore you had no evidence, and wanted to keep Father Corapi’s name above board; or you suddenly have information from one side and decide now you will slander Father’s name. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways!

  15. Can someone provide me with this encyclopedia name referenced in the article above?

  16. What a refreshing article thank you so much.Very very charitable.

  17. Outstanding and as thorough as I have seen and charitable.

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