Father John Corapi's superiors confirmed and expressed grief over his decision to leave his order and the priesthood following allegations of misconduct.
We are “deeply saddened that Fr. Corapi is suffering distress” and “further saddened by Fr. Corapi’s response to these allegations,” said Fr. Gerry Sheehan, Regional Priest Servant of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.
In a June 20 statement, Fr. Sheehan said the order “will do all within its power to assist Fr. Corapi if he desires to seek a dispensation from his rights and obligations as a priest and as a professed member.”
The statement comes in response to Fr. Corapi's June 17 online announcement that he's leaving the priesthood and starting a new ministry under the name “The Black Sheep Dog.”
He explained that he feels unjustly accused, that the process of clearing his name has been too sluggish and that there are authorities in the Church who are intentionally trying to oust him.
His decision came while he was on administrative leave – which his religious superiors placed him on this past March – after a 3-page letter submitted by a former, unidentified female employee claimed that Fr. Corapi took part in sexual encounters with several adult women and engaged in habitual drug use.
Fr. Sheehan defended the suspension in his statement Monday, saying that “due to the gravity of the accusation,” Fr. Corapi was put on administrative leave “until such a time that the complaint could be fully investigated.”
However, in the midst of the investigation, the society received a letter from Fr. Corapi on June 3, “indicating that, because of the physical, emotional and spiritual distress he has endured over the past few years, he could no longer continue to function as a priest or a member.”
Fr. Sheehan clarified that the order “had not arrived at any conclusion as to the credibility of the allegations” and that Bishop of Corpus Christi William Mulvey advised the society to proceed with their own policies in the investigation as well as follow canonical procedures.
“We reiterate that Fr. Corapi had not been determined guilty of any canonical or civil crimes,” Fr. Sheehan said.
“If the allegations had been found to be credible, the proper canonical due process would have been offered to Fr. Corapi, including his right to defense, to know his accuser and the complaint lodged, and a fair canonical trial with the right of recourse to the Holy See.”
“We request your prayers and the intercession of the Blessed Mother for the healing of Fr. Corapi and for any who have been negatively affected by Fr. Corapi’s decision to end his ministry as a priest and a member” of the society, he said.
Corpus Christi diocesan spokesman Marty Wind also issued a statement June 20, saying the diocese “deeply regrets” Fr. Corapi's resignation.
Wind also said that the diocese is referring to the society from now on and won't comment on the details of the allegations.
“The investigation into the credibility of the allegations made against him was being conducted by his religious order,” Wind said, “and it would be inappropriate for the Diocese to make any comment on those proceedings other than that they were in progress.”
“We pray for the well-being of Fr. Corapi, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and for the consolation of the many people that have been touched by his ministry over the years,” he added. “We also pray for those who have, in any way, been adversely impacted.”