OK, let’s say that John “Don’t call me ‘Father’; I’m the Black Sheep Dog” Corapi is legally innocent (notice how his avid fans in the blogosphere keep saying “let a court decide”; they don’t care what the Church thinks).
Let’s say he’s successful in painting his accuser(s) as “vicious alcoholics” and whatever.
So, let’s say he wins his “defamation of character” lawsuit. That would still be completely irrelevant to the ecclesial issues. SOLT has always maintained that Corapi is not necessarily accused of anything illegal.
For example, owning millions of dollars in property is not a crime. It is an ecclesial crime for a *priest* to own millions of dollars in property. So SOLT issues its press release letting loose on the allegations because a) the Society has plenty of evidence to back it up and b) they’ve found Corapi guilty of enough stuff to declare him unfit for ministry as a priest. That’s not the same thing as being a criminal.
See what happens now?
Even if Corapi wins his civil suit against his accuser, that doesn’t necessarily change the situation in the eyes of the Church. However, having won the civil suit against his accuser, Corapi can now sue SOLT for defamation.
Now, he’s setting a legal precedent for the civil government to come in and dictate internal policy matters to the Church. Now, any priest dismissed for heresy or disobedience or liturgical abuse or promoting immorality can have a legal precedent for filing defamation or unjust termination suits against the Church.
Here’s a roundup of some great commentary on the dimensions of this debate. Like many, I see the recent video, with his new image as a cross between Fonzie and Anton LeVay, as a sign that this whole train wreck needs to just be cleaned up and forgotten.
Phil Lawler at New Oxford Review asks why they ignored the warning signs:
However, Fr. Longenecker has written several very insightful pieces lately: one on what we don’t know about internal investigations in the Church (backed up by some commentors who are police Internal Affairs investigators), one on what it’s like to be a priest under pressure, one on compartmentalization (“Fr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”) and one on the importance of littleness.
Scott Richert at About.com offers an interesting critique of Bishop Gracida’s latest blog post, arguing that Gracida is distancing himself from Corapi. Gracida admits suggesting the civil suit to Fr. Flanagan, who relayed the conversation to Fr. Corapi via a third party. He also says his main intention has been to criticize the process employed and the public scandal it’s caused to the thousands Corapi has influenced. Gracida also suggests that Corapi had “clay feet,” evoking various Biblical images of pagan idols and doomed temporal leaders.
Diane Korzeniewski and Gerard Nadal post what they hope will be final comments on the Corapi case, offering some interesting commentaries. Deacon Greg decimates Corapi’s statements of Thursday and Friday.
And the loyal fandom descends further into madness and inconsistency.