Saturday, March 26, 2011

"The greatest" of falls? Was Corapi complicit in the Euteneuer scandal?

Please note: While I haven't had time to research questions regarding Bernardin's "innocence" thoroughly, I've received enough similar e-mails to call into question the official media version that had Bernardin's sole "molester" as recanted. This is all the more reason to get the true stories on Euteneuer (and perhaps Corapi) before they die and are canonized by the secular press.

Reprinted on RenewAmerica and Spero News.
On Ash Wednesday I learned that a former employee sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several other adult women.

There seems to no longer be the need for a complaint to be deemed “credible” in order for Church authorities to pull the trigger on the Church’s procedure, which was in recent years crafted to respond to cases of the sexual abuse of minors. I am not accused of that...[but] I have been placed on "administrative leave"...I’ll certainly cooperate with the process, but personally believe that it is seriously flawed, and is tantamount to treating the priest as guilty “just in case”...The resultant damage to the accused is immediate, irreparable, and serious, especially for someone like myself, since I am so well known. I am not alone in this assessment, as multiple canon lawyers...civil and criminal attorneys [agree]...All of the allegations in the complaint are false, and I ask you to pray for all concerned. --Fr. John Corapi, SOLT, 3-18-11
Father Thomas Euteneuer has performed a valuable service in giving us...Exorcism and the Church Militant. Everyone...can profit from a careful and prayerful reading of this book. Priests especially should profit from this material [as] preparation for this dimension of spiritual warfare is singularly lacking in almost all seminaries, novitiates, or other Catholic institutions of learning. One of the reasons for this is that many such institutions have faculty that...don’t necessarily believe what the Church believes. This leaves a terrible void...Hopefully this fine book will inspire many priests to equip themselves with the necessary weapons to fight for souls in this arena. --Rev. John A. Corapi, SOLT, STD, Foreword, Exorcism and the Church Militant
The Greatest of these is Love. --1 Corinthians 13:13
This poster depicts the better (if not last) days of the Church's once-dynamic duo of rock-star padres, Fathers Corapi and Euteneuer. Although in some ways it seems an eternity ago, the date tells us it was just last July when the "rocking reverends" were flying high, topping the preacher pop charts on their ironically titled (at least in retrospect) "The Greatest Event of 2010" tour. Ironic in that, although so far only Euteneuer has crashed and burned, the above statement from Corapi shows that now he too has been accused of things that only true rock stars are supposed to do. And, while I pray that (unlike Euteneuer) Fr. John's word is true and the accusations against him are false, both his dubious dealings with Euteneuer and his own defiant denial of any wrongdoing show Corapi has a ways to go in discerning the difference between a rock star and a saint.

We'll look at the curious connection between the two popular preacher-priests in a moment, but let's start by examining the interesting choice of words Corapi uses to show his innocence. After adopting a rather mocking tone of his accuser in the above quoted statement, he then accuses Church authorities of "pulling the trigger" too quickly in deeming these incredible charges "credible." Corapi then states that he (not to mention several of his lawyer buddies) doesn't understand why a "flawed" Church law designed to deal with those low-life pedophiles should apply to his case, especially when he is "so well known" and they are not. Finally, although Corapi says he will condescend to go along with his forced "administrative leave," his defiant tone makes his parting warning, that these accusations will cause him "immediate, irreparable, and serious...harm" sound more like the beginnings of a self-righteous lawsuit than a sermon written to save men's souls.

As far as the Corapi-Euteneuer connection goes, JC (even Corapi's initials are ironic!) was TE's spiritual director for several years up until the summer of '09, when an interesting thing happened. It should be noted that Euteneuer, because of JC's heavy preaching schedule, usually got to see Corapi only once a year for several days of spiritual counseling, but Euteneuer stuck with him, perhaps figuring Corapi was one of the few priests who could understand the temptations of the reverend in the limelight. But this particular summer, Euteneuer arrived at Corapi's expansive Montana ranch (funded not only by the fees accumulated by Corapi's wildly successful talks and tapes but by the $2,712,281 JC won in a medical malpractice lawsuit) with a particularly heavy heart. Not only did Euteneuer bear on his soul the burden of the past year's sexual abuse that he had inflicted on one of his exorcism victims, but he had in his hands this woman's diary, which documented his sin to the world should the public ever see it.

Now we don't know what, if anything, Euteneuer told Corapi of his sins, or if the damning (to TE) diary was even mentioned. But we do know that after that visit, Corapi was no longer Euteneuer's spiritual advisor. We also know that when Euteneuer returned from his trip and the victim, who was tricked by Euteneuer into handing the diary over to TE by his claim that it might fall into the hands of a Satanic cult if she took it on vacation with her (I guess you would have to have been brainwashed by Euteneuer to understand that logic, which at the time she was) asked for her diary back, she was shocked to learn TE had burned it, claiming, "Father Corapi told me to do so."

Again, we don't know if Corapi indeed said this, or if it was just one of the many statements Euteneuer made to save his own rear, at a time he should have been more concerned with his soul. Still, it seems strange that at a time when Euteneuer needed spiritual direction the most, TE left (or was told to leave) Corapi's spiritual direction. Afterwards, Corapi still maintained a professional relationship with Euteneuer (writing a foreword for Euteneuer's exorcism book and keeping the popular pro-life priest on as his warm-up act for the great summer tour event) but little else. For, by the time Cincinnati rolled around, Corapi, surrounded by bodyguards, didn't give Euteneuer (or anyone else not in the JC posse) the time of day, figuring the fact that he allowed TE -- and no other vendor -- to sell the Euteneuer books at what would usually be an exclusive Corapi memorabilia event (where, for the record, both JC and TE sold an insane amount of stuff that day) should be consolation enough.

Fr. John Corapi, SOLT
And so, while presuming Corapi's innocence in the sex and drugs scenario until the Church rules on his case, there is at least one virtue we can say the once-pale gray-haired priest, who now sports a jet-black beard and Hollywood tan, lacks. It is one thing for Corapi to question Church authorities for taking these allegations seriously -- indeed, the fact that Corapi has made a living by talking about his past debauchery and drug-addiction should be enough for his superiors to give them a second look -- but it is quite another to claim that such charges will cause him "irreparable damage."

Rather than damage an innocent man's reputation, the history of the saints (and other recent holy heroes) shows quite the opposite. When a young St. Macarius the Great was accused of impregnating the village virgin, the townsmen "...seized me, led me to the village and hung pots black with soot and other things around my neck and led me through the village and beat me almost to death" (talk about "pulling the trigger"), only to realize his true holiness when he still spoke kindly of her and she finally recanted. When Padre (now Saint) Pio was falsely accused of wrongdoing, and was no longer allowed to say Mass in public, he merely said, "His will be done," adding, "the will of the [Church] authorities is the will of God." And finally, when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was falsely accused of pedophilia, and the not-always orthodox priest not only obediently accepted his public humiliation, but refused to in any way demean his accuser, his status grew rather than diminished when his innocence was proven.

In other words, Corapi might not be guilty in what he did in the Euteneuer scandal (or his own case) but in what he failed to do. By being so wrapped up in his effort to reach the masses, Corapi failed to see that the individual souls entrusted to him (not to mention his own) were neglecting "to equip themselves with the necessary weapons" to win the age-old fight against Satan. It may be too late for Corapi to resume the role as Euteneuer's spiritual advisor, but if he is wise, Corapi will spend this period outside of the public eye in confession and in front of the Blessed Sacrament so that he will regain the grace needed to be a more effective confessor and advisor for individuals in the future. If the accusation has revealed the Corapi pride, let us pray that his time away from preaching is enough to keep him from the fall, and that he learns what really is "the Greatest" event of all.


Anonymous said...

Tom, I am confused . Order priests usually take Vows of Poverty. I believe SOLT priests do take those vows also.

Teresa said...

You are being a bit judgmental, like you know what Fr. Corapi should do. Leave that between Fr. Corapi, God, and his superiors. People need to start acting like followers instead of as if they are the Shepherds, when they don't know the whole situation in the cases of both Fr. Euteneuer and Fr. Corapi. We are the ones who liked, then loved both priests, praising both priests, causing their stardom to happen, and feeding into their stardom mentality (if they really did have one) of preaching the Gospel, saving souls in public so some of the blame may fall on the lay Catholics' shoulders as well.

Lee Gilbert said...

This reminds me of the comment by Jacques Maritain, I believe, who said that there is no lack of laymen who, with a smattering of theology, give themselves out as if they were fathers of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Catholics have been sheople far too long and they have become desperate for the lack of good Shepherds in their own Churches. Indeed this is why so many children have been led to the slaughter of Faith and body by way of pederasts. It is long past the time for Bishops to be acting as Shepherds rather than transferring clerical pederasts and condemning those who speak out against any abuse.Fr Corapi's Bishop who is investigating internally is doing the correct thing and Tom is expressing angst over Fr Corapi's own complaints concerning this.Fr Corapi should follow the lead of his Bishop here and refrain from public criticism of his actions.As a priest he is to humbly obey his authority.

The Lady of the House said...

Yep, follow 'em straight into Hell, just like dumb sheep.

Mcdsmith said...

Were you referring to Bernardin as a "not always orthodox priest"?

If so, please cite your sources for this judgment.

Tom O'Toole said...

@Lee Gilbert -- I am a big fan of Maritain through Ralph McInerny, long-time director of the Maritain Center at ND, and though I am no way in the category of either gentleman, I think you misinterpret Maritain.

I call into question Frs. Jenkins, Euteneuer or Corapi, because I love the Church and all its teachings. While I trust an interpretation of the Eucharist or other Church Doctrine to the Doctors of the Church, interpreting Fr. Corapi's statement (which any Church Father would agree has flaws) is not of the same category. And, although I respect the layman Maritain greatly, he would be the first to admit he (and his commentary) is not equal to that of the Church Fathers or Doctors (as ND's Fr. McBrien seems to think his is...) Thanks for commenting.

Marcygoosie said...

The vice president of Operations for Santa Cruz Media, the company that produces all of Father Corapi’s DVDs, CD’s etc posted a statment on Facebook that stated in part
“There is no evidence at this time that Fr. Corapi did anything wrong, only the unsubstantiated rant of a former employee, who, after losing her job with this office, physically assaulted me and another employee and promised to “destroy” Father Corapi. We all continue to pray for this person, and we ask you to do the same.”
Hopefully this will set some peoples minds at ease. Let us continue to pray for a speedy resolution in this matter and neither pretend or presume to know the mind of Father Corapi. udge ye not lest ye be judged .For the measure that you use will be the level used to measure you"

Terry Nelson said...

You are not alone in these considerations. God bless you - be prepared for a lot of negative reaction however.

Tom O'Toole said...

@Terry Nelson -- Thanks for writing ... and the support, which as you predicted, is in the minority. While I don't surf the Net much, I also think your site is pretty cool, and my wife Jeanette (rhymes with "the net") is a HUGE fan of both your writings and your art. Thanks again and keep up the good work ... and the good fight.

Tom O'Toole said...

(excerpt from an e-mail received from "Mary" 3-27-11):

I appreciated your latest column on Fr Corapi. I attempted to post a comment unsuccessfully on your blog ... I wanted you to know I disagree with your assessment of the late Cardinal Bernardin's innocence. Having read Steve Brady's excellent expose of same and personally knowing a DRE who informed me of a priestly gathering she attended wherein the priests joked of the large increase in Bernardin's accuser's (Cook)'s bank account when he agreed to state the suppressed memory as a lie...

@Mary -- While I haven't had time to research your questions regarding Bernardin's "innocence" thoroughly, I've received enough similar e-mails to call into question the official media version that had Bernardin's sole "molester" as recanted. This is all the more reason to get the true stories on Euteneuer (and perhaps Corapi) before they die and are canonized by the secular press.

Ann said...

How do you know that Fr. E visited Fr. C for spiritual direction, went to unburden his soul, and carried and burned a diary? Did you speak with him yourself?

Is it fair for me to assume you have much more information regarding the Fr. E story that you have not shared?

Tom O'Toole said...

@Ann -- Yes.

Ann said...

Thank you. I suppose you kept that information to yourself because the matter is being handled properly and sharing it might harm someone. You've had to walk a very thin line between publishing and protecting in your attempt to get this priest properly investigated by our Church officials, while pushing for justice for the victim. I appreciate that this must have been difficult. Thank you.

Please let the victim know that she has my support and prayers. As one who was once a "victim" (no longer) I appreciate your willingness to stand up for her.

Tom O'Toole said...

@Ann -- Thanks again. You nailed my (and the victims') situation completely. If only a few others had your heart and insight.

Baron Korf said...

A few things.

First, you misrepresent his initial statement. It isn't that he "doesn't understand why a "flawed" Church law designed to deal with those low-life pedophiles should apply to his case, especially when he is "so well known" and they are not", he is saying that by placing a priest on administrative leave before determining if an accusation is credible can greatly damage a priest's reputation. This damage is amplified by how well known a priest is. This is true of a parish priest just as much as a public preacher. He and many others have spoken against this policy many times. You make it sound like he is whining that he should get special treatment.

Second, I have heard from many sources that the money from the whistle-blower settlement ($8.1M split between him and another) went to his superiors in S.O.L.T

Third, be careful about implicating spiritual advisors. Many are bound by the Seal of Confession, and so unless you know under which context things were told it would be irresponsible to say that he had an obligation to act, as you imply in your title.

Fourth, Fr. Corapi was diagnosed with a severe thyroid problem tied to a Vit. D deficiency which is remedied with supplements and lots of sunlight. Lots of sunlight leads to tans. Now he may dye his beard, but it may be the gray was due to the thyroid problem which is now fixed. It has been getting progressively darker over the past year. Not sure about the beard, but the tan is for his own health.

Fifth, most of his preaching I have listened to only tangentially refers to his past, the obvious exception being his life story talk, and then as a real life foil for theological matter at hand. His most famous work of course being his Catechism series.

You don't like his reaction. Fine. Many saints have done differently. Great. But dragging out insinuations and possible peccadillos about a man who is not yet known to be guilty or innocent is just plain lame. If you are going to bad talk someone, do it with substance and not shadow.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Thomas.

However, I have to challenge you a bit on your take on Bernardin. I lived in Chicago the year of that scandal, and one thing I remember very well is that the cardinal immediately and forcefully denied the charge against him. I remember he contacted one of the TV stations in town (I think it was Channel 2) with a very strongly worded statement that ended, "And, remember, I called you!"

You give the impression that the cleric did nothing except let things take their course, but that is not entirely accurate, I believe.

Dave Pierre

Tom O'Toole said...

@Baron -- Questioning his bishop and then asking for more money for tapes and books (see his next statement) is more than just not saintly. And then in the 3rd statement posted on his site, it states that the accused priest is often thrown out into the street with no support! Really? I've never heard that one before.

Tom O'Toole said...

@Dave -- Yes, I guess he was a little upset initially, but certainly took it better on the whole. It is interesting I've had as many comments on my little mention of Bernardin as I've had on the whole Corapi thing.

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Bernadin was a Master in the use of public media for Public Relations.Bernadin's Boys and his Legacy will never be forgotten.
"According to an attorney familiar with the cases against Hopwood, "he was not your ordinary pedophile. He did hundreds and hundreds of boys, and I can't imagine Bernardin not being aware of it, since they lived together for such a long time.”

Anonymous said...

To research Bernadin better may I direct readers to Mrs Engel's excellent, well researched and heavily documented book,The Rite of Sodomy.


Tom O'Toole said...

(from an e-mail received from "Mary Ann" 4-9-11):

I followed a link to your blog, and found this:

"And finally, when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was falsely accused of pedophilia, and the not-always orthodox priest not only obediently accepted his public humiliation, but refused to in any way demean his accuser, his status grew rather than diminished when his innocence was proven."

Please be aware that you are making some assumptions. First, Steve Cook's accusation was not "pedophilia" but pederasty (Cook was 16 or 17, I think). Second, his innocence was never proven. Cook withdrew the lawsuit, that's all. Third, as for not demeaning: Everything you heard about a reconciliation came from Bernardin, not Cook.

Anonymous said...

Bernadin and "Agnes"

teresa ww said...

I dont condone misconduct,but at leastthe accusations leveled against these two priests is affairs with women and not alter boys .Ipray for repentance,not leaving the ministry, since they both stand so strongly for unborn babies.we need them in such a time where libtards have taken over the church

Karen said...

I was wondering about Father Corapi this past year like, why he died his facial hair black?'s all coming together now.
Also, the only reason anyone who has voluntarily decided to be poor would decide that they need money again is because they understand the value of being able to fight something as expensive as corruption. The truly poor in spirit actually have no need for large sums of money because living right is the most effective means to being fiscally sound and above reproach.

Karen said...

Still love Fr. Corapi's message though.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't John Corapi's message. It was Jesus Christ's message. Corapi was just the messenger.

Catherine A.