Canon lawyer says removing Father Corapi from TV and radio unnecessary. Not required under Canon Law.

When an accusation arrives at the desk of a Religious Superior or a bishop, the procedure calls for a quick, confidential assessment as to the veracity of the accusation. With the advent of the Dallas Procedural Norms the necessary pieces of information required before imposing administrative leave varies from diocese to diocese and Order to Order. In most cases, if an accuser knows the name of the priest, the location at the time of the alleged incident and the year the priest was serving, the accusation is considered “credible.” The accused is supposed to be provided with the opportunity to respond to the accusations in a face-to-face meeting with his Superior prior to the imposition of suspension or administrative leave. In Father Corapi’s case, this never happened.

When a priest is on administrative leave he is to refrain from any public actions as a priest, such as offering Mass or hearing confessions, or from dressing as a priest in any public forum. The decree from his superiors clearly spells out limitations upon Fr. Corapi, but does not preclude him from speaking publicly provided he does not dress as a cleric and does not offer Mass publicly. Fr. John Corapi has observed these directives. Church bodies are to observe these limitations, though the order does not apply to lay organizations or Church organizations beyond the scope of what has been decreed.

Several Catholic media sources have removed Fr. Corapi from their outlets. This is over and above what is required by canon law and the Dallas Norms. Nothing in the order placing Father Corapi on administrative leave precludes distribution of previously recorded materials. Santa Cruz Media is in full compliance with Canon Law and the administrative leave under which Fr. Corapi is functioning.

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Official Statements Regarding the Current Status of Father John Corapi

Statement from Rev. Gerald Sheehan, Regional Priest Servant

Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

18 March 2011

Today, as Regional Priest Servant for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, I have the unhappy responsibility to announce that Father John Corapi, SOLT has been placed on administrative leave from priestly ministry, in accordance to the Code of Cannon Law of the Catholic Church.  We have received an allegation that Father Corapi has behaved in a manner unbecoming of a priest and are duty-bound to conduct an investigation in this accusation.

It is important to keep in mind that this action in no way implies Father Corapi is guilty of the allegation.  It is equally important to know that, based on the information we have received thus far, the claim of misconduct does not involve minors and does not arise to the of criminal conduct.  Consequently, this matter will be investigated internally, and unless and until information suggests otherwise it will not be referred to civil authorities.  In the event that we learn of any occasion where the criminal civil law may have been breached we will immediately refer the matter to civil authorities.

Statement of Bishop George Leo Thomas, the bishop of the Diocese of Helena

“It is important to accord Father Corapi the principles of due process, including the assumption of innocence, until a full investigation is carried out by his superiors. More importantly, I appeal for prayers on behalf of everyone involved in this very complex situation.” Father Corapi has a personal residence in Kalispell, Mont. He does not hold priestly faculties in the Diocese of Helena, said Diocese of Helena Chancellor Father John Robertson.

Thanks to Pat Archbold, NCR

Father John Corapi responds to allegations of wrong doing: “All of the allegations in the complaint are false.”

From the home page of Father Corapi’s website:

A Call for Prayer

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 it seems, once again, that they now don’t have to deem the complaint to be credible or not, and it is being applied broadly to respond to all complaints. I have been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of this.

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”, then through the process determining if he is innocent. 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 and civil and criminal attorneys have stated publicly that the procedure does grave damage to the accused from the outset, regardless of rhetoric denying this, and has little regard for any form of meaningful due process.

All of the allegations in the complaint are false, and I ask you to pray for all concerned.