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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Father Corapi has many fans … but also many enemies.

With his ex-military persona and baritone, no nonsense lectures on traditional Catholic catechism, Corapi has won legions of fans, but also many enemies, especially from Catholics who prefer social justice sloganeering to faith and practice.

Corapi’s sudden suspension was triggered by the “Dallas Charter,” adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 to deal with priests accused of sexually abusing children. Pending investigation, the charter essentially sacks a priest from ministry.

“The policy the bishops have in place is to appropriately deal with crimes against children,” Manfredonia said. “I think if the policy is applied to those cases, absolutely it’s appropriate to suspend. But this situation, it’s not that. It’s a claim of sexual misconduct with adult women. It’s not a crime, it’s a sin.”

“If it happened, then it’s behavior unbecoming of a priest. We know father personally and have had eight conferences with him personally, and he’s a fighter. If these allegations were true, he would admit his failures, openly. I have no doubt about that. Even if the accusations are true, it does not diminish the truth of what he teaches from the Catechism, or the Catechism’s power, if preached with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to draw people back to the church.”

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What are the provisions of the “Dallas Charter” which has allegedly been misapplied to the Father Corapi case?


Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of
Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons (PDF)

Some key points:

The Dallas Charter applies only to allegations dealing with minor children under 18 years of age.

The Charter requires that bishops consult with the superiors of religious orders in their dioceses.

It is the responsibility of the bishop to remove a priest or deacon from ministry when appropriate.

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