Matt C. Abbott
July 6, 2011
Reflecting on the Casey Anthony, John Corapi stories
By Matt C. Abbott

Two unrelated current events had rather unfortunate developments on July 5: the Casey "Tot Mom" Anthony murder trial (she was acquitted by a jury) and "The Black Sheep Dog" John Corapi soap opera (his now-former religious superior released a statement asserting that Corapi is indeed guilty of scandalous behavior).

Both made me shake my head in disappointment and cynicism.

First, the Casey Anthony verdict. I was surprised and even disgusted that Anthony, who almost certainly was responsible for her young daughter Caylee's death, was acquitted by the jury. Yes, her family is terribly dysfunctional. And yes, I concede that, in the collective mind of the jury, prosecutors didn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, juries can be, and have been, wrong in some cases. The O.J. Simpson case comes to mind. The evidence in that case was even stronger than in the Casey Anthony case, yet the jury quickly acquitted Simpson apparently because they detested the cops. Has justice been served in the Casey Anthony case? I say no. But someday she'll have to answer to God. And don't even get me started on her champagne-popping defense attorneys. (Granted, it didn't help matters when one of the prosecutors acted unprofessionally during closing arguments.)

I got a kick out of this excerpt from a Los Angeles Times article on reaction to the verdict:

    'Social media certainly played a pivotal role in bringing the case to national attention, but the case at its core may have simply appealed to people's primal instincts, said Stuart Fischoff, a senior editor at the Journal of Media Psychology. 'This is scarier than the average murder case because there's a sacredness that we assign to motherhood,' he said. 'The idea that a mother could kill her child flies in the face of every archetypal notion we have. It's monstrous. And we're revolted by that, but we're also fascinated. And we want revenge.''

"This is scarier than the average murder case because there's a sacredness that we assign to motherhood ... The idea that a mother could kill her child flies in the face of every archetypal notion we have. It's monstrous."

It is indeed monstrous, and yet many people have no problem with legalized child-killing through abortion. Odd, don't you think? Diabolical disorientation, perhaps?

Now to "The Black Sheep Dog" John Corapi, who, it seems, has been playing his supporters like a fiddle. Corapi's now former superior, Father Gerard Sheehan of S.O.L.T., issued a statement (which I believe) — click here to read it in its entirety — asserting that Corapi "did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute; He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs; He has recently engaged in sexting activity with one or more women in Montana; He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society."

I think it was a mistake for S.O.L.T. to permit Corapi to live and work on his own without being monitored. Such an arrangement is ripe for abuse and can facilitate a priest or religious living a "double life." But I'm far more disappointed in Corapi's behavior. In particular, I have to wonder: Was it merely sins of weakness, or was Corapi using his celebrity-priest status to finance a "double life" all the while secretly laughing at his many followers who bought and promoted his materials over the years? I don't know, but it's easy — too easy — for well-intentioned Christians to become infatuated with charismatic personalities who might not practice what they preach.

Then there's the "psychopath element" in both of the aforementioned cases. Casey Anthony is, in my view, a psychopath. John Corapi, sad to say, might be a psychopath.

As an acquaintance pointed out in an email (edited):

    'Corapi does have some of the characteristics of a psychopath. He's given descriptions of himself and his past behaviors that fit the profile. One of the hallmarks of being a victim of the manipulation of a psychopath is the devastation stemming from having been taken so completely taken in while they were being victimized. The victims of psychopaths believed the psychopath cared about them, or even loved them, and the devastation they feel from this betrayal can be the emotional trial of a lifetime....

    'When a modernist, poorly-formed priest is publicly exposed as living a dissolute life, I'm always sad, but never surprised. Hearing about a priest I believed to be solidly orthodox and a strong defender of the truth turning out to be, not a sheep dog, but a wolf in sheep's clothing, is much harder for me to wrap my head around. How could a life devoted to prayer and preaching the truth of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls lead to the behaviors described by the S.O.L.T. statement?

    'The closest approximation to Corapi's situation I can think of is that of Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. What makes me nervous about Maciel and Corapi is that their cases will make it easier for people to suspect orthodox Catholics, whether high profile or not, of being, at best, Pharisees, and at worst, closet sexual deviants. It's diabolical.'

My, my, my ... we do indeed live in a valley of tears.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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