First, we must remember one thing: we cannot know if Fr. Corapi is innocent or guilty. We do not have all the facts. Second, he is obviously very bitter and frustrated. One gets a sense of weariness in his voice and words.
This does not make him innocent though. Speaking bluntly, he places his innocence on very questionable footing with the release of his statement. I'll be honest, the statement read to me like a politician. He gives the impression that this decision was forced on him by two factors. The first was an institutional Church that offers no protection for accused priests. There is some truth to that. The second is that it is because of the false accusations of a "deeply troubled" woman, or so he thinks.
That is the rub with this entire issue. As Fr. Corapi himself concedes:
The identity of the accuser is not revealed. You can guess, but you don’t actually know. Nor are the exact allegations made known to you. Hence, you have an interesting situation of having to respond to an unknown accuser making unknown accusations (unknown to the accused and his counsel).
He doesn't know who the accuser is. Yet he goes to great length to speculate to his listeners that it is a woman he has done more to "help and support her" than anyone he ever has. In turn, because she is a "demonstrably troubled person" she made "totally unsubstantiated, undocumented" allegations. Some will say he isn't looking to slime the accuser because he doesn't mention them by name. Whatever his motives, he has outlined a classic case of manipulating his audience. He wants his audience to view him as a White Knight, and his accusers as deeply troubled people. He wants himself to be portrayed as rational, whereas he wants the bishops arrayed against him to lack the characteristics of civilized societies. (Without of course knowing who those Bishops even are!) His fundamental civil and human rights are being violated by a nameless, faceless "they", being the Bishops.
If Fr. Corapi is innocent, this was the worst way to go about it.
There are those who are comparing him to St. "Padre" Pio. St. Pio suffered real injustice from false allegations, and lost several years of his public ministry because of it. The only difference is that St. Pio did not abandon his priesthood. Fr. Corapi said the only options available were to "quietly lay down and die" or "go on" as he sees fit. St. Pio gave an answer of defiance. That defiance was directed at the devil. He chose to soldier on, humbly subjecting himself to the injustice, fully confident in the end he would be vindicated. As a result, we call him "Saint" Pio. Fr. Corapi could indeed be innocent, but he is not taking the path of the saints that our Catholic tradition provides us.
He also gives every indication of continuing his public ministry in spite of the events that have transpired. I am not optimistic he will be able to do so. Many Churches will not host him. His EWTN ministry is obviously permanently shelved. The first thing that needs to be answered is a harsh question, but a valid one:
Did Fr. Corapi solicit support under questionable pretenses?How long has Fr. Corapi known of his decision to leave the priesthood? On his website, he was offering things at reduced prices to celebrate his 20th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood. People were buying things many times as a way of giving a "thank you" for his priestly ministry. A ministry he is now leaving. To avoid any sense of impropriety, Fr. Corapi should offer refunds if charitable contributions were given to his organization before this, or if merchandise was purchased by those looking to support a priest. I'm of the impression that this wasn't a long-standing idea. The video and speech were far too hasty to suggest that. I think this would be a beneficial act for him to take.
If his ministry does continue, he will be in need of some special graces and prayer. As a laymen, he may indeed be able to contribute in some form or another. Yet he is operating outside the "usual channels." There was a time when Catholic Answers and EWTN were outside those "usual channels." Yet a cult of personality didn't surround these individuals at the time either. One does surround Fr. Corapi. He may wish it not to be so, he may relish in it, we cannot know that. Yet we cannot deny it exists. His devoted fans will still see him as an authority figure. What if that authority conflicts with the Bishops? How can he put into practice the virtue of humble obedience given the circumstances? Fr. Corapi has exceptional gifts. I fear in public those gifts are compromised.
That is why in the end, for the good of all, Fr. Corapi should take a very extended leave of absence from any public ministry, be it as a priest (due to his suspension) or as a layman, or whatever is in between. Spend that time in deep prayer and with a spiritual director who will be fully honest with him. It is going to be very tough to continue to have a public life under these circumstances. He claims he does not want to be in an adversarial position with the Church and the Bishops. Yet if he continues under his new "persona" as "The Black Sheep Dog" communicating in public about matters of the faith or his own perceived injustice, such an adversarial position is inevitable. These matters would cause more harm than good.
Finally, this is a firm reminder about the dangers of the cult of personality. Many people are having their faith shaken by this event. It is a reminder for us all that we cannot place our faith and hopes in men. Even good men, whether they be laymen, priests, bishops, even Popes. We can only place our faith in the Lord. If it be His will, an innocent Fr. Corapi would have been vindicated. If it be His will, a new voice in the Church will fill the void left by him. In the end, even in spite of our attempts to obstruct it, the Church continues to nurture souls and Christ continues to save them. Inspired by that confidence, let us pray for Fr. Corapi, and for all priests. If this situation shows nothing else, it shows how much grace is required to be a faithful priest in today's world.