What Has Happened to Fr. John Corapi?

An Inconclusive End to the Black Sheep Dog Saga

Priest leaving church
Priest leaving church. Aliaksandr Lukyanyuk / EyeEm / Getty Images

For several months in mid-2011, the biggest and most divisive story on the Catholic side of the World Wide Web involved the strange case of Fr. John Corapi, a charismatic preacher who announced on Ash Wednesday 2011 that he had been accused of sexual impropriety and drug abuse. Ordered by his superiors in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) to remain silent while the charges were investigated, Father Corapi complied for a few months before bringing the investigation to a halt by announcing that he intended to leave the priesthood.

The "Black Sheep Dog"

But, Father Corapi promised, he would not be "silenced." Unable to continue to speak and teach as a Catholic priest, Father Corapi announced a new persona: Under the guise of the "Black Sheep Dog," he would continue to speak on many of the topics he had previously discussed, but with more of a political emphasis. He hinted broadly at plans surrounding the 2012 presidential election.

Yet the 2012 election came and went, and Father Corapi was nowhere in sight. The primary season featured two Republican candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who were Catholics, and as the election heated up, Barack Obama's administration launched a frontal attack on Catholic religious freedom in the United States under the guise of advancing "healthcare reform." This would have seemed the perfect time for the Black Sheep Dog to charge into the fray.

The same was true in 2016. Fans of Father Corapi on social media (especially Facebook) expressed expectations that he would reappear to weigh in on the 2016 presidential election, especially after Hillary Clinton—a frequent target of Father Corapi's criticism in the past—captured the Democratic nomination. But once again, Father Corapi was nowhere to be seen.

So Where Is Father Corapi?

Readers frequently ask if there are new developments in the strange case of Fr. John Corapi, and the truth is, there has been no word. After an initial flurry of activity, updates to Father Corapi's new website, theblacksheepdog.us, became few and far between, and sometime around the beginning of 2012 (as Patrick Madrid was the first to notice) all of the content was removed from the site. It was replaced with a single white page remains, with just three lines of text:

Inquiries regarding TheBlackSheepDog.US can be made to:
450 Corporate Dr. Suite 107
Kalispell, MT 59901

Eventually, even that disappeared, and theblacksheepdog.us is now an expired domain, held by a domain squatting company. The Black Sheep Dog's official accounts on Twitter and on Facebook have disappeared as well.

My initial thought on reading Patrick's post was that perhaps Father Corapi had finally decided to submit in obedience to the direct orders of his superiors in SOLT, and had returned to live with them in the community while they completed the investigation that had been abruptly cut short. I still hope that my initial thought was true. But I'm beginning to have doubts, since it seems to me that, because of the unfortunately public nature of the Father Corapi controversy, SOLT would be bound, if for no other reason than by the dictates of charity, to release at least a brief statement acknowledging Father Corapi's return. The fact that they haven't led me to believe that something else is going on, and it's hard to imagine that something else being something good.

John A. Corapi on LinkedIn

That suspicion would seem to be confirmed by the fact that a profile for John Corapi can be found on LinkedIn, the professional networking site, with no mention of the fact that he is an ordained Roman Catholic priest. As noted first by the website Sacerdotus in November 2015, this LinkedIn profile lists John Corapi's experience as a "Writer/Speaker" and notes that he is "Working as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction articles, poems, and books. Also accepting limited speaking engagements to secular non-religious oriented audiences on topics of social, political, and philosophical interest." It gives his current location as Kalispell, Montana, where he had been living at the time that the allegations of sexual impropriety and drug abuse were first made. Two pictures of John Corapi on the profile feature him in biker clothes with a collection of motorcycles in the background.

There is no indication on this profile that Father Corapi has submitted himself to his superiors at SOLT.

Recent Sex Scandals in the Church

Scandals concerning sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests have been reported for decades, many of them becoming high-profile since Corapi's disappearance. It is difficult to know whether Father Corapi was a whistleblower, as suggested by "The Catholic Voyager" in late 2018, or at least partly guilty of the charges, which was intimated by Matt Abbott in "The Church Militant" in 2015. As of 2019, Corapi has made no official announcements, and neither has SOLT beyond their original accusations of financial and sexual misdoings.

Of course, time will tell (though I am surprised that it hasn't told already). Father Corapi was too prominent of a figure, and the scandal was too widely discussed, for him to stay out of sight forever. But whatever has happened, I'll make one prediction right now: We have seen the end of the Black Sheep Dog.

Let us hope and pray that we haven't seen the end of Fr. John Corapi as well.

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Richert, Scott P. "What Has Happened to Fr. John Corapi?" Learn Religions, Dec. 19, 2020, learnreligions.com/what-happened-to-john-corapi-3970779. Richert, Scott P. (2020, December 19). What Has Happened to Fr. John Corapi? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/what-happened-to-john-corapi-3970779 Richert, Scott P. "What Has Happened to Fr. John Corapi?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-happened-to-john-corapi-3970779 (accessed March 21, 2023).