Sunday, July 28, 2013

THE CHANCERY V GOFIGAN: THE SNAP SNAFU

In its haste to endorse the actions of the Archbishop against Fr. Paul Gofigan, SNAP director, David Clohessy, apparently did not bother to get the facts. In a statement released on July 25, 2013, Clohessy states:

"Father Paul Gofigan had been instructed by Archbishop Anthony Apuron to fire a predator who worked at the church but failed to do so..." (Read the entire statement here.)

However, Fr. Gofigan DID NOT "fail to do so". Below is a copy of the letter from Father Paul releasing the person in question on October 26, 2011, as required by the Archbishop.

But first a couple other observations.

Clohessy also notes that Fr. Gofigan had put "children in harm's way", and "It is outrageous that any individual would rather put his career before the safety of children..."

This thing about children, with the heavy implication that the subject person was a child molester, is not only getting tiring (since it is not true), but is bordering on incurring legal action for those who continue to publicly make this man out to be a child molester.

The man raped an 18 year old woman 32 years ago. It was a heinous crime, a horrible crime, a crime he deserves to suffer the rest of his life for even though he has done his time in prison. But he did not molest a child. And the continued public hammering on "the safety of children" relative to this man's case is keeping this slanderous allegation alive.

Unfortunately, the idea that this man was a child molester can be traced to the Archbishop's initial letter to Fr. Gofigan of July 16, 2013 in which he said: "By allowing him to work in the parish, you have exposed the children of a nearby school to a probable threat."

This idea that the man was a "threat to children" was then reinforced by an Archdiocesan press release on July 22 which devoted a whole section to the "Safety of Children", fully implying that this man, who had committed the rape of an adult woman 32 years ago, was an active child molester.

In fact, a few initial news reports picked up on this strong language from the Archdiocese and reported the man as a child molester until the error was corrected. However, SNAP's statement shows just how far and wide the maligning of this man's character has gone.

Rape is a heinous crime. However, society has deemed the sexual molestation of children a greater and more despicable crime, and rightly so. And while the authorities at the chancery may not have intended it so,  their words have provoked a slanderous and dangerous accusation of a new and more heinous criminal act.

The SNAP statement concretizes the effect of these loose words and possibly sets the Archdiocese up for legal recriminations far beyond the issue of Fr. Gofigan's status.

I have kept my personal opinions mostly to myself, but at this point I must say that it appears to me that the chancery is being very poorly counseled.


NOTE: In rereading SNAP's statement, if I was the man in question or a member of his family I'd seriously sue them for defamation. SNAP refers to the man as a "predator". Such a designation implies a pattern of behavior. The man has one instance of rape to his name over a quarter century ago. Again, the seriousness of his crime can never be diminished nor forgotten, but "predator" is quite a different thing. I think he should sue...since he no longer has an income as a maintenance man.

Fr. Gofigan attempts to make this distinction in this KUAM news story.


5 comments:

  1. So what are we to do? It is painful to see our Church torn apart by a misunderstanding. Many people I have spoken with have expressed their anger toward the Archbishop for his treatment toward Fr. Paul. This hasty judgement of Fr. Paul reminds me of when the Archbishop tried to ban Masses at the St. Fidelis Friary. His advisors once again have failed him and it's ashamed that all this unfolds and our shepherd is not around to answer for this.

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    1. Pray that Father(archbishop) and Son(Fr Paul) meet privately to reconcile this situation. It is not right that this is drawn out in the public forum for Catholic Faithful and others to come to some sort of decision as to which side they are on. We are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The son must go back to the Father and ask for Forgiveness. The Father will welcome and embrace his son, who was lost and is now found, dead and is now alive.

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    2. Really?
      what exactly is he to apologize for?
      Not even given a chance to make a defence...
      Unlike the prodigal son story, in this story it is the father who kicked the son to the curb...
      unfortunately, in my view, the Archbishop no longer represents the catholic faithful on Guam, but rather represents the NCW, as evidenced by the caption in last weeks umatuna on the front page.
      may God have mercy on us all.

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  2. A black eye for our Catholic Faith! IF you want to talk about predators, look now at the floodgates that have opened because of this. MANY Catholics will look to other denominations and find them more appealing and forgiving. The other denominations will now become the hunters for those who have lost their trust in our Catholic Faith. The Archdiocese who is supposed to be "leading by example" has now made us more vulnerable to many who are just waiting to persecute the Catholic belief system. How shameful this whole entire situation is to Rome and all other Catholic Archdiocese's around the world. Why not open the abused wounds of those that were truly violated by Priests here on Guam that have not spoken up since we are on the subject of a sex offender? What about the 2 boys from Agat that were abused by a priest of the Archdiocese who now sits upon a high level of authority? Why do you think the laws for holding institutions responsible for sexual crimes within their organizations were watered down and given a time limit as to when prosecution for past sexual offenses can be prosecuted? The 2 boys from Agat who were abused by the Priest back then should consider taking the proper stance and "Be not afraid!" (cf. Lk 1:30, cf. Mt. 1:20) to stand up for our Faith's integrity and remove those that have committed these offences entirely. There is more to this than the painted picture of a "disobedient priest". "Look beyond" and look internally and I am sure there will be MANY sad truths that will come out. IF you were that priest that abused the 2 boys in Agat, you should also stand up and deliver yourself which is what was done to this gentleman who now has been labeled a "Predator". How truly sad a day this is for our Catholic Faith. It doesn't look like this situation is going to get better before it gets far worse for those who truly believe in our Archdiocese and our Catholic Faith.

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    1. People,Trust in God! Lord, Hear our Prayer, refresh one's self, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS,& LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

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