Thursday, August 1, 2013


Two murderers granted parole - Guam Pacific Daily News, July 30, 2013

The Chancery v Gofigan affair appears to have been precipitated by a law which went in to effect in 2010, requiring persons convicted of a sex-related crime to appear on a public registry. The subject person who is at the source of the controversy appears to have been released from prison some years earlier since he had already been hired by the parish as early as 2008. Apparently his employment was not an issue until the new law went into effect and his name appeared on the sex-offender registry in 2010. 

Given the rationale for the sex-offender registry, one wonders why there is no murder-registry. Is murder any less of a crime? In fact, it is considered a worse crime, and rightly so.

Given the claim by the chancery that the presence of a registered sex-offender is a "probable threat" to parishioners and children, should the Archdiocese not be just as concerned about the presence of paroled murderers wandering loose about the parish as well? Should a pastor be allowed to hire a paroled murderer out of charity if the person could not find employment elsewhere? Or should a paroled murderer be allowed to volunteer at a parish?

To what extent can persons with a criminal past be allowed to participate in the life of the church? This is a question the Archdiocese must address, for its actions in this case expose the fact that the Archdiocese appears to have no policy for the reintegration of convicted criminals into its fold regardless of the crime. 

The Archdiocese in its press release of July 22 stated "We welcome and do not bar anyone from our Masses." This is fine, but then what other parish activities are registered sex-offenders, and for that matter any other persons with a known criminal past, actually barred from, and for what reason?

Given the limits implied by the press release, a registered sex-offender must leave the church grounds immediately after Mass and cannot even attend the parish fiesta. Of course this is absurd, but it illustrates the grave lack of foresight in establishing a precedent without a policy. 

Again, we can only assume, given its actions, that the Archdiocese is being very poorly counseled. And it is hoped that the Archbishop - despite his signature - was not made fully aware of the full extent of these actions or its canonical implications, and will pastorally resolve the matter upon his return from World Youth Day. We shall see soon.

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