Sunday, August 4, 2013


As per a recent Facebook post, today, Sunday, August 4, will be the third Sunday Fr. Gofigan will prohibited from celebrating Mass. While the removal of Fr. Gofigan as pastor was quite public as per the aviso replacing him with Fr. Dan Bien, there has been no formal or public pronouncement from the chancery forbidding Fr. Gofigan to celebrate Mass.

According to canon lawyer, Cathy Caridi, J.C.L, at her website, prohibiting a priest from celebrating the Eucharist "is ordinarily made not only to the priest himself, but is openly addressed to the faithful of the diocese as well."

This is understandable. The bishop's ultimate responsibility is to his flock, and it is in fact "the flock" which should be put on notice if he has prohibited a priest from saying Mass in his diocese. However, there has been no such public notice and predictably many are asking questions.

In response to those questions, Fr. Gofigan recently stated:

"I originally approached the Parochial Administrator, Fr. Dan Bien, if he could give me something in writing regarding what I can do and what I cannot do. He contacted third Chancery who instructed him to tell me that I can only concelebrate and cannot preside nor preach. They refused to put this in writing." (Reprinted with permission.)
The celebration of the Eucharist, the "source and summit" of our Faith, is, for a priest, the very heart of his calling. It is THEE "priestly act". Prohibiting a priest from engaging in it is deadly serious business and the church has strict provisions relative to such a prohibition.

Amazingly, a validly ordained priest, a priest upon whom there is no known suspension, has been - according to Fr. Gofigan - prohibited from saying Mass via an oral message from an unknown chancery source and through a third party.

There may be more to it, but given the silence of the chancery on the matter, "the flock" is left to its imagination. If nothing else, the prohibition without proper notice is highly damaging and severely uncharitable to the flock - which is left wondering and wandering...and growing ever more angry.


A further comment from Fr. Gofigan in response to a supporter on his Facebook page:

I have been fasting and praying since all of this has happened but the worst fasting that was imposed on me by the administration is not celebrating the one thing that is the very essence of Christ's priesthood which is to confect the Eucharist and give re-present him to his people. I think this is the worst punishment that can ever be placed on a priest but as St. Paul once said, "Nothing can separate me from the love of God." 

1 comment:

  1. Archbishop Apuron, we as the public are OUTRAGED! We, your flock, DO NOT deserve this type of treatment that has carried over from what seems to be a knee jerk reaction from a letter from a Priest who wanted to clarify a situation and be transparent. Where is the WISDOM (yes, remember, one of the virtues given to us?) in all this? For us lay people that want to be more active in our Parish and may want to become part of the Holy Orders, this is definitely a deterrence. Why would a devoted Cahtolic want to be part of this Christian Organization that will not even show the virtues of the freely given gifts of the Holy Spirit? This just doesn't make sense to me. Archbishop, I pray you will put this to rest before this spills over into civil or criminal court. Then we will see how many of your abused followers will stand up and declare their stories of abuse by the Catholic Church. I know of MANY. Now this would be an interesting case of civil liability. A lot of us can see a gleeful smile coming from other religious denomination witnessing us flaunting our laundry to the public. DO SOMETHING ARCHBISHOP!...PLEASE! IF you are TRULY OUR ARCHDIOCESE LEADER, the SHEPARD OF THE FLOCK that Jesus has asked to protect, I pray that you will have the guidance you pray for to make this situation not just right for the Archdiocese, but make it right for your Parishioners. To have the right to sit at a banquet but be gagged from eating is a sign of cruelty. Why have a priest with a title as such when he is not able to perform his primary function?...You are not punishing a priest, you are denying your flock what should be shared at the banquet table. Last I heard, we, the Catholic Faith, is "A Table of Plenty". How sad this has become for our island.