Tuesday, October 1, 2013


On September 13, Fr. Paul Gofigan wrote a letter to Archbishop Apuron requesting that he be restored to his office as pastor of Santa Barbara Parish:

"I therefore ask that since I have not been removed and that you just started the process of removing me, that you restore me to my office as pastor..."

According to sources near Fr. Paul, there has been no response from the Archbishop to Fr. Paul's request. 

(Note: I do not have access to Fr. Paul or the Chancery and must rely on third party sources. If this is incorrect, Fr. Paul or the chancery is welcome to post a comment giving the correct information.)

Can. 1741§3 authorizes a bishop to provide a parochial administrator for a parish "while recourse against a decree of removal is pending," but as of yet, there is no decree of removal. In fact, according to Fr. Paul, upon retaining a canon lawyer to represent him, he was told by a representative of the chancery that he could not retain an attorney to challenge his removal since there had not yet been a decree of removal!

Of course, the fact that there was no decree is backed up by the fact that the Archbishop officially initiated the removal process on September 10 (see Gofigan to be Ousted), while Fr. Paul was ipso facto removed as pastor via the Aviso of July 17 (See Chancery v Gofigan). 

According to a local attorney familiar with the proceedings, though not a canon lawyer, the Archbishop's replacement of Fr. Paul with a parochial administrator before a decree of removal is canonically illegal and could be damaging to the overall case against Fr. Paul. 

The only justifiable explanation for the Archbishop's continued refusal to restore Fr. Paul to his office at this point is that the Archbishop believes that Fr. Paul somehow poses a clear and present danger! But TO WHO? is the question.

The whole thing is unfolding into quite the drama. Can't wait for the movie!

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