Wednesday, November 20, 2013


On 10 October 13, Tim Rohr received a letter from the Office of Edwin Cardinal O'Brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, of which Rohr is a member. (See the letter here.) The letter ordered Rohr to "desist from this scandalous activity", i.e. the reporting of the events surrounding Archbishop Apuron's firing of Father Paul Gofigan. Rohr sent two replies. Following is the first one.


Timothy J. Rohr
PO Box 9001
Agat, Guam, 96928

21 October 2013

Edwin Cardinal O’Brien
Office of the Grand Master
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem
Prot. #768/2013

Via email: Segreteria del Gran Maestro dell’OESSH:


Your Eminence:

I must confess that I am disappointed in your letter of October 10, 2013 1, accusing me of denouncing my Archbishop and attempting to undermine his authority. 

In addition to providing no evidence of “denouncing”, the letter is so awkwardly written that I had to seriously question whether or not you are in fact its author for it seems to have been written by someone for whom English is a second language. 

Please understand that I mean no disrespect in noting this. But your letter deals with a very grave matter and I need to be assured that you personally, as Grand Master of the Order, are in fact addressing me and that your office is not being unduly used by those who wish to be rid of me.

Because I do not believe in making accusations without evidence, I will provide the following three examples of the awkwardness which causes me to question the authorship of the letter:

Example 1: Having reviewed a number of the blogs “Jungle Watch” purportedly published by you, it seems clear to me that your repeated criticism of His Excellency, Archbishop Apuron is threatening to undermine his legitimate authority.

JungleWatch 2 is a “blog”, singular. The articles on the blog are called “blog posts” or just “posts”. Whoever reviewed my blog, did not review a “number of blogs”, but only one blog. In addition, there is a comma missing after “Archbishop Apuron” .The fact that this awkwardness is in the opening sentence of the letter was jarring to me and affected my estimation of the rest of the letter.

Example 2: A member who publicly denounce (sic) his Archbishop should forfeit that privileged status.

It should read: “A member who publicly denounces...”

Example 3: Should, in fact, you be responsible for the content...

The words “in fact” are awkwardly set off by commas. Normal grammatical construction would have rendered the sentence: Should in fact you be responsible....

The other evidence that causes me to question the letter’s authorship is the handwritten note at the bottom of the letter saying: Asking, humbly, for your cooperation.

While I am in turn humbled that you would ask humbly for my cooperation, the separate handwritten note does make it appear, especially given the errors already noted, that someone else wrote the letter and that it may have well been also someone else who reviewed my blog. 

In fact, it suggests that you may have simply received a prepared letter from the Archdiocese of Agana, the text of which was simply copied and pasted to your letterhead - with a personal note and your signature later applied.

Because you are a Cardinal and a man with many responsibilities much larger than investigating possibly wayward Knights, I would not be surprised that the matter of my investigation was delegated to someone and that you only signed the letter. 

In fact I am certain of this because even a quick read of the letter would have turned up the awkward wording and grammatical errors to which I am sure you would not have wanted to put your signature.

You are, of course, completely within your authority to delegate the investigation and the writing of the letter to someone else, but due to the grave accusations therein, and given the chancery’s hostility towards me, I believe it is critical that the facts are actually and clearly addressed.

Your Eminence, despite my questions as to your letter’s origins, I find the timing of your letter fortuitous. For years Guam Catholics have been crying for Rome to pay attention to what is happening in Guam. Many letters have been sent to the Nuncio but with no result. 

The firing and attempted banishment from the archdiocese of Fr. Paul Gofigan - as recounted on the subject blog  3 - is but the tip of a very large iceberg of an archdiocese severely divided and in which many of its priests and people live in fear and are afraid to speak.

I too am afraid to speak which is why I have kept silent for several years - until now. And the fact that I have begun to speak, even tangentially, about the division in our archdiocese is why the blog JungleWatch has garnered nearly 30,000 page views in less than 3 months. 

What lies at the root of this fear is something I am prepared to share in detail with you - with documentation - and will do shortly. But for now, and just so you know that I am not some crazed Catholic with a personal beef, allow me to tell you a bit about myself.

I moved to Guam in 1987. Since then my wife and I have raised eleven children who are currently ages 27 to 5 years. We have five boys and six girls. My boys have served and still serve as altar boys. My girls have been involved in a variety of Catholic activities as writers, speakers, and pro-life activists. My one daughter has recently completed the incorporation of a Women’s Resource Center to engage and help the women who go to Guam’s abortion clinics daily.

In 2004, I was involved with the establishing the Catholic Evidence Guild of Guam 4 to address the mass exodus of Catholics from Guam’s Catholic churches. In 2005, I  opened John Paul the Great Bookstore in order to serve the Catholic population which had no access to Catholic literature. I have spent many hours and years keeping this store open while making a living elsewhere because I had to.

In 2008, I formed the Esperansa Project 5 to introduce and support legislation aimed at doing something about Guam’s nation leading abortion industry and a companion organization,, to track and expose legislators who oppose saving children from the death sentence of abortion. 6

So far we have assisted in passing a ban on partial-birth abortion, a parental consent law, and informed consent legislation. We are currently working to ban the killing of infants who survive a failed abortion, even though we are heavily opposed by major community figures, some of whom are recognized and lauded by our local Catholic institutions.

In 2009, the Archbishop requested and relied heavily on me to defeat a same-sex union bill, which I did, after many months and at great personal cost and danger to my family, and through which I publicly engaged pro same-sex marriage senators, lawyers, homosexual activists, and an unfriendly media. 7

In 2010, I engaged a hostile senator bent on punishing the Archbishop and penalizing the Archdiocese with legislation aimed at lifting the statute of limitations on sex crimes and making the Archbishop specifically responsible for them by requiring him to be a mandated reporter. 8 The legislation was eventually amended to exclude any specific mention of the Archbishop.

And for many years, I have defended the faith, our Church, and specifically our Archbishop through many letters and articles in Guam’s print media 9, through engaging detractors publicly on the radio and television, and challenging public figures hostile to the church and its teaching in a variety of internet-related media. 

I have done this, often alone, at a great personal cost of time and money, simply because it was the right thing to do, which is why I believe I was invited to join the Order in the first place. Upon being asked to join, however, I initially objected because I knew that at some point - given what I had seen happen in this archdiocese for nearly a decade - that I would soon be at odds with the powers in the chancery, and your letter has confirmed my expectations. 

You may or may not want to hear the rest of what I have to say, but I am going to send it to you anyway because not only do I think it critical to your decision as to my future with the order, but because the Catholic community in Guam is suffering and torn and I hope you can help us. 

Sincere Regards,

Tim Rohr


1 Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, Grand Master, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, personal letter, 10 October 2013

3 JungleWatch, Chancery v Gofigan, (July 2013 to present)

4 Catholic Evidence Guild of Guam,

5 Esperansa Project,


7 Tim Rohr,, Bill 185-30, Same-sex civil union and domestic partnership bill,

8 Tim Rohr,, Chancery v Gofigan: The SNAP Endorsement,

9 Tim Rohr,, Published Articles,



  1. "...the letter is so awkwardly written that I had to seriously question whether or not you are in fact its author for it seems to have been written by someone for whom English is a second language."

    Tim are you.. (1 ) questionning the validity of the letter?
    (2) doubting the integrity of Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, Office of the Grand Master, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
    (3) stating that you think the letter was a "cut and paste" copy from our Chancery Office - yes I said "OUR" since you and I together are part of this Holy Church.
    (4) really so self-absorbed in your English ability that you zone in to the grammar and style of the letter?

    WOW... I didn't even bother to mention other concerns...

    and for your information I am not even in the Neo... nor defending the Neo... they can do that for themselves very well.

    Feel free to "red" mark my statements... seems you look for others' mistakes to show your "smarts."

    I am really disappointed in you.

    1. If I was wrong, the Cardinal could have easily kicked me out of the order. He has not. For the record I need no approval.

  2. I bet the author of the letter is an Italian. In Italian language the expression "infatti" («in fact») often comes between two commas.

    Ciao, from Italy