Saturday, December 14, 2013


Mr Rohr: I don’t know how to get a hold of Edward Cardinal O’Brien, but I hope you can pass this message along to him.

Your Eminence, Cardinal O’Brien:

Warmest Greetings from Guam, or as they say here, Hafa Adai! I am a former resident of Baltimore living in Guam for just under two years. Having grown up in Baltimore, a classmate and lifelong friend is now a priest in Baltimore, Fr Andrew Aaron. He speaks extremely fondly of you, about your leadership, your compassion and pastoral care, and your great love for the flock entrusted to you. The people of Baltimore miss your abiding presence. This message is sent to you in the hope that you can help out the people of Guam, in your capacity as Prince of the Church.

I understand you wrote Tim Rohr a while back asking him to cease his blogs which were causing the Archbishop to appear in a bad light. However, in going through Tim Rohr’s web site myself, , I find that what he has done is to expose a big problem here on Guam that Holy Mother Church should be concerned with. While the information revealed is painful and difficult to accept, I have found Mr Rohr’s information to be straightforward, accurate, and unbiased.

The comments added to the blog site are independent of Mr Rohr, from various people within the Archdiocese. Unfortunately, most people are afraid to reveal their identity for fear of retribution from the Neo Catechumenal Way and from the Chancery, and perhaps from neighbors as well. I do not have such fears.

It is interesting to note that very few people were courageous enough to comment back in July and August when the issues started to be revealed by Mr Rohr. However, more recently, you will note a huge increase in comments from the average Catholic in the parishes. Some support the Archbishop, and many are growing increasingly hostile to the situation here in the Archdiocese. This I do fear, especially since the Archbishop’s approach to this situation is to remain completely silent. This ongoing conflict has almost seemed to embolden him. Just recently he has changed direction in a previously stated policy of not sending diocesan priests away to missionary service outside of the Archdiocese. This timing has only added fuel to the fire, since people have been assured by His Excellency that money donated to the local seminary would not be used to train priests to be sent off-island. We ourselves are considered a mission territory by the Church.

He also recently issued a decree to restrict deacons from wearing clerical attire. While I am not sure what the policy has been in other parts of the world, this change has also sparked dismay at his timing. Many problems exist here on Guam. We are a leader in cohabitation, we are a no-fault divorce state, and our divorce rates are among the highest in the nation. Abortion is easier to obtain on Guam than any other location in the US. So many problems, and this is where the Archbishop chooses to start reform.

I do not know Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, and have never had the pleasure to speak with him, but I have heard him at our fiesta and at other masses. He seems like a likeable type. However, if you look at some of the stinging comments being made, you will get a completely different picture of him. While some of these comments may be over-reactions or not in line with reality, many of them are undeniably true and correct. Many of His Excellency’s statements have been proven to be either misleading, or outright false. But what is most troubling is his open defiance on Catholic radio KOLG to a letter written by Cardinal Arinze (who was prefect for CDW at the time), where the Archbishop questioned what credentials Cardinal Arinze had.

I have seen the letter which you wrote to Mr Rohr. I am assuming that this letter was most likely prompted by a visit His Excellency made to Your Eminence during his visit to Rome in September. If you have not already, I encourage you to review the blog site mentioned above for yourself. If my guess is correct, you will find a vastly different picture of what is going on in Guam, versus what was first presented to you in September which prompted your letter.

Your Eminence, the real purpose of my appeal to you is to plead for you to intercede for the people of Guam. Since His Excellency is not addressing the multitudes of problems that are causing a large schism on Guam, we are hoping that Rome can send an individual or a team to Guam to explore the matter and deal with the problems where ever they may lie. We love our Church here on Guam and desperately seek help to heal it before the wound grows larger and the infection spreads.

God’s blessings in all that you do,

Howard Gunther
Tamuning, GU

TIM'S NOTE; For anyone who would like to reach Cardinal O'Brien, his email address is:


1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Mr. Gunther, for composing this letter, which voices the concerns on many of us "regular" (non-Neo) Catholics, in such a straight-forward manner. Many of us, myself included, tend to let our anger — which has simmered for many years — affect our comments and posts.

    I pray that Cardinal O'Brien will give your letter the same attention and consideration that was given to the complaint regarding Tim's blog. I also pray that it will prompt a thorough investigation of the actions — and in some cases, inactions — of Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron over the years.

    God bless you for your courage!