Friday, December 20, 2013


Following is my second letter to Cardinal Edwin O'brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, of which both I and Archbishop Apuron are members. 

The letter consists of a cover letter in email form and an attachment in the form of an essay. Everything is copied here. 

Bear in mind, that after receiving my two letters, the Grand Master took no action. And while he yet may, there is still no refuting the points I make. And if anyone would like to try I will produce the evidence...which is a lot uglier than my letter.


Tim Rohr <>
Nov 4

to  Segreteria del Gran Maestro dell’OESSH <>

Your Eminence:

As per my previous letter, I intend to keep you informed of the grave divisions in the church on Guam which are due to our Archbishop being beholden to the leadership of the Neocatechemenal Way.

I wanted to say that our Archbishop is actually publicly and blatantly in open conflict with the Magisterium of our Church, but I'm going to cut him some slack and blame it on the political and financial forces of the the leadership of the Neocatechumenal Way. I believe they have used him.

I am attaching a letter that I intend to post soon to my blog. In the letter I detail and document our Archbishop's public discrediting of then-Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Cardinal Arinze. This event set off a massive division in our archdiocese and led to a public protest in front of our Cathedral.

I was also asked to participate in a public lie, in the presence of the Archbishop, to cover for the Archbishop's grave error in publicly discrediting the CDW. I did not document here the occasion of the session in which the lie was composed. I will do that in my next post.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I know that Guam is not in your jurisdiction but the Archbishop is also a member of the order and I am sure he falls under your charge in that regard.

Thank you for your consideration.



by Tim Rohr, 11/01/13

While members of the Neocatechumenal Way want to strictly point to “the fruits” of “the Way” as evidence of its authenticity, the real litmus test for the authenticity of any group within the Catholic Church is whether or not it conforms to the norms granted it by the Church. 

With the Neocatechumenal Way, those norms are contained in the “Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way” which received final approval in June, 2008. 1 

In Guam, the authenticity of the Neocatechumenal Way continues to be questioned due to its ignoring of the norm regulating the distribution of Holy Communion. 

Prior to the approval of the final Statute, neocatechumenates received the consecrated bread in their hands while remaining seated in their place and did not consume it until a signal was given by the minister, at which time, all the communicants consumed the consecrated bread at the same time. 

On December 1, 2005, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued a directive to the leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way requiring Holy Communion to be distributed in “the manner...that is provided in the liturgical books” and granted a “period of transition not exceeding two years.” 2

That there should be no doubt about what that “manner” was, the directive clarified that this was to be “the normal way in which the entire Church received Holy Communion. This of course meant that the neocatechumens could not remain in their place but must 1) approach the minister of Holy Communion, 2) receive the Eucharist either kneeling or standing, and 3) consume the Eucharist immediately.

Six weeks later, on January 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI, in a speech to the Neocatechumenal communities, referred to the directive from the CDW and emphasized that the instruction was his own and he expected it to be obeyed. 3 

However, two years later - the “period of transition” - there was still no change in the neocatechumenal manner of distributing Holy Communion. 

To understand why the non-compliance of the neocatechumens to the directive from the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments in this regard was so closely watched and why it became such a source of division, some background is important.

An Archdiocese Divided

A division had been brewing in the church in Guam for several years over the Neocatechumenal Way primarily because the Archbishop had joined as a member. And, because of his public reference to the Neocatechumenal Way as “we” and “us”, 4 it appeared to most Guam Catholics that he had taken “sides”. 

“Sides” is in quotes because it is important to understand that many members of the Neocatechumenal Way spoke of their lives as Catholics before joining “the Way” in a demeaning manner (the word “dead” is common) - as if the NCW wasn’t just “a way”, but “Thee Way”.

It was a tone Catholics were accustomed to hearing from those who had left the church and got “born again” through some protestant sect, but these were Catholics...and the Archbishop had joined them. 

The division was further heightened when in January 2006, the Archbishop publicly questioned the authority of the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments (Cardinal Arinze) on Guam’s local Catholic radio station. 5

In addition to challenging the Cardinal Prefect’s credentials, 6 the Archbishop declared the “period of transition” - a period in which the NCW was to cease and desist its peculiar manner of distributing Holy Communion - as an extension (!) of two more years to the five year “ad experimentum” period granted by Rome to the Neocatechumenal Way in 2002. In fact, the Archbishop framed the letter as a papal permission for the NCW peculiar variations of the liturgy! 7

Listeners were shaken, as evidenced both by those who subsequently called in, and by the outrage that the replay of the show, a replay hundreds of Guam Catholics were anxious to hear, was cancelled without comment. 8

The reason it was cancelled was obvious. The Archbishop had publicly discredited the Cardinal Prefect for a Vatican Congregation which had oversight of liturgical practices and which was directly tasked with carrying out the will of the pope. In fact, the Cardinal’s letter began: “I am to inform you of the Holy Father’s decisions...”

Even the least educated Catholic could sense that there was something very wrong with this and many rightly wondered just “who” the Archbishop was taking orders from if it wasn’t Rome. 

Because the Archbishop had publicly discredited the directive from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Guam Catholics became hypersensitive to the neocatechumenal manner of distributing Holy Communion and watched diligently to see if the the leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way would obey. They did not.

The Rational for Disregarding the Directive

In April of 2008, I got wind of a planned protest against the Archbishop and the Neocatechumenal Way in front of the Cathedral on the occasion of the celebration of our Cathedral’s 50th jubilee year. 

Guam Catholics had never openly protested against their church leadership and the presence of the papal nuncio and other guest church dignitaries made the potential for division and damage within the archdiocese even greater. 9

In hoping to diffuse the protest, I contacted a priest at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary 10 with whom I had spoken often and asked whether or not some permission the rest of us were unaware of had been granted to the Neocatechumenal Way to continue its unique manner of distributing Holy Communion. 

I was told that there was in fact a “permission”. I then asked for a copy of it so that I could make it known and hopefully stem the growing scandal. I was then told that there was no document but that “Kiko” had been advised by a cardinal to continue the neocatechumenal method of distributing Holy Communion. 11

I was further advised that this advice had been given to Kiko because it was believed the final Statute would allow for it, and that the Neocatecumenal Way was “to maintain the present practice so that the Holy See would not be put in the awkward position of seeming to change its mind by going from Arinze's letter to the new statues in a very short time.12

The priest asked me not to share this information publicly due to the pending final approval of the statutes. So I didn’t. In fact, I have not mentioned this since I received it in 2008. However, the statutes have long been approved and there is no reason to keep the conversation secret. 

The question is whether or not the final Statute negated the December 1, 2005 directive from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments (otherwise known as “the Arinze letter”). It did not. In fact, both the CDW directive and Pope Benedict’s subsequent reaffirmation of it are specifically noted in Article 13, § 3 of the Statute.

There was only ONE concession made in the final Statute: the neocatechumens could remain in their place and did not have to process towards the minister. No other concession was made. In every other matter, the neocatechumens must receive the Eucharist in the manner mandated in the liturgical books (i.e. like the rest of us). 

At this point we must examine the Article 13, § 3 in its entirety:

For the celebration of the Eucharist in the small communities the approved liturgical books of the Roman Rite are followed, with the exception of the explicit concessions from the Holy See. 49 
Regarding the distribution of Holy Communion under the two species, the neocatechumens receive it standing, remaining at their place.

As noted, the neocatechumens may remain “at their place”, but must “receive it standing”. Neocatechumens will argue at this point that this is what they do, but they do not. 

The neocatechumens “receive it standing” in their hands, but they do not immediately consume the host as the rest of the Church is required to do. They continue to hold the consecrated bread in their hands until all have received it. Then they sit, still holding the host, and do not consume it until the minister gives the signal and then all consume it at the same time. 

This is a direct violation of the “liturgical books”. Paragraph 161 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs: “As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes it entirely.” 13

If there was a concession to delay the consumption of the Eucharist until all have received, we would find it in footnote 49 as referenced in Article 13, § 3 of the Statute. However, footnote 49 does not note this concession. In fact, it notes:

  1. the December 1, 2005 directive from the CDW mandating that the distribution of Holy Communion conform to the liturgical books,
  2. Pope Benedict’s January 12, 2006 reaffirmation of the directive, and
  3. an earlier directive allowing the neocatechumens to receive the Eucharist under both species and permission to move the Sign of Peace to after the Prayer of the Faithful. 

There is NO concession to delay the consumption of the sacred species until all have received. 

Yet, not only is this the general neocatechumenal practice, members are told that this practice was approved by Rome and is in conformity with the Statute. So we have both disobedience and a lie. 

While this may seem like hair-splitting minutia to some, obedience to Rome on this matter was the litmus test for the Neocatechumenal Way. And the refusal of its leadership to comply speaks loudly to the growing suspicion that the leaders of the “the Way” consider themselves to be their own Magisterium. 


2 CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Letter of December 1, 2005 in Notitiae 41 (2005), 563–565; “Notification of the Congregation for Divine Worship on celebrations in groups of the Neocatechumenal Way”,

3 Benedict XVI, Speech to the Neocatechumenal Communities on January 12, 2006, in Notitiae 41 (2005), 554–556,

4 KOLG, “Why Do Catholics Do That?”, Interview with Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron with hosts Fr. Michael Crisostomo and Fred Rodriguez, January, 2006: We were given two more years...” “This gives us two more years...”

5 Ibid. Note: the audio recording of this show will be provided should the authenticity of the references from the show be challenged.

6 Ibid., “Arinze, to tell you the truth, is really not for the Way, and I don’t know what credentials he has.”

7 Ibid., “Actually experimentation was granted in the year 2005...for five years, so it doesn’t expire until 2007, and with this recent letter...we were granted two more years. And in fact, really looking at the is the first time in the history of the church that we were given permissions for the variations that is being done in the Neo Catechumenal Way, officially by the pope.”

8 The show, entitled “Why Do Catholics Do That?” aired live on Monday mornings and was replayed once later the same day and again two days later.

9 In addition to the serious division already present due to the Archbishop taking sides, the refusal of the neocatechumenals to conform to the CDW directive, and the general conflict arising from several other neocatechumenal practices including private masses, the protest was further precipitated by the recent ordering of the three well-loved pastors to begin serving the Neocatechumenal communities or leave the archdiocese. The letters to the three priests found wide circulation and copies can be produced if needed.

10 The Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Guam is a Neocatechumenal Seminary

11Kiko” is Kiko Arguello, the founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, and the cardinal was Cardinal Rylko, the head of the Council for the Laity.

12 Email from Father X, 4/26/08 (Father X’s identity is not important, but a copy of the email can be provided if this quote is questioned.)


  1. It seems that silence is the operative response from bishops and on up whenever they are faced with something messy. How sad!

  2. The NCW has only to produce the document which gives them the permission for the manner in which they distribute Holy Communion and I would have no argument.

  3. All I can say now is we wait and see. Whatever happens, happens. I think that the mud slinging from some of the writers need to stop.

    When we begin to attack the Church then we attack ourselves. We are the church. Without us there will be none.



    Pope Benedict XVI
    Pope John Paol II
    John Paul II
    card. Rylko (prefect pontifical council lay)
    card. Sean O'Malley (achibishop Boston)
    Card. Canizares (prefect of the congregation for the DIVINE CULT)

  5. Archbishop Apuron has bullied, lyed to people, threatened people for the past twenty years to keep them silent. The truth of the matter is the archdiocese of Agana Guam and the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa has been under serious moral decay for the past twenty years.

  6. Nothing a few good anathematizations wouldn't cure. Let's start with KooKoo.

  7. The NCW has infiltrated the basic catholic parishes on the small pacific island of Guam. They have done so in the hope that their communities become the only norm of being catholic. The NCW has unsurped and destroyed parishes, families, because they feel that not enough is being done. The archbishop of Agana Guam has no backbone, he has lost government of the archdiocese,he has caused grave disunity to the church on Guam he has failed in the leadership of sexual abuse , and the sad thing is, he does not have the humi

    1. Humility or the sense to back track and to humble himself before the Lord, by saying he made a mistake in allowing the NCw to take the helm of leadership of the archdiocese.