Monday, January 20, 2014

MORE HATE MAIL

As might be expected, I receive a regular amount of hate mail, and from both sides. The opposing side needs no explanation. They simply want me to go away. Of course the funny thing is that the Apuron-Gofigan thing has little to do with me personally. I have only kept public what is already public. But then who else are they going to shoot at?


Our side is a little more difficult to explain. These are people who have complained for years about the Neocatechumenal Way and specifically the Archbishop's exclusive association with it. Yet, when the same concerns are expressed on this blog, sometimes in the very same words, they suddenly take issue with it and say we just ought to pray for the situation, and usually add a backhanded slap at me for daring to speak publicly what they so often speak of behind closed doors.  

I'm used to it, of course. When I dared to publicly take on certain members of the legislature who were blocking pro-life legislation, I was shot at from behind and criticized for being so confrontational, and of course was admonished to just fast and pray to end abortion. I got the same treatment during the war over the legalization of same-sex unions a couple of years ago. 

I don't need to defend myself, and I don't need to tell you how much I pray and counsel about the things I do that irk and shock so many. I will say this. I don't WANT to do any of it. I got involved in promoting legislation to slow the relentless killing of unborn children on this island because no one in the pro-life committees was doing it.  

While we have prayed and waved for years, Guam remained scandalously the easiest place in the United States to procure an abortion simply because (at least since the 1990 debacle) no one cared to place the slightest regulation on the local abortion industry as other U.S. jurisdictions had, and which had brought down the number of abortions. Sometimes, most of the time, action must accompany prayer. (I am well aware of the efforts at abortion counseling and those efforts deserve continual support and praise. I am only speaking of legislative efforts.)

At the height of the fight over same-sex unions, I personally met with the Archbishop (and Deacon Steve Martinez can vouch for this), and begged him to find someone in the diocese more equipped than me to fight against the bill. Given the slew of people he has been able to round up to beat back casinos over the years, I figured there had to be at least one attorney, one prominent Catholic, one somebody, who could take on this attempt to legalize same-sex unions, a much more morally serious issue than casinos. 

I still remember the follow up meeting where I was told there was no one. At the first meeting the Archbishop and other members of the so-called "task force" had come up with a list of four names who had the credentials and the acumen to dispatch the bill rather quickly. I was hopeful. I could get back to a normal life. 

Up to that point, I had been a lone voice swinging against powerful people and a pro same-sex media. And it should be noted here that I HAD NO INTENTION OF GETTING INVOLVED in stopping the same-sex union bill. I had been asked by a member of the clergy. I did it for my church. The Archbishop was getting beat up pretty bad in the media for his initial statement against it, and I felt the need to defend him. Thus I accepted the request to do so. 

However, beyond making a general statement opposing the bill and supporting the Archbishop I had no other ammunition. But since no one from our side was saying or doing anything of any consequence to stop the bill, I stayed in the battle, thinking that the cavalry was coming. And when the cavalry did not come, I went to see the Archbishop. 

I had not only run out of ammo, the fight had begun to take a serious toll on my businesses and my ability to provide for my family. In addition I was receiving threats and being publicly labeled a "homophobe" etc. It was time for me to get out of the war and let the big guns take over. I was sure that out of the four names there would be at least one, and we only needed one. 

The meeting was depressing. Hardly a word was spoken. There was NO ONE, not a one, who would take on this war. I knew of at least two attorneys who were in the Neocatechumenal Way. I turned to the Archbishop and asked if either of them would be willing to help. The answer was no, at least not publicly. I guess everybody just wanted to pray about it. But "publicly" was where the war was being fought. And we were losing. 

But you can bet, that since the bullets were flying at me, I was praying harder than anybody. And my prayer was: "God, if you do not want me to do this, simply send someone who will." And typical of our God of surprises, God did send someone, a non-Catholic who understood both politics and the law, who, while not wanting to take my place, gave me the ammo to keep fighting. Through his counsel I was able to step out of the homophobia mud slinging in the media and craft an argument that eventually took the bill down. It took nine months of my life, a massive amount of study and writing, and a great amount of financial and emotional stress. 

I hated every minute of that war. I did not enjoy being called a homophobe, a bigot, and a hater. I did not enjoy the stress it put on me and my family. I did not enjoy having to stand in front of cameras and made a target. I did not enjoy the stress it put on my relationships with the people I did business with who were on the other side of the issue. And I prayed everyday for God to take that issue from me. And he did, as he so often does, through another person, and in a way I couldn't have imagined, not a person to take my place, but a person who gave me what was needed to finish the job. 

So don't think I take this present war lightly. I have nothing to gain from it and it has already cost me much. If you think the only way to deal with the present issue is to pray about it, then feel free to do so. But your reprimands and your back handed slaps in the guise of scripture and quotes tell me that you don't believe your own advice. Otherwise you'd be praying instead of sending me mail.  

13 comments:

  1. A Santa Barbara ParishionerJanuary 20, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    I know that when you step into the public eye, you make yourself a target. Although you may not have heard much from those who appreciate what you do, let me be a voice that says how much your voice, insight, and disclosures are needed and valued. Prayer is powerful. But there comes a time when prayer prompts action. When speaking for the good of the Church and our Catholic faith, that action should be supported, not condemned. I'll pray for you and your family that God will continue to give you the strength and fortitude to fight the good fight.

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  2. Tim, thank you for what you've done. I know it's been very burdening to your commitments, both familial and financial (business). I'm pretty sure that you are aware that God is using you on these issues you've been involved with. I am a solid Catholic and yes, I do not support same-sex marriage and anything that contradicts the teachings of the Church and Scriptures. These are works of the devil. May God continue to assist you and send you some more people to assist you on these important issues. God bless you and your family!

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  3. John from Chalan PagoJanuary 20, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Mr. Rohr,

    God gives us all a certain vocation. Yours is to be a voice in the wilderness, to use a phrase from scripture. God is always faithful and he is indeed faithful to you. Just take a peek at your family. How beautiful! God speed.

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  4. Dear Mr. Rohr,
    As John from Chalan Pago says, yours is a voice in the wilderness! I have noticed many years ago how when it comes to defending the teachings of the Catholic Church, it is usually YOUR voice that is out there. And yes, many times, it was the lone voice! Please don't stop! Guam needs you! Your courage and perseverance in defending our Catholic faith puts you at the top of my list of people I greatly admire. May God continue to bless you and your family and may His angels protect and guide you always.

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  5. Many thanks for the kind and encouraging words, but before anybody else says something similar, please know that I made this post in the hopes of no longer being the lone voice. With due respect I do not believe standing up against wrongs is a vocation, but simply a duty. As explained, I sort of fell into it by default. You might say that my ability to express myself is a gift, but I would counter that it is not. I flunked college english and literally had to teach myself to write. In addition I knew nothing of the topics I would end up speaking and writing so passionately about. It was all a matter of study. Join me. Please. Let's get past "Anonymous". So long as there is "Anonymous", our opponents will continue to believe that no one will talk EVEN IF the Nuncio visits. The climate of fear will continue to reign. Again, thank you, but please consider.

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    1. James from TamuningJanuary 20, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      Dear Mr. Rohr:

      God allows to fall into something by default because we do not see initially that was our vocation in the first place. Some of us are lucky and get there early on while others, like you, have to stumble into it. We are glad that you did, and you are correct that we should join you. To do so, we need a vehicle, other than your blog and letter writing. Ideas anyone?

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  6. I too, have to thank you Tim for your courage with taking on and leading this stance on the NCW-rooted issues and conflicts in our Diocese. There are more of us on the side of the issues you point out than there may appear to be. God bless you in your efforts and your family in their faith and trust in God.

    The fact that we live in a very small island and the reality about the strong influence that our culture has on how we regard our ties and affiliations to family, social, economic or job situations are what preclude the majority of us from immediately taking a proactive public stance or giving our public voice to most social, moral or religious issues. An exception, it seems to me, is our spontaneity with positioning our political affiliation.

    I’ve acknowledged before that this blog has not only opened for many an opportunity for our voice to be heard (even if anonymously, just for now), but has now also provided confirmation and credence to what many of us have known or have suspected all along: the Apuron-Gofigan issue is rooted in and deeply tied to NCW. Equally important toward reinforcing our courage to speak out and toward showing the relevance and validity of our once-silent suspicions, concerns and questions are the similarity of the sentiments shared by others in their comments and responses posted here.

    That others share similar observations, along with the fact that you are assisted by yet many others who’ve voluntarily provided you documented information and proofs solidifies in my mind, the veracity of your statement Tim: “these conflicts between the Neocatecumenal Way and the rest of the universal Church is at the very heart of the Apuron-Gofigan conflict;” and we whole-heatedly agree with you and believe that statement! This Apuron-Gofigan conflict was simply the “straw” for us who’ve felt uncomfortable, concerned and disturbed about the goings-on on Guam, rooted in the NCW.

    Now is the time and the opportunity, faithful non-NCW Catholics, to give voice to your concerns and your observations and take a stance. By sharing and posting your concerns here, you may help others also muster the courage you have gained; or, send your letter directly to Reverend Archbishop Martin Krebs, the Apostolic Nuncio for Guam and Oceana and the permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See (Vatican).

    Our silence will only reinforce and perpetuate those bully tactics and manipulative ways by the leaders of NCW, condoned by the Archbishop. “Yesterday” it was the priests bullied to go back to the Philippines; today, its our good priest and Guam son, Father Gofigan. Who or what group will be next to also “experience a more arduous and painful closure” if they don’t convert or conform to NCW? If not your non-NCW priest, could your parish be next in line?

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  7. Father Adrian is trying hard to get the parishioners to form a community but this has not happened. Don't be fooled when they say we do, just drop by. These are people outside the parish. NO ONE IN MAINA has joined or formed a group since Adrian came in. FAT chance that it will ever get there.

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  8. We lay people really need to understand something. I admit I just saw the light only now. The priests we love are suffering. They cannot fight back. Look what happens when they do. Our priests are depending on us to be their voice. Can you imagine how our priests feel like orphans, their own "father" has become their enemy? All because these priests do not want to be in the Neos? That is their one and only "crime?" Does anyone have sympathy for our priests who continue to serve us even though they feel abandoned by their "father?" I already emailed the Nuntio. Please, people, do your part. Email the Nuntio!

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  9. I just sent an email to the Nuntio expressing my despondency and rejection to this NEO incursion; oh he's aware alright!

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  10. Peace!!!! Thanks for your love.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, yes. You see here! The true spirit of the Neocat.

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