On Wednesday, March 5, Pacific News Center did a story on Archbishop Apuron's refusal to sponsor Aaron Quitugua to an off-island seminary. Since Aaron did not want to speak to the media, I spoke in his behalf. To get the Archbishop's side, the PNC reporter, Janela Carrera, called the chancery and spoke with Fr. Adrian. Fr. Adrian declined comment and said he wouldn't respond to rumors - though the "rumors" were his own words in an email to Aaron. He later called Janela and told her to look in the U Matuna for the answer to her questions.
Ms. Carrera proceeded with the story, and as good reporters do, presented both sides, albeit in this case, she had to track down an U Matuna and try to figure out what it was that Fr. Adrian wanted her to read. When you watch the story, you will see that she did a very fair job.
The next day, PNC received an email from Dennis Santo Tomas alleging the following:
- That only one side of the story was presented.
- That I (Tim Rohr) had said that the Pontifical Lateran University with which RMS is affiliated is not accredited.
- That it was the job of PNC news to provide evidence of my assertion that the Lateran University was not accredited (even though I made no such assertion)
- That there are two seminaries in Guam and that Aaron "has always had the choice to choose between the two."
The news director who received the complaint forwarded it to me for my comment, and I replied as follows:
From: "Tim Rohr"Sent: March 6, 2014 11:44 PMTo: "Kevin Kerrigan"Cc: "Janela Buhain Carrera"Subject: Re: Local Teen Denied Sponsorship to Off-Island Seminary, Archdiocese's Reasons Unclear
It wasn't Janela's job to get the facts. It was her job to present both sides. She called Fr. Adrian to present his side. He declined. Then he called back later and told her to find her own answers to her questions in the U Matuna. She had to work with what was available.
The reason Fr. Adrian gave to Janela for not speaking with her personally was that he doesn't respond to "rumors." The "rumors" were his own words in his email to Aaron. He chose not to defend them. Janela can't be faulted. She doesn't need to back up MY statements. Janela didn't say the institute was fake, I did. Adrian had a chance to prove me wrong. He didn't take it.
The bottom line is that Fr. Adrian lied to Aaron about why he could not be sent to an off-island seminary. He was caught in the lie. He had his chance to counter my comments with his own. He passed. PNC did its job.
The news director forwarded my comment back to Mr. Santo Tomas and then I got the following directly from Mr. Santo Tomas:
Dennis Santo TomasFriday, March 7, 2014 at 8:11 AM
I don't care about what transpired between Janela and Fr. Adrian but you have no right to say the Pope's University aka the Pontifical Lateran University is non-accredited unless you provide the factual evidence to prove it. Have more respect for the Holy Father. That's all I ask.
I then replied:
Tim RohrFriday, March 7, 2014 at 10:24 AMto Dennis
show me where I said the pope's university is not accredited
Mr. Santo Tomas replies:
Dennis Santo TomasFriday, March 7, 2014 at 11:19 AMto me
You said the Seminary is not accredited yet the Bishop from the Pope's University visited and approved of Guam's RMS Seminary which is directly affiliated with the Pope's University therefore it has those same accreditation standatds .
I then replied:
Tim RohrFriday, March 7, 2014 at 12:57 PMto Dennis
Sorry, it does not. Otherwise the Institute could grant degrees, which it doesn't. But that's not what you accused me of saying, is it? Here is what you said:
Has Rohr presented evidence obtained from this university that proves that it is not accredited as he so states?
Let's review.1. I did not call into question the accreditation of the Lateran.2. I called into question the accreditation of the Blessed Diego Institute, simply because there is none.
Because affiliation is NOT accreditation, only certificates of completion can be awarded, not credits, which is why accreditation is different from affiliation, and in fact where the word "accredited" comes from.
Thus, unlike college credits, the value of a certificate of completion at other educational institutions is completely at the discretion of those institutions.
Aaron's concern was that should he be rejected as a candidate for the priesthood - since the decision is not his to make - that his years of study and accomplishments would be recognized by another educational institution. Professor Bosco Corrales confirmed that they do not.
There has been no further reply from Mr. Santo Tomas, but, as with other comments from neo-defenders on this blog, the comments of Mr. Santo Tomas are instructive. Let's first take a look at his list of complaints:
- That only one side of the story was presented. [As already noted, BOTH sides of the story were represented since Fr. Adrian's response was to "go look in the U Matuna."]
- That I had said that the Pontifical Lateran University with which RMS is affiliated is not accredited. [As is clearly evident, I only questioned the credentials of the Blessed Diego Institute, not those of the Lateran.]
- That it was the job of PNC news to provide evidence of my assertion that the Lateran University was not accredited (even though I made no such assertion) [As already explained, it is not the job of the reporter to provide evidence, it is the job of the reporter to present both sides. And I would say that Mr. Santo Tomas owes PNC an apology.]
- That there are two seminaries in Guam and that Aaron "has always had the choice to choose between the two." [As we all know, there are NOT two seminaries in Guam. The only thing we know is that Archbishop Apuron, in December of last year, said that he "will erect" a second seminary. A place to sleep, does not a seminary make!]
Mr. Santo Tomas' next comment (directly to me) provides us with much to muse on. He says:
"I don't care about what transpired between Janela and Fr. Adrian but you have no right to say the Pope's University aka the Pontifical Lateran University is non-accredited unless you provide the factual evidence to prove it. Have more respect for the Holy Father. That's all I ask."
We've already dealt with the fact that I made no such allegation against the Lateran, but the fact that Mr. Santo Tomas continues on this track, despite the evidence, is interesting. He demands that I produce evidence for something I didn't say but says he doesn't care about the evidence about what Fr. Adrian DID say. But beyond that, as anyone who watches contests between politicians on the news knows, no factual evidence is ever required. People present their opinions all the time on the news, right or wrong.
Now, before we go on, I want to say that I don't know Mr. Santo Tomas personally, but I understand that he is well-placed in the community and generally respected as an intelligent man and even a community leader. Thus, the fact that he so quickly descends into irrationalities and clearly unfounded accusations against me and the Pacific News Center is more evidence of the irrationality that we have all come to experience whenever we try to intelligently engage people in the Neocatechumenal Way. This speaks volumes about what really happens in the NCW. But let us proceed to perhaps the most disturbing statement.
Mr. Santo Tomas admonishes me to "have more respect for the Holy Father." So let's work backwards so we can better understand neo-think. My questioning of the academic integrity of a local neo-run institute, an institute which can't even keep current a list of its faculty, a list which is probably more than ten years old...my questioning of this institute is a direct attack on the Holy Father?
This is not new. We are used to this. Every honest question about the neo to a neo is answered in a similar way: an unconnected mad dash to some reference to the pope, be it a picture of Kiko and the pope, a decades old photo of the pope celebrating Mass with the neos, or as Santo Tomas does here, a plain and brazen accusation that my question is an attack on the person of the Holy Father.
But speaking of having "more respect for the Holy Father":
- How about you neos demanding that Archbishop Apuron actually apologize for his direct attack on the Holy Father in January 2006 when on KOLG he publicly denounced the Holy Father's directive to fix your liturgy when he mocked the credentials of the pope's personal representative, Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship.
- How about you neos demanding that Archbishop Apuron not violate the liturgical norms of the universal church by not interrupting our Masses with your neo ads.
- How about demanding that Kiko Arguello actually "have more respect for the Holy Father" by actually obeying the pope's earnest request to fix your liturgy rather than spitting in his face (read it here).
- How about all of you neos actually showing "more respect to the Holy Father" by actually, even now, after all these years, conforming to your own Statute as regards the distribution of Holy Communion?
We respect the Holy Father. We are waiting for you.