Anonymous Coward has insisted that I produce the "verdict" that the July 2013 firing of Fr. Paul Gofigan was illegal. You can thank him/her for my dragging this back into full public view. So here it is.
The Archbishop produced his own "verdict" when on September 10, 2013, he wrote Fr. Paul Gofigan:
"Following my request for your resignation as pastor of Santa Barbara Church in Dededo on August 20, 2013 (Prot. No. 013-057), this is to inform you that I am proceeding with the removal process observing the canonical norms."
Had the Archbishop followed canonical norms back in July, there would be no need to begin the "removal process observing the canonical norms" two months later.
Fr. Paul was officially fired on July 17, 2013, when Archbishop Apuron, in an Aviso, replaced Fr. Paul with a parochial administrator. Canonically, a parish cannot have both a pastor and a parochial administrator as one supplants the other. Thus, effectively, Fr. Paul was fired.
The fact that replacing Fr. Paul was canonically illegal is admitted to by the Archbishop in his having to begin the process of removal according to canonical norms on September 10, 2013.
There is no longer a question as to the illegality of the Archbishop's removal of Fr. Paul as pastor. What is at question at this point, and what will go to Rome, is whether or not the Archbishop had sufficient grounds to take this course of action against Fr. Paul.
The original accusation against Fr. Paul was that he had not terminated the employment of an employee in 2011 as he had been ordered. When Fr. Paul produced the letter of termination dated 2011, the Archbishop changed his accusation to Fr. Paul's "de facto employment" of the individual.
So for the sake of our Anonymous Coward, let's review:
- Archbishop Apuron illegally replaced Fr. Paul as pastor of Santa Barbara by appointing a parochial administrator without proceeding according to canonical norms.
- Fr. Paul challenged his removal.
- Archbishop Apuron admitted to the illegal removal by beginning the canonical process for removal two months later.
- No "verdict" is required because this is not the matter that is going to court. It is not going to court because the Archbishop is not challenging the accusation that he illegally replaced Fr. Paul. He admitted to it by beginning the canonical process of removal on September 10.
- What IS going to court is the grounds for his removal. Whether the Archbishop had sufficient grounds to remove Fr. Paul is the verdict which will be decided upon by the Congregation for the Clergy.
What I have recounted in all of my posts are these facts which are already known and have been reported on by the media before I even had access to them. Both Fr. Paul and the Chancery released statements on this matter before JungleWatch ever said a thing.
And if anyone has kept this matter publicly alive it is people like Anonymous Coward who continue to give me reasons to continue commenting and reposting on this matter. In fact, if you review, almost all of the posts on this matter have been in response to challenges like Anonymous Coward. Keep them coming.