Wednesday, April 30, 2014

THE ILLEGITIMATE REMOVAL OF FR. PAUL GOFIGAN - PART I

On July 16, 2013, Fr. Paul Gofigan was called to the chancery where he was handed a letter by Archbishop Apuron demanding his resignation under canons 1740 and 1741 which establishes the reasons a bishop may remove a pastor.

Unfortunately for the Archbishop he chose to ignore the Code of Canon Law (cc. 1742 - 1747) which establish the process by which a pastor may be removed, particularly canon 1742 which instructs: "he paternally is to persuade the pastor to resign within fifteen days, after having explained, for validity, the cause and arguments for the removal."

Prior to giving Fr. Paul the letter demanding his resignation, there was no attempt on the part of the archbishop to fulfill this part of the canon. And in fact, not only does the archbishop NOT attempt to paternally persuade the pastor, he THREATENS him with a "arduous and painful closure" to his assignment.

The archbishop does not stop there, he goes on to effectively excardinate Fr. Paul telling him: "I hereby release you from the Archdiocese to go and look for a benevolent bishop willing to accept you." The archbishop then says: "This is effective immediately."

The problem for the archbishop is that canon law prohibits him from making "this...effective immediately." Canon 1742 requires the above noted "fifteen days" for the pastor to resign after the bishop has "paternally" attempted "to persuade the pastor" to do so.

And even then, the bishop CANNOT remove the pastor. Canon 1744 requires the bishop to give the pastor an extended time to respond: "If the pastor has not responded within the prescribed days, the bishop is to repeat the invitation and extend the useful time to respond."

Aside from the foregoing, the archbishop also skipped the very first step required in canon 1742 which requires: "the bishop is to discuss the matter with two pastors selected from the group established for this purpose in a stable manner by the presbyteral council at the proposal of the bishop."

The archbishop by his own admission did not fulfill this canon. Upon being confronted with his violation of Canon Law, the archbishop is forced to follow the norms for the removal of a pastor and in the Decree of Removal dated Sept 10, 2013, informs Fr. Paul of the date of the required consultation with the two pastors selected by the presbyteral council:
b) The required consultation with two pastors, Reverend Msgr. Brigido Arroyo and Reverend Father Jose Alberto Rodriguez, was held on August 12, 2013 (Prot. N0. 013-055).
Let's review. The consultation was required BEFORE the archbishop could even ask Fr. Paul to resign. The consultation occurred AFTER (Aug 12) the archbishop demanded Fr. Paul resign (Jul 16).

But the real tragedy here is not the skipping of the consultation with the pastors appointed by the presbyteral council. It is not even the skipping of the requirement to PATERNALLY persuade the pastor to resign. The real tragedy is that the alleged offense for which Fr. Paul was terminated had occurred two years previously and not a word was ever said to Fr. Paul about it.

When an employer, a good one, sees a problem with an employee, he doesn't build up a case against him for two years and then whacks him. He tries to correct the employee along the way and only when there is no other option is an employee let go. This is not just good business practice, it is simple human decency.

However, in the case of Archbishop Apuron and Fr. Paul, the archbishop is NOT just Fr. Paul's employer, he is Fr. Paul's FATHER. This is why canon law uses the word PATERNALLY. And this is the real tragedy. There was no attempt to engage Fr. Paul even on the employee level.

Rather, as we would later learn, the archbishop essentially stalked Fr. Paul for two years, building up a case against him, and then, violating all canonical norms, slams Fr. Paul to the wall with a demand for his resignation and tells him to go find another bishop which is the equivalent of telling a son to go find another father. And this is the tragedy. 

Go here for Part II







43 comments:

  1. What boggles me if Fr.Paul is Christian and representative of Christ, why can't he accept it and result to sue? Christian don't sue.... Makes you think this is far more a legal battle and Jesus Christ was hated and that's why he was crucified. Again, there is no Christ like on his battle with the Archbishop because his pride is hurt.

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    1. If Christians, including priests, were not allowed to sue, there would be no provision in Canon Law for it. Yet there is. It's not called sue. It's called hierarchical recourse, and every Catholic has this recourse. It is the Mother Church protecting the little people from abusive clerics. How wonderful is our Church!

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    2. There you have it YOU ARE THE MAN OF LAW. Reason I encourage not to buy from your store cause your a bogus Christian or not a Christian but a PAGAN man. How pity. May I erect You as the most hated one? You don't care cus your day will come to an end.

      Cambridge Lad

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    3. Tim your missing the point what anon anon said. Christian forgive. Not turning the other cheek.

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    4. Thank you for adding to my collection of "fruits". Come back when you get English grammar down a bit better.

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    5. Haven't missed the point at all. So an FYI. Fr. Paul is not seeking recourse to penalize the archbishop (as the archbishop did to Fr. Paul), but to be restored to his office since he was illegitimately removed and under false charges. It's called justice.

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    6. No he was asked to leave and he refuse. So therefore he was a trespasser for a few weeks. Get it straight TIM White Tiger Rohr. It was a valid charges. He was told, he refuse and next? Your boss told you to leave.

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    7. You see, it's people like you that force me to drag out the bishop's dirty laundry. Stay tuned.

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    8. Anon 2:33, how much more misinformed could you be? Geeeeezz...you ignorant folks are so comical and frustrating at the same time. Take the time to read the documented facts before you put your foot in your mouth. Your defending a modern day Bishop of Hereford (Robin Hood), hehehaha.

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  2. And to matters worse, the archbishop on July 16th appointed a parochial administrator to replace Fr. Paul when the position of pastor was still occupied by Fr. Paul(and still is), and amazingly, the Chancery admits subsequently that Fr. Pastor has not been removed. Canon Law expressly forbids the appointment of a parochial administrator unless the seat of pastor is vacant. The archbishop tried to defend his act by later saying that because he was leaving for WYD with his Neo family on July 19th and because he expected Fr. Paul to resign(such arrogance!), he had to appoint a parochial administrator right away. Such Hogwash! Does he not have a Vicar General who governs in his absence? Of course he does. There was no urgency to appoint a replacement. And even more importantly, Fr. Paul officially informed the archbishop several days before the archbishop left that he was not resigning and he was going to appeal in accordance with Canon Law. Thus, the archbishop could have rectified, as he should have, his gross and blatant error by immediately voiding the appointment of the parochial administrator, but did not do so. What does that tell you what the archbishop is saying? He is saying: F**K you Canon Law, F**K you Father Paul, and F**K you parishoners of Dededo. What else can it mean?

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    1. Yes, John. You are correct. And all that is coming Part 2, etc. As you can see, the above is only Part 1 and is to "be continued."

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  3. Glad to be Back to Holy Mother ChurchApril 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    I pray our Archbishop will re-read the parable of the prodigal son. To see the mercy of God the Father will help all to understand how we are called to act. None of us can come close to God, but we can at least strive to be more like him.
    As an Archbishop and as our spiritual leader, it is shocking to read how the Fr Paul situation was handled. Thank you Mr Rohr for a very cogent and organized synopsis of why this one issue has caused some much trouble for the Archbishop, and for the church on Guam.

    My only question is whether these acts show that the Archbishop is under the control of someone else, or was he this way even before the NCW came to Guam. I have heard stories that such problems were here even before Fr Pius came to our island.

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  4. Please, spread even more gossip, hearsay and superstition, if this is what you think Guam people deserve.

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    1. Click on the links to read the Archbishop's actual words, not mine.

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    2. Anonymous (April 30, 2014 at 1:10 PM): Please note that your choice of words leave much to be desired:
      Gossip: idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true
      Hearsay: rumor; information received from other people which cannot be substantiated
      Superstition: belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation; excessively credulous belief in and reverence for the supernatural

      Considering that Tim has provided the necessary links, he cannot be accused of spreading either “gossip" or “hearsay." Both words refer to the inability to confirm or substantiate; all you have to do is click on the links to see and read for yourself what Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron wrote.

      If anyone is clinging to superstition — a belief or practice resulting from ignorance — you might want to look in the mirror because nothing that Tim has written is based on ignorance. He consistently provides the SOURCE MATERIAL — written documents as well as the recording of the Archbishop’s voice (and transcript of his words) — for what he posts. What part of those can be considered “superstition”?

      Clearly, what Tim has posted cannot be labeled as “gossip,” “hearsay,” or “superstition.” You may be more comfortable being told what to believe, but I suggest that you try following the links and reading with your own eyes what the Archbishop wrote. You will discover the confirmation and substantiation of what Tim has written.

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    3. Typical NCW response... how sad.
      What, nothing substantial to refute the facts? Go cry in the corner.
      Stay out of the jungle, you might get hurt.

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    4. Mary Lou- everything he wrote here is his research but how do you know is valid. I can write about this HORRID blog to you know.

      Nut hugging arise once again.

      Old man from Santa Rita

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    5. Nut hugger. Get your hand out of your pants and click on the links to see the documents signed by the Archbishop.

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    6. Ivan Babauta and his nuts again! Why are these Neos vomiting all over? Why do they all comment with such hate? Things that make you go hmm..

      Ivan bihu, you cant see past the plain nose on your face. Put your binoculars on and just read the links.

      Get back to us when you can dialog rationally.

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    7. Anon 3:07 or Ivan, whoever you are, you make feel ashamed to be from Santa Rita. First, the words you use to attack others is uncalled for (typical neo response). Second, the documentation and actions taken by our neo bishop would still exist with or without Tim. Third, I pray for you and all those in Santa Rita infected with the neo virus. Quarantine may be the only way to keep it from spreading.

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    8. Who is IVAN???? REALLY, can't take the heat? Stay on the porch little girl. If you can't bare me ruffling your master the like what Tim said get out the JUNGLE.

      MY NAME IS GEORGE by the way not Ivan. You dig?
      Semper Fedilis retire 2004.

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    9. Oh, come now "George". That's pretty bad. You can't claim to live in Santa Rita and not know "Ivan". Seriously, man. I'm trying to be nice to you. Please don't come here. You can't take it.

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    10. Oops, calling George Ivan was not your blunder?! How deriding... :)

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    11. Everybody knows Ivan.

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  5. The truth will come out and I believe that our God is a good God and will take care of those in need. What happened to Fr. Paul was wrong and a father (a good father) will not abandon his child. When a child acts up, the parent will correct the action and love the child no matter what....What tony did to my brother is not acceptable (especially in our culture). As far as comparing him to the late Archbishop Flores...there is no comparison at all. Tony needs to humble himself and get down to the level of his flock and see that we are hurting and need a leader to get us all back to the Church. I recently went to the healing mass at SBC where this visiting priest officiated the mass and prayed to heal and not have a heavy heart when I step into a church. This priest was a fresh of breath air...he was compassionate, humorous, and connected with the people (just like Fr. Paul would connect with his flock). I know that GOD has a plan for Fr. Paul and whatever it is....it will touch the lives of others as he always has in the past. Fr. Paul reaches out to those who are less fortunate, the accused and ostracized, the youth, and those in need. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone who is need...that is just the kind of person he is and will always fight for what is RIGHT! Hang in there my brother, God has a plan for You, and I will always be there to support You!!!

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    1. Eileen,
      Fr. Paul was relieved of his duties at Sta Barbara. He was never told that he is no longer a Priest, the title of Pastor was the only thing taken away. What we have here is a case of how a Pastor became to close to his Parish. If Fr. Paul had taken care of this pastorally, he would have briefed the parishioners that his stay in Sta Barbara was indefinite. Every Priest knows this. This is the real test in a parish. That the parish can move on after the removal of the priest is a sign of good pastoral care. Just as in every other parish there are those who like and dont like the Priest. This is the reality. God has a plan indeed. I dont think the negativity on this blog was one of them. My prayers to you and all of us caught up in this Junglewatch scandal. Joy!

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    2. That was funny. Ladies and Gentlemen: Kiko-think.

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    3. The tone of your post sound like your a DEVIL'S advocate. Hmmmmm

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    4. Yes! The parish moves on and yes there are still those that still serve in the parish. We still serve in our parish, in fact, we carry on what was going on when Father Paul was at SBC. SO, please, whoever you are, do not patronize me or the parishioners of SBC. Father Paul did a great job there and we will continue to carry out the good work for the CHURCH and most especially for GOD. Father Paul is a kind-hearted person and will help any parishioner that is seeking for help, both physically and spiritually! He is only carrying on the work of God, being compassionate is definitely one of them. Father Paul does not care if your are rich or poor, he cares for the PERSON. Please don't get me started on this! I am trying very hard to turn the other cheek and only say positive comments because that is what Father Paul would advise me to do in any situation. I will pray for you!

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    5. Dear Joy: There was nothing joyful in the way Father Paul was treated, or mistreated is a better word. Fr. Paul was not relieved of his duties, paternally as you implied. He was fired. Also, when you tell a priest to go find a benevolent bishop to take you, you are effectively barring him from being a priest because a bishop, no matter how benevolent, would be hard-pressed to take Fr. Paul with this cloud over him. Fr. Paul is still pastor unless he loses his appeal, albeit he only remains the pastor in name during his appeal. God's plan does not include condoning injustices. His plan is quite simple: to love one another as He loves us, and he expects more from his priests and bishops. Fr. Paul embraced his regular parishoners as well as seeking to embrace the marginalized and outcast, and he was punish for that, or at least that is the official reason the archbishop gave. When Mr. Rohr presents all the facts of this case, which we all hope he does, I think it will prove that the firing of Fr. Paul is rotten and reeks with injustice.

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    6. Well said, both of you.

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    7. To "Devil's Advocate". Do you know what that is?

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    8. I know that at one time Father Adrian was considered the Devil's Advocate while sitting on a panel especially for those seeking annulment. He may be still considered as the Devil's Advocate on the Counsel committee that he sits on in the Archdiocese of Agana. Your guess is as good as mine.

      dev·il's advocate (dĕv′əlz)
      n.
      1. One who argues against a cause or position, not as a committed opponent but simply for the sake of argument or to determine the validity of the cause or position.
      2. Roman Catholic Church An official appointed to present arguments against a proposed canonization or beatification.
      [Translation of Medieval Latin advocātus diabolī, one arguing for the devil's plea against canonizing a saint : Latin advocātus, advocate + Late Latin diabolī, genitive of diabolus, devil.]

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    9. Okay, I'm glad I asked. I couldn't tell if you were referring to my "post" or someone's comment. I see that you are referring to a "comment" and that person sounds like "the devil's advocate". My thoughts as well.

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    10. Yes, I was referring to Father Adrian being the Devil's Advocate at the Chancery!

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  6. To our Neo brothers. You are still Catholics. Yes, listen and obey your archbishop and priests, but question if you find something not right. You are not being disobedient if you do so. And don't consign yourself to the usual line that if you were misled or deceived or if some evil is being done, then its God's will and we should just suffer mindlessly. God allows bad things to happen(because of our free will), but He does not condone evil, and we should not as well. Suffering mindlessly is not what God wants. He gave us a brain and hands to do something about the injustices being perpetrated, and not to just stand idly by and watch it happen. Courage. Read on, listen to the Holy Spirit, and then decide for yourselves.

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  7. I served as an alter boy for Santa Rita Church from the early 80's to the late 90's, and I recall the times that the Archbishop would come down for confirmation mass. His high and mighty arrogance is the one thing I remember most about him.

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  8. Reading this sounds like this PRIEST is a failure.
    Maybe turn to your Bible it will enlighten you.
    Christian Gentleman from Maite.

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    1. Hey Santa Barbara parishioners. Did you know Fr. Paul was failure? So says the "Christian Gentleman from Maite".

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    2. ...or, Apr 30 8:22pm, you could look at the person responsible for Fr Gofigan's removal this way:

      Based on the observations, experiences and documented practices, it sounds like, looks like and even has all the appearance to be a demonstrated fact that our supposed "Shepherd" isn't "shepherding;" our supposed "Leader" isn't "leading;" and the appointed "Pater" of the clergy of this Catholic Archdiocese on Guam isn't being "paternal;" therefore I would venture to guess that if this archbishop were to be given a rating based on a job performance review as a CEO of a business or corporation, without a doubt he would have received a "Failing/Failure" notice.

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    3. 4/30 at 8:22: I do not personally know Father Paul Gofigan, but what I do know is that the man can give a HELL OF A SERMON! When he says the mass HIS WHOLE HEART AND SOUL IS IN IT!

      I am not a parishioner of Dededo, but have heard him in various parishes that I attend. I like the way this priest ministers. I don't give a hoot what anyone says!

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    4. Anonymous (May 1, 2014 at 3:39 PM), your description of Fr. Paul's ministry is very accurate! He pulls no punches when he preaches. I recall how at the inaugural Mass of Governor Eddie Calvo in January 2011 he stated very clearly that one could not put on and take off one's “Catholic hat” based on what is politically expedient, that one must live one’s Catholic faith first, last and always. His Masses are very reverent and one never feels he is operating on “auto-pilot,” especially at the Consecration.

      Fr. Paul is currently a “priest in residence” at St. Anthony-St. Victor Catholic Church and, from what I’ve been told, he is always ready to serve. During Lent, immediately after celebrating the 11:30 AM Mass at the Carmelite Monastery, I was told he drove to SASVCC while wearing his chasuble because he was scheduled to celebrate the 12:10 PM Mass! Although the Mass started 3 minutes late, I can tell you that it felt like it was his first Mass, and not the second one in a back-to-back schedule.

      While many of us join the parishioners of Sta. Barbara Catholic Church in praying for his return as pastor, his current status allows others — like you — to experience the blessing of his ministry as he assists his brother priests by covering their parishes per their request. As Scripture states, “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, RSV-CE) — clearly Fr. Paul’s life is a testament to that passage!

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  9. Dear Christian gent from Maite,
    I too encourage you to read your Bible....and not be quick to lay judgment. If you took the time to read the previous posts on this topic, you will find supporting documentation and personal testimony from the congregation who do not find Pastor Gofigan to be a failure.
    May the Spirit fill our hearts with love and understanding.
    -Christian gent from Barrigada

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