Friday, May 2, 2014

THE ILLEGITIMATE REMOVAL OF FR. PAUL GOFIGAN - PART III

We will now examine the letter of August 2, 2013 from Msgr. David C. Quitugua, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Agana, to Fr. Paul Gofigan.

In the previous installment we noted that the thrust of this letter was to advise Fr. Paul Gofigan that he could not challenge his removal as pastor from Santa Barbara Parish because he had not been removed as pastor from Santa Barbara Parish...even though he was:
  1. Locked out of the parish offices.
  2. Told to vacate his living quarters.
  3. Removed from the schedule of presiders at Mass.
  4. Stripped of his priestly faculties.
  5. Officially replaced by a parochial administrator
  6. And had his removal announced at every Mass on the following Sunday

In the letter, the Vicar General writes:
"…it must first of all be noted that the letter sent to you by Archbishop Anthony on July 16, 2013 (Prot. No. 013-047), was not a decree of removal from the office of pastor as you have claimed. Rather, this letter was sent to you in accord with the requirements of canon 1742, §1, which state that a bishop is to "persuade the pastor to resign within fifteen days, after having explained for validity, the cause and arguments for the removal." The Archbishop's letter presented his reasons for this request which were explicitly described in detail in his letter.
Sounds rather straight forward, but in quoting canon 1742, §1, the Vicar General leaves out an important part of the canon. Here is what it is actually says (emphasis mine):
"he paternally is to persuade the pastor to resign within fifteen days...
In light of the canonical directive for a bishop to first attempt to paternally persuade his priest to resign, let's review the whole thing again, and keep in mind the word "paternally":

Fr. Paul is called to the chancery for a meeting with the Archbishop at 3:pm on July 16, 2013.
  • Fr. Paul does not know the reason for the meeting. 
  • Fr. Paul arrives.
  • The Archbishop, in the presence of the Vicar General, reads the letter to Fr. Paul and then hands it to him.
  • In the letter, the Archbishop demands that Fr. Paul resign immediately and if he refuses then he is to supply his reasons as soon as possible. 
Unbeknownst to Fr. Paul, even while he is meeting with the Archbishop, the Archbishop had already arranged for:
  • The locks to be changed on the parish offices, locking Fr. Paul out.
  • The appointment of a parochial administrator to replace Fr. Paul.
  • The removal of Fr. Paul from the scheduled list of presiders at parish Masses, effectively stripping him of his faculties.
  • The order for Fr. Paul to vacate his living quarters, effectively leaving him homeless.
  • And the announcement of his removal at all parish Masses. 
And now, on August 2, the Archbishop, via the Vicar General, tells Fr. Paul that he was not removed as pastor on July 16, but the whole affair was only an attempt to persuade him to resign within 15 days!

As we can see, not only did the Archbishop not even wait 15 minutes, he had already arranged for the complete physical removal of Fr. Paul prior to the meeting on July 16.

In a matter of minutes, Fr. Paul is effectively left standing on the curb, jobless, homeless, publicly disgraced, and stripped of his priestly ministry. AND FOR WHAT? What were the Archbishop's charges? We will get to that in an upcoming post. For now let us go on with the current letter.

The Vicar General also skips another very important part. Before a bishop can even get to the part of canon 1742 where he is to first paternally persuade the pastor to resign within 15 days, he must fulfill the previous prescripts of the canon. Here is the complete canon (emphases mine):
Can.  1742 §1. If the instruction which was carried out has established the existence of one of the causes mentioned in ⇒ can. 1740, 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. If the bishop then judges that removal must take place, he paternally is to persuade the pastor to resign within fifteen days, after having explained, for validity, the cause and arguments for the removal.
The words "stable manner" denote that the selection is not to be ad hoc for individual cases. This is to prevent a "kangaroo court". The Vicar General is also prevented from being one of the two pastors with whom the bishop is to discuss the matter because canon 480 requires that he be "one with the bishop."

Yet, we can assume that the only "pastors" with whom the matter was discussed was the Vicar General and the Chancellor, both of whom must be beholden to the bishop. We can assume this because the only thing the Archbishop references in his July 16 letter demanding Fr. Paul's resignation is a "preliminary investigation and consultation with others."

But regardless of who the Archbishop consulted with, we can be sure that he did not fulfill the prescripts of canon 1742 before summoning Fr. Paul and demanding his resignation. We can be sure of this because when the Archbishop finally got around to doing things legally, he tells us in the Decree of Removal (which was finally issued on Nov. 12, 2013) when the required consultation actually occurred:
The required consultation with two pastors, Reverend Msgr. Brigido Arroyo and Reverend Father Jose Alberto Rodriguez, was held on August 12, 2013 (Prot. No. 013-055)
Now, even if we grant the Vicar General's explanation that the July 16 letter demanding Fr. Paul's resignation was only to "persuade" Fr. Paul to resign within 15 days, the demand was canonically invalid because their was NO canonically constituted and required consultation until August 12, 2013, three weeks later! And the only reason this happened is because Fr. Paul challenged the validity of his removal.

At this point, we have to back up a bit. Because canon law does not permit the appointment of a parochial administrator to a parish unless the pastor's office is vacant, Fr. Paul had to assume that he had been officially removed when a parochial administrator was appointed to replace him, not to mention (and here we go again):

  • He was locked out of the parish.
  • He was told to vacate the rectory.
  • He was stripped of his priestly faculties.
  • And his dismissal was announced at every Mass on the following Sunday.

Thus there was only one thing for Fr. Paul to assume and that was that he had been officially removed because in fact, he had been de facto removed by the appointment of a parochial administrator to take his place. Thus in a July 28 letter to the Archbishop , Fr. Paul asks for a copy of the decree of removal and also informs the Archbishop that he intends to challenge his removal and names his counsel, Fr. Adolfo Dacanay, S. J. 

We can be sure that the Archbishop and the crew at the chancery did not expect Fr. Paul to do this which accounts for the convoluted reply we find in the Vicar General's letter of August 2:
"....since no decree has in fact yet been issued removing you from the office as pastor of Santa Barbara Church, there is no basis in law for the proposal of a recourse by you at the present time." 
So here he is without a home, without an office, without his priestly faculties, and without a future, but according to the Vicar General...he has not been removed. 

Even Fr. Dacanay went "HUH?" But we'll get to that. 

Go here for Part IV

11 comments:

  1. There is no doubt after reading what has been posted to date that the Archbishop screwed up royally, despite having a Vicar general consulting him who has a Canon Law degree from Rome. They screwed up royally by not following proper procedures. I decided to google the pertinent canon law provisions that you cited and it is quite clear that the archbishop failed to take certain crucial and critical steps before firing Fr. Paul. It seems that by the August 2nd letter by the Vicar General, there was a lot of back-tracking(moon-walking according to Mr. Michael Jackson...:) )in an attempt to try and clean up their major and fatal mistakes, but to do so, the archbishop had to start from scratch by making Fr. Paul whole. But he did not! Instead, they kept Fr. Paul pinned down, so to speak, and tried to clean up their act, which is why Monsignor Dave claimed on his August 2nd letter that he has not been removed, and so Fr. Paul cannot appeal. My God, my God! You ambushed a priest by demanding his resignation or else face a "painful" consequence, you locked him out of his office, you announced his resignation at all masses, you prevent him from saying masses, you prevent him from exercising his priestly faculties, and you excardinated him illegally....and that is NOT REMOVAL? Was the archbishop, the vicar general, and the chancellor smoking weed at the time! Oh Chancery,Oh Chancery, this is Houston calling. Please come back to earth. Mr. Rohr, this is nuts! The archbishop and his two cronies should be fired for gross incompetence, malicious malfeasance, and intentional infliction of emotional harm on Fr. Paul. I

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  2. One sad part of this whole debacle is that Tim Rohr did not have to dig deep or search high and low for all this. This timeline has always been right in front of everyone's noses.
    Please forgive me Lord for saying the following, but what other conclusion can be had? The Archbishop is either wholly ignorant or extremely arrogant because there can be no other explanation for allowing this to be played out as it did.

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  3. What a collosal mess this has all become and now the faithful who are following this have to wonder how this will all play out, i.e., what kind of outcome can result and just how long a wait will we all have before some kind of "sane" resolution can be reached. Poor Fr. Paul, who continues to be "a priest in residence" at St. Anthony, St. Victor Parish until some kind od decision is made regarding his status. He certainly deserves better than this. I know he has a tremendous amount of support from the Catholic Faithful who know him well and know quite well the kind of devoult priest he is. I sure home this "matter" doesn't drag on for a long time because this does not serve the interest of Fr. Paul or the Church on Guam.

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    1. The mess with Fr. Paul may or may not be resolved quickly or even any time soon. But regardless, there are many messes, so we'll be around for quite awhile. After I finish detailing the Fr. Paul situation, I will move on to the attempt to wrest it away from the diocese by the boys from New Jersey.

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  4. Anonymous ParishionersMay 3, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    We saw how a few Priests from the Philippines were mistreated a few years back and now it’s Fr. Gofigan -- who has been more genuine and effective in carrying out his Pastoral care and responsibilities as a Parish Priest compared to how the hierarchy and the shepherd from the hill have been in their could-care-less regard of this Congregation.

    That Archbishop indulges and regards the neo community highly is quite transparent; more disturbing however, is the scandal this Archbishop creates by his demonstrated complacency and disinterest with addressing or resolving our concerns and issues involving Core Catholic Teachings and Liturgical norms!

    Since actions speak louder than words, our observations are all we have to go by in forming our personal opinion or “scrutinizing” the pastoral integrity of the Archbishop because the Archbishop is silent about all this.

    The mistreatment of priests, the division in our Catholic Church, etc. speaks to the gravity of all that is going on. The buck stops with the Archbishop, therefore this is a grave irresponsibility and ultimately a spiritual culpability on his part if he does not act now to personally address these issues, head on.

    A simple and mere call for general forgiveness for himself at one Mass (or at any Mass, for that matter) just doesn’t cut it!

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    1. Janet B - MangilaoMay 7, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      If Tony were truly sorry for having caused all the pain he has, he should have met directly with those he injured. An apology at the Chrism Mass was no apology at all. He didn't mention what he was sorry for in any sort of context, therefore he was actually sorry for nothing.
      It would be like if I embezzled money from the company I work for, and then at a Christmas gathering I make a general announcement that I am sorry if I have ever done anything to harm another.
      That apology is a pile of reeking waste.

      The reality is that our spiritual leader has left the house, has chosen Kiko over Pope Francis, and has chosen the Neo-mafia over the people he was supposed to shepherd.

      I have recently caught quite a load of ill-will because of my recent tirades against the Archbishop and his zany band of leader wanna bes at the Chancery. Yes I have been utterly un-respectful of that group. And I will continue to show no respect for them until they show me they have earned that respect back. But quite frankly, the more I see, the more disgust I feel. There are so many examples of how they have failed completely in their jobs, how they have abused their power for their own personal gain, and how they have completely abandoned the Catholic faithful for the Neo-cultists.

      Somebody told me I should stop calling them names. I am going to try and do this, even though these names evoke such a strong affinity to how I view their disgraceful actions.

      However, I will not hold back on expressing my opinion on how they have treated the people of Guam.During the Revolutionary War there was a highly respected general for the Americans. However, he didn't feel he was given the respect due him from the top brass, so he eventually conspired with the British to work against the very people he had originally sworn to protect. He conspired to attack West Point, but when the plan was discovered by the Americans Benedict Arnold had to flee to the British for protection. For the remainder of the Revolutionary War Arnold led British raids against the Americans. After the war he had to retire in merry olde England and faded into obscurity. But his name is forever associated with treasonous acts.

      So I hope you will all understand that I believe our spiritual shepherd has acted in a very similar way as the traitor from the Revolution, so I will continue to refer to him as Benedict Apuron. I will stop referring to him as such as soon as he shows us he is working once again for the people of Guam, and not for the people of Spain, Poland, New Jersey, Argentina, Hawaii, China, or where ever. He needs to be our shepherd first, and IF he has time for the people protected by another shepherd, then fine. But since I believe he has sold us out, so it is an appropriate way to refer to him.

      I direct this comment to Benedict Apuron -
      I truly hope you can demonstrate by your actions that we the people of Guam are your number one priority and that our interests are primary to you. Once this is done I look forward to addressing you by your proper title and name, and even kissing your ring when I am in your presence. Hopefully you understand why I cannot do this now, but that I am anxiously awaiting for that day to arrive.

      Not yet respectfully yours,

      Janet

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  5. Do not worry. Much greater information has been sent directly to the congregations in Rome concerning past events on Guam with the archbishop and his two friends. Much has not been stated on these pages which is much more serious than anything read on junglewatch. Unfortunately, we must remain silent at this time but out time is coming to confront Apuron.

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    1. Then we confront Apuron together when that time comes. Tell others about what you know and this blog, let them decide. We have to stand up together, away from this anonymous curtain, when the time comes.

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  6. Serious data is presented first to the congregations. In their own time they will respond. Infact better to wait longer as greater data is coming out. In the mean time victims are just waiting for their day and we will confront him believe me. And so will the archdiocese.mjustice is slow but when it grinds it grinds like fine sand.

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  7. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO KIKO AND CARMEN PART 1
    No Eucharist Without the Assembly?
    Kiko and Carmen’s theory of the Real Presence, and its unimportance in the long run. The vital “sacrament” in the NCW is the assembly. Perhaps, the most damning heresy spouted by the NCW founders is Carmen’s opinion on the relative importance of the Real Presence as opposed to the assembly: “So we’ve got the assembly that meets. Nobody thought in terms of an individual rite. The Hebrews cannot celebrate a Passover unless there are at least eleven people in the family. For the sacrament is not only the bread and wine but also the assembly, the whole Church which proclaims the Eucharist. Without this assembly proclaiming the Eucharist there can be no Eucharist.”
    Without this assembly proclaiming the Eucharist there can be no Eucharist. To the NCW founders, there is no intrinsic value to the Mass. It receives its power and its very reason for being from the assembly. A priest saying Mass by himself in order to make reparation to God and implore blessings for the world might just as well be playing solitaire. One can only state that without this assembly proclaiming the Eucharist there can be no Eucharist if one sees the actual Eucharistic Species (bread and wine) as dispensable. Carmen certainly leans in this direction. She speaks of the “problem” of the Real Presence. Described as “an obsession as to whether Christ was in the bread and wine,” this problem was caused, says Carmen, by the theologians of the 16th Century, whose work she dismisses as “mental gymnastics with little biblical experience of where the Eucharist stems from.” So much for the theologians of Trent and the infallible dogmas of the Council of Trent! Carmen continues, letting us know in no certain terms where her doctrinal allegiance lies: “The mystery is centered in the Presence; the Protestants say this, Calvin says this. And the Catholic Church gets such an obsession over the Presence that for the Church the whole thing becomes the real Presence.” The NCW “Eucharist” is the perfect vehicle by which to give form to Kiko and Carmen’s liturgical agenda, an agenda based on a willful rejection of infallible Catholic doctrine that Catholics must believe for salvation. Jesus Christ is mentioned very often in the NCW Saturday night liturgy, but it is the men and women of the NCW communities who rule therein. In fact by the time one gets through the admonitions and the post-Gospel “sharing,” the distribution of the bread and wine seems like an afterthought.
    Very Concern Catholic

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  8. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO KIKO AND CARMEN PART 2
    In the NCW Eucharist, actual bread is used for Communion. During the initial eight-week catechesis, potential NCW members are taught how to make the bread. The method involves special prayers, special symbols etched into the bread with a fork. During the distribution of Communion, the community remains seated and depending on the consistency of the bread, its fracturing can cause numerous crumbs and particles to fly everwhere. Putting aside the fact that the normal way in which the entire Church receives Holy Communion. There are other aspects of the NCW method of receiving Holy Communion that are worthy of mention. Of particular interest is the jettisoning of the “priest’s Communion.” Remember that in his brief history of humanity, Kiko described the ancient, fearful, superstitious pagan. Terrified of forces beyond his control, this pagan invented religion. Into this religion, he placed altars and priests. Here’s Kiko again: “In Christianity there is no temple, no altar, no priest in the sense of religiosity. The temple in Christianity are the Christians ... Neither are there altars in the sense of sacred stones which no one can touch or go near to .... Nor do we have priests in the sense of people whom we pick out from among men so that in our name they may get in contact with the Godhead. Because our priest, who intercedes for us, is Christ. And since we are His Body we are all priests.” Sacred spaces, such as a church sanctuary: OUT! Altar stones: OUT! Priests as mediators, acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ): OUT! This disdain for the Catholic priesthood is made concrete in the NCW Eucharistic liturgy, for here, the “priest’s Communion” is omitted. Although the “presider” or “presbyter” is the first to receive Communion, he must sit there patiently until everyone present is cradling his or her piece of bread. Then, everyone eats together. Buon appetite! One does not need to delve into pre-conciliar documents to find an adequate condemnation of such anti-clerical sentiment. On the contrary, we need only travel back to January 31, 1994 and the Congregation for the Clergy’s Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, approved and authorized by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, an uncritical supporter of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. We read therein the following: “If the priest lends to Christ, Most Eternal High Priest, his intelligence, will, voice and hands so as to offer, through his very ministry, the sacramental sacrifice of redemption to the Father, he should make his own the dispositions of the Master and, like him, live those gifts for his brothers in the faith.” If the ordained priest offers, “through his very ministry, the sacramental sacrifice of redemption to the Father,” then why does Kiko teach that “we do not have priests in the sense of people whom we pick out from among men so that in our name they may get in contact with the Godhead?” If the priest is, indeed, acting in persona Christi, then why is his own Communion merged into that of the assembly at a NCW Eucharist, as though his role therein merited no special reverence or moment? Far from being a minor detail, this axing of the “priest’s Communion” speaks volumes concerning Kiko and Carmen’s perception (or non-perception) of the sacramental realities of the Catholic Faith. Compare their attitude with that expressed by St. Alphonsus Liguori in his book, The Holy Eucharist: “It will be found likewise to contribute very much to keep fervor alive in the soul, often to make a spiritual Communion .... This spiritual Communion may be practiced several times a day: when we make our prayer, when we make our visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and especially when we attend Mass at the moment of the priest’s Communion.”
    Excerpts from Mark Alessio/ Source: http://archive.today/mgsN\ CONCERN CATHOLIC

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