Tuesday, May 13, 2014

THE ILLEGITIMATE REMOVAL OF FR. PAUL GOFIGAN - PART VII: THE EVIDENCE

It is now time to examine the alleged "crime" committed by Fr. Paul that supposedly warranted his brutal ouster. Let us examine the charge in the words of Archbishop Apuron:
You have allowed a registered sex offender, (name withheld), to return to work at the parish, even after you were warned by the Vicar General and the Attorney for the Archdiocese to release him. You disobeyed the order given by the Vicar General. By this action, you have in effect caused grave harm to the parish by allowing such an individual with a publicly known sex-offense record to work in the Church thus exposing him to your parishioners, especially the youth. By allowing him to work in the parish, you have exposed the children of the nearby school to a probable threat. (Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, letter to Fr. Paul Gofigan, July 16, 2013, Prot. No. 013-047)
Again, we must clarify. The man's crime occurred more than three decades ago. His crime had nothing to do with children. He went to prison. He was released from prison. He got married. He has two daughters. He approached Fr. Paul to be reconciled with our Church. He obtained a police clearance. Fr. Paul hired him as a church maintenance man.

There is nothing in his record since 1981, when the sex-offense was committed, to suggest that he had the potential to cause "grave harm" to the parish or was a "probable threat" to children." By even the most objective account, we have here a man seeking reconciliation with his church and attempting to live out his life in some semblance of quiet normalcy. 

And again we must ask, as we asked before, how the Archbishop himself would have treated the man had he come to him instead of Fr. Paul. Or had he come to an NCW catechesis, would he have been turned away?

But let us move on to the charge itself.

In October of 2011, the Vicar General, Msgr. David C. Quitugua, ordered Fr. Paul to terminate the man's employment. Two years later, on July 16, 2013, the Archbishop calls Fr. Paul into his office and accuses him of disobeying "the order given by the Vicar General."

As we have already discussed, Fr. Paul was given no opportunity for "due process" as required by Canon law and mere human decency. Had he been given such an opportunity, the Archbishop might have spared himself and this diocese the "arduous and painful" experience he promised Fr. Paul. For Fr. Paul was right and the Archbishop was wrong. Fr. Paul HAD obeyed the Vicar General and he produced the evidence: a letter of termination addressed to the employee dated October 26, 2011.

And the man did not "return to work" as alleged by the Archbishop. The man simply continued to help out around the parish as many of us do. This is why the Archbishop - when confronted with the proof that Fr. Paul HAD in fact obeyed the Vicar General's order - changed the charge.

In his Decree of Removal of Fr. Paul, dated November 12, 2013, the Archbishop changes the charge against Fr. Paul stating that the reason for Fr. Paul's removal is due to his "refusing to terminate the de facto employment of a registered sex offender working in the parish."

So whereas the charge of July 16, 2013 was Fr. Paul's failure to terminate the employment of the registered sex offender, the charge, once Fr. Paul produced proof that he had in fact terminated the man's actual employment, it is now his failure to terminate the man's de facto employment. In other words, the Archbishop attempts to redefine the man's unpaid volunteer presence on church grounds as "employment."

This attempt to change the charge after the fact did not escape Fr. Paul's attorney. Fr. Dacanay, S. J. writes in his appeal:
The charge against Fr. Gofigan has become an elastic concept. At first it was because he did not obey the direct order to terminate the employment of (name withheld). When the charge proved false, it mutated into allowing him to do volunteer work for the parish. While the case is not identical, the accusation against a pastor in order to remove him from his office is somewhat analogous to the joinder of issues in a contentious trial, and the Code is very strict that such a joinder, once determined, may be altered only under the most rigorous conditions. In this case, the accusation and the basis of the removal was expanded from not terminating the employment to allowing him to helping out in the parish. (The appeal of Rev. Paul Gofigan in relation to his removal as Pastor of Santa Barbara Parish, A.N. Dacanay, S.J., Advocate)
So where are we with this case? Let's review:
  1. Fr. Paul was illegally removed from his post as pastor of Santa Barbara Church.
  2. Fr. Paul challenged his removal on the grounds that his removal violated canonical procedure and that the reason for his removal (his failure to terminate the man's employment) was false.
  3. Archbishop Apuron in effect acknowledges the illegal proceedings against Fr. Paul by initiating the required canonical process to remove Fr. Paul on August 12, 2013 as noted in the official Decree of Removal.
  4. Fr. Paul's advocate, Fr. Dacanay, responds with a Motion to Archbishop Apuron on 8/20/13 requesting that he revoke the decree removing Fr. Paul from his parish. In the Motion, Fr. Dacanay details [1] the applicable provision of the Code for the removal of pastors; [2] the facts of the case; [3] the procedural lapses by the Archbishop; and [4] the appeal that Fr. Paul be "restored to his office as pastor, his name cleared, and the damage to his reputation repaired."
  5. Archbishop Apuron ignores the motion from Fr. Dacanay and responds with a letter of September 10, 2013 to Fr. Paul informing him that he is proceeding with the canonical process for his removal.
  6. The "Acts" (documents related to the case against Fr. Paul) are prepared by the Archbishop and sent to Fr. Dacanay for his review. (The Acts are not publicly available.)
  7. Fr. Dacanay reviews the Acts and on November 7, 2013, files an official appeal of the case. (Copy of the official appeal not yet publicly available.)
  8. The case goes to Rome where it will be heard by the appropriate Vatican Congregation.
When, we do not know? But what we do know is that even after the Archbishop's charge against Fr. Paul was proved false, the Archbishop decided to proceed to have Fr. Paul removed anyway. Why?

We're coming to that. But first we must note with great seriousness that if in fact Archbishop Apuron believed the presence of the registered sex-offender at Santa Barbara Parish to be "a probable threat" to children and a potential for "grave harm" to the parish, then he has opened himself up for an AVALANCHE OF LAW SUITS from the parishioners and the parents of those children. 

According to Archbishop Apuron's own words, Archbishop Apuron WAS AWARE of this "probable threat" since 2011 and did NOTHING until July 16, 2013

For two years, again according to Archbishop Apuron's own words, he allowed the parishioners of Santa Barbara, and "especially the youth", as well as the children from the "nearby school",  to remain subject to "grave harm" and a "probable threat". 

It is probably only out what is left of respect for his office, and the faint hope that Fr. Paul might be restored as pastor to Santa Barbara, that Archbishop Apuron has not YET been sued for gross negligence and for knowingly allowing the prospect of grave harm to endure for nearly two years without so much as even speaking to Fr. Paul once about it until July 16, 2013. 

Fr. Paul may lose his appeal. Fr. Paul may be kicked out of this diocese. But all the liability for the supposed danger alleged by Archbishop Apuron then falls on Archbishop Apuron. And with the removal and banishment of Fr. Paul, there will also disappear the faint hope that has till now helped to quell the outrage. 

We have seen many such lawsuits against bishops in the states and in Europe. We may soon see them here.

Go here for Part VIII



33 comments:

  1. You stated " May lose his appeal."..so did Father Paul already receive word from Rome and is appealing the decision or is he waiting for word before he makes an appeal?

    My understanding of "appeal" is tried and convicted then an appeal is made. Please clarify. Thank you.

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    1. The Decree of Removal issued by Archbishop Apuron is the final sentence. The tried and convicted part was the review of the case by the pastors selected as per canon law. What is still missing from the canonical process is any attempt by the archbishop to pastorally persuade Fr. Paul to resign. But the Decree, even though flawed, is the sentence. Fr. Paul is appealing the sentence to Rome, as is his right, on the grounds that the archbishop has proceeded on false charges and then changed those charges once proved they were false. The archbishop has other reasons for wanting Fr. Paul out. The change of the charge has made this more evident.

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  2. Maybe Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron and his advisors should have taken the time to read the article written by Canon Lawyer Dr. Edward Peters titled “Five Things Every Bishop Needs to Know About Canon Law,” which can be found at http://www.canonlaw.info/a_fivethings.htm. In it, Dr. Peters indicated his “hope that this formulation of certain suggestions might help bishops to address canonical issues in a more fruitful way.”

    One thing Dr. Peters mentioned is that canon law “favors bishops … that the Code of Canon Law, for very sound theological and administrative reasons, was written in their favor, and that therefore, provided they follow its sometimes tedious requirements, they will be upheld in virtually any dispute occasioned by their decisions and actions.”

    As Tim has previously indicated, Canon Lawyer Fr. Adolfo N. Dacanay, S.J., would have declined to represent Fr. Paul Gofigan if he believed that the Archbishop had followed the canonical process.

    Clearly the Archbishop, et al. did not bother to follow the “tedious requirements” in the Code of Canon Law. The Archbishop’s attempt to change the charge after the fact indicates to this layperson that he recognized his error and, rather than admitting that he made a mistake and attempting to reconcile with Fr. Paul, instead tried to “fix” things by adding another layer to the Foundation of Lies used in his initial effort to get rid of Fr. Paul Gofigan.

    Will the Archbishop, et al. succeed in the plan to banish Fr. Paul from his island home? Only time will tell. Will the Archbishop face the consequences for his own gross negligence as he tried to manufacture his case against Fr. Paul? Again, only time will tell.

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  3. The Archbishop could have transferred Fr. Paul out to another parish. It seems as though Fr. Paul is being punished because of the situation in which he angered the kikos (twice as mentioned in an older post) by telling them to conform to their statutes if they are to be allowed in the Santa Barbara parish. Fr. Paul was part of a slash and burn campaign. The Archbishop was probably ordered by his catechist and/or PP to get rid of Fr. Paul and make an example of him so all the other priest in the archdiocese will see what can happen if you oppose the way - there is no room here for naysayers.

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  4. How ironic is the Archbishop's statement during the Catholic Charities mission held in Hawaii...open the doors of the church...be merciful as Christ was.

    Wasn't Father Paul being merciful towards this man? Read passage from the Archbishop...

    Archbishop Apuron said that Pope Francis calls for a church that identifies with the poor.

    That can only happen, he said, “if bishops, priests, religious and laity leave the comfort of their homes, convents and residences and minister to the poor.”

    “We need to see the suffering of our brothers and sisters,” he said.

    “Pope Francis has lived poverty,” the archbishop said. “We have to live it first in order to understand the people who live in poverty.”

    The pope said that to know the poor is to “understand Jesus,” Archbishop Apuron said.

    He said Pope Francis wants priests to literally and figuratively “unlock the doors of the church,” to be “more compassionate and merciful as our God is merciful.”

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    1. I guess our archbishop does not practice what he preaches! Tragic!

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  5. The archbishop and his hired guns ambush and shoot Fr. Paul on July 16. Fr. Paul falls to the ground and lays there bleeding to death. Then the archbishop takes away his car keys and locks him out of his house, removing any means of support to save Fr. Paul. To the archbishop's chagrin, Fr. Paul does not die, although critically wounded. Fr. Paul hangs on, clinging to life. Then someone tells the archbishop that he shot Fr. Paul prematurely(illegally) and for the wrong reason. Oops! says the archbishop, but I can resolve that! He takes out a new bullet, puts his foot on Fr. Paul's chest as Fr. Paul is still on the ground, bleeding, and shoots him again, hoping that this new bullet will do the trick in killing Fr. Paul.

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    1. How Terrible is this...YES, what he did to Father Paul killed him slowly, but he gets up and tries to survive because that is just the kind of person Father Paul is...A SURVIVOR! It runs in the family and noone can get us down, because our parents taught us right...To Respect others, be COMPASSIONATE, TO CARE, LOVE, and always be CHRISTLIKE! Thank you mom and dad!

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  6. Mary Lou is correct. The archbishop recognized his error, but he compounded his error by not restoring Fr. Paul as pastor and restoring all his rights as pastor. That would have been the proper and legal(canonically) thing to do, and if he still wanted to remove Fr. Paul, he would have to start all over again. He didn't because that would have meant he was admitting to making a mistake, something a man of his stature and holiness would never do! That would be beneath the stature of his high office and prestige. With a SHEPHERD like him, who needs WOLVES!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Of course it was never an error. The archbishop and the Vicar General believed they could act without regard for the law. They did not expect Fr. Paul...or anyone ever to fight back. And they certainly did not expect JungleWatch. The fact that both Fr. Paul fought back and that this blog not only exists but has gained so much attention is evidence that there is much more going on behind Fr. Paul's support and the support of this blog.

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    2. What is "much more going on" is that when man shuts the door on Truth and Justice, God opens a window! God is good.

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    3. Even if the Archbishop skipped some steps in the process, it is hard to argue that he was not led by genuine concern for the well being of the parish, especially the young and the vulnerable. You may say the person was not a menace to anyone, but it is a fact that he is included in a national registry.

      Therefore, on the one hand, belligerence from the Archbishop's side is hard to prove. On the other hand, the good intentions of Fr Paul is also hard to deny. This is a situation when any decision maker faces great challenge to make justice. Who will be the one who finds the golden middle? Is a mutually acceptable deal, perhaps, still attainable?

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    4. The "golden middle" is the way of Canon Law which is weighted towards the protection of bishops so these things don't happen. The archbishop did not just "skip some steps", he acted with complete disregard for the law, and the brutality of the ouster (locking Fr. Paul out of his office, ordering him to vacate the rectory, stripping him of his priestly faculties, telling him to go find another bishop...) really? Really? "Belligerence from the Archbishop's side is hard to prove? REally????

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    5. The archbishop had many opportunities to find a "golden middle". As the "father" of Fr. Paul, he should have counseled Fr. Paul paternally. He had two years to do it, and even after the July 16th debacle, he could still have call Father Paul in to find that 'golden middle". Do you know that to this day, since that July 16th fiasco, the archbishop has never spoken to Fr. Paul. Would you as a Father do this to your child? The archbishop is no Father; he is a MONSTER.

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    6. Tim, you don't seem to understand that the Archbishop was truly convinced that his instruction was NOT followed. He truly believed that there was a DANGER lingering around the parish because of non-compliance. He could have been charged for example, as he PERCEIVED, for gross negligence by parents if the situation would have continued that way. Don't you think it was a very natural reflex to make protection against those possible charges? So he acted.
      Perhaps he made a rush judgment, but it is hard to argue that he did not do this because of the reason he stated. He may have obtained inaccurate information first, but he had to ACT based on the information he had, anyway. How else could anyone make an informed decision?
      So it might be a misguided strategy to vilify the Archbishop more. He has ample room to PROTECT his action at any forum. It could be more fruitful to admit that the APPEARANCE of things worked against Fr. Paul and it is not only the Archbishop who would have made that decision. Perhaps 8 out of 10 bishops in office would have done the same thing. Is this not a rational assumption?

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    7. You don't understand. I have a copy of Fr. Dacanay's appeal. BTW 8 of 10 bishops also used to move child molesting priests from parish to parish. So we now know.

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    8. Well, is this the main issue here that the Archbishop is "not your father"? Is this truly bothering you? Take courage. There is only one Father in heaven and He always will be.

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    9. I guess we need to get rid of St. Paul, who in 1 Cor 4:15 said: f"or in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel."

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  7. What is more telling is the lack of specific evidence on the "grave harm" caused by the "employment" of this man. As any good canon lawyer would do, and the archbishop's Vicar General is a canon lawyer, you need to specific facts to back up your charge, especially one as serious as exposing the youth to "grave harm" resulting in your removal as pastor. Did they? Nada. They had been monitoring Fr. Paul for two years.....that is 24 months or 730 days! Was there a complaint filed by anyone against this man during this period? Was there an incident involving this man during this period? Did the school nearby file a complaint? Did the archbishop proffer any fact that will substantiate or corroborate this very serious charge of "grave harm"? NADA. He didn't list any in his letter to Fr. Paul because......drum roll please......there wasn't any. May our Lord and Savior continue to give Fr. Paul hope and courage, and may our Lord and Savior be merciful on the souls of our archbishop, vicar general, and chancellor.

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    1. Is there any evidence that "they had been monitoring Fr. Paul for two years"? Why do you say this? Who claimed this and where? Even if the person was harmless, his name appeared in the national registry. This cannot be denied. Do you deny it?

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    2. I am so glad you asked. But the Archbishop won't be. Look for an upcoming post to answer your question.

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  8. The thing that puzzles me is that this man did go to the proper channel and he had a police clearance! So what is the problem?

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    1. Ah, yes. And that is what we are coming to: THE PROBLEM.

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    2. This man was merely a convenient scapegoat for the archbishop to use so that he can remove Father Paul. I believe Mr. Rohr will expound on this next.

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    3. What if this person felt tremendous temptation already to fall back into his sin? What if it was only a matter of time for him to act on the temptation? How can you you know what is in the heart of people on the national registry of offenders? Only God knows the hearts of people. Has anyone prayed for this person's soul?

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    4. What a wonderful Gospel inspired reply. I guess the church should ban all sinners.

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    5. 5-14, 8:26AM - What if ..., and what if... and what ifs... Do you know any one (besides Fr. Gofigan) who was penalized and removed based on "what if's"?

      Such flimsy cover-up advice from the kiko's to the Archbishop! In their haste to commit a crime they forgot to think.

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  9. It’s a well-known and recognized fact that the arrival and establishment of the ncw movement created a division within our Catholic Church on Guam.

    As an individual and Priest, Fr. Gofigan is well-loved and well-liked, just as he was an effective Pastor and Administrator of his Parish. Those things about Fr. Gofigan ARE NOT however, the ONLY reasons that upon Fr. Gofigan’s removal, the existing division became much deeper and even much wider. Many more members of our congregation were angered because they intuitively understood and observed that the basis for Fr. Gofigan’s removal is linked to the kikos and their ambitions for an eventual kiko empire on Guam and because of their hold on the non-resistant Archbishop.

    If after reading all the facts and documentation here about this evil scandal -- created by the kikos, using THE CATHOLIC FAITH as their instrument, with the willing participation of the Archbishop and Catholic Church hierarchy on our island as their pawns – after all that, and our Catholic Congregation on Guam just continues to remain silent; keeping heads buried deep down in the sand; ignoring this obvious evil scandal; then, God help us thru this next and up–coming “El Nino” and Typhoon Season!

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  10. What is really sad is the message this sent to the lay people of Guam...How unchristian is this message.

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    1. Yes, how truly sad is the message that comes across from an un-compassionate “Shepherd of the Catholic Congregation” on Guam. How un-christian is the message too, that comes from his ignoring The Scriptural message of Jesus to "leave the 99 and look for the one lost sheep”– the sheep in this case is one who, in fact, sought repentance and came back to the fold, wanting and working hard to remain in the fold!

      The irony is, Fr. Gofigan welcomed and spiritually cared for this lost sheep; yet was castigated, penalized, humiliated and illegally removed? Well, if this shepherd has no compassion for a non-neo lost sheep from his congregation, why would he be any more compassionate for a non-neo Priest under his paternal care? Why? “Non-neo” is Key!

      Yes, Father Gofigan’s removal is another sad message for other compassionate, but non-neo, Priests under this Archbishop AND under the kikos who, so obviously have this shepherd wrapped around their fingers.

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  11. Would like to know why in 1990 when archbishop Apuron was informed about (name redacted) he chose to do nothing for years when there was a serious issue. Yet with fr Paul there is no issue at all for children's safety yet he removes him. Those who reported (name redacted) to the archbishop are still here today re thinking the past history of the archbishop in the light of what is happening today.

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  12. Amon 4.18am. Know what your talking about and through the comments think I know who you are. It's been over twenty years of silence we all chose to leave and live with the pains. But the past years have been thinking is it not time to come clean and heal the wounds we all live with. Junglewatch has made me re re evaluate the past on Guam and confront those in the correct way those who need confronting.

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