This entry is a response to the following comment which was posted after the last installment.
Anonymous May 14, 2014 at 8:21 AM had some questions for me. As usual, I gladly answer:
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?
In a letter from Archbishop Apuron to Fr. Paul Gofigan dated August 20, 2013 (Protocol Number 013-057), the Archbishop alleges the following:
- That the man had been allowed to volunteer "in an official capacity" at the parish after his employment was terminated in 2011.
- That the man had purchased "on numerous occasions...items under several Santa Barbara Church charge accounts at certain businesses."
- That the man had once stayed at the same hotel at which a retreat for a Santa Barbara Confirmation Class retreat was held.
In addition, the press release from the Chancellor dated July 22, 2013 alleged that the man "had keys to the facilities and had an active role on church grounds in different ways."
The Archbishop rests his very case against Fr. Paul on this ACCUMULATION of evidence. This accumulation of evidence took time to compile, and the Archbishop took great pains to compile it because he needed a solid case against Fr. Paul in order to get rid of him.
And getting rid of Fr. Paul was the objective from the beginning, NOT the safety of children. Had the safety of children been the Archbishop's concern he would have addressed the problem with Fr. Paul immediately. No. The Archbishop needed a case, and he took time to compile it. And, as evidenced by the timing of the changing of the locks on Fr. Paul's office, he took time to plan it. None of this was spontaneous. It was a manufactured case and the Archbishop took great care to manufacture it. He just did not expect it to backfire.
Well, it has.
Now let us look at Fr. Paul's response to those allegations. For whereas the Archbishop did not care to ask Fr. Paul for an explanation, other people did. And here is what he said:
The "return" of the man "to work in an official capacity".
Fr. Paul's response: What official capacity is he talking about? The individual helped out with volunteering his manpower. He was not involved with any ministries or catechesis with our youth.
The purchase of items for Santa Barbara Church.
Fr. Paul's response: He already had an established relationship with these businesses so I authorized him to pick some necessary items for the priest house for me.
The staying at the same hotel at which a Confirmation retreat was held.
Fr. Paul's response: I asked him to assist me in unloading retreat items as well as loading and returning items back to the church once specific activities were done. Because there were some rooms vacant, I invited him and his wife and children to spend the weekend, but they were not involved with any of the retreat activities.
Possession of the keys.
In a Pacific News Center report dated July 25, 2013, Fr. Paul is quoted as saying the following: "The person who was terminated in 2011 does not possess keys to the Church and its facilities. That person and spouse as well as their children are parishioners of Santa Barbara and have frequented Santa Barbara church and its facilities many times for Mass, functions, and other activities happening at the church and its facilities." In another conversation, Fr. Paul advised a friend who inquired about the accusation that the man had keys, that on occasion he would give the man the keys to the rectory to go and fetch something he forgot, or to open the church early. The keys were always returned to Fr. Paul.
Those who will not accept these explanation can call Fr. Paul a liar all day long. However, who they really should be addressing is the Archbishop. But since they won't, I will do it for you:
We have yet to hear from you how the Archdiocese of Agana in general, and you in particular, SHOULD or WOULD handle a convicted felon who, after serving his or her prison term, desires to return to our Church.
Okay, so maybe he should not not be hired by a parish. But to what extent is he to be allowed to participate in parish life? Should he be allowed to set up tables and chairs for parish events? Should he be allowed to do errands for the pastor as this man did? How long can a convicted felon hang out in the parking lot after Mass? How soon must he exit the church after Mass? Would he be allowed to speak with other parishioners? For how long? Should he be sequestered somehow from the rest of the congregation? Would you sequester just him or would his family - in this case his wife and two daughters - be made to sit apart in the leper section?
Archbishop, these are stupid questions because you very well know that if this man had approached you to be received into the Neocatechumenal Way, not only would he be received, he would be featured and celebrated and paraded about as another Neocatechumenal Victory: MORE FRUIT!
But aside from what you would or wouldn't do, why are we bothering with prison ministry at all? If a man who committed a crime 33 years ago is still a danger to a parish then a man who committed a crime 3 years ago is still a danger. Just because there is a registry for sex offenders and no registry for murderers and muggers and child abusers does that suddenly make the sex offender a leper and the others okay?
What do we do with all these criminals, Archbishop? Go ahead, give us the policy. We're waiting. And by the way, WWJD?
But of course, even asking WWJD is a stupid question because none of this had anything to do with dealing with ex-cons or the safety of children. IT HAD TO DO WITH GETTING RID OF FR. PAUL GOFIGAN.
Go here for Part IX