Wednesday, May 7, 2014

THE ILLEGITIMATE REMOVAL OF FR. PAUL GOFIGAN - PART VI: THE CHILDREN

Now, let's take a deeper look at what Archbishop Apuron says. Let's copy the charge here again (emphases mine):
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.
Now, why does the Archbishop say "especially the youth" and emphasize that the man is even a threat to a nearby school? The man's crime, in 1981 when he was 21 years old, involved an adult female. There is no record of his EVER having been a threat to children. So why now is he suddenly a threat to children? It's a theme the Archbishop desperately wanted to impart and we shall soon learn why. 

The "danger to children" theme is hammered yet again on July 22, 2013, when Fr. Adrian Cristobal issues a press release overtly emphasizing this danger to children. In fact, in the press release, the man is apparently ONLY a danger to children because no other group is mentioned:
...especially in light of the painful lessons the Church and all of society have had to endure in recent years – and still endures – we must abide by standards that will safeguard all children in our care. As Jesus teaches us, the youngest are among the must vulnerable among us and great care must be given to safeguard them. 
A school full of children is in very close proximity to the parish. Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) students, Confirmation students and other youth groups are part of the parish. 
As the Archbishop clearly stated in his letter and was communicated to Father Paul, this is a serious matter which prompted him to act decisively. It was done with much prayer, with a review of the facts and with the ultimate consideration being the safety of our children.
The chancery is obviously pounding a drum: the children, the children, the children. Before we get into why they are beating this drum, we have to deal with the fact that given the man's record, which had nothing to do with children, this is awfully close to bearing false witness. The man is being implicitly accused by the Archbishop and the Chancellor of a crime he did not commit, and they both KNOW what they are doing. 

Here we have a man who went to jail for what he did, was released after many years, got married and had two daughters, humbly sought to return to his church, asked to work as a church janitor so he could feed his family, and even obtained a police clearance to do so. And now he is drug out of this quiet life by the archbishop of the church to which he has returned, and is beaten and publicly smeared as a child molester. 

At first, it worked. The media immediately picked up that theme. The children, the children, the children became child molester, child molester, child molester...just as the chancery had planned. Why did they plan this? We'll get to that. 

There has been much criticism of Fr. Paul "going to the media." This has been used as a way to beat Fr. Paul up and make him look like the bad guy. However, the first person to "go to the media" was Fr. Adrian. Here's what happened.

At the meeting with the Archbishop of July 16, 2013, and after being ambushed as we have already detailed, Fr. Paul told the Archbishop and the Vicar General that he would be informing his parishioners of his removal and his intent to challenge it. According to Fr. Paul (through a friend because I have never spoken personally with him on any of this), the Archbishop and the Vicar General just stared at him. 

That weekend, Fr. Paul, even though he was already removed, did exactly what he said he was going to do, distributing a letter explaining his removal after all the Masses at his parish since he was not allowed to speak to his parishioners from the pulpit. 

The paper trail
Let's stop here and note something which has amazed many ever since this started: the paper trail. Obviously, JungleWatch has become "famous" because I "have the goods". The "goods" are the actual letters and documents relative to this whole mess. And how did I get them? It was easy. Fr. Paul, having nothing to lose, shared them with friends, and they quickly filtered out to others including me. (Fr. Paul himself has never given me a document.) 

But why was there even a paper trail to begin with? Had the Archbishop called Fr. Paul in and spoken with him as a father to a son - and as was required by Canon Law - there would have been no July 16 letter. And even if Fr. Paul had eventually challenged the Archbishop it would have been nothing more than "he said, he said". 

But the Archbishop doesn't talk with people. He sends them letters. And this is why we have all this evidence, not just about this case, but about the shenanigans with the RMS property, the firing of the finance council, the mess with Aaron Quitugua, and every other scandal. 

Because the Archbishop prefers to act as an authoritarian (rather than pastorally), he has created his own stew by giving the whole world a fairly damning paper trail. In fact, it was the Archbishop's own words, in writing, that gave Fr. Paul's advocate all the documentation and evidence he needed to prepare the appeal that has now gone to Rome!

And by removing Fr. Paul before the following Sunday, denying him the ability to address his parishioners in person, the Archbishop essentially forces Fr. Paul to be begin his own paper trail, since the writing of a letter and its distribution outside the church is all that is left him. And it was this paper trail that got to the media Monday morning. 

With the July 16 letter from the Archbishop and Fr. Paul's subsequent letter to his parishioners in hand, and listeners already barking on the radio about the whole affair, the media called Fr. Paul to get his side and Fr. Paul provides.

(Fr. Paul did NOT go to the media. They went to him. I know this because two of the media organizations called me get Fr. Paul's number. I didn't have it. They called me because - as you may know - they normally call me whenever any church business comes up they want comment on.)

At this point, someone smart in the chancery should have sensed danger and called Fr. Paul in to hash things out in private. But no, Fr. Adrian adds fuel to the fire, lots of it. He "goes to the media" by sending out a press release, a press release that ultimately proves damning to the chancery because it becomes, as we shall soon see, the "smoking gun" which allows Fr. Dacanay, S.J., Fr. Paul's advocate, to demonstrate that the Archbishop violated canonical norms in his treatment of Fr. Paul. 

As an aside, and another point of amazement, is: with a parish as large as Santa Barbara, the largest on the island, and Fr. Paul being as popular as he was, how could the Archbishop not think that this would NOT blow up in his face, especially given his slash and burn tactics? Was this just a strategic blunder...or did he just not care? But slash and burn he did, and then off to the party in Rio. Santa Barbara be damned. Kiko was waiting. Oh, and the Pope too. 

Go here for Part VII




5 comments:

  1. Irony of ironies, that the Archbishop utilizes the same fear-mongering rhetoric that was used against him and the Diocese by Sen. Cruz. Never mind that the individual Fr. Paul had been helping assaulted an adult--the youth would no more be in danger from him than a female altar server would be in danger from a homosexual Priest--but the assault in question happened decades ago. Has his Excellency taken to forbidding people from participating in the Church on grounds of past sins now? It is a blessing truly, then, that Apuron was not alive when Saul of Tarsus came to Ananias seeking conversion, or when Augustine of Hippo repented and became a Bishop himself, or when Alessandro Sererenelli repented of his murder of St. Maria Goretti and was admitted as a laybrother in a monastery.

    That his Excellency sees a Priest's charity toward a man who had repented of his sin as a dangerous act, yet is perfectly fine accepting the philosophy of a converted atheist non-believer and a nun who renounced her vows is a most troubling double-standard that I've ever observed...

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  2. The school nearby is Santa Barbara school, and anyone who has dealt with the Sisters of Mercy, knows that no one, not even the archbishop, let alone a molester, can enter the school grounds without being strictly and closely scrutinized. It would have been impossible for a janitor from Santa Barbara to enter the school grounds, especially with that fence and other security guarding the school. But most importantly, the archbishop and the Chancery knew this. In the two years that the janitor was volunteering his services(and the time that he was actually employed) to all kinds of organizations or functions of Santa Barbara, I challenge anyone to show proof that the school ever complained about this man. In fact, I challenge the Chancery to show proof that they ever even contacted the school about this man, to warn them about these danger! They never have. Why? Because they knew that the children were not in danger, any more than a parishioner would be. In fact, much less because of the security at the school. And to all those manamko and other senior parishoners who have used this man to help them at he parish, did the Chancery investigate as to how they felt? If not, why not? It seems that the danger was not real, but apparent, a fabrication created by the Chancery to get rid of Father Paul. And the more tragic consequence, other than the illegal and brutal firing of Fr. Paul, was that the archbishop and his cronies did not hesitate to sacrifice and destroy the life another human being in order to achieve their goal of removing Fr. Paul. If the archbishop had a conscience, he would have seen that this man had not only served his time, he is married, has two minor daughters, and was trying to repent. And the archbishop not only maligned this man, but even more, he maligned and destroyed the lives of this man's wife and his two minor daughters by saying that Fr. Paul was harboring a child molester. This archbishop will stoop to no end to get what he wants, and damn anyone who gets in the way! I sincerely hope that this man and his family sues the archbishop and the Church for the inhuman damage that he has caused to them.

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  3. If the archbishop was so concerned about the CHILDREN with this man being present, then why did he wait TWO YEARS to do something about it?????????????? This is messed up!

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  4. Both "Outrage" and Anonymous (May 7, 2014 at 4:59 PM) raise excellent points.

    "Outrage" echoes what parishioners have told me about how the man in question was always ready, willing and able to lend them a helping hand, especially where manual labor — setting up and taking down furniture for different events — was involved. Nobody — not even the CCD teachers with whom I spoke — ever felt that their safety was threatened; they always spoke warmly of the individual, mentioning how helpful, respectful and humble he was.

    The question Anonymous raises is a valid one. If the man was such a grave danger, why was there a two year delay before any action was taken?

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    Replies
    1. One word: Scapegoat.

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