Tuesday, June 17, 2014


On January 13, 2014, after waiting more than a month for Archbishop Apuron to respond to his letter of 12/6/13 requesting the Archbishop to address his concerns regarding the defamatory and slanderous statements made at the October retreat for the clergy, Fr. Paul again wrote the Archbishop asking him to respond:

In my letter to you of 6 Dec 2013, I asked that you retract, in writing, the slanderous and defamatory statements you made against me and (name withheld).  
As of this date, you have not provided the requested retraction nor have you responded in any way despite having over a month to do so. 
Your inaction leaves me no choice but to conclude that you either believe those slanderous statements to be true, or you do not consider my request worthy of response. 
Your failure to retract those slanderous and defamatory statements leaves me no choice but to take steps to rectify your wrong and to salvage my name, which you have gone out of your way to ruin.

Fr. Paul continued:
Please be reminded that you made those slanderous statements in front of thirty plus members of the clergy from both Guam and the Philippines at the recent Archdiocesan Retreat in the Philippines. 
I can understand you holding to your position to remove me as pastor of Santa Barbara according to the procedures prescribed by canon law, but to publicly malign my person (and that of another parishioner and his family) in front of my fellow priests is simply malicious and mean. 
I will allow you one last opportunity to make the requested retraction. You have until noon, Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014, to make the retraction in writing, and to give a copy of your retraction to every member of Guam’s clergy. 
If you fail to do so, I will take action (including legal action) to salvage my name. I pray that it does not come to this.
Critics have cried "disobedience" since the beginning of this affair. According to them, Fr. Paul's pledge of obedience to the bishop should include allowing the Archbishop to defame and malign him. Fr. Paul, as a Christian witness, according to them, should have just turned the other cheek. 

In fact, Fr. Paul was willing to do this. After the Archbishop first demanded his resignation on July 16, 2013, Fr. Paul, perhaps in a state of shock, indicated his willingness to depart the Archdiocese of Agana as noted in the Appeal by Fr. Paul's canon lawyer:
3.3 The Archbishop, during his initial meeting with Fr. Gofigan at which the Vicar General was present, refers to a verbal statement by Fr. Gofigan that was tantamount to resignation. 
But now comes the part of the story that few know. When the actions by Archbishop Apuron against Fr. Paul became known, a group of lay people formed around him (I wan't involved yet) and asked him to fight back. Their reason? They had seen this bullying of priests going on for far too long and they had seen the damage it had been doing to the Archdiocese for the nearly three decades of Archbishop Apuron's tenure. 

They also saw backing Fr. Paul at this juncture as a last stand against the ever more aggressive takeover of the Archdiocese by the Neocatechumenal Way. Fr. Paul, as pastor of the island's largest parish, had held out against the imposition of the Neocatechumenal Way on his parish, and his opposition was well known. 

As discussed previously, Fr. Paul was willing to permit the establishment of Neocatechumenal communities in his parish, but he was not willing to allow them to violate canon law and liturgical norms in doing so. Above the bishop, Fr. Paul had a duty to conform himself to church law, not just the Archbishop's personal wishes, which, as almost everyone could see, were really just instructions coming from the Neo leadership.

Fr. Paul knew the cost of opposing the Archbishop. He would be vilified, bullied, slandered, defamed, criticized, and would never again have the ability to serve his people as a parish priest. But his lay supporters convinced him that for the sake of the other diocesan priests (as opposed to the neo-priests) SOMEONE had to say "enough is enough." 

He also knew that taking on this burden for the sake of his fellow priests would make him appear to be impudent and rebellious and that the Archbishop would cast him as such. Fr. Paul would not say why he had chosen to stand up to the Archbishop. It would have to remain a silent cause. He just knew, once he understood the necessity of a stand for the sake of his brother priests, that he had to do it. And so he did.

And sure enough, he was immediately vilified, bullied, slandered, defamed, and criticized. But probably even Fr. Paul NEVER thought the Archbishop would go so far as to say what he said at the clergy retreat. 

Go here for Part XV


  1. The matter is already being sent to Rome. Let Rome take care of it.

    1. Yes. You would like that, wouldn't you? Two points: 1) the matter would have gone nowhere had we just "let Rome take care of it" to begin with. 2) Rome can only address the canonical issue, not the slander and defamation of a lay man and his family.

    2. And a third. Rome can only address Fr. Paul's removal. They cannot address the defamation of Fr. Paul by the Archbishop in Manila. He will have to do that himself. He won't. So thus he will be tried in the court of public opinion: HERE!

    3. Anon 6:48,

      Your suggestion would be a good one half the time, but in this case and considering the track record of the Archbishop and the Kikos on Guam, educating the public on the facts is the right one. Good people have risked a lot by taking a stand against these evil aggressive acts. The only way they could stand up against a MAN sitting in a powerful position over them, who also empowers a certain group to attack the foundations of our Catholic community, is by informing the people of the truth and gathering their support for change.

    4. The reality is that Rome, of itself, addresses problems in the church very rarely, simply because it doesn't know about them. Rome learns of problems when the din gets loud enough, usually from noise made by the laity. And then they act. Witness the 50 plus years of clerical sex abuse all kept silent...until lay people started speaking. We were silenced by them for a long time. I was one who was silenced. I was told "Rome will take care of it." It was only when the church had to start coughing up millions of dollars in lawsuits did Rome get involved. "Active participation of the laity", Vatican II proclaimed. Guess they didn't want THIS kind of participation. Too late.

    5. Correct Tim. Active participation of prof men and women reduces problems in the administration of any diocese.

  2. True Tim. Rome can only address canonical issues. Rome will not address the deep emotional pain archbishop has inflicted on priests and people. This may need to be addressed in the civil courts.

  3. The comments of Tim are reasonable. What do you think, Anon 6:48? Maybe you have additional reason aside from let Rome take care of it? When I read the U Matuna and the articles pertaining to Pope Francis when he talks of forgiveness, I can see the forgiving ways of Fr. Paul towards this person who is being maligned with him. It seems that in the diocese of Agana, only Fr. Paul and Pale Mike can do justice to a homily on forgiveness. All other priest on Guam fall short.

  4. Why wait for Rome to take care of it? Archbishop Apuron is within his authority and power to resolve the Gofigan affair by reconciling with Fr. Paul if he so chooses. Rome would love nothing more than for one of her archbishops to step up and to resolve this matter locally, as the archbishop should have done and could still do. But why won't our archbishop do it? Strange and tragic indeed. Is it pride? I think so. He would lose face if he reconciles with Fr. Paul. One wishes that our archbishop stops listening to the Devil and do what Jesus would do, forgive and embrace. But he won't. Blessed Mother, help us.

    1. Thank you for this point. This is something Rome should not have to take care of. The fact that such a trivial matter has to go to Rome is telling of the sad state of our diocese and the man who runs it. How embarrassing for us.

    2. What about slander of the other guy , Lastimoza? Is that within his authority?

    3. No. Here is what I said in Part 13:

      The big problem was that up till this point, the Archbishop's actions against Fr. Paul were pretty much church matters. But with the ugly things alleged at the retreat, he had now made allegations against a layman, a married man with two daughters, and a man not subject to the silencing and bullying power of the Archbishop. This would push the case into the civil sphere. But we'll come back to that.


    4. Thanks for refresher.


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