After Fr. Paul's letter to Archbishop Apuron of 12/6/13, asking him to "set the record straight" about his allusions to a homosexual affair with a former employee and even the false accusation that Fr. Paul had built a staircase to his private room to facilitate what in the Archbishop's words sounded like drunken orgies, Fr. Paul waited for more than a month for the Archbishop to respond. The Archbishop, as usual, did not respond.
So on 1/13/14, Fr. Paul again wrote the Archbishop, saying the following:
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.
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.
Again, the Archbishop did not respond. Apparently he thought Fr. Paul was bluffing. He was not. The next day, the following was sent to the news media:
RE: STATEMENT REGARDING REQUEST FROM ARCHBISHOP APURON FOR RETRACTION AND APOLOGY Tamuning, Guam - January 14, 2014 - At the recent retreat for the clergy of the Archdiocese of Agana this past November, Archbishop Apuron made statements about me and (name withheld) that I consider slanderous and defamatory to both to me and (name withheld).
On December 6, 2013, I sent a letter to Archbishop Apuron requesting he retract those statements and apologize. He ignored my request. On Monday, January 13, 2014, I sent another letter to the Archbishop, noting that it had been over a month since my request, that he had not responded in any way, and that I would give him till noon, Tuesday, January 14, to comply with my request for a retraction and an apology in writing, and that a copy be sent to every member of the clergy.
Noon, Tuesday, came and went without a response from the Archbishop. It is certainly a sad day for Guam and our beloved Church that her archbishop will slander and malign his priest behind his back and then refuse to retract or apologize when confronted with this fact. He not only damaged my name but the name of the (name withheld) family.
Pope Francis has asked us to reach out to the poor, neglected, and the downtrodden. He wants ou bishops to stop being airport bishops, and to reach out to his priests and flock. He wants his priests to passionately spread the Good News, and to reach out to our parishioners especially those who are hurting, lost, and pushed away. That is what I have tried to do and that is what I am being punished for.
I am now looking at all options including retaining an attorney to file a defamation suit. I am not happy that it has come to this but the archbishop’s actions and his failure to retract (not even the courtesy of a reply) leaves me no choice but to take this route in order to restore my name.
Fr. Paul's opponents have been critical of him for going to the media. But the Archbishop leaves them no option. Unfortunately, the media is the only thing Archbishop Apuron respects, or shall we say "fears" - at least when it comes to how he himself appears in the media. For this time, the Archbishop would respond...but the response would make things worse.
Go here for Part XVI