Saturday, August 30, 2014

IN THE NAME OF POPE FRANCIS

We need to examine further what Archbishop Apuron said at the beginning of his remarks to the students of Father Duenas High School. Keep in mind that the students are standing, waiting for the final blessing at the end of Mass as he launches into the full speech that we have already detailed. 

At the beginning of his remarks he says: 

...the issue was that he had an alleged sex offender working in the parish (___) then as a volunteer, and he saw nothing wrong with that. In the meantime, because there’s a school next door that had children and there’s always a danger that they can be at risk. 

We have dealt with this on several occasions, and it is fully detailed and documented in my book, Target equals Priest, which you can access in the right sidebar. But let's review the basics. 

In 2008, a certain man was hired as a maintenance man at Santa Barbara Parish in Dededo. Fr. Paul Gofgian was the pastor and it was he who hired him. Like most in the parish, Fr. Paul was aware of the man's past. He had committed a serious crime in 1981, had gone to prison, and after many years, was released. The man married, had two children, and sought reconciliation with the Catholic Church. As his pastor, Fr. Paul assisted him in that reconciliation and befriended him.

All was well for at least two years. However, in 2010, the Guam Legislature passed P.L. 30-223, requiring "all those convicted of criminal sexual conduct or of a crime against a victim who is a minor, to register with the Guam Sex Offender Registry." 

Because the man had been convicted of "criminal sexual conduct" in a crime INVOLVING AN ADULT NOT A MINOR,  he was required to register, even though the crime had been committed over 30 years ago, he had gone to prison, had been released, had never been determined a threat since, and had even obtained a police clearance to work at Santa Barbara. 

In October of 2011, Archbishop Apuron ordered Fr. Paul to terminate the man's employment at Santa Barbara. Fr. Paul immediately complied. 

It is at this point that we need to understand Archbishop Apuron's motivation for ordering Fr. Paul to terminate the man's employment. 

Obviously there are probably many people who have committed crimes, served their time, and sought reconciliation with their faith later in life, and of course it is the church's duty to bring them back to the Lord. However, none of those crimes have a public registry. 

We must understand that the word "sex offender" had particular meaning to Archbishop Apuron. In 2010, a representative from SNAP (Survivors Network for the Abused by Priests) was on Guam and was asking lots of questions. Archbishop Apuron had some unfinished business in that regard and he hurriedly laicized a certain priest. SNAP was also hot on the trail with some other leads but in the end, couldn't get anyone here to talk. 

Though SNAP left empty handed, it was a close call for Archbishop Apuron and he was newly motivated to be seen as the champion of protecting against sex crimes, especially since Senator B.J. Cruz had introduced two bills earlier that year that were aimed directly at the Archbishop: one, involving "window legislation" and the other, an attempt to specifically require the Archbishop to be a "mandated reporter". 

After Fr. Paul terminated the employment of the subject person in 2011, all again appeared to be well. Since the man's employment had never been an issue at Santa Barbara prior to his being required to register ex post facto on the sex offender registry, the man continued to assist Fr. Paul as any other normal parishioner would. 

However, out of the blue, two years later, on July 16, 2013, Fr. Paul was ordered by Archbishop Apuron to resign as pastor of Santa Barbara Parish or "face an arduous and painful closure" to his assignment. While meeting with Fr. Paul, the Archbishop had arranged for the locks on Fr. Paul's parish office to be changed, had arranged for him to be replaced as pastor with a parish administrator, had arranged for him to be advised by the administrator to vacate the rectory, and had arranged for him to be stripped from the schedule of presiders. 

(To understand this further, we need to understand who Giuseppe Gennarini is, and that he was in town and breathing down Archbishop Apuron's neck. But we'll have to come back to that.)

Fr. Paul's alleged crime? He had continued to let the man volunteer at the parish after he had terminated his employment. Fr. Paul's real crime? He had obstinately refused to allow the Neocatechumenal Way into the parish unless they complied with canonical and liturgical norms relative to the celebration of their eucharists. 

Archbishop Apuron, knowing he could not fire Fr. Paul for refusing to do his job as pastor and making said requirements of the Neocatechumenal Way, needed another reason. So Archbishop Apuron (probably at Gennarini's order) latched on to the volunteer presence of the man who had already been fired as of his order, and cast him as a "danger to children", knowing that this would cause alarm and bolster support for his actions. 

But there was only one problem. The man's crime had not involved children, he had never been a danger to children, and was not now a danger to children. That didn't matter to Archbishop Apuron. He needed Fr. Paul out so he ramped up the "danger to children" rhetoric in the media, going to the press with a statement about this false danger on July 22, 2013. 

The Archbishop has continued to bring up this "danger to children" in a variety of forums, but fast forward to his address at FD this week (and we are told he made the same remarks at Notre Dame High School). 

The man Archbishop Apuron continues to humiliate and shame in public and cast as a child molester is a married man with two daughters, one of whom is a teenager. These children have been constantly drug out and publicly abused by Archbishop Apuron's insistence that their father is a "danger to children". These children may even attend the schools at which the Archbishop is making these continued allegations. 

This is calumny at its worst. The only person who is a danger to children is Archbishop Apuron. He is a danger to THESE CHILDREN. Their lives, once quiet, have been ripped apart and spilled onto the pages of newspapers, media reports, and now they are publicly humiliated by their own Archbishop in front of student bodies across the island. 

This is simply SICK! And if Rome will not act, then it is time for this poor family to sue the Archbishop Apuron for every dime he has and silence his incessant attack on their family. 

But regardless, ROME MUST ACT. Not to act is to condone and participate in this great evil that Archbishop Apuron continues to perpetrate on this poor family. 

Since his return from Korea and his reported visit with the Pope, Archbishop Apuron has been telling people that Pope Francis has expressed his support for his actions against Fr. Paul and Msgr. James and has told him to "keep doing" what he's doing. 

Well, Pope Francis, if that's true, then THIS is what Archbishop Apuron is doing: wreaking hell on a man, his wife, and his two daughters by spreading lies AT MASS to Catholic student bodies across the island of Guam, AND DOING IT IN YOUR NAME.




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