Let us pick up from the final paragraph of the previous installment to this story:
In 1998, Archbishop Apuron and Fr. Pius, through Fr. Roger Tenorio, began making inroads into Saipan with the Neocatechumenal Way. Knowing the history of the NCW in England, where I was from, and its having been denounced there by several bishops including the bishop of Clifton who called the NCW a form of “spiritual enslavement,” I worked to stop its growth on Saipan.
I was very vocal about my opposition to the Way. Fr. Pius got very angry with me. He told me that I was preventing the will of God, and that the Neocatechumenal Way would be formed in Saipan with or without me.
I cannot say that what I am about to recount next was related to my opposition to the Neocatechumenal Way, but as you will see from the second threat on my life, this first threat could have also been related:
It was night. I was driving through one of the villages. I was stopped and taken out of the car by an armed man who threatened to kill me. I was then kept hostage for several hours. He never told me why he was holding me. Maybe it was just to scare me. He released me after a few hours.
Meanwhile, besides my opposition to the Neocatechumenal Way, I had already clashed with Bishop Camacho on a number of issues that I had, out of conscience, refused to cooperate with him on. I will not relay what those issues were right now. But my relationship with him continued to worsen and I began to feel threatened, especially since my parish was now being regularly vandalized.
About that time (2000) I reached out to Archbishop Apuron for help since he is the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana of which the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa is a suffragan diocese. However, he sent word back through Fr. Roger Tenorio that he had no interest in assisting me and in fact he wanted me OUT of the islands. I felt that his wanting me to get out of the islands was due to my opposition to the Neocatechumenal Way, especially after how Fr. Pius had shown me so much anger.
With the demand from Apuron to get out of the islands, I knew that he and Camacho were now conspiring against me. However, I decided to stay and fight and I got in touch with Archbishop Covney who at that time was the Apostolic Delegate to our region.
However, before Archbishop Covney could intervene, Bishop Camacho informed me that since I had not given into his demands (I assume that one of those demands was permitting the NCW in my parish, but there were other issues as well), I must sign a letter of resignation resigning from my posts as parish priest, acting financial director, and director of development. And if I did not, then MY LIFE WOULD BE IN DANGER.
I told him that I intended to fight him and that I would go to Rome. He repeated his demand to sign the letter of resignation, yelled at me to get out of his diocese, "or else your life is in danger!" I laughed at him and told him that "my mouth may not keep the secrets that he and Apuron wished to keep."
Shortly after that, while returning home from the Aqua Resort Hotel where my parents were staying while visiting from England, I became aware that I was being followed. I tried to lose the car and thought I did. However, upon arriving at my apartment I was accosted by two men. One man pointed a gun at my heart. They said they would kill me unless I signed the resignation letters the next day and get out of Saipan.
You can imagine the fear in my heart. I still wanted to fight but I had no protection. The next day I met with Bishop Camacho and told him what had happened. He only repeated his demand that I sign the letters or "your life is in danger."
I told him "I will sign the resignation letters and will leave Saipan but I do so under severe stress and anxiety which you have instilled. You can use your fear tactics as a Catholic bishop and you will win, you have power, I do not. I just hope God forgives you." I signed and I left.
To be continued.
For those who cannot get the video to work mentioned in the comments below: