According to Deacon Martinez, he was accused by Archbishop Apuron of violating the following canons:
Can. 1369 A person who in a public show or speech, in published writing, or in other uses of the instruments of social communication utters blasphemy, gravely injures good morals, expresses insults, or excites hatred or contempt against religion or the Church is to be punished with a just penalty.
Can. 1373 A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.
Can. 1374 A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; however, a person who promotes or directs an association of this kind is to be punished with an interdict.
In referencing these canons, Archbishop Apuron is accusing Deacon Steve Martinez of:
- exciting hatred and contempt against the Church,
- inciting animosities and hatred against an ordinary (himself) and provoking subject to disobedience, and
- joining an association which is plotting against the Church.
Upon learning of these accusations, Deacon Martinez asked Archbishop Apuron and the Vicar General for evidence of any of the above accusations. Answer: NOTHING.
Now, let's take a look for ourselves.
For the first two, we will have to assume that Deacon Martinez is guilty of "exciting hatred" and "inciting animosities" because while he was still the Sex Abuse Response Coordinator he insisted that the Fr. John Wadeson case be held up to the scrutiny of the Archbishop's own sex abuse policy and had already begun to proceed with the investigation, which of course led to his being fired from that position.
As for joining an association with is plotting against the Church, a reference to the Concerned Catholics of Guam, the CCOG, which was only officially formed a week ago, has yet to do anything other than hold its first press conference.
Read for yourself what was published and see if you can find any evidence of the CCOG plotting against the Church, unless of course you want to classify holding Archbishop Apuron accountable to his own policies as plotting against the Church, which is how Apuron apparently sees it.
The letter from Archbishop Apuron to Deacon Martinez accusing him of the above and giving him the ultimatum to resign from the CCOG or suffer censure was delivered on 12/17/14 and Deacon Martinez was given until the close of business on 12/18/14 to comply.
In threatening Deacon Martinez with "censure", Archbishop Apuron incurred cause for his own censure by violating Can. 1341 which says: An ordinary is to take care to initiate a judicial or administrative process to impose or declare penalties only after he has ascertained that fraternal correction or rebuke or other means of pastoral solicitude cannot sufficiently repair the scandal, restore justice, reform the offender.
As with Fr. Paul and Msgr. James Benavente, Archbishop Apuron did NOT care to engage in "fraternal correction" or "other means of "pastoral solicitude". In fact, as with Fr. Paul and Msgr. James before him, Deacon Steve had no idea why he was being called to a meeting with the Vicar General. In fact he thought the meeting might have to do with a new assignment.
So aside from Apuron's reprehensible bullying, confronting Deacon Martinez with the ultimatum was canonically illegal. In addition, Apuron also violated Can. 1347 §1 which states: A censure cannot be imposed validly unless the offender has been warned at least once beforehand to withdraw from contumacy and has been given a suitable time for repentance.
Deacon Martinez was NOT warned before given the ultimatum nor is less than 24 hours "a suitable time for repentance." Perhaps the soon to arrive Secretary for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples will, in turn, censure Apuron (after a suitable time for repentance of course).
And there is also the issue of the other officers: Greg Perez, Dave Sablan, and Vangie Lujan. The above canons apply to Catholics who are within the jurisdiction of the bishop, NOT just clerics. In accusing Deacon Martinez of violating the above canons (or at least Can. 1374) Apuron is de facto accusing the other three officers of the same.
However, because Apuron is a coward (all bullies are) he is only going after someone he thinks he can publicly flog (a la Gofigan and Benavente) and who can't fight back.
There is more to the story.
As per Apuron's December 17 letter, Deacon Martinez was given until the close of business (5pm) on December 18 to resign "or else". However, late in the afternoon of December 18, Deacon Martinez received a call from Fr. Adrian advising him that the Archbishop had moved the deadline until January 12, 2015.
It appeared at first that Apuron, by moving the deadline, was willing to proceed more reasonably. However, we now can see things a bit more clearly.
The strange eagerness of the chancery to tell the media about the impending visit from Rome is dated December 18. The visitors from Rome will be here January 4 to January 10. The new deadline for Deacon Martinez? January 12. Hmmm.
Obviously it appears that Apuron, having received notice of the Roman visitors on December 18,, the day after he threatened Deacon Steve, realized the catastrophic repercussions should the "defrocking" of Deacon Steve hit the press just before the visitors arrived, and hurriedly told Adrian to advise Deacon Steve of the new deadline so he could smile at the Romans and then beat up Deacon Steve after they had departed.
However, Deacon Steve had no other official information other than the Archbishop's December 17 letter, and Adrian's phone call was only a phone call. And why should Adrian be trusted anyway? In addition, Deacon Steve had written his own letter to Apuron requesting to discuss the charges and (as expected) Apuron did not reply.
Thus, Deacon Steve's ONLY option was to either resign from the CCOG by 5pm, December 18 or suffer "censure". 5pm, December 18, came and went and still no word from Apuron and no resignation from the CCOG by Deacon Martinez. At that point the "censure" automatically went into effect.
But now we have Apuron and Adrian out there saying "We know NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING." However, the tables are turning because more and more people are saying of Apuron, Quitugua, and Cristobal: "LIARS, LIARS, LIARS."
It is coincidental that the three Romans will arrive near the Feast of the Epiphany, Three Wise Men from afar... Too bad they will not find "peace on earth" in the Archdiocese of Agana. Anything but.
Note: Archbishop Apuron had imposed a gag order on Deacon Steve in his December 17 letter. However, as Deacon Steve shared in his December 19 letter to Apuron acknowledging the censure, he considers Apuron's gag order no longer applicable and thus the information, shared here, is being made public.