Thursday, December 25, 2014

FR. EFREN: "THIS CHRISTMAS I HEREBY AFFIX MY NAME TO THE CONCERNED CATHOLICS OF GUAM."

The man is a warrior. Merry Christmas, Fr. Efren. You have seen his star in the East. 



Dear Tim and Family,

Greetings to you and your family during this festive time of anticipating the Lord's coming in our midst.  May He give you peace, and reward you generously for the brave endeavors you have undertaken in service of the Holy Mother Church.  I would like to have this on jungle watch when you are able to have time.  Thank you, once again.

Luke 4:18 ff.  "The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me and sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to give liberty to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to bring freedom to the oppressed, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."


These words uttered by Jesus Christ echo the words of the prophet Isaiah as he announced the beginning of his public ministry.  These are words given to us as a mandate of our discipleship. Christmas is a feast that, although commercialized and often taken out of context, reminds us to heed the profound tome of incarnational salvation.  Christmas is not about a vulnerable and helpless little infant or about nebulous little cherubs singing away "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," as the late Fr. Raymond Brown (with whom I had the honor to work on his library before his death) expounded in his book, the Adult Christ at Christmas," but a call to arms about the stewardship entrusted to us.

The brave words of the Holy Father to global Church leadership and the continuing work of Concerned Catholics of Guam, Mr. Tim Rohr, Mr. Chuck White, Mr. John Toves, Rev Steve Martinez, Ms. Vangie Lujan and others on island are visible reminders of a mature approach to the adult arrival of the Word made flesh.  I am heartily encouraged and inspired by some on Jungle Watch of people whose incisive and plain words cry out in clear view their hopes and dreams for the future of the Archdiocese (I do admit I derive some amusement from occasional gaffes as a result of passionate emotions hastily put into words a which however do not detract from the more vital messages). The never-ending work for peace and human dignity is not mutually exclusive of the realities of human existence:  atrocities and killings continue in the midst of Christians celebrating Christmas.  In some instances, violence escalates not inspite of Christmas cheer but because of it.  To be oblivious to the realities of conflict while singly fixating on the trimmings of the season is gross irresponsibility and infantile catechism - although we are much aware that some have taken that very stance in their mentality of the "embattled citadel."  Remember that the daily turn of events does not offer a mute, hold or delete button.  Delays will have its inherent flaws and dangers.

This Christmas I hereby affix my name to the cause of Concerned Catholics of Guam.  I believe in their goal to build bridges and to foster transparency (in all levels of administrative decisions) in the Archdiocese of Agana.  More importantly, I believe in the integrity of their leaders. Prior to their incorporation, I had the honor of individually engaging Mr Perez, Ms Lujan, Rev Martinez, and Mr Shinohara on different matters unrelated to the current church brouhaha.  They are dyed-in-the-wool Chamorro laypeople (or clergy in the case of Deacon Steve) whose sole purpose is to facilitate healing that comes from seeking answers to issues that current leadership has chosen to arrogantly ignore.  They have simply given face to the valid and just right of laypeople to know where their donations go, and to truthful answers to recent decisions.  It is that simple!  They are respectful (and respectable!) people who would themselves shirk from confrontation but have taken great interest in the inaugural words of Jesus as he started public ministry to bring healing to our church.

Who is that CEO/COO facing CCOG who would not be thrilled at the opportunity to partner with folks who will provide an objective analysis of a company - gratis!  They do not delight in the demise of a leader whose length of tenure is now obscured by a myopic view of reality.  Who is that figurehead who when asked about a past sexual allegation, would not humbly invite that person in his confidence and determine what he wants to accomplish?  Will he not look him in the eye and tell him his innocence, if he knows in his heart that he has done no wrong?  Will he not seek to assist that person to get to the truth of the matter rather than see him as an aggressor, and why not prudently allow law enforcement officials to proceed with an investigation?   Will he not get out of the way, and then prayerfully seek God for strength in prayer?  With nothing to hide, why threaten and hide behind the skirt of Holy Mother Church and employing legal assistance at Her expense - and consequently raise even more doubts to an already shaky public persona?  Will he not wisely know that his reputation is at stake and thus his sole responsibility?  Again, it is that simple!

Deacon Steve Martinez is a person I have always held in high esteem.  His position is not a personal attack on those who hold up the strings at the Chancery or to boot out the neo totally but rather to seek the truth and help build bridges as encouraged by Archbishop Krebs.  I believe that there is a way that this neo-catechumenal can peacefully co-exist with other believers - just not as THE ONLY mandated evangelization model.  Their methods are not for everyone obviously, but  everyone deserves a place in the sun.   After all, blood ties run through the whole gamut of the island spectrum regardless of creed.  Turf wars only serve to weaken long-term adherence to the Good News that we are called to proclaim.  My alliance with Deacon Steve might meet the same censure from people who have long lost the respect of the Roman Catholic community but so be it.  I may get threatened by the ubiquitous code, but know this:  as a bonafide Associate Member of the Canon Law Society of America, I have my pool of willing canon lawyers ready to be activated by another faux pas from our own Chancery office.  As I like to say, "Bring It On, buffoons!"  I hope more people will truly be the voices "that cry out in the desert" to announce the inbreaking of God's kingdom in our midst.  Merry Christmas!

Father Efren Adversario
Benedicite, Omnia Opera Domini!

23 comments:

  1. Ah, your gift of words never fail to feed my faith. I remain a member of your humble flock.

    Merry Christmas, Fr. Efren!

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  2. Deep Gift of Chritmas Peace, Fr. Efren!!

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  3. Let's see how long it will take for Apuron to censure Fr. Efren. Will he take immediate action or give him a letter stating that he has until the Apostolic Delegation leaves to renounce his association with Concerned Catholics of Guam. I applaud Fr. Efren's committed stance and pray that other clerics will follow suit. The War has begun!!

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  4. Bruce and Jesusa WilliamsDecember 25, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    The Peace of Christmas be with you Father Efren! Eloquently stated...we are all called to be "witnesses to the TRUTH"...to seek the truth with humility..to become "soldiers for Christ". Thank you...your courageous stance will inspire others...Merry Christmas!

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  5. My prayer is that the Clergy born of the Archdiocese of Agana will stand united for the healing and reconciliation of the church by supporting Deacon Steve Martinez and Father Efren Adversaio. True healing begins when people come together and acknowledge we need to make our church better.

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  6. A Merry CHRISTmas indeed!

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  7. Yes, Fr.Efren is a warrior certainly no fool. Let you're light shine Fr.Efren!

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  8. Fr. Efren has responded to the "Call to Duty" i.e., responding to the bullying tactics of Arrogant Apuron. If only other priests would follow his example!

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    1. Not everyone is called to the front lines.

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    2. Mary Lou Garcia-PeredaDecember 31, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      It has taken me quite a while to gather my thoughts to compose my comment acknowledging my deep appreciation for Fr. Efren’s courage in declaring his intent on joining CCOG. Fr. Efren, I have only “met” you once, via the Sacrament of Confession, and I have only attended one of your Masses but that single encounter made a remarkable impression on me. That event occurred when your assignment to the Cathedral-Basilica was announced and I looked forward excitedly to future encounters. But that excitement turned out to be short-lived because immediately after that, you were removed from C-B and assigned to FDMS. In the meantime, your posts in this blog reveal the depth of your Faith and the extent of your intelligence — characteristics sorely lacking from the “presbyters” who emerge from the RMS “factory” — and give us, the laity, hope that at least ONE PRIEST is willing to stand with us in this War to Save Our Church on Guam.

      Although Tim @ 7:14 PM is correct in stating “Not everyone is called to the front lines,” like Anonymous (December 25, 2014 at 6:50 PM) I long for other priests to follow your example, Fr. Efren.

      While Fr. Mike Crisostomo and Fr. Matthew Blockley have also posted, using their names, I recall how at the beginning of 2014 there was a post —http://www.junglewatch.info/2014/01/sent-via-email-breaking-priests.html — about the need to ” … remove the psychological fear … being conveyed by the three on the hill” and that ”It’s time to prepare of priest-people power.” The writer indicated the need to “… seek an appointment with Archbishop Krebs the Apostolic Nuncio. Guam’s people will back these priests.

      Guam’s people — most under the Veil of Anonymity and/or using pseudonyms — HAVE shown the willingness to back our persecuted Non-NCW priests. But we also long to have our clergy standing with us. There are so many people who might be more willing to take a stance if only more members of the clergy could be as courageous as Fathers Efren, Mike and Matthew. I understand why the Filipino priests — many of whom have had to kowtow to AAA in order to remain on Guam — might not be willing to jeopardize their un-incardinated status by “rocking the boat.” But there are other priests — I won’t name you (yet) — who are incardinated AND who are sons of Guam, yet choose to remain silent. Are you afraid of being threatened as Fr. Paul Gofigan was with an “arduous and painful closure” to your ministry? Is that why you remained silent when AAA removed Fr. Paul, without due process, from his assignment at Sta. Barbara? Is that why you remained silent when AAA calumniated Fr. Paul and Mr. Lastimoza (by implication) by alluding to a homosexual relationship at the clergy retreat last year? Is that why you remained silent when AAA lied about Msgr. James’ financial mismanagement? You are all afraid that AAA will censure every single one of you en masse?

      We have stood up for you. Some of us — speaking for myself — have been named, insulted and threatened by Kikos/Kikobots, the militant NCWs, here and on “The Dianas” blog. Do you not think that there are times when we, the laity, are also afraid? But still we fight for our Church. I was taught and I grew up believing that our priests were our leaders. We NEED our clergy — those who are willing to take on the mantle of CHURCH MILITANT as our spiritual leaders — to stand and fight with us.

      Will you follow the courageous example of Fr. Efren Adversario and state YOUR intention to join CCOG? Will you stand and fight with us?

      Our Lady of the Clergy, pray for your priests — especially for your PERSECUTED Non-NCW priests.

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  9. Some can be more public than others . important thing is everyone who knows in their heart that we need change , does what they can, public or behind the scene to heal the community. Different gifts, different talents, being used for the common goal of healing and renewal of this archdiocese.

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  10. My pleasure to work with many in the thick of things, Anon, as I remain. Even during the Holy Seasons we persevere. May we soon be all one in Christ our Newborn King.

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  11. Efren, oh Efren... I've always respected your mind, your heart, your words, your words brother, and your Christian witness brother. This is Jonathan Diaz, a voice crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of The Lord. It is very clear that there are two divisions happening in the Church, as Guam is the micro to the macro, especially in Rome. And it is clear to me that there is strong opposition in Rome that is keeping Apuron in....very clear about this warfare...again, the work of the Devil. However, as a progressive, and as the laity rise, very important ecclesiology is the Church that is built from the bottom up. Thomists in Rome like the Pope on Top and the people at the bottom. Because we are under the reign of Francis and not Benedict, a Franciscan theological vision is the other way around...the people at the top, women at the top, minorities in the top, those who are different are at the top while the Pope is at the bottom. Go, I wash your feet and even kiss it...go now, make disciples of all the nations and announce my live, go and rebuild my Church. Thank you St. Francis and St. Clare of Assiissi. Let the reign of St. Francis' theology and intellectual tradition transform the Roman Catholic Church into finally THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH! Ut Unum Sint! And it begins now. Humble thyself in the Presence of The Lord Jesus. It is he who commands me and commands it before his return! And I hope Pope Francis makes me a Cardinal to I can go everywhere and give people alms from others. What a great and simple job. It's is like being God's helper, God's hands!!! Be God's hands today and please get Aouron out now and all those responsible for the Church's turmoil. Get them out now please Papa. They are making such a big mess if it all. Father, forgive them. They know what they are doing and doing it on purpose. Even a bigger sin in your eyes. I am sorry Baby Jesus I didn't get to see you today, but I promise to go see you tomorrow in your Sacraments. I will see you though in my mom and dad, my friends and family too, but it hurts not seeing your beautiful face at Eucharist, but I'm doing it because some people are really hurting now, especially now, and I'm doing it for the salvation if your Church, and for you alone. Thank you Baby Jesus for being born today, yesterday, and forever! May your name be praised and mired people believe in you!!! Ta nåe animu! Biba Concerned Catholics of Guam and all over the world!

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    1. Jonathan, I permitted your comment, but to posit that we did not have the fullness of the faith under Benedict or any previous pope is to deny the essence of Christ's promise that he would be with us till the end of the age and casts you in the same vein as Kiko who believes that the fullness will be manifested once his neo kingdom is established. In fact Kiko has made the same argument using Francis vs Benedict. Let's not do that.

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  12. John C. "Typhoon Toves"December 26, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    Father Efren, your elloquence and heart blaze beautifully!

    Your friend,
    John

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  13. By openly stating that he, too, has joined the group, Concerned Catholics of Guam, Fr. Efren has thrown down his gauntlet in front of Apuron, challenging Apuron to do to Fr. Efren what Apuron has done to Deacon Steve Martinez.

    Will the Bully, Apuron, pick up the gauntlet? Or will he go the way bullies go when someone stands up to them -- that is, slink away with his tail between his legs, exposing the yellow streak on his back?

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  14. I smell another letter of censure coming down. Thank you Fr. Efren for your courage and for inspiring others to take on the same task (public or private). Items pending from Archbishop Anthony and his cohorts: lawsuit, explanations, censure for the rest of the members of CCOG, apologies, response to Mr. Joseph Rivera...I thought the Advent Season, a season of waiting and anticipation was over? LOL. I forgot Archbishop Apuron uses a very different liturgical calendar.

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  15. Wow, that took guts! Go, Fr. Efren

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  16. Thank you for standing up for what is right. God Bless you Father Efren.

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  17. Thank you for your support and courage to be solders for Christ and for the preservation of our catholic church here on Guam. I truly hope that you will be able to continue to sever all the faithful.

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  18. Marilu Diaz MartinezDecember 27, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    When one courageously takes a leap of faith and risks the consequences linked to taking a stance for the truth in our Archdiocese, you know it is the Holy Spirit behind the decision.

    For your confidence and support of Concerned Catholics -- enough to join the group and its efforts -- Thank you, Fr. Efren!

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  19. So many are suffering because of the administration. We pray that peace will be restored to our Island nation.

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  20. Thank you Father Efren. Your courage is an inspiration to all of us. My hope is that more concerned Catholics will step up, especially during the "investigation". God bless you and we will continue the fight.

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