It is NOT an internal matter. Another lie. The canon (church law) used to threaten Deacon Steve Martinez with "censure" applies to any Catholic associated with the Concerned Catholics of Guam, not just a cleric. Canon 1374 reads: "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 using this canon to threaten Deacon Martinez, Archbishop Apuron has judged the CCOG to be "an association which plots against the Church", thus "a person", any person who joins this association, in Apuron's view, "is to be punished with a just penalty."
The action against Deacon Martinez is then a public matter for all Catholics. It is obvious that Archbishop Apuron has judged that anyone who differs with him is guilty of "plotting against the church."
Apuron only went after Martinez because he is a cleric and has a certain jurisdiction over his activities because he is ordained. He doesn't have the guts to go after the likes of Greg Perez and Dave Sablan.
And another response to the same story:
This is the same back tracking by Apuron did after he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar after illegally (as per church law) firing Fr. Paul. After he had fired Fr. Paul, locked him out of the parish, forced him to vacate the rectory, replaced him with a parish administrator, and even banished him from the diocese, he later said that he had only "warned" Fr. Paul and that he had the required 15 days to respond.
Apuron had to back track because he got caught violating church laws relative to the procedure for the removal of a pastor. Apuron did not expect to get caught. Apuron does not expect anything except to be blindly obeyed as if he is some feudal lord. This is the kind of bishop that our current Holy Father seems anxious to get rid of. And so are we.
Now he has to backtrack on the Steve Martinez fiasco for the same reason. He did not expect Steve Martinez to stand up to him. He did not expect Steve Martinez to follow the letter of his own letter and accept the censure at the close of business on December 18 as Apuron himself had demanded.
The fact that the necessary paperwork to effect the censure still needed to happen was beside the point. As per Apuron's letter, Steve Martinez was effectively censured as of 4pm on December 18. But because this blew up in the media, Apuron is now calling his letter "only a warning". Had he not ONCE AGAIN been publicly embarrassed by his brazen disregard for church law and his even more brazen mistreatment of human beings, Martinez would have been censured by now.
Of course the other reason for his back track is the surprise visit of the "Tres Reyes" from Rome in a few days and Apuron did not want another mess on his hands. He is simply running out of closets to hide his skeletons.