I received and posted Lester's letter after I had already posted about the Neo-Easter Vigil baptism controversy. So in light of Lester's letter and the mess he and his family had to go through to track down a copy of their child's proof of baptism, it would be good for us to review a few things.
Not that the Archbishop, the Vicar General or the Kiko's (the militant neo's) will care, but it will be instructive for the rest of us and maybe even provide a warning to other neo-parents who are in a similar situation to Lester's.
As we know, the Sacrament of Baptism is serious business. It is the entry into the Church and upon proof of it all other Sacraments depend. Thus the Church goes through great pains to insure that the Sacrament is administered validly and that proof of its administration is beyond reproach.
Can. 877 §1. The pastor of the place where the baptism is celebrated must carefully and without any delay record in the baptismal register the names of the baptized, with mention made of the minister, parents, sponsors, witnesses, if any, the place and date of the conferral of the baptism, and the date and place of birth.
Can. 878 If the baptism was not administered by the pastor or in his presence, the minister of baptism, whoever it is, must inform the pastor of the parish in which it was administered of the conferral of the baptism, so that he records the baptism according to the norm of ⇒ can. 877, §1.
This is also why Church law requires the Sacrament to be administered in a church:
Can. 857 §1. Apart from a case of necessity, the proper place of baptism is a church or oratory.
In fact, our own archdiocese further mandates that it be so:
Outside the case of necessity, it is not lawful for one to confer the sacrament outside of his own parish without the proper permission. - III. A. The Sacrament of Baptism, Handbook of Faculties - Archdiocese of Agana, Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, December 22, 2006
So let's review Lester's case in light of these statutes:
In order for Lester to have his baby baptized outside a church or oratory, he would have had to get special permission from the bishop. Lester's baby was baptized in the Bishop Baumgartner school gym. He did not get special permission from the bishop because he was not told to by his catechist.
In order for Lester to have his baby baptized outside his parish - as per Archbishop Apuron's own statute - Lester would have had to get "proper permission" from the bishop. Lester's parish is Agana and the baby was baptized in Sinajana. Lester did not get "proper permission" from the bishop because he was not told to by his catechist.
(Do you see what happens when the catechist replaces the pastor as is what happens in the NCW?)
According to Lester, Msgr. David C. Quitugua (the Vicar General) was the priest who performed the baptism. In order for Msgr. David C. Quitugua to perform the baptism outside a church and outside the parish of the parents, Msgr. David C. Quitugua was required to examine the permissions granted by the bishop to do both before he could proceed with the baptism.
He did not.
He did not because there were no permissions. And there were no permissions because there was no request for those permissions. And there was no requests for those permissions because the parents were the ones who were required to request those permissions. And the parents were not required to request those permissions because the Neocatechumenal Way makes up their own rules. And the Neocatechumenal Way makes its own rules because it is a different church.
Having failed in his duty both as the presiding priest and more so as the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Agana (the guardian of church law) to secure copies of the required permissions, Msgr. David C. Quitugua then failed to have the baptism properly recorded as per Can. 878 which required him to notify the "pastor of the parish in which it was administered of the conferral of the baptism, so that he records the baptism according to the norm of ⇒ can. 877, §1."
We know he did not notify the pastor of the Sinajana parish (St. Jude's) because of the following:
- When Lester asked the chancery for a copy of the Baptismal certificate, he was "told that they have no documents of a baptism held on Easter Vigil."
- For the chancery not to have a copy, there are only two possibilities: either St. Jude's parish never sent a copy to the chancery (as required) or the baptism was never recorded at St. Jude's because the pastor was never notified of the baptism (as required).
- We know that the reason was the latter because when the chancery finally produced (manufactured) the baptismal certificate, the place of the baptism is noted as Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica and not St. Jude's in Sinajana where the baptism actually took place.
- This means that the chancery completely made it up.
And then here's the real kicker. The baptismal certificate signed by the Vicar General says:
"As appears from the Baptismal Registry of the Chancery Office."
The chancery had already told Lester that "they have no documents" of the baptism of his son. In other words there were NO documents in the "Baptismal Registry of the Chancery Office". So the copy was manufactured and the statement is a lie.
How would you like that? An outright LIE enshrined forever on your child's baptismal certificate.
But of course to the Archbishop and the Vicar General and the Kiko's, these aren't lies, these aren't violations. As far as they are concerned they are in full compliance to Kiko Arguello and that is all that matters.
Unfortunately for Lester and his family, and for the rest of us as well, this sad obedience to Kiko and disregard for church norms, especially in the matter of parish record-keeping of the sacraments, could have life-long consequences.
Learn more about that here.