Continued from Part 1
I want to go back in and fill in the Msgr. James incident a bit because in hindsight, it really was the catalyst that created the avalanche against Apuron. Up till the Msgr. James thing, not even the horrible treatment of Fr. Paul appeared to shake the laity into doing anything other than expressing their outrage anonymously on this blog.
I knew that to move forward on any real change Rome would need to see people in the streets. I refused to call for such action because 1) it had to be truly grass roots, it had to come from the people, and 2) I did not have confidence that public action could be sustained beyond a few weeks and I knew this might have to go on for years.
However, once again, I was saved by the enemy. First there was The Diana, whose idiocy kept things alive, and then there was the absolute fools on the hill. Before I explain what they did, let me name them: Apuron, David, Adrian, and Pius (then later Eddy the Waldo - and "the trained lawyer").
It had been quite obvious to me for a very long while that Apuron was brainless - a mere shell of a man, truly an "emperor with no clothes." In 2009-2010, when I was able to get up close and personal with him and the inner workings of the chancery, I was horrified at what I saw.
I got to get up close and personal not because of any favor Apuron and his people were doing for me, but because what I was doing for them. I was the attack dog they were sending out to do battle in the public square with BJ Cruz, first over his same-sex bill and then the statute of limitations bills.
In meetings at the chancery, Apuron might as well have had a stick holding him up. He seemed permanently out to lunch - in a daze as to what was happening and simply waiting for somebody to tell him what to do.
The breaking point came for me when I exploded at a meeting after an absolutely stupid move. It was after a meeting with some members of the legislature at the Hilton. In fact, it was I who had recommended the meeting. At the time I had thought that instead of this sound byte war in the press over the same-sex union legislation, have a sit down with BJ and the boys and talk like grown ups.
My concern was not for Apuron but for the Catholic Faith. The press was ripping the Church apart for being anti-gay and the response from Apuron thus far had only exacerbated things. I say "response from Apuron," because those "responses" were sent out in his name, but there was actually no response from Apuron. Apuron is not capable of a response - or even a homily for that matter.
As most know, his homilies are usually canned. A couple of times when I could tell he was just reading something I googled a particular phrase and the homily would come up on the internet. Most people already know this. Listening to an Apuron homily is like listening to a machine. Of course at the time I did not know why he was so hollow. But back to the story.
All of Apuron's speeches, statements, etc. engaging the same-sex legislation were ghost written by Fr. Francis Walsh over at RMS. And for this event at the Hilton he had written one that was to become famous. Apuron probably never read it. But I did. Walsh had let me review it. I had thought he was going to submit it as an opinion piece with his own name. I could see that it was incendiary, but that was his business.
Unfortunately he made it our business. His "paper" was printed on Apuron's letterhead, and was passed out to all the members of the legislature at the meeting at the Hilton. And upon reading it, the meeting immediately imploded. Apuron was caught on camera running down the hall away from reporters. Until recently the mere googling of the word "Apuron" would quickly lead you to that infamous letter, but of course recent events have obscured it. Wikipedia still references it:
Up to this point (about October 2009), for several weeks I had been slogging through the town halls, the press, the radio, TV, speaking in schools, etc., at great cost to myself and my family, not in defense of Apuron, but trying to distinguish between what Apuron was "saying" and what the Church actually taught.
I was also having to war against the image of the Church presented by Deacon Frank Tenorio, who would stand up at the town hall meetings and start screaming and preaching at the presenters. In addition, I was incensed by BJ's trying to pull a fast one by attempting to substitute the original bill with another bill which would have kept his substitute bill from receiving a public hearing, permitting him to sneak something past the people.
After horrible weeks of being maligned in public as a "homophobe" (which is the label attached to anyone who even demands transparency in the matter of same-sex legislation), I eventually prevailed. BJ's substitute bill was NOT germane to the original and had to have its own hearing, a hearing which eventually sunk the bill, not because of any opposition by the Catholic Church or even me, but because it prompted a letter from the Retirement Board to the Legislature, a letter sent 6 months before it finally became known.
For months I had been urging the media to ask about the effect of the same-sex legislation on the Retirement Fund. I knew that most people did not really care about the moral dimension of the bill, but they would certainly care about its financial dimension, especially if it impacted their retirement. I was right.
I still remember the moment when then-K57 talk show host Ray Gibson got Mr. Joe T S.A. on the radio and he said that he had sent a letter six months ago to the legislature saying that BJ's legislation could potentially break the retirement fund. The problem was that should the bill pass it would create a whole new class of GovGuam dependents for which the retirement fund had no data.
Sorry Mr. Joe T if I'm not paraphrasing this correctly, but that was the upshot of it. BJ got on the air with Joe T and an argument ensued. Joe T did not back down and the next day BJ withdrew his bill saying he didn't have enough votes.
Sorry for that long diversion, but it's important for me to share. I want readers to know how much Apuron's lack of brains cost me and how far I was willing to go to protect him. At the time, only 6 states had passed similar legislation. Had Guam passed it, being mostly a Catholic population, Apuron would have stood out like a sore thumb to Rome.
Little did I know that I should have just let it happen. But I really wasn't trying to save Apuron. Apuron was presenting Walsh's letters as if they were his own, and Walsh's letters were long on his own views and short on actual Catholic teaching, endangering the Church in the public view and pushing people, who might have otherwise not cared about the issue, to support the bill just to oppose what looked like a very hostile Church - when really it was only a neocat agenda.
At these meetings I kept saying over and over and over to JUST PRESENT WHAT THE CHURCH ACTUALLY SAYS! I couldn't believe I was having to tell a bishop and a room full of priests and theology professors to say this, but I was. And still, time after time after time, they IGNORED Church teaching and presented their own.
So here's my purpose for telling you all this. I saw up close and personal back in 2010 that Apuron was a brainless puppet, surrounded by an ever growing and more aggressive group of neocat presbyters, namely led by Fr. Pius (aka The Stinking Monk). Having watched this infiltration of the neo's into the administration of our diocese since as early as 2004, I clearly saw the danger by 2010 and knew it was only a matter of time before something really bad happened.
The last straw for me was during SNAP's visit to Guam in 2010. Still seen as a willing attack dog, I was called into a meeting at the chancery and was asked if I would go to the media and read a statement designed to get rid of SNAP. I read the statement, then looked at the group assembled in the conference room and asked: "Why are we doing this? Let's call their bluff. What do we have to hide?"
By "calling their bluff" I meant let's invite them in to the chancery. Let them look at the records. We had nothing to hide, right? WRONG. The tone of the meeting immediately changed and questions started to be asked: "What about....?" And what about...?", etc. I left the meeting and left any involvement with the chancery. I was not about to lie for this archbishop.
Still I kept it to myself until July 16, 2013 when the Fr. Paul thing exploded into view. I wasn't angry that Fr. Paul was removed as pastor from Santa Barbara. I had no connection with Fr. Paul or Santa Barbara. I was angry because of what I had seen coming for ten years, and had even warned about: the neocats had finally assembled what they thought was enough force for a complete take over of the diocese, and the first order of business was to get rid of Fr. Paul and then Msgr. James - the two most like to succeed Apuron.