Timothy J. Rohr
P.O. Box 9001
Agat, GU 96928
June 14, 2016
His Holiness, Pope Francis
00120 Vatican City
RE: REJECTION OF DECREE NAMING CONCERNED CATHOLICS OF GUAM A PROHIBITED SOCIETY
In behalf of the organization known as the CONCERNED CATHOLICS OF GUAM, hereafter referred to as “CCOG,” I, Timothy J. Rohr, a “concerned Catholic” living on the Pacific island of Guam, and a member of the Catholic Faithful of the Archdiocese of Agana, am submitting the following letter REJECTING the DECREE issued by the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Agana, Guam on June 5, 2016.
In addition, I am advising Your Holiness that the CCOG intends to pursue all available canonical and legal remedies against this Ordinary for the accusation of FRAUD set forth in the subject DECREE.
The DECREE accuses the CCOG of: Assuming the name and usage of the term “Catholic” without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority, as required by law (c. 300).
The Concerned Catholics of Guam did NOT assume the name and usage of the term “Catholic.” The Concerned Catholics of Guam refer to themselves as “Catholics” because that is what we are and as such we require no “consent of competent ecclesiastical authority” to refer to ourselves as such.
The DECREE accuses the CCOG of: Actively promoting opposition, both ad hoc and organized, public and private, to legitimate acts of ecclesiastical governance placed by the Ordinary or those acting in his name (c. 1373).
The Concerned Catholics of Guam have promoted opposition, both ad hoc and organized, public and private, to demonstrable the ILLEGITIMATE acts of ecclesiastical governance by this Ordinary, namely:
- The illegitimate removal of the pastor of Santa Barbara parish in violation of the provisions in Church law for the removal of pastors.
- The illegitimate public maligning of the former rector of the Cathedral and Director of Catholic Cemeteries in violation of his rights to due process in Church law.
- The illegitimate conveyance of title in fee simple of a major archdiocesan asset without the approvals required by Church law for the alienation of property.
- The illegitimate forcing of men desirous of the diocesan priesthood into a House of formation constituted specifically and only “to prepare men for the priesthood…following the life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way” (Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Guam, Article III, Articles of Incorporation).
The DECREE accuses the CCOG of: Instigating manifest and public opposition to the Ordinary, with whom they are obliged to preserve communion (c. 209).
The Catholic faithful are NOT obliged to preserve communion with an Ordinary who has violated the trust of the Catholic faithful not just by what is enumerated supra, but by his public threats to take legal action against those who have accused him of sexual molestation rather than provide the duty of care already expressly asked for and required by the Church.
The DECREE accuses the CCOG of: Soliciting and disseminating fraudulent or otherwise malicious allegations against the person of the Ordinary (c. 220).
The accusation of “fraud” against our organization is a serious one which we can and may require this Ordinary to prove in a court of law.
The DECREE states: AND WHEREAS Membership, promotion, or direction of such a society is manifestly detrimental to the communion of the faithful in this archdiocese, the good of souls, and to ecclesiastical discipline.
The Catholic faithful of this archdiocese must BREAK with “ecclesiastical discipline” when said “discipline” requires us to be silent about the abuses of authority set forth supra, especially the threats by this Ordinary to demand that we remain silent about the allegations of sexual abuse against him personally.
The DECREE states: AND WHEREAS It is proper to the office of the Ordinary, as the competent ecclesiastical authority, that this above cited canon be applied to such societies within the territory as seems prudent and necessary to the Ordinary, by means of particular law.
It must be noted here, that the subject DECREE was issued one day before Your Holiness found this Ordinary to be an INCOMPETENT “ecclesiastical authority” and replaced him with an Apostolic Administrator.
The DECREE states: BE IT THEREFORE KNOWN, EX DECRETUM GENERALIUM, The group calling itself Concerned Catholics of Guam is, hereby, established as a prohibited society under the particular law of this archdiocese.
WHEREAS this Ordinary has violated the canonical prescripts for the removal of pastors in his removal of Fr. Paul Gofigan, the pastor of Santa Barbara parish; and
WHEREAS this Ordinary has violated the right to due process under Church law for Msgr. James Benavente, the former rector of the Agana Cathedral and Director of Catholic Cemeteries, repeatedly seeking his public humiliation; and
WHEREAS this Ordinary significantly harmed the patrimony of the Archdiocese of Agana by alienating a major archdiocesan asset without the canonically required consent of the archdiocesan finance council or the Holy See; and
WHEREAS, this Ordinary hid this action from the archdiocesan finance council and the college of consultors; and
WHEREAS this Ordinary - through his Vicar General, Msgr. David C. Quitugua - accused members of said finance council of a VULNUS against himself for daring to perform their canonical duties; and
WHEREAS this Ordinary terminated the objecting members of said finance council en masse; for not consenting to the alienation of the subject property; and
WHEREAS this Ordinary has forced men desirous of the diocesan priesthood into a House of formation constituted specifically and only “to prepare men for the priesthood…following the life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way,” (and if they don’t comply they are refused sponsorship to any seminary); and
WHEREAS this Ordinary has accused the CONCERNED CATHOLICS OF GUAM of FRAUD; and
WHEREAS this Ordinary has publicly threatened legal action against certain persons identifying themselves (and/or their children) as victims of sexual molestation by the same Ordinary; and
WHEREAS this Ordinary has violated his own archdiocesan sex abuse policy mandating a duty of care to persons claiming to have suffered sex abuse at the hands of clergy, namely the Ordinary, himself; and
WHEREAS this Ordinary has threatened all Catholics of this archdiocese with legal action should they publicly join their voices in support of those persons accusing this Ordinary of the sexual molestation of minors; and
WHEREAS the CCOG and its supporters are willing and able to demonstrate in a court of law if necessary that this Ordinary has abused his authority and the people in his care in a multitude of ways, and especially all that has been set forth supra:
BE IT THEREFORE KNOWN by Your Holiness, by the entire Holy See, and specifically by whatever competent canonical authority which oversees, has responsibility for, governs, pastors, or in any way has a duty of care for the salvation of souls in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agana:
The CONCERNED CATHOLICS OF GUAM firmly, unequivocally, and categorically REJECT this EX DECRETUM GENERALIUM, and:
- Require FORTHWITH the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana to publicly RESCIND the subject DECREE, and
- Require FORTHWITH a public apology from its signers: The Most Rev. Anthony Sablan Apuron, OFM Cap., D.D., Archbishop of Agana and Rev. Adrian Cristobal, Chancellor
CONSEQUENTLY, failure to do so will require the CONCERNED CATHOLICS OF GUAM to pursue both canonical and civil remedies.
/s/ Timothy J. Rohr
Concerned Catholic of Guam
General Decree of the Ordinary Concerning the Group So-Called “Concerned Catholics of Guam” For the People in and of the Archdiocese of Agana In the Territory of Guam, Prot. N. 2016-028 (link)
Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, S.D.B., Apostolic Administrator of Agaña, Guam
Archbishop Martin Krebs, Apostolic Nuncio to Guam and Oceania
Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., Cardinal, Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops
Fernando Filoni, Cardinal, Prefect for The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
Gregory D. Perez, Concerned Catholics of Guam, President
Local Guam Media
Grace Garces Bordallo, Associated Press
FULL PDF COPY OF THIS LETTER
Church reviews Apuron's ban on 'prohibited society'