Call me Junior.
Really. I want to make sure the Lutherans-who-call-themselves-Catholics across the hall get the name right.
This is my first post, so I decided to state clearly what my intention is here, now, and in the future. After some brief experience at the NeoCat blogs and their need for monosyllabic soundbites to grasp more than Kiko song lyrics, allow me the few minutes to make everything perfectly clear: Junglewatch is not defunct and never was going to be. It is now the next crop of wheat that will spread the truth of Christ Jesus, further and further, every day, despite these weeds that would choke the life out those who proclaim the Faith.
Down to business. My dear Archbishop Hon; In his masterwork The Republic, Plato has Socrates investigating the nature of justice, and he does this in long conversation with two brothers. Glaucon is the spirited brother—the one who is a man of action, of energy, of nature’s desire for what is good. His brother Adeimantus, the other interlocutor, is the more reserved, more cautious, what might be called the more sensible of the two. Adeimantus is also the more inclined to monetary concerns and creature comforts, to not being willing to pursue virtue if it costs any discomfort.
My point is that I’m not Glaucon, I’m sorry to say. Most of my life I’ve been Adeimantus, but it wasn’t until recently that I understood the implications. I have always worked for peace and reconciliation, and I’ve always highly valued courtesy and compassion. But if I’m honest, that’s a cop-out. I was just being non-confrontational. Even this week on a Neo blog, I was accused of double talk just because I didn't state the obvious. Clearly, no one needs gentility. The spirited man is needed. So there it is. I didn’t want to make waves for myself, nor for my family on Guam in particular, especially now (both my Neo family and traditional). I just wanted a happy Catholic life in my island paradise. But the Catholic life has a price, and now is the time to pay up.
So, after quite a long displacement, now Justice has come looking for her place in our midst. The time is upon us, indeed already here. We—all of us—have a serious problem. We know it, Tim knows it, Diana and the Roman Curia know it, Pope Francis knows it, and you can be sure Kiko Arguello knows it. Our serious problem has to do with a particular man and a particular act that has risen to prominence above all others in drawing our outrage. No, not that one…wait for it…
Now we all know that when any of us sins, then if he goes to Confession and performs the prescribed penance, he is forgiven and reconciled to Christ through His Church. Even more, the Church grants us plenary and partial indulgences whereby the temporal punishment of sin is wiped away.
It’s not popular to say, but I actually do believe that if Archbishop Apuron did what he is accused of, then he long ago confessed it and performed whatever the prescribed penance was, mostly likely to his community. If he did do it, I’m sure he is sorrowful about it. Charity requires me to extend that, and so I really don’t doubt it.
But your Excellency, there is a bit of a hiccup. Some sins have such an impact and make such a heinous mark that the real-world effects can never be undone on the victim, and especially on the perpetrator himself. It has nothing to do with forgiveness; it’s a matter of cause and effect. In canon law, some of these are called irregularities (in this case, 1042)
For example, if a man assists a woman in having an abortion, he cannot be ordained. Ever. Likewise if he attempts suicide. Likewise if he has a history of serious mental illness. And so on. Plain and simple: he is not fit. HE IS NOT FIT! He can appeal to Rome to have his irregularity lifted, but that’s a case by case thing. Otherwise, the man is simply not fit for orders.
Remember now: this isn’t harshness on my part; it’s canon law. And it’s a good law because Holy Orders is so high a vocation, so special, so necessary for salvation for the rest of us, that if the best men possible don’t come forward, then at least these others who AREN’T FIT will be prohibited. I'm certainly not fit to be a priest. If ever anyone was conscious of not being worthy, it's me.
So here’s the problem (and the end of the example of 1042): Archbishop Apuron has committed at least one offence that is so morally objectionable that it requires he never, ever hold active office again, regardless of contrition or confession (we'll just go ahead and let Apuron's soul-killing "scarlet fever" go--at this point, it's small potatoes).
First, he stands accused of sexual abuse and rape by four named victims (there are credible indications from chancery source that there are more). If this is true, no one denies that Apuron is unfit to be bishop. If there is not enough evidence, then he is clear of such a cloud, and I for one will be most grateful for that for all our sakes.
Second is the kick in the head that leaves even me speechless still: even if the evidence does not support the credibility of such a charge, Apuron and those serving in his name and with his consent went much, much further in committing an intrinsically evil act.
I’m not even personally concerned that he denied the charges and basically called the claimants liars.
What I’m far more concerned with is the charge that any accusation against him is calumnious and malicious and meant to destroy the Catholic Faith itself. Some readers don't live here, so I'll be clear: By doing this, on Guam, Apuron assured with the stroke of a pen that any and all accusers would be held up to ridicule, scorn, and derision. Any defenders of the accusers would receive the same. Apuron made the chance for any healing of any kind vanish in the wind, and he made sure to crucify all who dared stand up. That's like standing up in a Baptist church and declaring yourself an evolutionist atheist. So long friends. So long family. If you're not careful, so long job. Then, it's so long house. Never ever speak up, I guess.
And in his staggering hubris, Apuron said again and again that he would not only sue the accusers (and Tim Rohr and others) personally, but he also threatened canonical action against them all for daring question God’s anointed whom the Pope himself had elevated.
For a faithful Catholic, there is no worse threat that can be made than this. That’s it. By implication, it’s excommunication, but even an interdict would be devastating. Not even the abortion promoting, gay-marriage supporting politicians have never received threats like these in the public forum on Guam (in fact, the abortion-loving Lou Leon Guerrero at Bank of Guam gets Apuron's full financial attention). If that’s not what Apuron meant by his threats, then why not be clear? What else are the laity to think, faithful souls of the Church that they are? Frs Adrian and Edivaldo certainly didn't do anything to dissuade anyone of that assumption. So I'll take it at face value. Apuron’s threats were designed to intimidate all of us and ensure that no other victims would come forward. It’s abuse of power piled onto abuse piled onto abuse. And it worked. No more accusers. No way they’ll come out now. Everyone seemed intimidated.
But not everyone was intimidated. I wasn’t intimidated. Not me. Why should I be? I wasn’t out there with Tim, Deacon Steve, or the victims, or the CCOG through all that prohibition that you, your Excellency, didn’t lift until you absolutely had to. That’s why I wasn't intimidated. I still remained quiet, at home, watching from the sidelines like the vast majority of faithful Catholics. Why say anything when all hell will be unleashed at Apuron’s return? His threats through Edivaldo and Adrian silenced everyone. Why speak up when you are called Protestants, Satanic, even terrorists, by the Neo blogs on Guam? Why speak when no one believes you? Why speak when every indication is that the Roman Curia will once again cover everything up like that always do? Why speak when priests from the pulpit accuse YOU of creating scandal about the gentle, hunble archbishop. Poor souls who were victimized won’t speak now. Poor souls who know what has been going on for decades won’t speak now. They live in genuine fear. Richelieu would admire such venom.
You know them by their fruits, the Lord said. A corrupt local hierarchy kept afloat by a river of money and sheltered by a canopy of greed. Kiko is secure. Apuron in his 24/7 coccoon. And all were intimidated.
Except for Junglewatch. Who knew THAT would happen? I thank Jesus for Tim Rohr and everyone else who stood up when I didn’t. And Tim and the others have steadily become even more vilified in certain parishes more than any criminal ever was. So now we rise up in his place. At last. I’m late to the party. I ask your forgiveness, JUNGLEWATCH NATION, and yours, Archbishop Hon. I neglected justice and may well be judged for it. But no longer. Now on with the work at hand.
Your Excellency, even now, in payment for our stand for the most defenseless in Christ, we are labeled everything from lost sheep to schismatics to Protestants to possessed of the evil one (and don’t forget terrorists). And these labels come almost completely from the Neocatecumenal Way and the clergy who direct them on Guam. The best that the others can say is that it’s a shame about all this fighting. The problem is that’s like hearing a man beating his wife across the street and saying how rude the beater is for interrupting Wheel of Fortune.
(Wives should accept being beaten to death because it's God's will? Really, Kiko? Brudda, you and I really need to have a come to Jesus talk. If we don't, you and Jesus are going to have that talk, and I'm not thinking that's going to be a boat-drinks conversation.)
Archbishop Hon, please understand the root of the problem here: like all fights with Protestants, this is our fight in defense of Catholic ecclesiology and the Eucharist from which it flows. This isn’t knee-jerk reaction; reactionary Catholics are so ultramontanist that they’d put the rest to shame. We don't want a coup or a new regime structure. We want an end to the injustice. To be precise, we want a holy bishop for all of us, Neocatechumenal Way and us, together.
As it is, the bad catechesis is such that the bloggers for the Neocatechumenal Way and their presbyters insist on absolute blind obedience to the bishop; our disagreement over how blind one should be (as in “not”) equates to blasphemy against Christ and personal wounding of the Pope. Even you, your Excellency, commanded the clergy on Guam to sit down and shut up and do what your bishop says, period.
After that, once the accusers came forward, YOUR VERY WORDS, Sir, were used against us to be silent and let the wounded suffer in the sake of episcopal privilege, in the name of the Holy Father. Not just by the Chancery, but by the power brokers you left in power. It may have been unintentional, Sir, but part of the blame for the other victims not coming forward is on you!
And it didn't matter to anyone months ago what injustice and corruption reigns in Guam’s Chancery. No one cared. Why, just another rock in the Pacific that cranks out presbyters from RMS at no cost to anyone but the good people of Guam—but not for Guam. The Great Chamorro Catholic Giveaway. But all this corruption and falsehood and heresy matters to us. And now that we are past the breaking point, all of you in Rome and elsewhere sound surprised and plead for more acquiescence.
Hear this well, your Grace: THIS is our daily walk with Christ: this is our persecution. When the Lord warns of persecution, the first thing He says is "beware of false prophets." Well, we do, but then we are punished? The average Neo Cat Catholic on the street knows only what they’ve been told by catechists, and the best to be hoped for (they are told) is we are lost sheep, schismatics, etc. They say we hate the archbishop. They say we will do anything to get rid of the man. That they, who have the full support of Kiko Arguello, the Ordinary, the Chancery, and the clergy from RMS, are the ones persecuted at the hands of a small, petty corrupt core of malcontents.
Our reasons? They say it’s money. It’s always about money. But their cynicism illustrates what all cynicism illustrates: that a cynic cannot fathom that a person would do something for a motive that is pure in its pursuit of the good.
We don’t seek money. We don’t seek fame. We seek justice. And our experience of archbishops on Guam, before and now, is one of condescension and patronization.
And this boldness of ours isn’t disrespect; it’s confidence in the power of Christ in Holy Mother Church. Though you give me little reason to do so, I don’t doubt your integrity, Archbishop Hon.. I am in fact DEPENDING on it.
Excellency, Our Holy Father Francis has preached throughout the year about mercy, mercy, mercy! oftentimes with a lack of clarity that unsettles both liberal and conservative. But what is mercy but concern, even priority, for those who are most helpless, the most vulnerable? The lost and forsaken? And who are most helpless in the world today but children, who are preyed upon by all manner of vice, impurity, and those who profit by it. Hasn't the Pope said that children and their abuse are th first justice priority, particularly abuse in the Church? They are sold as slaves in some places, but in the Church on Guam they are simply potential grist for the presbyter mill—without formation, without wisdom, without direction, and in some cases, without vocation itself. And this is yet another great injustice that swells in our midst.
For a bishop—archbishop, rather, as he has always demanded to be called, like Archbishop Cranmer here, who was the real architect of the English "Reformation," 'cause that's what good bishops do, I guess—to insist on the choicest portions and then take liberties not just with youth but with their damaged adult souls is not only scandalous, it is abominable. In one case, it is literally a crime that cries out to God for vengeance. Precisely because he IS a bishop and a descendant of the Apostles. THAT, your Excellency, is why we must stay the course with the faith and true charity that flows from the wounds of Christ. And even if he is not found guilty of that crime against nature, then his contempt for his own accountability to Christ and His vicar on earth surely warrants swift justice.
SO THIS IS MY STATEMENT OF INTENT, Archbishop Hon, and with humility, I say:
now that the work is begun, those of the JUNGLEWATCH NATION—in the desire to be completely faithful to Holy Mother Church according to the direction of the Tradition and the Supreme Pontiff who is tasked with protecting it—in this desire, we will continue to watch, to be vigilant, and wait for you to bring about the justice that Christ, His Church, the Tradition, Natural Law, and common decency require in a reasonable time frame. This is not a threat. It's a simple fact. I don’t believe you aren’t a fool, for you have navigated the Curia to the position you now hold; I can only assume that you are well aware therefore of the profound corruption in our Chancery and the mockery of formation that is the Guam RMS. Therefore, we all pray you must be preparing the way for a major cleansing of the Church on Guam.
If you’re not doing this, your Grace, you should never doubt (as the Neo aficionados do) that we will seek to do what your timidity, insensibility, or (God help us) injustice will not. We will do whatever Justice in the sight of God requires, for justice is never opposed to mercy nor prudence nor temperance nor fortitude. But Justice is—and by definition must be—opposed to the subjugation of the People of God by their very own pastors for the pastors’ profit, self-glorification, or career advancement, against the very Gospel. It is not a human justice for human ends. It is the basic justice that children and the poor and the scarred not be harmed by others out of envy, malice, or delight in suffering. And anyone who does not understand this has no business calling himself a person of good will, much less any sort of Christian.
If we do not act—if I do not act—then what will I say to my blessed Lord Jesus at the Judgment when He asks me from His glorious loving Heart, “My son, why did you do nothing when you KNEW my little ones were suffering? I led your there, and gave you a guide to show you how. Why did you do nothing?”
What would I say? Nothing, for who can answer the Lord. But what terrifies me the most is that if I do nothing, He will say, “Be gone, you wicked and useless servant.”
I for one want only to hear Christ our God say in His tender voice, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into your Master’s joy.” And that is that.
In sum, your Excellency, we are not schismatics. We are the true sons and daughters of Holy Mother Church, and we are faithful to the end. We are the sons and daughters of Sts Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor, of St Catherine of Siena and St Bridget of Sweden, of St John Fisher and St Thomas More. To bow to this man who corrupts everything around him in the name of his vanity and then demands we acquiesce to his corruption in order to maintain a sense of serenity, is a slap in the face of the great courage of the saints whom we aspire to emulate. To relent is immoral in the highest degree. Your Excellency, it is madness. We need you to protect our Church with strength, not platitudes and good will speeches of how everything will blow over.
Like John Fisher and the others, when bishops are dead-wrong, we are obliged by the love of Christ to correct in charity and, if necessary, resist for the sake of Christ. Rather than hate or dismiss it, that in fact means we recognize the need for the hierarchy. We recognize your authority over us, Archbishop Hon. That’s exactly whey we demand so much from you. So quit milling about and help us to have a holy bishop who loves Christ and his little ones more than his pretty scarlet-trimmed white vestments that Apuron even wears when he’s holding court at Tony Roma’s.
No, we are not schismatics. If the Holy Father were to personally command each of us to bow to Apruon and his cadre of cultish polluters of the Tradition, I would obey (for otherwise I would be in schism). As it is, he hasn’t, and I seriously doubt he ever would, for then the Bishop of Rome would have taken the millstone and hung it around his own neck. When word of this got out, the world press would see to that the Holy Father’s credibility would be annihilated in a way that airplane interviews could never repair; no apologizing to gays or victims or for global warming will undo that damage. Therefore let justice be done upon not just Apuron but Msgr Quitugua and Fr Cristobal, for the healing cannot begin until the cancer is cut out that robs the body of its life. Remove them (with their dignity in mind, of course, and let us get on with living life in Christ instead of being a neo-Lutheran experiment in a controlled environment.
We remain, with our daily masses, rosaries, scapulars, monthly (if not weekly) confessions, and demand for faithfulness of our hierarchy to the Gospel, your faithful servants in Christ.
As for me, I sign myself, as your obedient servant in Christ,
Glaucon Jr (confirmed Augustine) Aristos
PS. I think that went pretty well, don’t you?