Monday, August 1, 2016

OPEN LETTER TO PRIESTS ON GUAM

(Posted by Glaucon Jr)

My dear fathers in the Faith,

Coming on the heels of many years of pastoral murkiness and bullying, we the laity see the need for a great renewal in the Church on Guam, and so this letter is written in that spirit of renewal needed by every single one of us.

As our pastors and confessors, you are the men whom God has called to serve in Holy Mother Church to make the sacramental and pastoral life a reality. Without you, it is impossible. Such is the dignity of your vocation.

As the flock entrusted to your care, we count on you to make the sacraments present for us, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. You are revered by us and loved by us, for you truly are “other Christs” and you act in persona Christi.  Because of that relationship--that bond of love between Christ and ourselves-- I must speak to you now. This is in no way a condemnation, but rather an adjuration grounded in and inseparable from your vocation. So it is in the name of these two sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession that I appeal to you in hopes even one of you might hear.



Everything taking place right now on Guam creates a terrible tension: as priests, you are bound to obedience to your bishop, but as priests, you are also bound to your flock whose salvation is in great measure in your hands. When each are whole and incorrupt, these two are not opposed in themselves and never can be, particularly since you operate as priests in service to the bishop. Thus, if such a tension exists, then one of these two marks is clearly dissonant and therefore contrary to peace of Christ.

And  the peace of Christ is precisely what is at issue. Reconciliation is expected, demanded, and desired on Guam. But these expectations, demands, and desires are mere abstractions at this point because of a very real breakdown in the clergy, begun by the bishop but continued by his priests.

How is it that reconciliation has lost its meaning among so many men who offer the very Sacrament of Reconciliation? Even a silly man such as myself sees the five distinctive names of the sacrament in the Catechism: conversion, penance, confession, forgiveness, reconciliation. Yet, how can there be reconciliation without the penance or confession?

And of the necessary requirements of contrition, confession, and satisfaction: where are these being extended to the victims of Apuron and the victims of the threats made by your brother priests in the Chancery and in the name of the Ordinary? Yet, you say you stand on reconciliation. How is this ever possible without these three?

As priests, most would say you need no help from me or any other layman as to the meaning of Reconciliation, the Eucharist, or the other sacraments. That is, however, dangerous on your part to dismiss outright this plainspoken admonition by one loyal and devoted to you. Your collective action, or rather inaction, indicates that so many of you are in dire need of being renewed in the sacramental reality and its subtle yet blinding glory that I may and must myself presume to call you to it rather than the other way around.

I do rejoice as do all the laity that you embraced the vocation of priest to offer sacrifice on behalf of the people to God, and many others and I pray for you often. But like priests of the Old Testament, so many of you have fallen lax in your priesthood. Where scandal does not happen to reign, there we keep seeing ennui and sloth. As Bishop Sheen often said, it is when priests fall away from the Eucharist that they begin to lose their love for the Lord, if not their vocation. 

Please return to the Eucharist, to Adoration—not just to a willingness, but to the desire to be transformed in the Real Presence. More than that, call US back! Lead US back to where the Lord most truly is on earth, and teach us again of faithfulness to our Crucified Lord. With us and for us, recover the strength of the Faith that you once possessed as priests before you faltered. 

This faltering is the only explanation I have for your collective loss of the spirit of prophet-hood—that call to speak the Truth boldly in the Holy Spirit, with a loving fearlessness, with a zeal for Christ that gathers the multitudes to the feet of the Lord. But because of the softness of your spirit and the desire to avoid that which is arduous for the sake of the easy and pleasant (which Aquinas calls moral effeminacy), then laymen such as I must speak out in your stead. 

A poor, sinful man with no claim to any authority should never presume to take it upon himself to shout the Truth from the rooftops, not just FOR the priests and the bishops, but AT the priests and bishops.

I am no prophet, no priest, no teacher. I’m just a man who loves the Lord and His Holy Church. Who am I to preach or teach anyone, much less the clergy?

But you leave us—all of us laity—no choice. Would not the stones themselves bear witness against us for our cowardice, our rejection of the mercy of Christ for those crushed by lust, power, and malice, all for the sake of comfort? Your lack of willingness to engage in works of genuine mercy in the name of protecting the status quo compels us to be bold where you are timid, to be just where you are indifferent, to sob where you shrug your shoulders, to enter the fray where you cower.

You all know that when Christ our God was questioned about eating with sinners, He responded, “Go and learn the meaning of the saying ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”  Some priests assert the sacraments but are detached from those who need them; others are with the people, but have abandoned the sacraments in all but name. Yet, on the whole, our priests seem to have abandoned both, and leave it to the sheep to herd themselves while you stand by, hoping wolves don’t do too much harm.

You present yourself as truly believing that by making peace with the wolves, the flock will be safe. That by reconciling with predators, all may recline at table in peace and security. But that is not the case until the End of the Age. All the rest of this looks to us like being ok with a continuing corruption in the Body of Christ.

No, it is not reconciliation that is being demanded of the laity; it is acquiescence to sin and the requirement to silently bear the corruption of the Faith in the name of the Faith. And that is something that can never ever stand.

Where is your faithfulness, O you priests bought for a price? Didn’t our Lord warn what happens to salt that loses its savor?

You who are called to the highest vocation: you bear the indelible mark of the priesthood in your very person. Then act like it. Show forth the love of Christ. Show the holiness of Christ in all you do. Be the instruments of grace to bring about the conversion of the lukewarm. Yet, if you yourselves are lukewarm, how is such a thing possible?

They say hypocrites say but do not do. Most of you cannot even be called hypocrites since you lack the basic courage even to speak. Therefore, others and I will stand up and speak with that boldness born of the love of Christ until the day comes that you gird your loins, put aside ambitions or comforts or fear or whatever else hobbles you, and renew the fight for the salvation of souls

We do not condemn you, whatever your state of soul. We know the priests on Guam have suffered under the previous ecclesial regime, and many feel brow-beaten. And we are with you because we love you. But because of that love, you will be held accountable from here on out by us who so greatly rely on you for spiritual sustenance, both sacramental and pastoral. If you lose your faith and your courage, what are the rest of us to do?

We will continue to pray for you, and may the faithful laity fast one day per week for you and the renewal of all priests. I wish you all peace in Christ our God.

Your faithful son in Christ,

Glaucon Jr (confirmed Augustine) Aristos







47 comments:

  1. "
    No, it is not reconciliation that is being demanded of the laity; it is acquiescence to sin and the requirement to silently bear the corruption of the Faith in the name of the Faith. And that is something that can never ever stand."

    WOW!

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  2. Thank you, Glaucon Jr, for this very powerful post. I join you in prayer for our priests. May the Lord bless them and give them courage.

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  3. We're truly in a sad state of affairs if none of our priests are inspired by this letter from Glaucon Jr. Thank you Glaucon Jr. for your excellent letter. The Holy Spirit is working within you.

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  4. Father, you cannot make peace with the wolves.

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  5. Yes, indeed totally agree with JR. We must continue to Pray for all our PRIESTS who are caught right in the center of all these problems. All AB Hon have to do is review all documents presented to him by your TRUE CATHOLICS OF GUAM and make you RIGHTS for all that have gone wrong here in GUAM. It is not us TRUE CATHOLICS IN GUAM that created these mess but is it us who are looking, watching and Guarding our DIOCESES of AGANA our MOTHER CHURCH.

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    1. Can't make peace with the wolves . . . Just ask the native Americans.

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  6. Former regime solicited me for sex.
    I am a priest.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Pray and then ask yourself what prevents you from coming forward. I pray for you.

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    2. Dear Glaucon,

      Once again I appreciate your eloquent reflections. We do not feel uplifted when our priests do not speak up against an injustice. I lived in Namibia (southern part of Africa) during the apartheid era when black Africans were oppressed by a white minority-led government. In my three years living there at that time, I met many Catholic missionary priests from Holland, Germany and the USA. I heard only one speak out against the unjust political, social and economic conditions prevailing in Namibia. I was disappointed in those priests, one even an American-born archbishop.

      Our present experience on Guam replicates in some way my experience in Namibia. The silence of the Catholic missionary clergy there opened up a greater opportunity for a lay person such as myself to speak out, even cry out to heaven from earth. (My activism led eventually to my being deported by the white-led, colonial government.)

      The Holy Spirit will not be suppressed, just like a stream obstructed by a fallen boulder, it seeks and finds a path around the hindrance on its way to the sea. Priests may be silent, but the Holy Spirit tries to continue to speak through the laity. No surprise there.

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    3. Dear Lord, man: that is witness indeed! The Church needs for more like you fighting not for social justice for its own sake, but because it is Christ in these most vulnerable ones who are entrusted to our care. The Holy Spirit will bear out all. Pray for me that I grow in far greater humility and fortitude as my own voice grows stronger and more steady. God love you.

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  7. Fr. Come out. You speak the truth? It shall set you free! We are with you.

    I am ANONYMOUS for I am EVERYONE!

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  8. Dear Glaucon Jr,
    This was a great letter. You said it so well. I tried to say this last week and couldn't say it as well as you did and I pretty much have taken some criticism from a variety of people, but at the same time, the majority agreed with me.
    Never misunderstand my respect and love for our Priest. I so believe in the Church and have gone to ordinations even for Neo Priest and pray for continued vocation. But a lot has happened in these many years that the shaded glasses of awe for our Priest, Cardinals, Bishops, etc.... have slipped a lot but not completely off. I still believe in the Church and will always serve her because it is not for the glory of my priest or myself, but for the Glory of God that we serve the Church!

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  9. Mr. Glaucon Jr,
    Thank you for your candid and heartfelt letter. Please know that I get your message and heard what you expressed. Your letter with its tone and tenor is something that I can appreciate and work with. I certainly would be willing to dialogue about the concerns which undoubtedly also resonates with the hopes of the rest of our laity. There is no "collective action or inaction" of the clergy although it is understandable to presume it as such, given the current climate of distrust and anger over unresolved issues. Every clergy member is free to do what he sees fit in a prudent and justifiable way as long as there is moral certitude in these allegations, for example. I heard the compelling testimonies and saw the pain in the hearts of these men, the mother and their families. Our promise of obedience as ordained clergy is neither a shackle to silence nor an excuse to avoid risk when there is preponderance of evidence that evil has occurred.

    I speak for myself in saying that I kept silent in the hope that the Administrator and his team would have resolved the issues expeditiously. Like many, I felt however that a decisive resolution has taken way more time and far less transparency than is tolerable and just. This has led to a distrust in the process and thus the palpable anger that now has been directed at clergy. I neither blame you, nor should I blame you. We have failed you, and that is the bottom line. Yet I humbly ask for your counsel on how we can proceed and move on. We need to dialogue because I cannot imagine having the answers that you clearly can see. I had wished for more collaboration by the Church institution with the laity who can see through our tunnel vision and lack of training in matters clinical, legal and fiscal.

    Again, I can only speak for myself: help me see through my blinders. Let it be on your own terms, not mine. Please ask for my contact number at FDMS to set a time and date for the purpose of an amiable dialogue so we can continue to journey together in faith.

    God bless you.
    Father Efren

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    1. ... and thank you for understanding that I can't spell!

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  10. Dear Father Efren,

    A good, humble, insightful letter, Father. Thank you for your willingness to engage. The tunnel is widening out. God bless you.

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  11. You are welcome, Mr. Guile. The invitation to dialogue is not limited to Mr. Glaucon Jr. Our situation is grave and requires our concerted effort and joint responsibility. It is apparent to me how the previous administration has effectively emasculated many of our local clergy into silent submission which called to question our moral credibility. For years they have expressed numerous concerns which fell on deaf ears while favors were heaped on choice pets. It was a bad situation that rendered them helpless. Many of our clergy remained faithful in the presence of a father who chose to ignore and even betrayed them. I felt this treatment even when away on active duty. One priest even intimated to me the pain of having lost two fathers: one, his natural dad, and two, his spiritual dad. On top of that, he mired his name in the public square!

    It is thanks to you laypeoplem, to whom we minister, who give us the will to continue and who lift us up whatever our weaknesses may be. You have brought friendship and laughter into our lives, and we cherish that you welcomed us as family. Wounded healers we are, yes, and certainly not beyond reproach for we also are works in progress. We are desirous of justice before we can achieve unity. Yet what may seem clear to some, to others may remain oblivious.

    Please continue to ennoble others to maintain pure intentions, and to always find refuge in the sanctifying power of the Holy Eucharist. May we follow St. Peter Julian Eymard as the Universal Church remembers him today for his undying devotion to the sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament. May we find solace, with our eyes locked into Christ's, as we get tossed about in the storms that assail our boat, the Church. Thank you for your strength. We need you.

    "The Church is not a museum of saints but a hospital for sinners." (Morton Kelsey)

    Sincerely,
    Father Efren

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    1. Thank you Father Efren for choosing to be involved and posting your comments here. We are not mind readers, so we have no way of knowing what our priests are thinking and feeling. We pray that you and other courageous priests, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, take a stand and work with the laity through dialogue.
      God bless!

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    2. Dialogue? How about ACTION.

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  12. Michael Voris had this yo say:
    "Great numbers of priests have neglected your souls for their own selfish ends. Many prelates have withheld the truth from you for fear they would lose your respect and your dollars. Many teachers and faculty members who no longer have or never did possess any supernatural faith have laid waste to what little you had. Liturgists have turned the Mass into their own theater of personal preference. The faith and the Church that professes that faith have been reduced in many places to little else than a shrinking social club."

    I am appealing to our priests to help the faithful focus on the Eucharist by eliminating the "pomp and circumstances" practiced by Apuron. There should be no distractions during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is not about the priest, choir, or anyone else. It is not about fellowships either.

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    1. On that very point, you hit on what is crucial for JW writers and readers alike, and we are not alone-this message is getting louder across America. Wednesday morning will hopefully be encouraging.

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  13. Fr. Efren, to use select parts of your letter, I interpret it to say the father who heaped favors on his choice pets and chose to ignore and even betray his faithful should be mired in the public square and then get tossed (ab)out in the storm. And to add to Kelsey, I say "there are sick doctors in the church hospital."

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    1. Do not put words in Father's mouth. No one mired the Archbishop but himself. Guilty of sexual abuse or not, Apuron was the one who threatened canonical action against accusers AGAINST the instruction of Pope Francis and AGAINST any sense of decency and AGAINST plain old common sense. Year of Mercy my ass. It's not only foolish, it's demonic. He had everything and refused to countenance any conversation, much less disagreement. And to think I heard adulations for years on end at processions declaring how humble he was!

      Further, Sick doctors in the church hospital? The only sick doctor in the hospital of Christ is the one not begging for the blessed medicine of Christ Himself in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Or does the disbelief in the Real Presence prevent us from seeing it as the true medicine it is instead of a pious placebo?

      Father points out only his experience as a priest. And unless you are one yourself, I suggest you tuck your forked tongue back into its hole in the ground.

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    2. It's alright, 12:28 PM, it is easy to get misunderstood on this venue of communication which is why I prefer face-to-face conversation. What I meant was that this priest who shared his pain of betrayal was also put out to dry in public. The ruse did not work because he remained faithful to the Church and remained loved by his family and friends. I personally do not advocate shaming anyone in public because as this same priest told me, " every person has a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a child and a whole network of relationships." On a more fundamental yet profound way, we are all God's children. On that account a life of charity and respect behooves each of is not always easy to do.

      Any person who chooses to use his or her freedom to hurt others or inflict pain on the innocent will have to answer to Lady Justice. I pray that the statute of limitations on child sex abuse will be lifted so that Truth will prevail. Any person who commits a crime has forfeited his or her rightful place in a regulated society. No one is above the law, and no one must use a position of authority to do evil. That lesson is clear.

      Yes, I agree there are sick doctors in the church hospital. I accuse myself of being one of the sick. I am one of those who daily fling myself at the mercy of God for me to remain humble and worthy of the trust that He has given me. Daily I seek the medicine in the Real Presence of Christ. As I said, I cannot presume to always do or say the right thing in every circumstance. To forgive and to ask forgiveness is a constant in our human interaction. To slightly paraphrase Mr. Glaucon Jr, " the only sick doctor in the hospital of Christ is the one who does not see a need to beg for God's mercy." Greater truth has not been spoken than that inspired sentence.

      Amor Dei Omnia Vincit,
      Father Efren

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    3. No problem Father Efren or Jr. Each to himself.

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    4. I'd say that sums it up nicely, Father. You say what I do not have the words for. Holy Spirit at work indeed! It's a lovely thing to see!

      That also proves my point: priests who lead the people of God from the faith in and the love of Christ should be our commanders in Christ, our beloved pastors. Not me, or JW or whomever. We only want to be led by you who are ordained to do so into the battlefield of righteousness, which is to be quite honest a bit beyond what we understand.

      That's how fallen we are: we cannot grasp that we are called to righteousness. So far, most of us cling to the belief that we are called to be redeemed sewage.

      I am nothing without the sacraments, and they are impossibilities without the priests.

      You need nothing else, Father. You and you brother priests already possess the tools. Re-teach the people to fast and pray for you, and the Church cannot lose. And imagine such a renaissance on Guam.

      Pls ask your brother priests to read and consider. You are all in our prayers.

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    5. Mr Glaucon Jr. Will do my best to invite my brothers to dialogue openly but I believe that they have been doing so in many more ways than I can manage. Many of them are far more eloquent than I can dream of for myself. Thank you for the vote of confidence in your priests and deacons in the performance of our duty, but sadly some may not deserve that deference when they cherish things other than the primacy of sharing "outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace." Trust but verify - learn from the lessons in the ongoing saga of this Archdiocese. Thank you for your prayers and beg the Lord on our behalf not to squander the privilege we have been given as a gift. Pray likewise for our replacements from the local population.

      So teach us to be holy, inspire us with your love, renew us with your commmitment. Remind your clergy that the knowledge we learned in seminary and the wisdom of our experience are nothing compared to an outstretched arm offered to someone in need. In my book, the greatest theologians are not the ones whose noses are buried deep in the pages of manuscripts or rolls of microfiche but the mother and father gazing with love upon their newborn child as they promise to protect and provide for this child in the best way possible. Love is the greatest theology made real in the birth of the historical Jesus, culminated in the justification of the Cross through His glorious Resurrection, and continues until All will be in All, according to God's idea of chronos.

      "Lord, send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.
      Enkindle in us all the fire of your love. Amen."

      God bless, Father Efren

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  14. Thank you Father Efren. What you say is true. Our priest were harmed in all of this and thank goodness for the faithful laity who prayed for them and for their souls. Sadly some priest completely ignore what is happening since it does not personally involve them. Some priest went on vacations while Archbishop Hon was here. They think that since it does not involve them they don't have to worry about anything. That's pretty sad.
    Thank you Father and all those priest who are willing to speak up and start the dialogue to what is really going on here on Guam

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    1. We are in this together, may your good will engender more goodness in others desirous of renewing the vision going forward. First of all, we need to work for justice on behalf of those aggrieved by clergy abuse. Second, we have to identify problem areas and rectify the irregularities that have crept up in traditional practice of the faith. Third, we have to safeguard the patrimony of the local church through an inventory of assets and liabilities, to include authentic legal papers attesting to veracity of claims. Fourth, we have to boost our schools (scholarships/grants) and physical plant of parishes, as well as ensure financial support for elderly clergy, religious and church workers. Fifth, we have to reinvigorate the collective enthusiasm of our local Catholic community and inspire trust once again in the administrative leadership of the Office of the Archbishop.

      It will be exciting once we get the kinks out by vigorously espousing the health of our local Catholic Church. Looming legal and financial difficulties nothwithstanding, we will rise like the phoenix from the ashes.

      Amor Dei Ombia Vincit
      Father Efren

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    2. Well stated Fr.Efren.
      Trust in leadership of the Archbishop needs to be restored.

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    3. Fr.Efrin has the personality, knowledge, insight,Prudence, to be spokes person for Archbishop Hon. He would be more acceptable to the people as he comes across as sincere and open to dialogue.

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    4. Dialogue? Everyone who has been paying attention knows what AB Hon needs to do. Until Hon does it there isn't that much to talk about.

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    5. 3:50 PM, the better to fool us?

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    6. 3:50 PM, thanks but I don't wanna! Not interested, I speak for myself because its my heart I trust and not anyone else especially from church hierarchy nowadays.

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  15. I am more fearful of the Lord than fearing a man who wears priestly clothes. It Is still evident that this archdiocese has not changed and continues to instill fear into their shepherds instead of love. Nothing has changed. Hon go home. Your vacation in paradise is over.

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  16. Dear Glaucon,

    Fr. Efren and I met today to discuss the possibility of creating a reconciliation group, at the grass roots level, where Guam's clergy and laity can get together to come to know each other and share perspectives on renewal within the archdiocese. The idea is not to have a gripe session; rather the idea is to apply our Catholic heritage (e.g., Holy Scripture, catechism, or theology) to respond with love and understanding to the mistrust, miscommunication or lack of communication in the present climate within the archdiocese. We expect there will be a lot of thoughtful talking and listening at the meeting. Any and all are welcome. The first meeting will be held sometime in September; precise time and place to be announced. Glaucon, this initiative is in response to your open letter. It lit a fire under Fr. Efren and me. Thank you.

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    1. Respect the sincerity of Father Efrin. Will the good Fathers Friend Fr.Blockley be attending these meetings.

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  17. Timothy, is the Church going to start speaking the truth about past sexual abuse prior to these reconciliation meetings? Or even during these meetings?

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    1. Chuck, is the church, i.e. Hon, going to start speaking the truth about anything?

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    2. In court, AB Savio will.

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  18. Dear Chuck,

    Fr. Efren and I are doing this on our own initiative. We have not sought, nor obtained approval from the chancery. We are, therefore, not "the Church," but rather church in another, less formal sense. Therefore, we welcome laity and clergy to come together to talk about how to renew our archdiocese. Many concerns, including the handling of sexual abuse, may be talked about. Both of us are of the opinion that face-to-face communication must begin to supplement digital communication.

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  19. You need Hon's approval to dialogue. WE NEED ACTION.

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  20. Fix what's broken first.
    Too much talking

    Timothy Guile: your dream group sounds like Neos 2.0---new and improved kaka...crap and piss smoothies served in a posh juice bar, so, no thanks!

    Defrock Apuron
    Destroy Neos
    Restore the Church


    I am ANONYMOUS for I am EVERYONE.

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  21. Remove Apuron.
    Limit ncw to one parish.
    Close seminary
    Return property to aarchdiocese.
    Appoint a non ncw bishop.
    Path to peace unity.
    Only way now.
    Ncw priests never accepted on Guam.
    War till the end.

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