Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WHO WILL BE THE PASTOR OF THE AGANA CATHEDRAL AND WHY THE FIGHT GOES ON

Posted by Tim

At the root of Msgr. James' Canon Law case is whether or not he, as rector of the Cathedral, was also in fact the pastor of the Agana Cathedral parish. If he was, then he has canonical rights that were violated by his abrupt removal by Apuron and the evil step-sisters (David and Adrian). 


The term "cathedral" comes from the Latin word "cathedra," meaning "seat." The seat is both literal (the bishop's chair at the head of the church) and figurative, as it represents the "seat" of authority. 

Thus the Cathedral is mother church for the entire diocese and is the seat of authority for the incumbent bishop. The bishop is the pastor of the diocese. 

However, like most Cathedrals today, our Cathedral is also a parish church where normal parochial functions occur: regularly scheduled Masses, religious instruction, funerals, weddings, baptisms, etc. 

However, rectors are "not permitted to perform the parochial functions of pastors:

Can. 558 Without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 262, a rector is not permitted to perform the parochial functions mentioned in ⇒ can. 530, nn. 1-6 in the church entrusted to him unless the pastor consents or, if the matter warrants it, delegates.

Per can. 530, those functions are:

1/ the administration of baptism;

2/ the administration of the sacrament of confirmation to those who are in danger of death, according to the norm of ⇒ can. 883, n. 3;

3/ the administration of Viaticum and of the anointing of the sick, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 1003, §§2 and 3, and the imparting of the apostolic blessing;

4/ the assistance at marriages and the nuptial blessing;

5/ the performance of funeral rites;

6/ the blessing of the baptismal font at Easter time, the leading of processions outside the church, and solemn blessings outside the church;

7/ the more solemn eucharistic celebration on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

So then, WHAT does the appointment of Fr. Paul Gofigan as "rector" of the Cathedral mean since he CANNOT do any of the above?

In short, a Cathedral "rector" is really just the overseer of the property, the caretaker of "the bishop's church," with duties like coordinating episcopal events, ordinations, and such. Canon Law makes it clear that the rector is NOT the pastor. 

So why didn't Archbishop Hon just make Fr. Paul the pastor? Let's revisit Msgr. James' case before proceeding.

Though Apuron never formally authorized Msgr. James to act in the capacity of pastor to the parish community of the Cathedral, for the 20 years he was there, Msgr. James, nevertheless, assumed those duties with Apuron's full knowledge and consent, effectively, and perhaps canonically, making Msgr. James the de facto pastor. 

I understand that on many occasions, Msgr. James asked Apuron to clarify his position. Was he pastor or rector, or both? But Apuron refused. We now know why. So long as Msgr. James was never formally recognized as the Cathedral parish's pastor, he had no canonical rights accorded to pastors under Canon Law and basically served at the whim of the archbishop, making it simple to remove him if Apuron so chose. And in July 2014, Apuron "so chose." 

However, there was strong support for a canonical case that Msgr. James, by virtue of his parochial duties, was the pastor-in-fact and entitled to due process under the provisions of Canon Law for the removal of pastors. And I believe this was the case Msgr. James advanced. 

Unfortunately it was "advanced" to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the same Congregation to which Fr. Paul's case was "advanced," and the same Congregation which Hon oversees as its Secretary. Thus neither Fr. Paul's case or Msgr. James case ever saw the light of day. 

So back to our question, "who will be the pastor of the Agana Cathedral parish?" and WHY did Hon NOT appoint Fr. Paul to both positions: pastor and rector? 

I think in Hon's case it may be just that he doesn't know what he's doing, something we've become quite aware of over these last few months. Under Apuron, there was a reason. 

Appointing Msgr. James pastor would have given him authority to regulate the Neocatechumenal Way in his parish, including Apuron's own Jackie Terlaje-led community. As pastor, Msgr. James would have had the right to impose the same demands on the Agana communities that Fr. Paul imposed on the Neocats when they tried to break into Santa Barbara back in 2005-2008 (which you can read about in the account about "The Tall Woman.")

In addition, since the approval of the Neocat statute in 2008, Msgr. James would have had the authority to require the neocats to receive communion as required by their statute (standing instead of sitting). 

Keeping that kind of authority away from Msgr. James was important to the existence of the Neocats at the Cathedral and it appears that Archbishop Hon is following suit. Fr. Paul will have NO authority to regulate the neocat "Agana communities." 

There may be another reason why Hon has not named Fr. Paul to the position of "pastor." He can't. 

The Decree of Removal from the position of pastor decreed by Apuron against Fr. Paul in 2013 still stands. Hon has not removed it A Decree of Removal from the position of pastor does not just remove a priest from the position of pastor at a particular parish and make it okay for him to be pastor somewhere else. A Decree of Removal from the position of pastor declares the priest "unfit" to serve in the position of pastor. Thus, technically, Fr. Paul, is "unfit" to be pastor ANYWHERE.

This is why we wanted Fr. Paul to continue to fight with us. This was never just about "returning" Fr. Paul to just his position as pastor of Dededo. This was always about fighting against a severe injustice and grave abuse of power perpetrated by Apuron and his cronies on many priests. Sadly, Fr. Paul did not understand that. Meanwhile though, so long as his Decree of Removal still stands, he is declared UNFIT to be a pastor. 

I personally do not believe Fr. Paul is unfit to serve in the position of pastor which is why I fought so long and hard for him. But apparently Hon thinks he IS (unfit), thus Apuron's decree was never rescinded. And thus Fr. Paul is only "rector" and NOT pastor, and thus the Cathedral parish and its parishioners are without a pastor. 

So just a reminder to Fr. Paul, here are the things you CAN'T do:

1/ the administration of baptism;

2/ the administration of the sacrament of confirmation to those who are in danger of death, according to the norm of ⇒ can. 883, n. 3;

3/ the administration of Viaticum and of the anointing of the sick, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 1003, §§2 and 3, and the imparting of the apostolic blessing;

4/ the assistance at marriages and the nuptial blessing;

5/ the performance of funeral rites;

6/ the blessing of the baptismal font at Easter time, the leading of processions outside the church, and solemn blessings outside the church;

7/ the more solemn eucharistic celebration on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

This is why the fight goes on. Beware of the urge to celebrate. That's how wars are lost. 

13 comments:

  1. Excellent analysis, Tim, of the duties of the "rector" vs. "pastor". Does anyone in the Clergy read and understand Canon Law?! I agree that Fr. Paul is still in limbo as to his good name. It has NOT be cleared yet with that Decree of Removal as pastor of Santa Barbara parish in Dededo.

    Another reason you forgot to mention as to why Apuron did not want to install Msgr. James as pastor of the "Sweet Name of Mary" Parish in Agana: MONEY! He had free access to all the money coming into that parish as pastor for his personal gain disguised as taking care of the pastor!!! And as Archbishop of Agana, he could further access more money for the Chancery! Corruption at its best. Apuron's name will go down in Guam's religious history as the worst archbishop we have had since we first had one assigned to Guam around the turn of the 20th century!

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    1. The money part is so true. Monsignor James tried to collect from Neo communities for power and other usages. Nada. He was spanked instead by Apuron and Pius. So bad.

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    2. Brother Tony, with his history of molestation, rape, lying, braggadocio, and thievery (maybe we should also include that 'perm') will go down infamy as one of the worst Bishops IN THE WORLD, not just on Guam.

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  2. Tim, Thank you again! I never really understood the hierarchy of the Agana Basilica/Chancery. Maybe Fr. Paul will be made to only manage the building and cemetery. Unless Apuron comes back and gives him permission to flip the lightswitch to the distracting neon blue Jubilee Year sign at the front of the Cathedral.

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    1. Actually, the cemeteries are still run by the Neos. But he should be able to get permission to turn off that sign :)

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    2. Horrible, horrible neon sign. It does not belong in the beautiful Cathedral.

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  3. As to #7 of the duties and functions of a pastor, I thought Father Paul was going to celebrate mass this coming Sunday at the 9:30 mass at the ACB. Or is he just going to concelebrate with Archbishop Hon? So what would happen to him if he does perform any or all of those pastoral functions? Wouldn't that be up to Hon to allow? And where does that leave Jucutan and Quitugua, which leads me to wonder whether Hon will reassign some or all of the NEO presbyters.

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    1. Hon can certainly "allow" a rector to perform parochial functions. However, this is not supposed to be a regular situation. If Agana is a parish (and it is) then it must be assigned a pastor and not a just a rector who has special permissions. The bishop CANNOT be the pastor of a parish, any parish, because he is the pastor of the entire diocese. A pastor MUST be assigned to the Cathedral parish or the Cathedral must cease to function as a parish.

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    2. Hon leaves on Thursday Sept 1. I guess installing the new Rector for the Cathedral is not really a big deal. So we continue to picket!

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  4. Rose de los Reyes (Seattle, WA)August 31, 2016 at 11:38 PM

    Thank you for this most excellent piece! In light of this information, while “Rector” is a step in the right direction, it’s not what we want. Onward and upward with supporting the process to properly get both Fathers Paul and James RESTORED. I know it will happen and my sense is that the process will gain momentum (if not already) --- thanks to your explanation. While I agree with you that Fr. Paul IS [SUPER FIT] fit to be a Pastor (and same goes for Fr. James), I don’t necessarily agree with your assessment that Archbishop Hon believes Fr. Paul is unfit, which then resulted in the the assignment of rector rather than pastor. I do agree with you that perhaps, Archbishop Hon and is advisers, like most of us, didn’t know of the essential requirement and the necessity of cannon law to undo/reverse the Decree of Removal and thus remove the "unfit" designation upon both priests. There are a gazillion writings on the awful mess caused by Fr. Apuron and this is one of those meeeeelllions-and-meeeeellions of messes. But our energy will get sucked dwelling on that. The Faithful owe it to their local Church to do the things that will help it move forward. Tim, questions: (1) How does a decree of removal get reversed? (2) Is it a lengthy process involving a canonical trial? Or (3) does it require filling out a bunch of paper work; or (4) is it a matter of a bishop simply decree-ing that the original decree is now reversed? Help us know the process so that we can mobilize and help Fathers Paul and James with the process; and at the same time bombard Archbishop Hon with letters, emails, phone calls, text messages asking his office to take the necessary steps to reverse the Decree of Removal.

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    1. Hon only has to issue his own decree declaring it null like he did (was forced to do) with the decree against the CCOG. The fact that he will not says a lot. And it has nothing to do with what "we want." It has to do with what should be done.

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    2. Rose de los Reyes (Seattle, WA)September 2, 2016 at 1:12 AM

      I slightly disagree that it has nothing to do with what "we want." "We want" this because, as you said, it is to properly right a wrong, it is to seek justice. That is why "we want" this, not just for Frs. Paul and James, but for the good health of the local Church.

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  5. I'm so sick of Hon; he is such a fake. The neos are nothing but trouble; evil. They should be ashamed of themselves. Tim, CCOG, Bob, et al., please continue to do your good work to put things right with The Church once and for all. It is abundantly clear that there will be no help coming from the Vatican.

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