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. 

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