Monday, September 19, 2016
LETTER TO THE GUAM LEGISLATURE APOLOGIZING FOR FR. JEFF SAN NICOLAS
APOLOGIES TO THE LEGISLATURE FOR FR. JEFF SAN NICOLAS
Tim Rohr <email@example.com>
Attachments5:33 PM (0 minutes ago)
to James, Senator, Mary, Nerissa, Anthony, B.J., Brant, Dennis, Frank, Michael, Rory, Tina, Tom, Tommy, Judith, Frank, Gaynor, Haidee, Janela, Jason, Jesse, Joanna, Ken, Krystal, Louella
Thank you for unanimously passing Bill 326-33. And thank you for standing strong in the wake of my church leadership's absolutely ridiculous effort to kill the bill. If I and many others weren't already ashamed of them, we certainly are now.
My purpose in writing you today is to apologize for Fr. Jeff San Nicolas.
I am sure that you are aware of "the letter" which was read, or supposed to be read, at all the parishes this weekend. In the letter, Archbishop Hon referred to the bill's potential for "damaging unintended consequences." He also refers to the "unforeseen side effects of the bill."
Given the context of the letter and to whom it was addressed, I assumed Archbishop Hon meant that we, the people in the pews, did not understand the "consequences" and foresee the "side effects" of the bill.
But then I discovered a second letter which, though unsigned, could have only been released by Fr. Jeff San Nicolas, given that he is the delegate to the administrator, and with Hon's absence, could have been the only member of the church leadership to author such a letter and authorize its distribution.
This second letter was not publicly released but only addressed to the clergy. It is titled SCRIPT TO INTRODUCE THE LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP HON. I've attached a copy.
In this "script," Fr. Jeff San Nicolas clarifies that is is not we, the laity, who did not understand the consequences of the bill, but YOU, the Legislature. Fr. San Nicolas writes:
"We believe that the legislators in passing the bill...did not understand that the bill threatens the very existence of our parishes, schools and social agencies..."
Aside from the fact that there is no evidence from the almost 20 years of seeing the effect of similar legislation in many stateside dioceses to support this claim, and aside from the fact that the social agencies (Catholic Social Services and Kamalin Karidat) are incorporated separately from the Archdiocese of Agana, I, and many other are simply staggered that Fr. San Nicolas believes that you did not UNDERSTAND what you were doing and why you were doing it when you voted to pass Bill 326-33.
We saw several of you at the public hearings and saw that you agonized with us at those gut wrenching testimonies as many wiped our tears away. We know that you are completely aware of the amendment to the original bill which included institutional liability. In fact, because it was included in the amended version, the chairman called for a second and even third public hearing.
To say that you did NOT UNDERSTAND what you were doing when you voted for the bill is beyond comprehension, and we are horribly ashamed by Fr. San Nicolas' assessment of your decision knowing how tough your decision really was.
Once again, Senators, thank you for doing the right thing, and sincere apologies for Fr. San Nicolas' derogatory remarks.
Tim Rohr and a Whole Lot of Other People