Saturday, January 7, 2017


Posted by Tim

In the January-February 2017 issue of THE GUAMANIAN MAGAZINE, the feature article is entitled “Can He Heal the Church? - Archbishop Michael Byrnes chosen to lead Guam’s divided Catholics.”

One of the tactics of the Apuronites has been to make all of this appear to simply be about "divided Catholics." It makes for an easy story for the press and unfortunately some on our side have aided that story by small-mindedly demanding "we want our church back"  (which really means their positions of importance.)

And further, it appears Archbishop Byrnes has bought into the same story hook, line, and sinker. In THE GUAMANIAN story, Byrnes says: "I really try not to take sides, I just really think that’s important.” He then goes on to compare this "who am I to judge" approach to his administrative duties to St. Ignatius' spiritual principle of "Holy Indifference." 

As someone who has participated in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (as a student at Loyola Marymount, LA), I know a little about "Holy Indifference" and it has nothing to do with "not judging" or not "taking sides." Ignatius divides Holy Indifference into four categories that specifically address one's spiritual growth: 1) Not to prefer health over sickness; 2) Not to prefer long life over short; 3) Not to prefer riches over poverty; and 4) Not to prefer honors over dishonors. 

There is nothing here that relieves one from deciding right from wrong, good from bad, justice from injustice, truth from lies, nor TAKING SIDES! And, unfortunately it was this "who am I to judge" attitude, masquerading as "Holy Indifference" that has provided the "holy crap" that for five decades engendered, fertilized, cultivated, and protected what Pope Benedict eventually called "the filth in the Church," and that filth can hardly be greater than what has been uncovered in the diocese Byrnes has been assigned to.

Byrnes' job is to get to the bottom of this filth. This is NOT about two different ways of being Catholic or even room for "many spiritualities," as Byrnes states in the article. This is about a sickening, filthy, methodical assault on truth, justice, the common good, and the Church of Jesus Christ by the man who Byrnes just replaced and more specifically, the man he just sent off to study canon law.

But wanting or expecting Byrnes to do the right thing is no longer something we can hope for. I will explain. 

From the outset, the first question that popped into my mind and many others was "why him?" Here is Byrnes' account of how he was chosen (from THE GUAMANIAN):

The Archdiocese of Agana is perhaps the most troubled diocese in the world in terms of scandal (no other bishop is on trial). A friend of mine in the states who knows Guam and knows Byrnes said "he's walking into a buzzsaw." So why would Rome pick a bishop who (per the article) has hardly ever ventured outside the diocese he was born in and whose only knowledge of the place he was being sent to was a passing reference to its role in World War II (probably from some old war films)?

By the way, my friend in the states tried to offer Byrnes - through a friend in common - some historical background on our local situation and give him an idea about what he was walking into, but his offer was declined. Apparently old World War II flicks were sufficient. 

However, we find later in the article the real reason Byrnes was chosen, and, by a short connection of dots, WHO it was that chose him (Kiko's pope - Filoni), and by extension, why we cannot hope Byrnes will do the right thing:

Now, just wait till you hear how he plans to pay for this and who he will be taking the money from. 

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