Monday, February 20, 2017

A RECAP AND SOME CLARIFICATIONS

Posted by Frenchie


A few weeks back I wrote about the Evil done in our names. At that time, I warned about the need for discernment, cool heads, and the intelligence necessary not to be duped and/or distracted.

I underlined that even if we had had some nominal success in beating back the onslaught against our Church on Guam, we would need to be stronger and smarter to win the next battles.

I got quite a bit of flak from the crowd, that likes to speak and act before thinking, as well as from the little informed.

One of my old Philosophy teachers liked to remind us that the little informed are usually the most dangerous since they suffer from the delusion of knowledge, plus the need to demonstrate that they are indeed knowledgeable.

Unfortunately for our Church, the last two weeks were a perfect example of such an issue.

This is why, we need to review some of the latest events, that have affected directly or indirectly, our struggle.

Guam, once again became last week, the center of several controversies, but for reasons that we are not accustomed to.

Despite what some have suggested over the last few months, the case of the Trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron , has been going on for a while.

There are several elements to understanding this trial that must be clarified for the public to really grasp what is truly happening.


Many of us have had a fake image of what a Vatican trial looks like. We understand the trial as being something similar to what we have in the traditional Anglo-Saxon common law tradition.

Several of our participants, including but not limited to CNMI Lawyer, have rightly pointed to that fact.

Let's attempt to make it easier for our lectors to understand how a trial for a Bishop works.

The congregation in charge of setting up and running such a trial is the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. In days past, it used to be called the Holy Inquisition.

There have been many outlandish claims regarding the Holy Inquisition. What we must comprehend for the sake of the case at hand is: that this is a tribunal which is set to discover by questioning (being inquisitive) to combat a great evil and/or an heresy.

It is usually composed of a panel of judges, with a presiding Cardinal or Archbishop, plus lawyers (canon ones) which are representing the defense.

There is usually a Notary to take notes and certify the proceedings.

The presiding Judge is also the prosecuting attorney for lack of better word.

In our case we have witnessed an extraordinary event, since we have been notified about the organization of the tribunal, and also we are aware of the names of the persons involved.

Now we have been bombarded by a sudden slough of information, much of which is incorrect, and/or out of context.

We have witnessed a lot of contradicting information, which mostly comes from the fact that we have two worlds, on a parallel, and by definition not intersecting path.

One is our secular system, in which the victims of Apuron have sought redress. The other one is the Church, with its long tradition of established and opaque process.

Because the Church is dealing with more than just its relations with the secular world, its goals and interests are sometimes at loggerhead with the goals of our secular world.

Here the question at hand, is to determine what crimes and heresies has Apuron committed, and of course what course will the Church take, should the Inquisition find him culpable.


This is where the LFM and CCOG protestors and  Cardinal Burke parallel paths actually intersect.

What some of us have known for a while now, is that the trial of Apuron, was being considered for other reasons, than the sexual abuses.

The accidental discovery by Mr Lujan that the Vatican Case is actually dated back to 2008, is just one of several other key pieces of information.

It confirms that the nuncios have been investigating Apuron for almost a decade, and that the Vatican had been made aware of the many irregularities Apuron had permitted for a long time. (I shall detail some of these at a later opportunity.)

This is where things really get interesting, and in many ways, clarify what is really going on for the last year.

All the evil Apuron had done for decades, had been catching up with him for the last several years. His abuse of Authority, his lavish lifestyle, and other serious evil doings had been on the radar of the last three nuncios. The savaging of the local priests, the acceptance of forbidden rituals, the blackmailing of the Filipino Priests had been the latest catalyst, but when the first sexual abuse victims started popping up, the pontiff could no longer ignore the facts.

This brings us to last year. The Pope tried to save Tony (and the Church) from further embarrassment,
by asking him to resign (through the nuncio channel, which is the official channel). Either by pride, or because his handlers would not let him, he refused.

This is when he was suspended of all activities, and when Archbishop Hon was appointed as administrator. When Hon, found out the extent of the mess the Agana Diocese actually was in, and with more and more victims showing up, he reported as much during his visit to the Pope during the fall. This was the last attempt by Francis to have Tony resign. Again, he refused, and stayed in hiding.

Days later, Cardinal Muller was instructed to open the trial. (October 2016) This is when Cardinal Muller chose Cardinal Burke as presiding Judge for the Inquisition trial.

We are now in the process of trying to interview victims. Many documents have already been given to the dossier.

One problem, is that Attorney Lujan, justly wanted to advise his clients. Not being a canon lawyer he cannot be authorized, to do so.

But in doing so, he also jeopardized the canonical trial. Finding a canon lawyer to assist his clients would have been a good move, but it did not happen. (there are civilian canon lawyers of great talent, which are not clergy, and would not be in conflict of interest.)

This is exactly what the Neos were hoping for. I will also come back later this week to address, some of the neos inane position regarding the trial. Please be patient, because it really needs to be addressed.

29 comments:

  1. Mary Lou Garcia-PeredaFebruary 20, 2017 at 11:27 AM

    This is probably one of the most sobering reads that has me second guessing what happened last week.

    I can't help wondering if Atty. David Lujan should have had the foresight to engage the services of a Canon Lawyer once he became aware that there was a plan for his client, sexual abuse survivor Mr. Roland Sondia to be deposed by Cardinal Raymond Burke.

    I truly am disheartened by the idea that Mr. Sondia's refusal to testify without an attorney representing him — even though I do understand his reluctance to face a panel of Catholic hierarchy by himself — has the possibility of jeopardizing the outcome of the canonical trial of Anthony Sablan Apuron, enabling him to slip through unscathed so that he can return to power on Guam.

    I hope and pray that I'm wrong … I hope and pray that the depositions from the sexual abuse/assault survivors is a small part of a much larger case that seems to have been initiated back in 2008, which was long before the first revelation of accusations against Apuron …

    I hope and pray that the case of Anthony Sablan Apuron is a Judicial Action which, according to blogger Patrick J. Wall could have the following result: Pope Francis could laicize Apuron, removing him as a Bishop and Priest while allowing him to remain a non-priest Capuchin Friar (a “Brother”), able to live anywhere in the world and work for the order. Or the Pope could remove Apuron completely and demote him to be a lay person.

    St. Athanasius, pray for us!

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle …

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    1. There is no doubt that this is now playing into Apuron's (and the Kiko's) hands. It is unfortunate that the Inquisitors gave no consideration for the civil side of this. I'm sure Lujan would have been amenable had he been contacted. But he was not. If all three victims refuse to testify, Apuron could indeed skate, and it will make it that much harder for Lujan and the victims to win on the civil side. By contrast, if Apuron is found guilty on the canonical side (we would know because he would be removed), it will make it that much easier for Lujan and the victims to win on the civil side.

      Our only hope is for David Lujan and his three clients to see this and work something out. No doubt, Burke and the others would hop on the first plane back to Guam if it could.

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    2. Same thing I've been saying for weeks. Lujan should have been working with a big name lay canon lawyer like Dr. Jennifer Haselberger in Minnesota/the Midwest. He's not familiar with the canonical complications of this monstrous case or games the Vatican plays. The devil is in the details he knows nothing about.

      The mainstream media gave Jennifer tremendous national support and publicity when she brought down the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis for pedophile priest coverups. She's the reason the archbishop and one of his auxiliary bishops were removed.

      One of the investigative journalists who did a major radio and TV series on Jennifer and the case that bankrupted the large archdiocese won one of the most prestigious prizes in broadcast journalism.

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    3. Lujan doesn't have a horse in the race on the canonical side.

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    4. If he's representing Roland he does. Which other lawyers were giving him legal advice when Burke and his investigators arrived on Guam?

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    5. He's only representing Roland in the civil case.

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    6. Dear anonymous,
      You Sir are mixing apples and oranges.
      David Lujan, is doing what his client expect him to do in the civil case.
      As I said earlier, it is two parallel world.

      It would have been nice to coordinate a response upstream, but it did not happen.
      I do not believe it is one person's fault.
      Rome did not handle this very aptly, but then again, this is a unique situation, which is a ground breaker.

      This is an exceptional case.

      As far as Dr Hasselberger, she is a good canon lawyer, and could be the type of person that would bridge the gap, and allow for the victims to testify while keeping the integrity of the Civil case.

      That being said,she was a whistle blower, in the MSP Archdiocese abuse case. She did not instigated the process, it was the law firm of Jeff Anderson that had the lead on this for several years, before Mrs Hasselberger, resigned in protest of what she found at the Chancery, and alerted the authorities that the Archdiocese was covering up pedophile priests.

      The Archbishop and the auxiliary Bishop resigned, in order to remove controversies that were detrimental to the Archdiocese. They did so only after they had settled the cases out of court. They were not removed.

      Even during that time, there was a lot of politicking within the Diocese because Archbishop Nienstedt, controversial approach to his duties.
      Ultimately, over 800 survivors came forward, and the Archdiocese went through two bankruptcies.

      All cases were about priests, dating back more than 50 years.

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    7. Frenchie, Jennifer most certainly did instigate the SPM case. She's the one who found the damning personnel records, not Jeff Anderson. As Chancellor and chief canonist for the archdiocese, she had direct access to critical internal information, not Jeff. She shared it with him to benefit his abused clients.

      Anderson worked closely with Jennifer after she broke the coverup scandal. The State's Attorney also filed civil and criminal charges against the archdiocese because of Jennifer's work. The criminal case was eventually dropped, but the civil one was pursued.

      I'm totally on your side where Apuron is concerned, but you all are just spinning your wheels if you don't get some competent canon and civil lawyers on your case.

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    8. David Lujan is perhaps Guam's most feared lawyer, probably because he is the most competent. David took the cases on contingency. A canon lawyer costs money. Roland doesn't have the money. However, it appears that a canon lawyer would not have done us any good. Apparently in a canonical trial, the plaintiff is represented by the Promoter of Justice, probably the equivalent of an attorney general. This Conn guy was apparently appointed by the Promoter of Justice. So far he has done one piss poor job. The mother of one of the victims received her notice to appear before the Inquisition just one day before the appointment. She had no idea what it was about. And she just happened to check her mail that day. Here in Guam, especially in Agat where she lives, where the post office is only open two hours a day, some of us may get to the post office once a week. I wonder how many other witnesses are only now finding the notices in their mail box several days after the fact.

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    9. Conn was in charge of calling the witnesses for the plaintiffs.

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    10. If a reputable lay canon lawyer had been retained even on a short-term consultant basis, this comedy of errors could have been avoided. He or she would have told Roland and his civil attorney exactly how much Burke's team could get away with and how to deal with them. As it now stands, Burke remains the 800-pound gorilla.

      Caterwauling about the lame jungle post office and a snotty Vatican investigator won't do any good if the case is lost. A competent civil attorney would have been fully aware of all local impediments involved and countered them well before the Vaticanisti arrived.

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    11. David Lujan has nothing to gain in the canonical case. His only interest is the civil case which he feels he can easily win with or without Rome. I don't like it because it means Apuron might skate, but at 5 million a pop with 17 cases filed so far and double that number in the near future, what does Lujan care about Apuron other than he can take him to the cleaners. Lawyers do what lawyers do. Perhaps you would like to start a fund to hire Roland a canon lawyer. Please proceed.

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  2. You are both right. I think there was probably a narrow analysis on the part of Mr Lujan, who did due diligence for his client, yet fail to see the global picture.
    No doubt that the flippant attitude from Fr Conn, in his attempts to talk with the other victims, was not very conducive to gentleman like talks.
    In the meantime the Neos are going on with a narrative that is totally inane in view of the reality, but which falls nicely with their line of defense of Apuron.
    Cardinal Sean, is also zealously bringing a lot of advise to Genarrini Inc, to help them navigate this rocky terrain.

    This was my main reason to warn the faithful of Guam to be cautious on how they react to rumors, fake news and half truth.
    More than ever we need to be steadfast, and not let ourselves be distracted by secondary issues.

    I personally believe that Cardinal Burke as head of the tribunal is a good thing. Several articles have raised doubt about his wisdom and abilities. Do not forget that these entities have an agenda of their own, which is not similar to ours.
    Yes Burke is a controversial figure for many, but what he did in the past while he was in charge of dioceses, has nothing to do with his current mission.

    If journalists can find prominent canon expert in the Midwest to comment on this issue, I am sure that it would not be difficult for Mr Lujan's office to work out something with any of these capable people to help him bridge this gap, while keeping the integrity of his civil case.

    Lets hope this can be achieved sooner than later.

    I am one to think that Fr Conn, who is very close to O'Malley, and therefore the most suspect of the whole tribunal, because of O'Malley's affinity with Filoni, and his long opposition to Burke, might have pushed hard to get information from the victims, in the hope that their attorney would react just as Mr Lujan did.
    In doing so, preempting any moves from Cdl Burke.

    Again, let me remind all that we are dealing here with some very astute and sharp politicians. While Burke is already becoming a lighting rod in this case, for the whole liberal side who will not give him the time of the day, the real sabotage comes from someone else.
    We are now playing with the big boys. Even the big fish in our little pond is not quite ready to deal with the large fishes in the big pond.
    It is up to us to help our side, get a full and accurate picture of what we are facing.
    It is time to slow down with the character assassinations of some of our best allies, and roll up our sleeves.
    The work is straight ahead of us.

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    1. "Our only hope is for David Lujan and his three clients to see this and work something out. No doubt, Burke and the others would hop on the first plane back to Guam if it could." -- Tim


      "It is up to us to help our side, get a full and accurate picture of what we are facing.
      It is time to slow down with the character assassinations of some of our best allies, and roll up our sleeves.
      The work is straight ahead of us."
      -- Frenchie

      Right on and Amen!

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    2. Jose M., don't be naive. If Burke and his investigators never see Guam again, that's all too soon for them.

      They did the Vatican PR thing and went to the distant jungle. It's not their fault the victim refused to meet with them after their 7,600-mile flight. They have all the data they need to close this case for insufficient evidence, if they so choose.

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    3. Yes it is their fault. The notification process conducted by Conn was a sham. Plus, he has an apparent "I don't care attitude." And while he could care less to see Guam again, not so Burke.

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    4. Of course it is their fault, oh brave courageous commentator of 10:32AM.

      ". . .close this case for insufficient evidence." Oh, I'm the naive one?

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    5. Burke will only go to Guam on official business. Otherwise, you'll never see him there again unless he accepts an invitation from the Traditional Mass community. When so inclined, he does celebrate elaborate Traditional liturgies by special invitation.

      Unfortunately, Burke has no authority over the Congregation for Divine Worship and he can't do anything to the Neocats without Rome's permission. Don't hold your breath waiting for that.

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    6. We're not. We stopped waiting for Rome a long time ago. Personally, I never waited.

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  3. yes Frenchie right.
    I think things can be worked out.

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  4. I agree with Frenchie.

    Webster.

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  5. Frenchie won't post comments that point out his errors. He made some glaring misstatements about Dr. Jennifer Haselberger. She was entirely responsible for uncovering the SPM abuse scandals, not Jeff Anderson. He worked with her and data she gave to him on behalf of his clients.

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    1. Frenchie doesn't "post comments." Only the administrator can post the comments. I am the administrator.

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    2. Dear Anon At 7.16, before you get your panties in a bunch, I will point to you that not only was I living in St Paul at the time of the events, but I personally know Dr Hasselberger.
      She did not take her resignation lightly, nor did she decided to call the authorities easily. She struggled, as most normal individuals would.
      Ultimately she took the decision after consulting with a few friends, and her family.

      I let you guess, on how I am privy to this information.

      This happened only after Jeff Anderson had sued the Archdiocese for several years. Indeed it was in reaction to these legal actions, and despite court rulings to publish a number of documents, that Dr Hasselberger decided to go public, when she found the problem and confronted the Vicar general.

      Oh and yes, I also know Mr Anderson, and have work with him on several occasions in the past.
      BTW Mr Anderson did not have to receive any data from Dr Hasselberger, because she had called the authorities, who did an official criminal investigation, and with court order in hand retrieved said documents.
      This started a chain of legal actions, where Mr Anderson was able to convince the Court to have the Archdiocese release all documentation hidden. Soon after, the Archdiocese agreed to settle, in a court supervised process.

      The only thing I agree with you is that the Canon lawyer and the attorney worked together, to lift the veil of secrecy.

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  6. Promoter of Justice versus Procurator-Advocate

    The former is the “prosecutor”; the latter is the “defense counsel” (for Archbishop Apuron).

    Without meaning to disparage David Lujan in any way, it would be quite speculative and inaccurate to label any single lawyer the “best” or “most competent” on Guam.

    Guam has numerous skilled and highly talented attorneys. I have litigated with and against many of them, including Mr. Lujan, as quite a few members of the Guam bar are admitted in the CNMI or practice there pro hac vice.

    It is easy to engage in Monday-morning quarterbacking from afar, with the benefit of personal experience and hindsight, and opine that civil counsel were remiss in not consulting or retaining canon law advisors for this parallel proceeding.

    Or in failing to do adequate canon law research, as there is obviously significant factual overlap between the two processes.

    Yet concerns about oral testimony in parallel proceedings are not without foundation. I am personally aware of a human trafficking prosecution that was derailed due to statements made by a victim to a Congressional panel.

    Tim has also pointed out the financial constraints faced by survivors and their families in contingency cases.

    Finally, there seems to be some ongoing confusion about the role of Fr. James Jerome Conn, S.J., a professor of the practice of canon law at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. According to his faculty bio, he is a[n active] member of the Bar in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  He serves on the Board of Governors of the Canon Law Society of America and chairs its Committee on Professional Responsibility.

    To reiterate, and to be clear, he is the “defense counsel” (for Archbishop Apuron). So it is not surprising that he would zealously seek to interview survivors, in the hope of uncovering inconsistencies in their accounts.

    Last week I posted a comment listing three canon lawyers present before the Tribunal of the First Instance.

    A commenter inquired about their identities, and having just read them in an article, I listed names of the Promoter of Justice, Procurator-Advocate, and Notary.

    (Being of a literal bent, I was just responding helpfully, and did not take the unspoken “hint” to delve into their backgrounds.)

    Regardless of allegations that the Promoter of Justice is not as committed a “prosecutor” as some might hope for, if questioning is done solely by a Tribunal judge (like Cardinal Burke) after written input from the Promoter of Justice and Procurator-Advocate (but no cross-examination by them), that would be ideal.

    If not, written testimony will have to suffice.

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    Replies
    1. I just saw this comment by Tim yesterday that Father Conn is not the Procurator-Advocate (counsel for Apuron).

      NCW Cult canon lawyer Giovanni Capucci had not been mentioned by the Guam Post.

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    2. Yes. And how convenient that he now "teaches" (?) at the local RMS. I'll notify the press :)

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    3. I realize once you say "the best" there is going to be kickback. However, we had asked others, one was considered an especially good firm. No takers. David Lujan took this on when there was no law yet that would permit a suit.

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