Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Posted by Tim

Some have taken exception to this announcement in the San Vicente bulletin since it gives the impression that James Arriola went away to a seminary in Miami, was ordained, and has now returned home. And of course that is not the case.

Arriola did not just go away to study at an off-island seminary, he left this diocese to study, live, work, and be ordained for the diocese of Miami. Therefore he is not "our" priest.

But no so fast. Arriola is a neocat. And in the neocat world nothing is what it seems. Arriola is not only not a priest of this diocese, when it comes down to it, he is not a priest of the diocese of Miami either. 

He is first a neocat. And neocats always belong to their community. And since Arriola's community is in Barrigada, he is first a member of that community for life before he is anything else, including a priest for the diocese of Miami. 

Thus, from the neocat perspective, the announcement is correct. He is "our own" to the neocats, the same way Presbyter Alberto, who is supposedly "our pastor" to the people of Agat, abandoned the people of Agat during Holy Week a couple years ago to celebrate it with his community in the Canary Islands. 

The announcement, like neocat theology, traffics in half truths, without which the neocats would never survive. It says "his parish." Of course it's not his parish. Arriola has been assigned to a parish in "his" diocese of Miami. It's a half truth. 

It's also a half truth to even say that he is from the Barrigada parish. The neocats do not recognize "the parish." To them, parish-based Catholicism is dead and is to be replaced by the Kiko-community model. 

As a member of one of those communities, Arriola did not belong to the parish, he belonged to the community. The community just happened to be attached to the Barrigada parish, but only insofar as it could suck off its resources as every other neocat community does. 

So why is he here? Arriola left Guam purposely. He joined another diocese purposely. He chose to be ordained in another diocese purposely. He chose NOT to be a priest of the Archdiocese of Agana, so why are we celebrating him as one?

True, as a neocat, Arriola was probably ordered to go to Miami by his neocat hierarchy. But it was still his choice. No, what Arriola is doing here is what Apuron did for all his newly ordained RMS presybter boys on our dime: a victory tour. And over the many years he did this, it probably cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But beyond this mess, we can be certain that as a neocat he has no respect for the bishop. To be sure, his victory tour which includes celebrating Mass, was organized and announced without any consideration of the requirement of canon law. A priest cannot just show up in a diocese in which he is not incardinated and celebrate Mass publicly. He must have the permission of the bishop of the diocese he is visiting. 

And while I understand the matter has been brought to the attention of Archbishop Byrnes and Arriola's Mass has been approved, to be sure, any permission procured was AFTER the fact since Arriola's arrival and schedule has been made known now ever since his ordination in Miami on May 13. 

By the way, what is not announced is that he will be doing, and probably already has done (since he has been here for several days), a Saturday night "eucharist" with his Barrigada neocat community, the only people in Guam who can actually say "our priest." 

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