Friday, April 28, 2023

THE RETURN OF FR. RIZZO

By Tim Rohr

In 2010, I was still on fairly good terms with the neocat-power people, including a certain Fr. Giovanni Rizzo, who was then Vice-Rector of the former Redemptoris Mater Seminary. 

In fact, since about 2009, Fr. Rizzo and I were members of an exclusive chancery think-tank which frequently met in the wake of then-Senator B.J. Cruz' introduction of civil union legislation. 

At that time, only about six states had adopted (same-sex) civil union legislation and the prospect of such legislation gaining traction here in "Catholic" Guam was a threat then-Archbishop Apuron wanted to quash.

Even then, and before I moved to being on bad terms with Apuron and the neocats after the Fr. Paul thing in July 2013, I could easily see that Apuron's objection to Cruz' legislation had nothing to do with Catholic moral teaching. 

No, Apuron's objection, and the resultant attack on Cruz' legislation (during which I was pushed to the front by the "think-tank" people) was motivated by Apuron's fear of how Rome would view Apuron's chances for a red hat (elevation to cardinal) after Guam, perhaps the most Catholic place in the world per capita, became one of the few places in the United States to embrace same-sex unions.

The neocats, including Rizzo, who was also a canon lawyer, were anxious to preserve Apuron's reputation to the Vatican since he (Apuron) was functionally their "sugar daddy" for just about everything they needed a bishop to do - including ordain guys no one else would ordain. (Another story)

The think-tank's opposition to Cruz' legislation was a disaster, primarily because another neocat priest (not Rizzo) decided to wax eloquent and said stuff that didn't need to be said. 

The trouble was, he, the priest, didn't say it. He either had Apuron say what he wrote from the pulpit or he put his faux philosophical tomes on archdiocesan letterhead. The media (and Cruz) were just waiting for the "church" to do exactly what Apuron's puppeteers and ghost writers had him do, and Apuron's mess made easy headlines for more than a year.

See: APURON'S REAL GHOST WRITER AND THE NEW JERSEY MACHINE

Anyway, that's how I came to know Fr. Rizzo. The think-tank thing. So I was on familiar terms with him when I confronted him in 2010 about his rewriting of a paragraph in the Catechism of the Catholic Church to support the neo practice of placing the altar (they call it a table) in the center of the church instead of at the head. 

I actually confronted Apuron first and you can read my email to Apuron and Rizzo's rewriting of the Catechism at this post from 2015: THE "MILIEU FOR A NEW AESTHETIC"

The short of it is this. Rizzo, the vice-rector of the seminary and a canon lawyer, changed Par. 1182 of the Catechism to say "the altar is IN the center of the church" from "the altar IS the center of the church." (Emphases added). 

Given the title of Rizzo's article "...a new aesthetic," it was clear Rizzo was laying a foundation for what the neocats intended to do to all the churches in Guam, and of course, the rest of the Catholic world if they could. 

(Of course, some liberal pastors had already begun to do this - "the church in the round" - many years prior to the arrival of the neo's. Dededo comes to mind. And even Barrigada. But also Sinajana after a major remodeling and where the altar was pushed almost to the physical center of the church. So we can't just blame the neocats. We were already on our way there.)

When I confronted Rizzo personally, he just laughed and brushed it off, saying he did not change the wording of the paragraph because he had not used quotation marks. I laughed back and pinned him on the fact that his article had referenced the paragraph by number, making the unwary reader think he or she was actually reading a quote from the Catechism. 

This was all before the Guam Gotterdamerung that eventually brought down Apuron, RMS, and the whole Archdiocese of Agana (about 6 years later). 

I don't remember what happened to Rizzo. In fact, I completely forgot about him until his name showed up the other day. 

As many know, the old War in the Pacific Museum in Asan ("the building") has been used since about 2017 by the neocats, apparently for all the things Archbishop Byrnes would no longer let them do in churches. 

After Byrnes took over, I pretty much stopped caring about what the neo's did, though I knew for sure that they were up to something. I just didn't care. And I'm not sure I care now, other than to say hello to my old friend Fr. Rizzo. 

You see, the building is owned by the Rainan I Langet Foundation, Inc., ("the Foundation") which, at least up until January 2023, was a Guam corporation. I say "at least up until January 2023," because the Foundation, which was incorporated in Guam in December 2017, appears to have been re-incorporated (not sure that's the right word) in Hawaii this past January. 

It's easy to tell by the names of the contact persons, and even more so by the principal and mailing address (go find it), who is really running this outfit, but anyway, that's not the story. 

At least not yet. 

The only "story" that piques my interest at this point is Fr. Giovanni Rizzo's name showing up as a member of the  "Board of Guarantors" as set forth in the Foundation's Articles of Incorporation (which I have). 


If the words "Board of Guarantors" sound familiar that's because Attorney Jacques Bronze thoroughly impugned the old RMS Board of Guarantors as a shadow board in what JW termed THE BRONZE OPINION (it starts about pg. 15),  and...it appears that Rizzo's board functions in exactly the same way. (More about that another time.) 

Another note of interest is that Rizzo, on his LinkedIn profile makes no mention of his being vice-rector of a seminary in Guam. That's sort of big stuff - being a vice-rector of a seminary. So why doesn't it show up? 

No surprise though. Just more of the double life we have become used to when it comes to the neocats - especially its clergy.

More to come. If I feel like it. Meanwhile, hello Fr. Rizzo. Still rewriting the Catechism?

Here's a little history courtesy of the PDN's archives. 

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