Wednesday, August 2, 2023


By Tim Rohr

In the previous post, THE PHOENIX FOUNDATION BUYS THE CHANCERY, the press release is clearly authentic and clearly authored by a certain "Benny Paulino." 

So then what accounts for the following comments back in April in the post: ATIENZA HAS TO BE TOLD AGAIN...AND AGAIN...AND AGAIN. SO STOP THE MONEY?

Greetings, my name is Major General Benny M. Paulino. I currently serve as the Adjutant General of the Guam National Guard, and therefore have no affiliations with the Phoenix Foundation whatsoever.

Thank you General Paulino. I will forward your note to my source. Very strange all around. Please forgive the rumors. Of course our Archdiocese could put all rumors to rest with a simple statement. But for whatever reason, "they" refuse to. Thank you again.

  1. On second thought, I am unconvinced that Anonymous at 8:42 is "Major General Benny M. Paulino." I don't think a man of Mr. Paulino's standing would respond to something as significant as this in a comment posted by "Anonymous." So the plot and probably the subterfuge continues. If Mr. Paulino is not a part of the Phoenix Foundation then he is welcome to contact me directly.

  2. Ai adai, Anonymous at 8:42 trying to act like a military officer... Too many lies to count -_-

"Too many lies to count" is right. 

The question is: Who would have an interest in such lies? Some bored internet troll...or a party intent on frustrating the purchase of "chancery hill" by the Phoenix Foundation?

I think the latter. Guess who?

Meanwhile, there are a few matters in Mr. Paulino's press release which invite comment.


First, the Phoenix Foundation is doing exactly what it should be doing and what JW has already urged the laity to do many times over: stop wringing your hands over the bankruptcy, stop talking about what your ancestors gave to the church; organize, incorporate, raise money, buy these properties, and RETAIN CONTROL of them - emphasis on that last one. 

If the Flores-Apuron era taught us anything, it taught us that just blind giving to "the church" is a thing of the past. Those bishops and what we now know is a growing number of clerics and religious of every stripe gave no thought to the future of these properties, sacrificially given to "the church" by your ancestors, when they welcomed Satan into the Sanctuary and helped themselves to your children.

Note: I say "your" because while I have resided in Guam since 1987, I have no ancestors here. 

I apologize to those who are sensitive to my mentioning "Flores" along with Apuron. However, almost all of the clerical misdeeds that the Archdiocese of Agana has been made to pay for occurred on Flores' watch - including the advancement of Apuron in the local curia which eventually led to Apuron's appointment as Flores' successor. 


Second, while I understand Mr. Paulino's appeal to our emotional memory relative to "a saint slept here" - and I hope it brings him the return he seeks - the fact is JP2 simply needed a place to sack out. And, like so many other dignitaries, sacred and secular, Guam was pretty much a refuel stop on the way to someplace else. 

So let's not get over-excited about JP2's sleep-over at the chancery, especially given what happened in that same house of horrors and why Archbishop Byrnes, before he himself would sleep there, exorcised the god-forsaken place. 

Note: Okay, JP2's visit was intentional and not just a refuel stop. However, it was still a stop over on the way to other places. I believe he was headed to Manila at the time.


And a final thought, though I say it carefully since I do not want to impugn Mr. Paulino's optimism. 

JP2's visit had nothing to do with the elevation of Agana to an archdiocese:

"It marks the only time that a pope visited our island and led to a string of blessings for the Church on Guam including the elevation of our diocese to an archdiocese and elevation of the Agana Cathedral to a Cathedral-Basilica." - Benny Paulino

An "elevation" from a diocese to an "archdiocese" is no particular honor - or "blessing." It's a matter of what could be called ecclesial gerrymandering. 

In 1984, Agana was part of what is now called the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ("USCCB") and, as such, a "suffragan" diocese of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. 

In 1984, then-Bishop Flores moved to separate the Diocese of Agana from the USCCB and attach Agana to the recently formed Episcopal Conference of the Pacific ("CEPAC"). 

Note: This is admittedly a simplification of the actual history, but is close in fact.

It was a weird move, given Guam's nearly four centuries of Catholicism via Spain and then the U.S. - relative to the rest of a relatively younger Catholicism in Oceania. 

In other words, other than geography, Guam had absolutely nothing in common with the rest of Oceania/CEPAC. (I'll say more about this in a minute.)

But it's what Flores wanted. And in the "spirit" of Vatican II - which elevated "inculturation" to a pseudo-dogma - Flores' move was granted. 

However, Agana could not be an archdiocese without its own suffragan dioceses, so the dioceses of Chalan Kanoa (Saipan) and the Caroline Marshalls were named Agana's "suffragans" - a real mismatch since Guam and Saipan had no affection for each other given the historical fallout from WW2, and the Marshalls might as well have been located somewhere in "Narnia" as far as Agana knew. 

But such is the politics of ecclesial gerrymandering. 

The effect was to make Agana an archdiocese, Flores - who would only live another year of so - an archbishop, and Apuron the supreme archbishop of Guam for three decades. And he may well still be...except for the efforts of a few. 

Kudos to the Phoenix Foundation. But "JP2 slept here" is not really why we want to save this place. We want to save if from "those other guys." 

Carry on Mr. Paulino, et al. and thank you.


Above I noted that I would say more about CEPAC "in a minute." So here it is. 

Agana, though it jumped the USCCB ship and joined CEPAC - probably for no other reason than to acquire the titles of "arch" - never, even minutely, identified with Oceania or CEPAC. 

This is why Apuron, for years, continued to attend USCCB conferences and why we have always sent our seminarians to seminaries in the states and not the CEPAC seminary in Fiji.

And when it came time to find a replacement for Apuron, the Vatican did NOT look to CEPAC, but to the USCCB and sent us Bishop Byrnes - who, as stated several times in this blog, didn't even know where Guam was :

“I did look up Guam on my phone when I found out,” Archbishop Byrnes said. “I knew what Guam was; I read enough about World War II."  - SOURCE

No slight to Archbishop Byrnes. It wasn't his fault. He didn't ask to come here. But going forward, the Archdiocese of Agana does not need a new bishop whose knowledge of Guam comes from his reading about World War II. 

Guam needs a bishop who is scarred and wounded and who has quietly endured our own internecine war and who has survived the public and personal persecution of his corrupt superiors, a priest still standing amidst the current "gotterdamerung" that is currently the Archdiocese of Agana.

No more mercenaries. 


  1. Hey, Tim.

    Reiterating the last part where you said that Guam needs an ardent bishop who experienced the unspeakable evils that has long plagued this archdiocese, who would you suggest as possible candidates for the episcopacy?

    Si Yu'os Ma'ase, and keep it up with the updates...

    1. Thank you. But I'm not naming names just yet.