Friday, September 29, 2023


By Tim Rohr

The title to this post is the title of an important article by canon lawyer, Cathy Caridi at "Canon Law Made Easy." 

This issue blew up here in Guam in 2013 when Archbishop Apuron functionally fired Fr. Paul Gofigan, the lawful pastor of Santa Barbara parish. 

I say "functionally," because Apuron did not outright fire Gofigan - perhaps he had legal counsel telling him he had no right to do so - but demanded Gofigan's resignation. Gofigan refused, but when he returned to his parish he found that the locks had been changed while he was meeting with Apuron. 

It's a long story, and it all led to years of trauma in our local church and ultimately its bankruptcy. It's all documented at Apuron v Gofigan and it is in e-book form: Target = Priest

Looking backward, it was certain lay faithful who did the canon law research which provided Gofigan the opportunity to legally fight back against Apuron. Looking forward, it will remain the lay faithful who will stand up to the abuses of power by clerics, especially prelates, and they will do so by educating themselves.

The canonically illegal manipulation of pastors by bishops is one of the most common and harmful abuses in our Church. And this article will explain why. 

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