Catholics Rally at Chancery Office to Protest Archbishop's Letter

By Janela Carrera
Pacific News Center
June 10, 2015

Parishioners wanted to express their disappointment with the Archbishop for targeting another priest.

Guam - Another silent protest was held today in front of the Archdiocese of Agana Chancery Office. This time local Catholics gathered to demonstrate their disappointment with Archbishop Anthony Apuron for targeting yet another priest in the Church.

Local Catholics and parishioners were showed up to the parking lot of the Chancery Office to express their disappointment in a letter sent by Archbishop Anthony Apuron to Immaculate Heart of Mary Pastor Father Mike Crisostomo.

The June 2nd letter notifies Father Mike that his parish fell short in its Archdiocesan Annual Appeal—a fundraising effort by the Archdiocese that is separate from the monthly parish assessment.

Local Catholic blogger with an international following Tim Rohr says this is the second year that the appeal has fallen significantly short of the Archdiocese’s goal.

"I sort of started a campaign, "no money until there’s accountability." It seems to have worked because there was a tremendous shortfall in the appeal collections," explains Rohr. "It’s the laity that have responded with "no transparency, no money" but the Archbishop is afraid of the laity. He knows he can’t get to us. He knows he doesn’t have authority over our lives like he does his priests. So he’s gonna do what he normally does which is pick on the people that he can pick on."

Rohr says this is similar to the punishment that Father Paul Gofigan and Msgr. James Benavente received from the Archbishop for defying him. But this time Rohr says the people have had enough and will not stand for it.

Father Mike was scheduled to meet with the Archbishop today at 3pm so the organizers of the prayer rally decided to show up to the Chancery at the same time.

"I think it’s gone beyond showing support. It’s now showing anger. There’s a lot of anger because Father Mike is a very well respected and loved priest and has served the archbishop unquestionably for many years. Whatever the archbishop needs Father Mike was there to do, however in recent months he has spoken out against the tremendous injustices the Archbishop and his friends are doing," notes Rohr.

In the letter, Archbishop Apuron tells Father Mike that his parish’s contribution to the appeal are “not favorable and I fear it will affect the chaplaincies of the hospital and prisons; the education of our seminarians and the emergency needs of our priest.”

Rohr says several other priests received similar letters from the Archbishop.

"We’re gonna fight back. That’s what’s going on today," Rohr says of the prayer rally, which was organized by local Catholic John Taitano.

Rohr points out that Archbishop Apuron has the authority to assess the parishes any amount to make up for the shortfall if he wanted to without having to provide any accountability measures.

Calls to the Archdiocese were not returned as of news time.



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