Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Relationship Between Catholics and Jews

There has been a lot of comments under the posts of the Jewish Rabbis. However, I am going to respond to only one anonymous poster who made the following comment: 

I find these conversations very interesting and curious. On one hand you have the NCW claiming that "ordinary Catholics" (you know, the ones that go to Mass) aren't really Christian, but are more pagan and that they have to be catechised and converted.

And yet, on the other hand, these same people claim that the Jews, who outright reject Jesus Christ as King, God and Savior, are somehow protected from error and are saved because of their physical genetic history! Not because of what they believe, but because of who-they-are!

This amazes me, not the least because any survey of modern people who claim Jewish ancestory, will show that the majority don't even believe in God (the Father), let alone Jesus Christ.

Yet, once again we have these NCW experts telling us how wonderful are the Jews and how we should be more like them.

Forgive me, but I think you're mad.

This is my response:  
Dear Anonymous at 12:21 pm, 

You stated "....these same people claim that the Jews, who outright reject Jesus Christ as King, God and Savior are somehow protected from error and are saved because of their physical genetic history.! Not because of what they believe, but because of who they are!"  

The Jewish people believe in God and they pray to God.  The NCW follows what the Vatican says because the NCW is Catholic, and this is what the Vatican says (the bold is mine):
Jews can secure eternal salvation without converting to Christianity, senior Catholic theologians said in a report published Thursday, in the latest refinement of their stance on a vexed theological issue. 
Addressing a question that has long blighted relations between the two faiths, the report also unequivocally stated that the Catholic Church should not actively seek to convert Jews to Christianity, and called for the church to work to eliminate anti-Semitism. 
The document, issued by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, not only effectively affirmed that Jews can be saved independently of Jesus, but described Christianity’s relationship with Jews as a shared patrimony.
“Although Jews cannot believe in Jesus Christ as the universal redeemer, they have a part in salvation, because the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable,” the report concluded, according to a summary released to the media. 
The belief that the only way to salvation is through belief in Jesus Christ is a fundamental tenet of every strand of Christianity.
But it has also been blamed for creating an evangelical tendency responsible for some of the darkest periods in the history of religion, notably the anti-Muslim crusades of the Middle Ages and centuries of Christian anti-Semitism.  
The latest report reiterates that it is only thanks to Jesus’s death and resurrection that all people have the chance of salvation, but accepts that Jews can benefit from this without believing in him.
The authors appear to acknowledge that they are effectively squaring a theological circle. 
How Jews being saved while not believing in Christ “can be possible remains an unfathomable mystery in the salvific plan of God,” they say. 
The report noted that Christian evangelism to Jews was particularly sensitive issue because it involves the “very existence of the Jewish people.” 
“The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views,” it said.
You can read the rest of the article here.  

Now to address the first paragraph of your comment. Many of us need to be catechized because not all of us know what the Catholic Church teaches. Furthermore, there are many Catholics who see nothing wrong with homosexuality, same sex marriage, pre-marital sex, abortion, and other issues that are simply NOT Catholic.  So yes, even the ordinary Catholics who go to regular Sunday Mass and who see nothing wrong with homosexuality, same-sex marriage, pre-marital sex, abortion, etc. do need to be catechize.  Yes, the ordinary Catholics who shack up with their boyfriends and girlfriends and practice birth control methods need to be catechized.     

Pope Francis prays at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City on May 26, 2014. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Historical Timeline

The Pacific Daily News got it wrong as to who was the first accuser who came out in public.  According to the PDN article:
Within a year since former altar boy Roy Quintanilla came forward on May 17, 2016 to accuse Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of sexually abusing him in the 1970s, not only has the Vatican promptly stepped in but also placed a global spotlight on Guam’s clergy sex abuses.
It was not Roy Quintanilla who FIRST accused Archbishop Apuron of sex abuse. It was John Toves from California, who was a regular writer in Junglewatch.  Before coming out on November, 2014, John Toves had been posting videos such as the one here, making fun of the Archbishop. John Toves was a regular contributor to Junglewatch.  On October 24, 2014, John Toves wrote the following comment in the Jungle:
We need to understand that the Archbishop does not and will not abide by any rules from wherever they come.  This is a "Holy War"!  We cannot continue to ask him - "Please Mr. Archbishop, would you step down, you are hurting us".  We will force him down!  I'm in!  Are you?
Then on October 31, 2014, John Toves wrote the following comment in the jungle.  According to John Toves:
We all must do more. Not everyone is called to the same level of activism, but everyone must come up with their own resolutions to stop Apuron, Quitugua, and Cristobal. We must stop this cancer from spreading!

Be courageous, strong, and faithful. 


I know I WILL.

It was on November 17th, when we finally discovered what John Toves meant when he said that he intends to do something. John Toves called the Jesse Lujan talk show from California and for the first time accused Archbishop Apuron of molesting his cousin.  John Toves also admitted in his interview with Patti Arroyo that his real motivation for making those allegations was the removal of Father Paul and Monsignor James. You can listen to that interview below:

Interview with John Toves

Four days later, Tim Rohr gave his two cents piece on what he thought about the allegation.  According to Tim Rohr:  The bold is mine.
There is now a similar allegation against Archbishop Apuron. Whether it is true or not remains to be proven. However, again, as per the Archbishop's implementation of his own policy in his actions against Wadeson, no proof or truth or formal charges are needed for the removal of a cleric, including himself.

Thus, Archbishop Apuron, by virtue of his own policy and his own example of its implementation, MUST REMOVE HIMSELF and permit an independent investigation to move forward. (A temporary diocesan administrator will be appointed by Rome during this process.)
However, John Toves revealed later through the media that he never spoke to his cousin and that he never obtained the sexual allegation from his cousin. He heard it from someone who most likely heard it from someone else, but he had never asked his cousin whether the sexual allegation was true. Also, his cousin never came forward.

Therefore, the PDN got It wrong.  Roy Quintanilla was not the first one who made the sexual allegation against Archbishop Apuron. It was John Toves. Before all this talk of sexual allegations, the issue was on the RM Seminary. The jungle tried to discredit the seminary, but that did not remove the Archbishop. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monsignor Edward Arsenault

It can be easy to blame the bishop for the financial mismanagement of his diocese because he is the one who approves everything.  His signature is on the paper. However, it is possible for a priest to steal from the Church without the bishop's signature and without him knowing. It is possible for a priest to steal and even mismanage church funds as in the case with Monsignor Edward Arsenault.  According to the news article:

CONCORD, N.H. — Pope Francis has dismissed a Roman Catholic priest from New Hampshire who was convicted of stealing $300,000 from a hospital, a bishop and a deceased priest’s estate. 
Monsignor Edward Arsenault, who served as the face of the church in the state during a sex abuse scandal, pleaded guilty to three theft charges in 2014. He was transferred Tuesday to home confinement and is up for parole on Feb. 19, 2018. 
The Diocese of Manchester said Friday that Arsenault was removed from the priesthood Feb. 28 and no longer has “faculties to act, function, or present himself as a priest.” 
“Dismissing a priest from the clerical state is very serious and taken very seriously by the Holy See,” said the Rev. Georges de Laire, the diocese’s vicar for canonical affairs, who conveyed the decision to Arsenault on Thursday.“It is not a decision that is reached lightly as it implies pain for the former cleric and those who may have been affected by him,” he said. 
Arsenault could not be reached for comment Friday. 
Prosecutors said Arsenault billed the church for lavish meals and travel for himself and often a male partner.
He was convicted of writing checks from the dead priest’s estate to himself and his brother and billing a hospital $250 an hour for consulting work he never did.
Arsenault held senior positions in the New Hampshire diocese from 1999 to 2009. He had been the top lieutenant for then-Bishop John McCormack, handling both a clergy sexual abuse crisis in New Hampshire and orchestrating the church’s new child protection policies.

Friday, May 19, 2017

More On The Sex Abuse Scandal

The latest alleged victim to accuse Father Brouillard is a person whose initials are B.J.  What is interesting about this case is that he was never an altar server or a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Nevertheless, he is suing the Archdiocese of Agana and the Boy Scouts of America.

Despite that B.J. was never a member of the Boy Scouts of America or an altar server, he must have hung around them.  According to news report, B.J. was there when he witnessed Father Brouillard fondling the boys while they were swimming.  

B. J. then claimed to have met Father Brouillard while he was walking to the store alone one day. The priest asked him to come with him to teach him some survival skills. And despite the fact that he had seen this priest do inappropiate things to his friends while they were swimming, he nevertheless went with him.  Father Brouillard brought him to Lonfit River, tied him to a tree, and raped him.  According to The Guam Daily Post (the bold is mine):
"I never told anybody back then. Who was gonna believe me? Back then it was very strict," B.J. said.
He said he went home that day and showered and went to sleep "feeling dirty." The next morning, he said he went to the jungle and stayed there for a few days to "heal."
"For three days I was spitting up blood," B.J said.
The man became nauseated when thinking about Brouillard taking his innocence.
"I can remember everything," he said.
B.J. held the secret for 45 years until he heard about other victims coming forward mentioning sexual abuse by Brouillard at Lonfit.
"I realized I wasn't the only one. That's what made me come out," B.J. said.
As a mother, I would certainly noticed if my child had gone missing for a few days and were spitting up blood for three days.  B.J. admited that he stayed in the jungle for a few days to heal and was spitting up blood. So, my question is......where were his parents?  While he stayed in the jungle healing, did his parents not noticed that their 12 year old child was missing for a few days?  Did they not report their missing child to the police?

He was asked what made him come out? His answer was "I realized I wasn't the only one."  I found this a strange answer.  Why?  Because he already admitted that he was there and witnessed Father Brouillard fondled the other boys while they were swimming. He could have gotten together with any or all of those boys to report Father Brouillard, but he did not. 

However, Father Brouillard was reported.  Someone did report him.  A retired police officer knew about the case and even spoke about it in the news, but Archbishop Flores moved him to the United States. 

Another Rabbi Speaks

"Shema" is one of the songs I love in the Way.  We sing it in the Easter Vigil all the time.  What does it mean? Listen Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. Blessed is His name, whose glorious kingdom is forever. Love God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

As parents, we always tell our kids to do well in school, get good grades, and get a good job. Although these things are good, we never tell them to love God first and foremost. The Way is teaching us to love God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our strength. When we put God first and in the center of our lives, all things fall into place. And the things that usually hurt us is taken up by Christ.  

By Rabbi Daniel Allen
Can we Jews accept love and admiration from others without suspicion? We are conditioned over centuries to be skeptics about gestures let alone explicit embrace from others telling us that we love you as Jews and wish only that you prosper. Last week I became less skeptical and less cynical having spent 4 days at Domus Galilaeae with 400 Catholics and Jews, Rabbis, Priests, Cardinals, Bishops and Catholic lay leaders from 27 countries.
We were brought together by the Neo-Catecumenal Way, a lay led very conservative movement within the Catholic world of more than two million souls. It is led by Kiko Arguello, a most fascinating fellow who is an artist, musician, writer and clearly the charismatic leader of his flock. It provides post-baptismal formation to adults who are already members of the church.
They love the Jews, honor and study our Torah, support the State of Israel and have incorporated the recitation of and belief in theShema as central to who they are as Catholics.
To be sure we do not agree on many issues and certainly not on doctrine. Nonetheless, we studied together, dined together and prayed – if not together but at least in each other’s presence. The more than 150 Rabbis – men and women – represented the entire spectrum of our folks including Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Modern Orthodox, and Charedim. A member of the Chief Rabbinate participated as did Blu and Rabbis Yitz Greenberg, Shlomo Riskin and Jay Rosenbaum the head of the North American Board of Rabbis under whose auspices we came from America and Canada.
As North American Rabbis we chose to issue a statement from this experience. Drafted by Rabbis Michael Zedek and Gary Bretton Granatoor, we declared it publicly for any who wished to sign.
The take away message to me is that loving relationships – even between and among those about whom we were once skeptical can bring understanding and Godliness into all of our lives. If we can do so with “others” perhaps we can do it among ourselves as well.
Rabbi Daniel R. Allen is Executive Vice Chairman Emeritus of the United Israel Appeal and past President of Association of Reform Zionist of America (ARZA) and Masorti Foundation.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Retreat In Israel

Last year, many Jewish Rabbis gathered together with many Catholic Bishops and Cardinals at the Domus Galilaeae runned by the Neocatechumenal Way in Israel. The retreat was so successful that the Jewish Rabbis asked to hold another retreat this year.  The article below was written by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg who attended the retreat. His article can be found here.

Last night Jews and Catholics, some two hundred of us, sung together around a bonfire ‘Hinei mah tov umah na’im – How good and pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together’. Last night we prayed Ma’ariv, the traditional Jewish evening service, together; this morning we joined Christian singing of the Psalms and Shema Yisrael, with an excellent sermon by Cardinal Bassetti of Perugia stressing how love, love of nature, of animals, of people, of one another, is the essence of God’s word for us all.
All this has taken place in the Domus Galilaeae, home in Israel of followers of the Neocathecumenal Way. To previous generations, such an encounter, marked by generosity and respect, would have been unthinkable.
I have by no means found myself in agreement with everything I have heard during these three days of meetings. I am far more of an egalitarian, less critical of the secular world and have greater sympathy with those who struggle to find faith or understand if there is indeed a God in whom we can believe. I miss wider, more progressive spiritual voices. I have felt uncomfortable with certain judgements and assumptions I have heard, or think I have heard. There could also be further opportunities for closer reflection and study which a future gathering might explore.
But I am moved by the very generous welcome extended to us by the Catholic community here. I am conscious of the profound change this represents for so many, from a history containing shameful and painful periods of contempt and persecution, to the sincere affirmation of Christian indebtedness to Judaism and the commitment to a close future partnership between our faiths and communities. I appreciate deeply the courage, openness and invitation which an encounter such as this represents.
The statement of representatives of the orthodox rabbinate is a deeply important response, including as it does official representation of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel: that Jews and Christians must see in each other honoured partners in the sacred work of striving to fulfil God’s will for our torn and broken world. This is a significant legacy of Nostra Aetate, on which representatives from across the Jewish world worked closely with Pope Jean-Paul II and their Catholic colleagues together.
What touches me most, though, is the spirit of humility and service I have found in some of the Christian participants I have got to know, people who will return to the slums and impoverished estates of the big cities across the world to work with the poor, the homeless and those who find no place in a world of so-called progress by which they have been largely forgotten.
I shall take away from here a deeper awareness of the importance of hearing God’s Torah and teaching from all other human beings, of all faiths and none, and from the natural world also, because ‘leit attar panui minei’, – ‘There is nowhere where God is not’ – so long as our hearts are open to allow God in.
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg
Senior Rabbi to Masorti Judaism
CCJ President

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

No Priest Is Safe

An anonymous poster made the following comment under the post "At The Cost Of Everything":  

"The others are either dead or off-island." Or have not yet been publicly identified and accused. Maybe like Joe San Agustin, just conveniently hushed up since these priests are the favorites of the Jungle. Only a matter of time.

Under the thread, someone brought up Father Mike Crisostomo's name because he was assigned to move to the Yigo parish, but he never made it there.  What is interesting though was that it was Tim Rohr himself who actually brought up that Father Mike was being accused of sexual molestation by someone for years. Tim Rohr claimed to know who that person is, but he discredited that person. Rohr claimed that Archbishop Hon intends to use that person to remove Father Mike.  However, whoever that person is, he never came out.  And Archbishop Hon never removed Father Mike Crisostomo.  The person who brought up the topic of sexual molestation against Father Mike Crisostomo was Tim Rohr himself.  It was first brought up in the Junglewatch blog.

However, it was Tim Rohr who wanted to remove Archbishop Hon.  Below is a screenshot of Tim warning Rome to remove Archbishop Hon for his own safety. 

Then below is another screenshot taken from the jungle showing Tim accusing Archbishop Hon of trying to remove Father Mike Crisostomo by having someone accuse him of sexual abuse. 

Although this accusation was published on Junglewatch, Tim Rohr also went public with it in the Patti Arroyo talk show.  He accused Archbishop Hon of trying to remove Father Mike Crisostomo by coming up with a trumped up charge of sexual abuse against him. According to Tim Rohr, this person had been claiming that he was sexually molested by Father Mike for YEARS!!!!  You can listen to Tim Rohr's interview in the following weblink: 

Now, here is something that you should bear in mind.  If this person had been accusing Father Mike Crisostomo for YEARS (as Tim Rohr claimed), then there is no reason for Archbishop Hon to even convince this person to make such accusation against Father Mike, considering that he has been doing it already for YEARS.  That would defeat the purpose.  So much for Tim's accusation against Archbishop Hon. 

Another thing you should bear in mind is why did Tim Rohr discredit this alleged victim who claimed to be sexually molested by Father Mike Crisostomo? Why is this alleged victim being suppressed by Tim Rohr?  Why and how does Tim Rohr decide who is a victim and who is not?  It is also interesting to note how Rohr describes the strategy of removing the enemy to Patti Arroyo. 

As long as this law is in place, no priest is safe because the law already made it possible for anyone to bring a lawsuit against a priest regardless of whether the witness is dead and even if there are no substantial evidence.  The name and reputation of a priest can be tarnished even after he is long dead.  Forty or fifty years after he is gone, anyone can claim that he/she was sexually molested by him, and he would not be able to defend himself from the grave. 

After 15 years of lawsuits from alleged victims, the Boston Archdiocese is still receiving lawsuits to this day.  But now, the accusers are getting younger.  Many of the accusers coming forward are in their 20s and 30s.  According to The Boston Globe:
Fifteen years after the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston broke into public view, hundreds of victims around the world continue to come forward, including some who say they were attacked as recently as 2001, advocates said Thursday.........
Garabedian said some clergy sex abuse victims now coming forward are in their late 20s or early 30s, meaning they were abused in the 1980s or 1990s.
“The clergy sexual abuse crisis is endless,” he said. “They’ve enabled the sexual abuse to continue for decades, and it’s not going to end in my lifetime.” 

Monday, May 15, 2017

My Proposal

An anonymous poster made the following comment:  

Dear anon, Guam is the only place on earth where there are several Catholic church buildings in a one mile radius. There are over 20 parishes serving a city size population, most of whose don't even attend Sunday masses. This is unnecessary luxury. Perhaps, 3 parishes in the Northern region (Yigo, Dededo), 7 in the Central and 5 in the Southern (including Yona, Santa Rita and Agat) would suffice.

This is as few as 15 parishes with one or two priests in each, deacon and clerical staff. No more is needed.

The Archdiocese has a lot of room for consolidating the parishes into a less number of Catholic centers, thus saving a lot of resources and money to pay off the lawyers, court fee and the victims.

Anonymous 9:03 am made an excellent suggestion.  However, I believe that there should be more parishes in the northern region because that is where most of the population resides.  The central area of Guam consist mainly of our business, government, and tourist industry; therefore, we do not need 7 parishes in that area. 

However, the number of lawsuits already over-exceeded the assets of the archdiocese, and these lawsuits are expected to increase.  Thus, there would be NOTHING left to save.  Some people claimed that they can rebuild just as our grandparents did after World War II. However, the truth is....because the lawsuits OVER-EXCEEDED the assets of the Archdiocese and CONTINUE TO RISE, then even the structures you rebuilt will be taken away. People today may also not be willing to rebuild because we are not the same generation as our grandparents. An anonymous poster made the comment below, which can be found here.
People may have had to rebuild a church because it was bombed in WWII and be fine with it, but we aren't talking about outside forces beyond our control, we are talking about our own people DESTROYING it, bombing it from within!   
Nevertheless, this is my proposal: 
  1. Do not liquidate any assets at all. The focus should be on getting the law declared unconstitutional by the Judicial branch. Why? Because there is a higher probability that the law can be declared unconstitutional and inorganic due to the problems already outlined by the attorneys. Once the law is declared unconstitutional, that puts a stop on all the lawsuits.   
  2. I like the objectives of the Hope and Healing Program. I believe that the FIRST thing to healing for victims of sexual abuse would be counseling. However, certain procedures need to be put in place first to ensure that people do not abuse this program meant to help those who were truly victims of sexual abuse.  It is already noted that some people in Guam have abused the Food Stamps Program, GHURA, and welfare program meant to help those with little or no income. If some people can take advantage of these government programs, the same can happen to the Hope and Healing Program.  After all, someone has already identified that the testimony of the person claiming to be sexually abused by Monsignor Ziolo Camacho (deceased) may be a false allegation due to the fact that Monsignor Ziolo Camacho was not assigned to the Dededo parish until 1981.