Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The First Sin

The first sin that was committed was pride.  It is also the worst sin.  The sin of pride was found in Lucifer, who was God's right hand-man (or should I say "angel").  However, Lucifer was not happy being second.  He wanted to be first and sit on God's throne.  As a result of his sin, he was cast out of Heaven.  

Pride was also the first sin committed among man.  Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and in her pride, she wanted to be like God.
"You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman.  "For God knows that when you eat from it  your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." - Genesis 3:4-5  
Man was then cast out of the Garden of Eden.  Pride often leads to disobedience.  In the case of man, eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was an act of disobedience against God who prohibited them from touching and eating the fruit in the first place.  

The holy Bible speaks of pride as a sin and screams of obedience.  Children are told to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20), and slaves are told to obey their masters (Ephesians 6:5 and Colossians 3:22).  Christians are told to obey their bishops (Hebrews 13:17).  In this way, God prepares us for His kingdom so that our will conforms to His will.  We are to follow and obey God's will.  However, many times, we want God to follow and obey our will.  By the same token, God calls on parents to care for their children and on earthly masters to care for their slaves.  He also calls on bishops to care for the souls of their sheep. 

The only time a child can disobey their parents is when their parents tell them to do something that is immoral such as stealing, killing, etc.  If a master tells a slave to kill another servant, then the slave through his moral conscience can disobey because the killing of another person goes against the commandment of God. If a bishop also tells a lay person to go against any of the Ten Commandments, the lay person can through his moral conscience disobey. Even Christ told His disciples to listen and obey the Pharisees because they sit in the chair of Moses, but he warned them not to imitate their behavior because they were hypocrites.  

Matthew 23:2-3   "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.  So you must be careful to do everything they tell you.  But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."   

It is clear from the passage that Christ tells us to obey authority and at the same time obey our conscience.  However, our conscience must be formed correctly to know the difference between good and evil, between right and wrong.  

In the U.S. military, obedience is very important because it deals with matters of life and death of the soldier and other fellow soldiers.  In the Church, obedience is also important because it deals with the salvation of souls.  When Archbishop Hon instructs his priests to read his letter to the parishioners and distribute the petitions, there is nothing immoral in that command.  To go against Bill 326 does not mean that we support child abusers.  Those who sexually abused children should be punished.  However, Bill 326 not only punishes the child abusers but also punish innocent people who have nothing to do with the offense.  The Church does not support child abuers, but she also does not support punishing innocent people.  The Church looks to God who does not punish the wicked together with the just (Genesis 18:23-32).  Those who did not follow Archbishop Hon's instruction to read the letter and distribute the petitions were disobedient because they thought they knew better than Archbishop Hon.  This is the sin of pride. 

With that said, it is with great sorrow that the Archdiocesan leader remained silent and did not speak out against Bill 326 during the public hearings.  He spoke out too late.  It is also with great sorrow that some of the priests did not support the Apostolic Administrator, but supported Bill 326.  These disobedient priests need to be reminded that the Church is a living organism, not an institution.  This living organism is divine and holy.  It has no sins.  Only the members of the Church are sinners and should be held accountable for their sins.  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Stogner V. California Case

The following article can be found here.  The bold red is mine.  I think we should request the Governor or Legislature to seek a declaratory judgement from the Supreme Court of Guam on Bill 326.  We also need to elect lawmakers who can properly compose bills using logic and reason rather than having their emotions dictate how the bill should be written.  

U.S. Supreme Court: Reviving Expired Statute of Limitations Violates Ex Post Facto

U.S. Supreme Court: Reviving Expired Statute of Limitations Violates Ex Post Facto Clause 

Reversing the California Court of Appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California's recent law reviving criminal liability for previously time-barred prosecutions violated the Constitutional proscription against ex post facto laws. 

Catering to public outrage against child molesters, the California Legislature in 1993 enacted a revised statute of limitations for such crimes - Penal Code (PC) §803(g). In place of the previous general three-year felony statute of limitations, §803(g) permitted sex crimes against children to be prosecuted within one year of the victim's report to the police. Moreover, in a 1996 amendment (PC §803(g)(3)(A)), the Legislature acknowledged that it intended such retroactivity to apply regardless of how old the offense was. 

In 1998, based upon these intervening new laws, Marion Stogner was indicted for such crimes occurring between 1955 and 1973 - 40 to 22 years after the previous statutes of limitations had expired. After the trial court denied his motion to dismiss the indictment, and the California Court of Appeal affirmed the denial (Stogner v. Superior Ct. (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 1229), Stogner petitioned the high court on writ of certiorari, claiming his indictment was unconstitutional under the Ex Post Facto and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

A divided 5 - 4 Court held that three factors, taken together here, produced the kind of retroactivity that the Constitution forbids: (1) creation of a new criminal limitations period, (2) permitting prosecutions that the passage of time had previously barred, and (3) enacting such a statute after prior limitations periods had expired. 

The Court first relied upon its venerable 1798 ex post facto precedent in Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386. Interpreting U.S. Const. Art. I, §9, cl.3 [federal government] and Art. I, § 10, cl. I [states], the Court noted that liberty is protected by preventing governments from enacting statutes with "manifestly unjust and oppressive" retroactive effects. Citing precedent, the Court observed others had described such retroactivity of a lately revised statute of limitations period as "unfair and dishonest," a denial of "fair warning" and a failing of the government "to play by its own rules." The Court noted such retroactive laws invite "arbitrary and potentially vindictive legislation," "violent acts which might grow out of the feelings of the moment" - such as California's PC §§803(g) and (g)(3)(A). 

Second, in reviewing 18th century British Parliament precedent - from whence our ex post facto jurisprudence stems - the Court noted the prohibition recognized against new punishments "where the party was not [previously], by law, liable to any punishment." This category, including any law that "aggravates a crime" or "makes it greater than it was, when committed," exemplifies the evil of California's §803(g) because it creates a "forfeiture or disability, not incurred in the ordinary course of law." 

Third, the Court reviewed approvingly a litany of historical interpretations of the Ex Post Facto Clause that forbade resurrection of a time-barred prosecution. 

In sum, the Court held that California's law subjecting Stogner to prosecution long after the state had, in effect, granted him amnesty, was "unfair" and accordingly reversed the California Court of Appeal. The dissent would not have given Calder such weight, and morally criticized the majority's view as "disregard[ing] the interests of those victims of child abuse who have found the courage to face their accusers and bring them to justice." 

Indeed, a disturbing consequence of the Stogner ruling is that a sizeable number of lately discovered long-suppressed child molestation cases will now go unprosecuted. These include an estimated 1,000 molestations over the past 60 years in the Boston Archdiocese of the Catholic Church alone. And within the criminal justice system, examples include Calvin Eugene Moore, a former Fresno, California juvenile-hall guard turned Baptist pastor, whose charges for alleged abuse 20 years ago have now been dropped and who will soon return to work as a juvenile-corrections officer, and former Orange County, California Superior Court Judge Ronald Kline, accused of a 1979 molestation, whose charges have recently been dropped. 

But as USC Law School Professor Erwin Chemerinsky reflected on Stogner, "[a]lthough providing for the prosecution of sex offenders is a crucial government interest, it does not justify a law that violates the Ex Post Facto Clause." See: Stogner v. California, 155 L.Ed.2nd 194, 123 S.Ct. 1382 (2003). 

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Next Step In The Process

As you can see from the Governor's letter to the people, this law dealt more with the devastation of the Church.  Notice that in the Governor's letter to the people, he never mentioned government institutions?  He only mentioned the Church because the bill was set up to go only after the Church despite that sexual child abuse are more prevalent outside the Church.  No one at the public hearing ever questioned whether it was possible to compensate the victims and still prevent innocent people from being punished as a result of parishes and services closing down.  If the bill was truly for sexual child abuse, it would include all institutions and not simply the Church.

According to KUAM news: 
Meanwhile, veto advocate former Guam attorney general Doug Moylan says he believes the law has constitutional flaws, including its retroactive provisions. Moylan says the Guam Legislature and the governor now have the right to request a declaratory judgment from the Supreme Court of Guam, and he hopes he exercises that right.
The 5000 signatures submitted to the Governor within four days includes Catholics walking in the Way and many of those not walking in the Way.  Some people who would have liked to sign the petition were also denied by some priests.  Father Mike Crisostomo, for example, admitted in the Patti Arroyo talk show that he neither read Archbishop Hon's letter nor gave the petition to his parishioners.  You can listen to Father Mike's testimony here.  His reason for not reading Archbishop Hon's letter and not giving out the petition was because he disagreed with Archbishop Hon.  Rather than allowing his parishioners to make their choice, he alone made the choice for them.    

Nevertheless, it is now up to Catholics to petition the Guam Legislature or the Governor to request a "declaratory judgment" from the Supreme Court of Guam.  The Supreme Court is our last chance to have the law declared "inorganic."  

Then we can start over with a new bill that will include justice for ALL sex abuse victims in both governmental and private institutions.  After all, sex abuse victims are not only alter servers.  With this new bill, all sides will be represented and heard.  Bill 326 was not heard by all people.  Why?  Because only one person spoke in opposition to Bill 326 during the public hearing and in a climate of intimidation where people who opposed the bill were called "supporters of child abusers" by the JungleWatch Nation, which consist of CCOG, LFM, and Silent No More.  

The jungle have told you that the Church in Boston is now thriving.  The truth is the Church in Boston was devastated and is still struggling even after a decade of the sex abuse scandal.  The sex scandal in Boston broke out in 2002. As a result of the sex scandal, settlements were estimated to be up to $100 million.  In some cases insurance companies have balked at the cost of the large settlement, claiming the actions were deliberate and not covered by insurance.  And about 67 parishes were closed down.  

They tell you that the Archdiocese of Boston is thriving after the sex abuse scandal.  The truth, however, is that they are struggling and still in the process of rebuilding even after a decade of the sex abuse scandal. According to the article, "Ten years after scandal erupted, Boston Church is still rebuilding":
A decade later, the Boston archdiocese is still struggling to heal. Mass attendance is down. Nearly a quarter of Boston Catholics went to church regularly 20 years ago vs. 16 percent today. Donations are down. Forty percent of Boston-area parishes are unable to pay their bills. Ordinations to the priesthood tick up and down — six were ordained in 2011, for example, and three in 2010 — but are insufficient to meet the archdiocese’s need.  
The archdiocese has about 316 active priests today, but that number is expected to plunge to 178 in another decade. 
Many parishes have closed. In 2004, the archdiocese began an initial round of parish closings which reduced the number of parishes from 357 to 290, with more closings expected. An emerging model is to have a single pastor and pastoral staff at one location serving multiple churches.  
 The Boston Archdiocese has made dramatic restructuring in their church that combine parishes into clusters that share clergy and resources in order to keep the Church afloat.  In September, 2005, three years after the sex abuse scandal broke out, a Redemptoris Mater Seminary was established in Boston.  Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston approves of the Way.  Evangelization also became a major goal in the Church.  In this way, they hoped to bring back more Catholics into the Church so that the Boston Church can thrive again.    

Father Joseph Jiang

Image result for Rev. Joseph JiangFather Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang is a Catholic priest from St. Louis, Missouri who was falsely accused of child molestation.  He was targeted because of his religion and his race.  After being charged twice of sexual molestation and being cleared, Father Joseph Jiang decided to fight back.  He filed a federal lawsuit against his accusers, SNAP, and some members of the St. Louis police department.  His story can be found here (the bold red is mine) 

Finally! A falsely accused priest has had enough and is not going to take it any more.
After being twice accused and cleared on wild charges of sex abuse, Rev. Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang has filed a federal lawsuit against his accusers, the lawyer-funded, anti-Catholic group SNAP, and members of the St. Louis police department for publicly accusing him of being a child molester.
In his lawsuit, Fr. Jiang sets forth a litany of facts which demonstrate just how crazy one accuser's claims were from the start:
  • The accuser's fourth-grade teacher has stated that it was "virtually impossible" that Fr. Jiang pulled the accuser "out of line" at school and abused him as claimed;
  • "The alleged victim had made previous unfounded allegations of sexual abuse";
  • "[The accuser's] fourth-grade teacher indicated that [the accuser] was a serial exaggerator to the point of being 'delusional'";
  • "[The accuser's] parents had a history of making unfounded claims against the Catholic Church for monetary gain";
  • "[The accuser] has never had any personal acquaintance with Fr. Joseph, and he could not identify Fr. Joseph's name when he made the allegation";
  • "[A parent of the accuser once] physically assaulted the principal of [a Catholic school] by choking him or her";
  • "The accusations were brought by a deeply troubled and unreliable 12-year-old boy at the suggestion of his abusive father."
As for his suit against SNAP, Jiang argues that the trial lawyer-funded group "conducted a defamatory smear campaign against Fr. Joseph throughout the case." SNAP published media statements which were "false and malicious" and "were extremely damaging to Fr. Joseph's reputation. They were calculated to inflame public opinion against Fr. Joseph, without any regard for the truth or the facts of the case."
The priest's suit also asserts that SNAP was involved with both the accusers and St. Louis police in a "conspiracy" against Fr. Jiang.
Indeed, one of Jiang's accusers who has filed a civil lawsuit against Fr. Jiang and the Church is represented by St. Louis trial lawyer Ken Chackes, who has previously admitted to donating money to SNAP and receiving client referrals from the group. (Not that this should be a surprise to anyone.)
Pot meets kettle
The irony in all of this is that while SNAP has for years claimed in the media that Church officials have never been held "accountable" for their handling of abusive priests in the past, it has been SNAP itself which has never been held accountable for its reckless statements against innocent priests, destroying lives and reputations without consequence.
We congratulate Fr. Jiang on his lawsuit, and we hope that a successful outcome will spur other falsely accused priests to fight back as well. 
I am happy to tell you that in an updated report, which you can find here, Father Joseph Jiang won that lawsuit.  

What I placed in bold red above is quite true.  SNAP has never held itself accountable for its reckless statements against innocent priests such as Father Joseph Jiang.  SNAP does not believe in "innocent until proven guilty."  Father Joseph Jiang was not the only priest who was falsely accused.  Even the Church has fallen victim against scammers who claimed to be sexually abused by a priest.  For example, a Catholic Church in North Carolina was tricked into paying $188,000 to a woman who claimed she was raped by a priest.  The fraud was later discovered.  You can read the full story here. 

This is why Bill 326 should be vetoed and expanded to make it into a better bill to ensure justice.  I believe that the perpetrators who sexually molested children should be punished, but not at the expense of innocent people.  The bill should also not make it easy for criminals to carry out fraudulent claims.     

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Seminary Report Was Biased

Father Jeff called a press conference to speak about Bill 326.  Instead, he used most of the time in that press conference bashing the Neocatechumenal Way rather than speaking about Bill 326.  He was the leader of the ad hoc committee who was supposed to visit the seminary.  After hearing his press conference, I knew right away that the report was biased.  According to PNC news:


President of 'Catholic Families for Apuron' says RMS report is biased

Dr. Ricardo Eusebio also sits on the board of directors for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
Guam - Redemptoris Mater Seminary Board of Directors member Dr. Ricardo Eusebio says he does not trust the ad hoc committee report on the RMS issued by Father Jeff San Nicolas yesterday. Dr. Eusebio says the report was prepared by a committee that is biased.

Dr. Ricardo Eusebio is a surgeon, a member of the neocatechumenal way, a member of the group I Familian Mangatoliku Siha Para Si Apuron or Catholic Families for Apuron and a board member of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.

We met with him today to get his reaction to Father Jeff San Nicolas' statement yesterday in which Father San Nicolas connected for the first time Archbishop Anthony Apuron to the neocatechumenal way. Dr. Eusebio says he has no response for such allegations from Father San Nicolas. But he does have a few words to say about an ad hoc committee report Father San Nicolas released to the media yesterday despite orders from his superiors not to do so.

The report is on the RMS and is 141 pages long. It confirms some of the suspicions many have had about the Yona seminary's practices and its strict ties to the neocatechumenal way.

"I don't think the people in that committee have in their best interest the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. I think their interest is to close the seminary and I think their interest is to make the seminary look bad. So why would I listen to a report in which the members forming an opinion in the report are biased?"

Although Dr. Eusebio admits he has not had a chance to read the full report, he responds to some of the allegations contained in it. For example, the report states that the RMS purports to follow on paper the Program for Priestly Formation when considering incoming seminarians, but by practice, they don't follow the PPF guidelines. As a result, “A major consequence of an inadequate evaluation process calls into question the quality, accuracy and overall integrity of any evaluation decisions which subsequently may lead to the progression of candidates to ordination who are not ready and do not meet the standards and expectations articulated in the PPF, nor have the concurrence of the faithful."

"The seminary has ordained 17 priests. Are you telling me that the 17 priests are not worthy of being priests? Are you telling me that Father Miguel who is completing his Ph.D in Rome is not an adequate priest? Are you telling me that Father Alberto who sits in the chancery, who is appointed by Archbishop Hon to be there is not an adequate priest?" questioned Dr. Eusebio.

Dr. Eusebio also points out that the seminary is accredited differently and therefore their educational standards will be different.

"The seminary here in Guam is one that is accredited by the Lateran University and so follows a different sort of path than somebody who is accredited by a university in the United States," he pointed out. "It's not like somebody enters the seminary at one stage and then four years, five years, six years, eight years later are ordained. For some it's 10 years, for some it's 15 years. It depends. It depends on their maturation. It depends on their spiritual formation."

Meanwhile, Dr. Eusebio also defended Archbishop Anthony Apuron, noting that proclaiming Apuron guilty is premature at this point in time.

"Even a criminal who has committed a crime, is accused of a crime in the court system is deemed innocent until proven guilty. Yet here we have the presbyteral council, Father Jeff assuming that Archbishop Apuron is already guilty and that he should be removed? I think it's a shame," he said.

PNC: "Do you have an opinion yourself on the innocence or guilt of Archbishop Apuron?"

"I think he's innocent until he's proven guilty. That's the right thing to think."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Petitions Contain Over 4,500 Signatures

The petition asking the Governor to veto Bill 326 has over 4,500 signatures.  In the Neocatechumenal Way, the petitions were being signed after the Eucharist and the Word Celebration.  I hope that the Governor and Senators would listen to the people and revise the bill to include not only the Church, but also government institutions. After all, victims of sexual abuse are NOT only alter servers.  Sexual abuse is actually much more prevalent outside the Church.  See weblink here.   Senators, if you are for assisting ALL sexual abuse victims, then include those who have also been sexually abused under your institutions.  Bill 326 is discriminatory because it only holds certain institutions accountable while others remain immune.  According to KUAM news:  

A petition circulated by the Archdiocese of Agana to veto Bill 326 is officially in the hands of the governor. According to a release from the church, the petition contained over 4,500 signatures that were collected in the last four days.  
Bill 326 passed on session floor earlier this month. The legislation lifts the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases, which the church predicts could result in bankruptcy and put an end to other church community services as well as force closure of Catholic schools.
Governor Eddie Calvo has until Friday to take action.
The bill, meanwhile, is with his legal team for review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Group Pushing Petition To Veto Bill 326

It is a huge embarrassment for Archbishop Hon and the Church that they did not oppose Bill 326 when it was introduced into legislation at the Guam Legislature.  Two public hearings were held on the bill, but only Dr. Zoltan Szekely was there to oppose it.  Dr. Szekely is also a member of the Neocatechumenal Way.  

Also, a group has been formed called I Familian Mangatoliku Siha Pari Si Apuron ( Chamorro for "Catholic Families for Apuron") as a result of Archbishop Hon's lynching of his brother bishop (Archbishop Apuron) and the neglect in opposing Bill 326.  This group was formed by Dr. Rick Eusebio, who is also a member of the Neocatechumenal Way.  The Catholic Families for Apuron are currently pushing the petition to veto Bill 326.  This group is hoping to convince Governor Calvo to veto the bill.  

And what was Father Jeff doing?  He held a press conference and the first thing that came out of his mouth was badmouthing the Neocatechumenal Way and entertaining the very same people who pushed the passage of Bill 326.  It is clearly obvious that he is biased against the Way, and it appears that his priorities as a delegate is misplaced.  His prejudice against the Way have clouded his judgement. His main priority should be on Bill 326.

 So, Father Jeff, this is my advice to you:
Cardinal Filoni is from the Congregation of Evangelization, and he has spoken.  If you have a problem in identifying where this congregation is....then please check your Vatican Directory.  Perhaps, then you will realize that this Cardinal in the Vatican is Catholic and is in a much higher position than YOU; therefore, he is not interfering in the local church.  The Church of Guam is part of the universal Church.  Furthermore, the reason you are in tears is simply because of your pride.  Being a delegate can sometimes get to your head that you start thinking you are an authority above a Cardinal. The truth is...you are not even a bishop.      
God bless Dr. Zoltan Szekely for standing up in opposition to Bill 326 and Dr. Rick Eusebio in his efforts in pushing the petition to veto Bill 326.  According to KUAM news: 
It appears a new group has surfaced in support of Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Called I Familian Mangatoliku Siha Pari Si Apuron (Chamorro for "Catholic Families for Apuron"), president Dr. Ricardo Eusebio addressed a letter to apostolic administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai today, calling him out for public lynching.
According to Dr. Eusebio, statements made by the church continue to attack, discredit, and smear Apuron and violate the common law that every person is innocent until proven guilty.
The organization has also chimed-in on Bill 326, stating the legislation clearly and unfairly targets the Catholic Church. Although Catholic Families for Apuron also wants justice for victims of child sex abuse, they do not believe justice is accomplished by the proposed legislation.