Friday, October 31, 2014

God Always Calls For Unity And Reconciliation

Like all things on Earth, everything has a beginning and an end.  It has been over a year since Father Paul has placed his case in Rome. Yet, God still calls for reconciliation. So, let us pray for unity rather than division.  Let us pray for reconciliation rather than conflict.  Only God can bring unity and reconciliation.  So, we wait for Him. We keep up our hope and continue to pray.  Prayers are very powerful.  God is with all who hope and pray and trust in Him.  God always favor unity and reconciliation.  So, let us trust in God's power and strength rather than our own. 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Our Jewish Heritage

This is in response to "A Thoughtful Catholic" who stated the following regarding the "Beginning of the Year Convivience."  According to Chuck White: 

The Neocatechumenals celebrate their “Convivencia de Inicio de Curso” every year according to the Jewish calendar, without exception.........This adoption of the Jewish new year competes with our own liturgical year and only serves to heighten the sectarian walls the separates "the Way" from the Catholic Church.

Christianity came from Judaism, and her roots is also found in Judaism.  The first Christians were Jewish, and the Founder of the Catholic Church (Jesus Christ) was also Jewish.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 

CCC 839
The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God." The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ", "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."

What does this means?  It means that the Catholic Church is the fulfillment and completion of God's self-revelation that started with Abraham.  God continued His revelation through Moses. His revelation is then conveyed across the next twelve centuries of the Old Covenant until they were prepared to receive Christ, who reconciled God with man in the New Covenant.  There is a direct line from Moses, who said, "Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you (See Exodus 24:8) to Jesus, who said, "This is My blood of the covenant (See Matthew 26:28).  This ancient Jewish priesthood continues today in the person of the Catholic priest.  So, how can one separate Judaism from Catholicism when Judaism is part of our roots and our heritage?  In fact, Scott Hahn, an apologist, once stated that to understand Catholicism, one needs to understand Judaism.

Jesus Christ, His Apostles, and many of the disciples were Jewish. Jewish law states that a child born to a Jewish mother remains a Jew.  Thus, the Early Christians considered themselves completed Jews and continued to pray in the synagogues.  As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul considered himself a Jew even after his conversion.

Acts 21:38   Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”

Later, these Early Christians who viewed themselves as Jews were kicked out of the synagogues.  Our Jewish heritage is also found in the liturgy and Mass as Scott Hahn learned during his conversion period.  The priests' vestments, for example, have ancient origin.  His outer garment, the chasuble, a large cone-shaped cloth with a hole for the head, was often worn in Palestine during the Greek and Roman occupations.

Exodus 28:2, 4  And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.  And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.

One of the things that converted apologist Stephen Ray into the Catholic Church was our Jewish heritage. The fact that the Neocatechumenal Way has highlighted our Jewish roots does not separate us from the Catholic Church, but serves as a reminder to appreciate where we came from and who our Founder is......a Jewish man named Jesus Christ. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Two Hour Eucharist

The Eucharist or Mass of the Neocatechumenal Way takes approximately 2 hours long.  It also involves a lot of time in setting up.  The bread has to be properly made, and fresh flowers are cut in preparation for the Eucharist.  The alter covers, corporeal, and purificators are ironed.  All the signs are set up before the starting of the Eucharist.  There is a lot of preparation involved.  Our catechists also tells us to always dress nice for the Eucharist.  The men usually come in with a nice shirt and tie.  

Yet, members of the Way including the youths continue to come to the two hour celebration despite that it involves much time and work.  After the celebration, the brothers would stay back to help break down and clean up.  The young children would rush to the altar table to take the flowers for morning prayers.  Young children always seem to look forward to morning prayers because their fathers would bless them at the table, which is decorated with flowers.  We usually end our Eucharistic celebration about 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. 

When we have an agape after Eucharist, more work is involved and most people do not even get home until 12:00 midnight  The agape table must be set up with tablecloths.  Everything must look nice.  


Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Transmission Of Faith

In the Neocatechumenal Way, faith is transmitted through the family.  It is said that "the family that prays together stays together."  At a certain stage, families will go through morning prayer with the father leading the prayer.  Faith is transmitted to the very young as the father questions his very young children about morning prayer and who God is for them.  During morning prayer, the father blesses every child, and very young children appear to understand that there is something very special in morning prayer.  They even look forward to it.   

The youths spend their Saturday nights in a two hour Eucharist.  Many of the youths are cantors.  Even the small children are given tamborines, and they play along.  During the Eucharist, the priest would also ask the children simple questions about Sunday's readings. So at a very young age, faith is being transmitted to them.  By the time they are twelve or thirteen, they can join a community of their own.   

Youth scrutacio are also held every month on a Sunday afternoon.  Boys and girls are seated separately during the youth scrutacios.  Every youth brings their own Jerusalem Bible. The youth scutacio includes prayers, bible readings and reflections.  Youth scutacio is usually about 4 hours long and includes a nice dinner for them. 

The youths in the Neocatechumenal Way are always encouraged to attend World Youth Day.  The next one is coming up in Poland.  These youths look forward to World Youth Day to see the Pope.  The Way has always been well-known for sending thousands of youths to World Youth Day.  In Brazil, there were approximately 40,000 youths from the Neocatechumenal Way.  After each World Youth Day, a vocational meeting would be held by Kiko Arguello, Carmen Hernandez, and Father Mario.  Boys who wish to enter the priesthood are called, and girls who want to enter the convent are also called.  It is amazing to see the commitment of these youths.  

There are also pre-vocations meetings for both men and women in the Neocatechumenal Way held once a month.  In the pre-vocations, these young men and women spend their time discerning what vocation God is calling them to.

Una Gran Senal - Kiko Arguello Madrid 2011

There is a saying that goes like this:  "Music has a way of soothing the savage beast."  The one thing I admire about the Charismatic Catholics renewal is their music.  It is no wonder why they offer a challenge to the Pentecostals who speak in tongues.   Good music is also spoken in tongues but with great harmony.  Below we have Kiko Arguello singing with the Neocatechumenal Way symphony in Madrid in 2011.  Like the Charismatic Catholics, we also have our own songs.  And we have our own symphony of talented people.   :)   The song is entitled "A Woman Clothed with the Sun."   

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rumors Without Substance

An anonymous poster wrote the following comment in my last post: 

Six Popes have also condoned and applauded clergy sexual abusers ( That doesn't necessarily make it right. You have your triumph and bragging rights right now w/the blessings of the Pope. Like all things, time will tell and only when more people speak up against evil, will "the way" end. Enjoy your evil way for now my friend. It's days are numbered and when we stand before our Creator on judgement day, I will be the first to tell him that I had forgiven you, not through any effort on my own but solely because Jesus had forgiven me. Love you in Jesus' name, even though I don't agree w/your "way". God bless.
First of all, I have asked the poster to provide the names of the Popes who have condoned and applauded the clergy sexual abusers and the quotes from these popes.  The truth Pope has ever condoned nor applauded the sex abuse of children. 
In 2001, Pope John Paul II apologized for the sexual abuse done by Catholic priests.  According to the weblink below: 
 Pope John Paul II offered an apology Thursday for sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, saying it has caused the victims "great suffering and spiritual harm" and has damaged the church.
On September, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI apologized to victims of sexual abuse, saying that pedophile priests had brought shame and humiliation on him and the entire Catholic Church.  According to Pope Benedict XVI:  “I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes …,”
Pope Francis also apologized to the victims of sex abuse by the Catholic clergy.  In fact, the website that the anonymous poster provided in his comment even showed that.  So, who are the Popes who condoned and applauded these sex abuse scandals?  Please provide your evidence.   
Secondly, I also asked the anonymous poster to list the "evil" things the NCW has committed.  Did the Founder of the NCW commit murder, sex abuse, or adultery?  The anonymous poster has provided a website that speaks about the sex abuse scandal.  Is he/she implying that the NCW has committed the sex abuse scandal???  Apparently, the anonymous poster failed to provide any evidence showing the "evil" the NCW has committed.  The NCW does not promote suicide, murder, or incest.  Only a cult does this.  The NCW is accused of doing "evil", but he/she failed to list what those "evils' are.  This is the kind of false rumors spread about the NCW.....rumors without substance.   
Finally, the anonymous poster stated: "Like all things, time will tell and only when more people speak up against evil, will "the way" end"
My response........If you are going to speak up against the Way, then make sure that you provide evidence to support the things you say.  You can start by giving the names of the Popes who condoned and applauded the sex abuse scandal.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Homily Of Archbishop BJ Hickey

My dear friends, as it was said in the very beginning, it is a highlight of the Archdiocese of Perth that two seminaries have been opened in the one year: St. Charles' Seminary - I am very pleased that the students are here tonight - and now the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, that for the time being will be located in Morley; my two Seminaries.
The decision to open the Redemptoris Mater Seminary is one that has interested many people, is one that we must carefully explain, because, in the face of it, it is hard to understand why we have two seminaries, both of them diocesan. St. Charles' Seminary, the reason for it is clear. St. Charles will produce priests for our parishes, priests for the special work of this Archdiocese and the city of Perth, the Archdiocese of Perth should be large enough also to have a viable seminary and, although we have here only the first year seminarians, we hope, please God, that each year a new intake will make the seminary grow and prosper. And so, why a second seminary?
The decision to open a Redemptoris Mater Seminary has not been an easy one for me to make. There were very few here in W.A. to be consulted, because the idea is quite recent. So I informed myself, as well as I could, on my various trips to Rome and elsewhere in the last three years; and I have visited the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome on two occasions; I have visited very recently the Redemptoris Mater in Newark, in U.S.A., I am very pleased to see that one of the recently ordained priests is here with us and some seminarians also; we would have met a couple of months ago. And I have spoken to Cardinal Hume in London, where there is another Redemptoris Mater Seminary; I have spoken to those in charge of the seminaries. At the same time I have examined, as closely as I can, the very recent phenomena of the Neocatechumenal Way, that is so strong in many countries.
The reason I have finally decided to open the Redemptoris Mater Seminary is because I am convinced that we must take very seriously what the Holy Father calls the New Evangelisation. It is clear that over recent years, perhaps the past hundred years, the strength that Christianity has had in many countries has begun to weaken. It is clear in my own country here in Australia that the vast majority that belongs to the Catholic faith no longer attends Sunday Mass. It is clear that many, (the majority, who call themselves Christians) do not attend their own churches.
It is also clear that at a time of decline of attendance of Catholic and other Christian Churches, there has been an erosion of the standards that have been set by Christian principles in the past: erosion of standards set for marriage and its intimacy and its fidelity, erosion of standards set for family life, erosion of the various moral laws that protects life either in its infancy or in its old age; a shift from the recognition of an external moral order which we must bow before and accept into our life, to a situation where we become determinants of our own morality, it becomes personal choice and it has become what we think it is right or wrong.
That is perhaps the most serious thing that is happening, that the external moral order has been denied and morality has become subjective and belief has already suffered as a result, belief in God and belief in the ten sentences of God, belief that we are the creatures of God and therefore owe God obedience in our life.
With that, the clarity of the Good News of Jesus Christ is no longer what it was. That is the task of the new Evangelisation, to begin again to Christianise occident-orient, to preach the Good News to a world which has turned away from him. We who attend our Churches, who worship God at our Sunday Eucharist must be the best Catholics that we can possibly be, so that the Good News will radiate out through our own lives.
And I have committed myself to encourage those groups who are willing to go beyond their parish boundaries and go beyond the comforts of their homes and go into society generally and say "This is the Good News of Jesus Christ".
I have discovered that those who are following the Neocatechumenal Way prepare themselves for precisely that mission of the new evangelisation.
That those groups have produced many, many vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life around the world and the Way that they follow has a spirituality all of its own and it became clear that those who want to assist the Neocatechumenal Way as priests needed their own special type of formation amidst therefore their own seminaries.
I am pleased, after much prayer and deliberation, after consultation and deep thought TO ANNOUNCE THE FORMATION, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW SEMINARY REDEMPTORIS MATER, in order to produce priests who are missionaries, priests who are urban missionaries, priests who understand the New Evangelisation, priests who will go beyond the normal fields in which priests work, to preach the Gospel to those who no longer walk with us.
They will assist this diocese in many ways, although they are not primarily destined to be parish priests, but that will maybe come about one day; they will assist neocatechumenal missionary families, who are working here in dechristianised areas and ready to go around the world to bear witness to the Good News. They will accompany those families and they will assist bishops in other dioceses where there is a serious decline of vocations and a great need of priests.
Therefore this Archdiocese of Perth is establishing this seminary is reaching beyond herself, beyond their own boundaries in order to foster a modern missionary movement, to be missionaries in the cities, to be missionaries in the areas of high population, to be missionaries in those places where Christ's reign was once honoured and where it is now almost forgotten.
Hence the need for two seminaries and there is no competition, there is no conflict between the two, because St. Charles' Seminary will draw young adult men from this Catholic community, they will come from our parishes, from our families and are formed to be priests for this Archdiocese.
The Redemptoris Mater Seminary will draw young men from the various communities which are established not only here but in other parts of the world.
Tonight I wish to read the Decree to establish the 'Redemptoris Mater' Seminary in Perth.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beginning Of The Year Retreat

It has been awhile since I wrote in my blog due to the fact that I was attending the Beginning of the Year Retreat.  There is a time to blog and a time to dedicate oneself to God.  :)   I have always enjoyed these retreats.  Listening to the Kerygma and the Magisterium of the Church is something I have always looked forward to.  Sometimes, I wish I could have the entire Magisterium to read for myself. 

At any rate, the Beginning of the Year Convivience started on Thursday night October 16th and ended on Sunday, October 19th.  There were approximately 400 people at the retreat, and that is mainly the Responsibles and Co-Responsibles.  There are about 1400 people in the communities of Guam.  Also, we found that many of the brothers who have not been walking have returned to the Neocatechumenal Way.  It is always great to see them back in the community. 

We also learned that it was Pope Benedict XVI who started the Neocatechumenal Way in Germany when he was Cardinal Ratzinger.  That was a time when the Statutes of the Way have not yet been approved and then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger started the Neocatechumenal Way in many of Germany's parishes.  So, before he was a Pope, he already saw the Holy Spirit working in the Way. 

The video they showed was very inspirational.  Who would ever thought that hundreds of families are willing to become mission families.  I noticed that in the video, Father Mario mentioned "Purgatory."  You see......the NCW believes in everything Catholic simply because it is Catholic.  The Magisterium discussed the attacks on the family and reinforced the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding sexuality and family.  The Church still believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. The doctrines of the Catholic Church has not changed for over 2000 years, and it will continue to carry on the same doctrines.

One of news we heard in the retreat was that Kiko Arguello received a Doctorate Honoris Causa.  Of course, this was already old news and I had posted this in my blog months ago.  At any rate, I was able to find it on the Internet: 

The Pontifical John Paul II Institute today gives Kiko Arguello an honorary doctorate because it recognizes a special fertility full assessment of the family as a social and ecclesial subject, fully in line with the thinking of John Paul II, through itinerary of Christian formation post-baptismal-initiated with Carmen Hernández and has generated abundant fruits worldwide...............

First having accompanied a path of fertility in family.  Second, have offered a concrete way of family worship.  And third, they have encouraged the mission of the family.

Kiko Receives Doctorate Honoris Causa


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Start From The Beginning

The following comment was made by anonymous poster under my last post.  I agree that no one here was rejoicing or celebrating over David Mills' letter published in the PDN.  I copied and pasted Mr. Mills' letter from the Pacific Daily News and simply said that it was published in today's newspapers.  The first one who went to the media was Father Paul.  Before the Archbishop could explain his actions, the jungle had already spread the false rumor that Father Paul was removed because of the NCW. 

Many times it makes sense to go back to the origins of a story.

I was in Guam last year when the issue about Father Paul Gofigan came to light in the media. And I still remember that it was not the Chancery or Archbishop who made the issue public but Father Paul Gofigan. And I still remember that the media, in particular the radio talk show of Patty Arroyo immediately and gratuitously jumped to the conclusion that the real reason of Father Paul’s dismissal was his apparent refusal to start the Neocatechumenal Way in his parish. Tim Rohr soon jumped on the wagon decrying and blasting the Archbishop for this evil that he had allegedly done. The rest is history.

Now that this David Mills, whoever he is, has put the whole issue back to perspective, there is the predictable racket. What did Mills do? He just clarified in detail what were the accusations against this Lastimoza. Simply by speaking the truth, he vindicated the actions of Archbishop.

No one is so sick as to gloat over a rape and a murder. But the truth needed to be reaffirmed since falsehood had taken control of this story.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Remember Father John??

According to an anonymous poster he/she stated: 

People need to let the past stay in the past. Mr. L did his time. He got out and he decided to make his life better for his two kids and for himself. If he's a danger to our community, why would they even bother with parole? If he's a danger, why doesn't he strike again? He is not a harm to anyone. He has not hurt anyone after he got out. He's now happily married with two kids. He may have a dark past, but he's not letting it control his life. He's not out there hurting anyone. He's trying to live his life for the better. But sadly now everyone is throwing stones and spitting at him. People need to stop. We teach our kids that it isn't nice to say mean things about other kids, no matter how true they can be. But here we are, ignoring what we preach.
Because this person has changed his life and has not caused any problems for more than 30 years, we should let the past be the past.  Was that what the jungle did to Father John??????? 
Father John was also accused of a crime more than 30 years ago.  The BIG difference between him and Joseph Lastimoza was that Father John was never convicted of any crime.  In fact, he was never arrested or indicted.  There was no settlement of any kind regarding his allegation.  Father John also have not caused any problems for more than 30 years since that allegation.  Was he a danger to the community?  Did the jungle let the past be the past????  Father John was removed because his past was brought up by Tim Rohr. 

And now the jungle is planning on threatening Father Adrian for my copy and paste of PDN.  Below is what another Anonymous poster stated: 

Oh Diana, because of you cutting and pasting soon you will hear the story entitled " Here's Johnny".

Father Adrian will soon be echoing more garbage in his life. He wasn't totally honest the first time round. Can't wait to hear the remaining echoes from the Archbishop....Oh what slander this will be....Courage to eat the garbage that will be thrown out soon! Such fruits!

OH GEE.....why not go after PDN while you are at it??  As anyone can see....the jungle does not believe in free expression.  Not only is our jobs threatened, but so is our freedom of expression.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

1981 Killing Overlooked

More from the Pacific Daily News regarding Joseph Lastimoza, which can be found in the following weblink:


<B>J. Lastimoza</B>Guam's online sex offender registry will soon list homicide convictions as well, if they're part of the offender's past, the Judiciary of Guam confirmed Wednesday.

The judiciary decided to change the registry after the Pacific Daily News asked about registered sex offender Joseph Lastimoza, 54, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing the woman he raped -- 25-year-old Christine Barbara Rudnicki, a flight attendant from Albany, New York.

The online registry listed his conviction for criminal sexual conduct, but not for the 1981 slaying. Lastimoza pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Rudnicki's death.

The manslaughter information is now being added to the registry, according to the Guam Judiciary's Sex Offender Registry office, in response to questions from the Pacific Daily News.

The office also is reviewing the court records of the 718 sex offenders on the registry to see if there are related homicide convictions that need to be listed, the Guam Judiciary stated.

Lastimoza's criminal past was at the center of a dispute last year between Archbishop Anthony Apuron and the former parish priest of Santa Barbara Catholic church, Father Paul Gofigan.

After Lastimoza's name showed up on the sex offender registry, the archbishop demanded that Gofigan fire Lastimoza.

Joseph Lastimoza was listed as "director of facilities management" at the Santa Barbara church before he was fired.

The archbishop later removed Gofigan from the Santa Barbara parish.

"Father Paul was asked to resign because he disobeyed a directive from the archbishop," the Archdiocese of Agana stated in July last year. "In 2011, he was asked to terminate employment of an employee (publicly) known to have a sex offense on his record."

Gofigan has stated previously that he had fired Lastimoza, but as a parishioner, Lastimoza couldn't be prevented from attending Mass and participating in public events at the church.

Archdiocese officials were unavailable for comment yesterday about whether they knew Lastimoza is a convicted killer in addition to being a rapist.

Ann Keith, staff attorney for the Superior Court, said the 2010 revision to Guam's sex offender registry law required all related convictions from that point to be part of the registry.

For older convictions, before 2010, Guam's sex offender registry law didn't require capturing all relevant convictions, she added.

Joseph Lastimoza's older brother Herminio Lastimoza, 55, also was found guilty of raping Rudnicki, but was acquitted of a murder charge.

Rudnicki was a flight attendant on a Guam-Honolulu route when she was raped and killed in Tumon Bay, Pacific Daily News files show.

Joseph Lastimoza was sentenced to life in prison, with a chance of parole after 15 years, for rape. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for manslaughter.

The Guam Parole Board denied Joseph Lastimoza's parole request in 1997, but granted him parole in 1999, court documents state.

In March 2002, Joseph Lastimoza completed all of his parole conditions and became a free man, probation records show.

Herminio Lastimoza was sentenced to life in prison for rape, but like his brother, he also is out in the community.

Herminio Lastimoza was granted parole in 1996, parole records show.

The Lastimoza brothers must be listed on the registry for the rest of their lives because they're considered "level 1" sex offenders, which means they were convicted of sexually violent crimes.
Sen. Frank Aguon Jr., who wrote the 2010 amendments to the Guam sex offender registry law, said relevant information, such as a murder conviction, should be part of what the public can see on the registry.

Aguon said he's willing to consider further amending the registry so that the mayors will be informed if convicted sex offenders moves into their villages.

While some of the convicted sex offenders have served their prison terms and paid their debts to society, Aguon said, "it's the intent of the sex offender registry to ensure the community is informed on where these individuals are."

Aguon's amendment expanded the scope of the registry to include previously convicted sex offenders who have lifetime requirements to be on the registry.

The amendment allows previously convicted "level 1" offenders, such as the Lastimoza brothers, to be included on the registry. 

In Today's Pacfic Daily News

This appeared in today's Pacific Daily News Opinion section found in the following weblink:


I live in N.Y. and I was interested by the discussion in Guam about a priest who was removed from his parish. When the events related to this story happened, they did not get coverage on the mainland, but they did on the Pacific Daily News and I had friends serving in Guam who told me the story.

Those were months of terror in Tumon Beach. In February 1981, a woman jogging had been attacked but managed to escape. On March 6, a 33-year old pilot was raped on the same beach. Then, on March 13, 1981, Christine Barbara Rudnicki, a 25-year-old steward for Pan Am from New York was beaten, half drowned, raped and finally suffocated.

On April 5, 1981, another woman, Kathryn Lee Crawford, was attacked by two men while swimming. They kept her underwater. The assailants didn't realize that her husband was close -- he managed to scare them off and resuscitate his wife. The husband was able to identify (one of) the assailants as Joseph Babauta Lastimoza.

Lastimoza had (been connected) other sexual crimes before: on July 17, 1980, he was indicted for forcing his way into a house to sexually assault a woman. On Aug. 27, 1980, Lastimoza was arrested (on allegations of) obscene acts at the Dallas Lounge in Tamuning.

Selection of jurors was difficult because many had family relationships or knowledge of the (man) -- more than 100 people were interviewed. Lastimoza received a life sentence in prison for rape but, since he confessed, was sentenced not for murder but for manslaughter (and was) eligible for parole after 15 years.

In 2008, Father Gofigan hired Lastimoza, who worked at his parish in Dededo. In 2011, because of complaints, Gofigan dismissed Lastimoza from the payroll but continued to give him responsibilities, such as Confirmation class activities, allowing him to charge expenses in the name of the parish, and giving him access to the keys of the parish, ... and giving him several gifts. Complaints alerted the archdiocese about the presence of a sexual offender in the parish.

Gofigan was warned in 2011 by the vicar general and the archdiocesan legal counsel that Lastimoza could not volunteer around the parish compound. However, he continued to have him around through 2012. This prompted the archbishop, under advice of the archdiocesan legal counsel in 2013, to remove Gofigan.

This is an old story, and dead people should be left to rest in peace, lest their ghosts may haunt us.

It was a tragic story for Christine, a young beautiful woman, who disappeared, and no one seemed to shed a tear on her destiny. She lived alone, she died alone and she was completely absent from the discussion.

But it's a tragic story also for the perpetrator, who served his time and may have rehabilitated. More than 30 years passed and motives of mercy abound for the time elapsed and the young age.
However, other elements are here in play. Civil law disqualifies anyone who has committed such crimes to work "in any agency or instrumentality of the government of Guam" (Guam law, 4 GCA 4203.3). For the same reasons, they cannot work or be close to any building or offices where vulnerable people may be -- "Sex offenders ... may be supervised in the community under strict rules designed to protect their victims, vulnerable people, the general public and the offender."

The gravity of the crimes, their grisly nature and their repeated occurrence disqualify a murderer and serial sexual predator to be around any parish rectory or government building for any amount of time. Forgiveness must surely be invoked, but forgiveness does not cancel the consequences of misdoings.
In any U.S. parish, a simple and obligatory background check would have immediately disqualified Lastimoza from any kind of role in a parish.

So I am very surprised and I do not understand how it can be objected. I do not know if there were some canonical details not observed in the notification of the removal. I do not know who was responsible for the final decision of the archbishop or if he was influenced by someone.

If there is something to be said about it, it is that the removal of this pastor should have been made before.

David Mills is a resident of Queens Village, New York

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Seminarians and Mission Families in China.

Voice of faith wrote the following comment in my last post: 

No recent praises for the NeoCat from Rome. Arguello promised to evangelize China and he got a lot of resources to do so. However, he is not going to China! China is led by communists who are dangerous for the missionaries. So Kiko postponed the mission indefinitely. NeoCat missionaries are not even speaking Chinese! So all this China business of the NeoCat is kinda fake and Rome just figured this out. That is why the Pope is not smiling on Kiko anymore...
I do not know where Voice of faith got his information, but since 2012 five seminaries  are in China.  According to the Catholic News Agency: 
The Neocatechumenal Way currently has five seminaries in China and hopes to carry out further mission work in Thailand and Vietnam.
“I have told young people that we need 20,000 priests for China and five thousand young people have come forward. We have five thousand young people preparing themselves, finding out how much studies they have completed, how they can prepare themselves, how they can receive formation.”

During the Jan. 20 meeting with the Pope, the movement also sent out 18 mission groups “to the aborigines in Australia as well.”

In 2014, Pope Francis commissioned several mission families.  Some of these mission families will be sent to China.  These mission families with their many children will be a sign to the Chinese of God's miracle.  As you know, China's has a one-child policy, which has caused problems today that the Chinese government is considering a two-child policy. Sending evangelizers to communist countries such as China is dangerous work.  I admire these seminarians and mission families who are sent to these countries. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In The Service Of The Family: A Prophetic Mission

In the Service of the Family: the Prophetic Mission of the Lay Faithful 
President of Laity Council Offers Pre-Synod Exhortation
October 03, 2014 - The president of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, has issued a statement ahead of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family.
The fact that the family is undergoing a very serious crisis at this time is there for us all to see. Particularly in Western culture, marriage is increasingly becoming a “residual choice”. Many are choosing not to get married, and there is a huge increase in the number of cohabiting couples and of people getting divorced. The gap is widening between the Church magisterium and the actual lives of the faithful. We are undoubtedly facing a dangerous post-modern cultural shift that threatens the fate of humankind. It is not by chance that Saint John Paul II wrote in Familiaris Consortio: “The future of humanity passes by way of the family”.1 The Church wishes to address this major challenge in the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, and to give a proper pastoral response to the question: how can we proclaim the Gospel of the family in our world that promotes and imposes patterns of life that radically contradict its fundamental principles?

I will touch briefly on the decisive and irreplaceable role of the Catholic laity, men and women, in proclaiming the Gospel of the family. Today more than ever, we need witnesses who live out the Gospel of the family to the fullest and with joy, and who show the world that it is a beautiful and fascinating way of life, a source of happiness for spouses and children. Here there is enormous scope for the prophetic mission of our laity. In the lives of Christian couples today it takes the courage of prophets, the courage to stand up to the dominant culture. Someone has rightly said, “Whether it wants to or not, the Church in the West is on its way to becoming a counterculture, and its future now depends chiefly on whether it is able, as the salt of the earth, to keep its savor and not be trampled underfoot by men”.2

In our times it often happens that when the Church speaks out about the nature of family and marriage (union between a man and a woman) and its indissolubility, faithful and fruitful conjugal love and openness to life, it may seem like a voice “crying in the wilderness” that is often contested, rejected and even ridiculed by the media. However this voice cannot and must not fail to be heard because, as the Second Vatican Council says: “The well-being of the individual person and of human and Christian society is intimately linked with the healthy condition of that community produced by marriage and family”.3 It is in fact a case of defending the very nature of the human being created by God as male and female.

Pope Benedict XVI said: “We live at a time of uncertainty about what it means to be human … In the face of this, we as Christians must defend the inviolable dignity of human beings … Faith in God must take concrete form in a common defence of humanity”.4 A service of vital importance that the Church must offer humanity is the proclamation of and witness to the Gospel of the family. This is a central work of mercy. It is a task for the lay faithful in particular in the society in which they live to be the Gospel leaven that transforms the world from within, the salt of the earth, the light of the world.5 We remember the words of the letter to Diognetus: “Christians … live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven…. To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. …Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which they are not 
permitted to excuse themselves”. 6

At this point, in the context of the Synod  of Bishops on the family, there are some basic questions that Catholic spouses above all must ask: do I really live my marriage and family life according to God's plan? Have I the courage to trust fully the Gospel of the family proclaimed by the magisterium of the Church? In spite of my limitations and my weakness, do I try to give witness to the beauty of marriage and the Christian family environment in which I live? The pressure of post-modernity in this field is extremely strong and many give in to its destructive dictates. Unfortunately, even among the ranks of the baptised, attitudes of rejection (explicit or implicit) are now spreading like wildfire, as well as choices that stand in stark contrast to the Church's magisterium. This brings much suffering to married couples and especially to children because of failed marriages.

In this dramatic situation, the Church looks with confidence to the younger generations. In Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis, in dialogue with young people, spoke to them of this and said, “Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion. Is it out of fashion? In a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of ‘enjoying’ the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, ‘for ever’, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you”.7

Christian families need to be helped and supported by the Church. The family needs a strong message of hope. The primary source is to be found in the young with their ability to challenge the surrounding circumstances and to go against the current, just as Pope Francis said. It is true – as we are told by the Instrumentum Laboris – that at the level of our local churches there are many specialised pastoral facilities and lay associations that work to help families, but this is not enough. There is a great need to give in depth thought to the process of preparation of young people for marriage and to rethink family ministry so that it can truly express the maternal face of the Church, a welcoming face that does not exclude anyone. The Church today is called to accompany Christian couples pastorally and with generosity, charity and empathy, especially those who are in crisis or are living in irregular situations (divorced and remarried divorcees). With renewed courage and competence, the Church must deal with those new and often unfamiliar problems of marriage and the family (think for example of issues related to bioethics ...). The Church, pastors and laity, must therefore undertake a journey of true “pastoral and missionary conversion that cannot leave things as they presently are”. 8

The Gospel of the family presents Christian couples with high demanding targets  that definitely go against the current with respect to the dominant culture. This is often presented in a watered-down and softened way in our pastoral ministry. There is even censoring of those aspects that are particularly demanding (for example, the teaching of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae), in order to make it more palatable to public opinion. In this way, however, we forget that its beauty and its power of attraction are precisely in that “newness” that surprises us and challenges us with radical proposals. The way offered to 
Christians by Christ is “narrow” and “the door is narrow”,9 but the grace of God comes to our aid.

Christ opens a fascinating horizon of holiness to Christian spouses. He shows them that marriage and family can be a privileged way to holiness. Perhaps in our pastoral care of marriage and the family, we – both pastors and lay people – have little trust in the primacy of grace in the Christian life! Often, when we think about the “feasibility” of gospel principles, we refer exclusively to worldly standards and discard certain requirements that are difficult and sensitive.

In this regard, we may recall a beautiful dialogue between Cardinal Frederick and Don Abbondio in “The Betrothed” by Alessandro Manzoni: “It is but too true, said Frederick. Such is our terrible and miserable condition! We exact rigorously from others, that which it may be we would not be willing to render ourselves; we judge, correct, and reprimand, and God alone knows what we would do in the same situation, what we have done in similar situations. But, woe be to me, if I take my weakness for the measure of another's duty, for the rule of my instruction!” Immediately after this Cardinal Frederick adds one important 
thing: “Nevertheless it is certain, that while imparting precepts, I should also afford an example to my neighbour, and not resemble the pharisee, who imposes on others enormous burdens, which he himself would not so much as touch with his finger”.10 This is a good 
lesson that is worth pondering ...

In the debate on the state of marriage and the family, a gloomy and rather dramatic tone is currently prevailing. We are witnessing a dangerous proliferation of “false prophets” who want to convince us that the changes brought about by post-modernity are the last word on the story, and therefore irreversible, and that we Christians should obey their arrogant dictates when proclaiming the Gospel of the family. However, at this juncture, we must not forget that the Lord of history is Christ Himself, and He faithfully goes before us.

Strengthened by this assurance, Pope Francis wants to launch a new season of evangelisation in the Church, marked by a joy that comes not from human calculations, but from theological hope. Among the signs of hope that must be mentioned are the numerous and varied charisms that the Holy Spirit is showering upon the Church of our times and from which so many ecclesial movements and new communities have been created. They are places that generate very effective itineraries of faith development for lay men and women, young and old. They are paths of Christian initiation that encourage lay people to go forth with missionary courage. So many men and women of our time, thanks to this new era of group endeavours of the lay faithful, have discovered the fascinating beauty of marriage and the family. For them it is a true vocation and a concrete way to holiness. Many of them have been generously receptive to life (large families!). Many have rediscovered the value of chastity in married life. Many marriages have been saved that had undergone a period of crisis and were on the verge of separation. Entire families have felt the missionary impulse and have been prepared to go forth to proclaim the Good News in mission countries (ad gentes).

The Gospel of the family, however, also leads others to say, like those disciples in the synagogue in Capernaum: “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (Jn 6:60), and they go away disappointed. Lay people trained in these new ecclesial associations have the courage to say with Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe ... "(Jn 6:68-69). Indeed, these lay people convincingly say to the world that the Gospel of the family is not a utopia. It is well worth trusting in this way of life. The new season of associations of the faithful is therefore an important sign of hope for 
the Church at a time in history when we are facing the challenge of the crisis of marriage and the family. Of course, the lay people involved in various forms of association are a minority, but – in the words of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI – they are a “creative minority” that are crucial to the future of the world. These groups, therefore, deserve to receive strong encouragement and support.

I conclude with the words of St. John Paul II, whom Pope Francis called the “Pope of the family”: “The Gospel is not a promise of easy success. It does not promise a comfortable life to anyone. It makes demands … The Gospel contains a fundamental paradox: to find life, one must lose life; to be born, one must die; to save oneself, one must take up the cross. This is the essential truth of the Gospel, which always and everywhere is bound to meet with man’s protest. Always and everywhere the Gospel will be a challenge to human weakness. But precisely in this challenge lies all its power. Man, perhaps subconsciously waits for such a challenge; indeed, man feels the inner need to transcend himself. Only in transcending himself does man become fully human”.11 The Gospel of the family can only be understood from this fundamental truth...
1) JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, n. 86.
2) ROBERT SPAEMANN, Divorce and remarriage, in: FIRST THINGS, August – September 2014.
3) Vatican Council II, Costituzione pastorale sulla Chiesa nel mondo contemporaneo, 
Gaudium et spes, n. 47.
4) Benedict XVI, Celebrazione ecumenica nella Chiesa dell’ex-Convento degli Agostiniani di 
Erfurt, in “Insegnamenti” VII, 2 (2011), p. 303.
5) Cfr Mt 5,13-16.
6) Dall’Epistola a Diogneto (Cap. 5-6; Funk 1, 317-321).
7) Francis, Discorso all’incontro con i volontari della XXVIII Giornata Mondiale della 
Gioventù, in “L’Osservatore Romano”, 29-30 luglio 2014, p. 11.
8) Francis, Esortazione apostolica Evangelii gaudium, n. 25.
9) Cfr Mt 7,13-14; Lc 13,24.
10) ALESSANDRO MANZONI, I Promessi Sposi, De Agostini, p. 317.
11) John Paul II, Varcare la soglia della speranza, Mondadori, pp. 118-119. 

Prophetic Mission