Monday, October 3, 2016

In Making Decisions

An anonymous commenter asked me for my opinion to his/her questions, which can be found here.  According to his/her comment: 
How do you feel about what the Cemetery Board did? I mean, it completely circumvented their boss, AB Hon. No matter what we feel about his actions, shouldn't we still respect that he is the boss? I'm disturbed that it seems as if they are going behind his back. While we await AB Apuron, AB Hon is our Apostolic Delegate assigned by Pope Francis and is due our full cooperation. This is all so disheartening. Please call for everyone to stop with the disrespectful words against him. Disagree and say why, but let's not be like the Jungle folks.
Let me first say this:  As you can now see, we are not led by blind obedience as the jungle claimed.  We have free will.  Like everyone else, we can sin.  We can disobey.  As humans, we can fall. It is true that Archbishop Hon was sent by the Pope, and we are supposed to be obedient and respectful to him. Yet, this happen and God allowed it to happen.  Our catechists never taught us blind obedience. They told us that it is good to obey God, the catechists, the priests, the Archbishop, the Pope, our parents, our teachers, our elders, etc.  But they also taught us that we have free will.   

Now, to answer your question:  The Bible not only tells us to obey the Bishops, but it also tells the Bishops to care for their sheep.  The Bible tells us that children are to obey their parents, but it also instructs the parents to care for their children. Shepherds, parents, and all those in authority always set the examples for us to follow.  When they set good examples, we tend to follow those good examples. When they set bad examples, it is also human nature to follow those bad examples.  In other words, when parents break their promises to their children, in time children will also learn to break their promises to others. 

Disobedience can be a sin depending on the circumstances.  The Catholic Church looks at the REASON or INTENT for the sin of disobedience. They also look at whether the person had full knowledge of the consequences of the sin and their consent in committing the sinful act.  Therefore, disobedience can either be a venial or mortal sin depending on these factors.  If a person disobeyed because he is being asked to do something immoral, that is NOT a sin.  We are obligated to follow God's commandment above everything else; therefore, it would NOT be a sin if we are asked to steal, kill, etc.   On the other hand, if he disobeyed a command that is not immoral but because he disagrees with it, that could be a venial sin.  If he disobeyed a command for the purpose to slander, discredit, and destroy someone's name and reputation that would be a mortal sin.   

The first person to show disobedience was Archbishop Hon (the very person whom the Pope sent).  According to Father Mike in the Patti Arroyo talk show, he revealed that the FIRST thing that Archbishop Hon did was try to remove Archbishop Apuron.  Archbishop Hon sent a letter asking Archbishop Apuron to resign.  There was no response from him.  So, Archbishop Hon encouraged the Presbyterial Council to vote for Apuron's removal. These were Archbishop Hon's first actions.  This was disobedience to the Pope.  As to whether it is a venial or mortal sin, I would prefer to let God be the judge of that.      

After encouraging the Presbyterial Council to remove Apuron, he went to Rome to ask Pope Francis to have Apuron removed as Archbishop of Agana.  And what happened while he was in Rome?  Both Father Jeff and Father Mike disobeyed their superiors.  This should come as no surprise.  After all, it was Archbishop Hon who taught them disobedience.  Disobedience often breeds disobedience.  Father Jeff instructed Father Mike to read the letter and distribute the petitions.  He disobeyed because he disagreed with Archbishop Hon's decision and felt that the alleged victims should be more important than the Church's assets. Was that a venial or mortal sin?   Father Jeff, on the other hand, disobeyed Cardinal Filoni because his intent was to discredit the integrity of the RM seminary.  Was that a venial or mortal sin?     

Shortly after Archbishop Hon cleared Monsignor James' name, the Cemetery Board filed a complaint to GPD and the AG's office against Monsignor James. They accused him of misappropriation of funds and submitted evidence to show that.  They did not obtain Archbishop Hon's permission.  Was their disobedience a venial or mortal sin?  What was the reason and intent for going to GPD and the AG's office?  Did they feel that the truth should be told about both Monsignor James and Archbishop Hon?  

In light of the sex abuse scandals and cover up in the past, many Catholics can be torn between loyalty to the Church and honesty.  If Monsignor James is actually guilty of misappropriation of funds as the evidence appear to imply, should the Cemetery Board be honest about it or should they be loyal to an Archbishop who may be covering up a criminal activity?  Either way, the Cemetery Board can also be guilty of sin by remaining silent.      

No one ever said that life was easy.  We each have to make our own decisions.  But before making those decisions, we need to examine our conscience and discern whether we are doing it for the good of others, for correction, for ourselves, for the destruction of others, etc.  In the end, God will be the judge because He knows the heart of each person.         


  1. This is a silly post. YOu claim that the "disobedience" of the Cememtery Board is evidence that the NCW does not practice "blind obedience". However, this is a non-sequitur.

    Who is the Cemetery Board? They are Neocats. And who did they "obey" when making the decision to complain about Mon Benevente? Its not hard to understand that they WERE being obedient - just not obedient to Archbishop Hon. They were, presumably, obedient (blindly obedient?) to the instructions of the senior NCW leadership. We can be absolutely sure that they did not independently of the leaders of the NCW, but were directed to do as they did.

    This actually goes to show the separation of the NCW from the rest of the Church. They feel no obligation to follow the ordinary authorities, but prefer their own authority which they claim from on high. IN fact, your entire post suggests that their actions were in fact directed from a higher authority.

    The NCW are the cause of the division in the Archdiocese, and these latest events are simply more proof of that.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 1:30 pm,

      Where is your evidence that the NCW leaders control the Cemetery Board? Where is your evidence that Father Pius, Mr. Genarinni (who is not on island) or Kiko Arguello (who is also not on island), or any of the catechists told them to do what they did? Do not bring out false rumors and speculations. Where is your evidence?

      However, the Cemetery Board submitted evidence that Monsignor James used money that did not belong to him for personal use. It does not matter that he paid it back in full and with interest. The law is clear. You do not use money that is not yours for your own personal use even with the intent to pay it back.

    2. But now knowing the board of directors approve such advancement, what do you have to say?

    3. Diana, it was the cemetery board who approved the funds that Monsignor Benevente used and paid back with interest. Are you seriously going to deny the evidence? Also, Jackie filed a false police AND AG report because the cemetery board never met to discuss what should be done after the archdiocese CLEARED Monsignor Benevente. It's obvious that you neos are seriously in denial as the evidence keeps proving you all wrong.

    4. You argue that being off island Pius, Genarinni or Kiko cannot possibly give instruction to the NCW but, unanimously, members of the Catholic Cemetery Board were able to vote and give their signatures to a resolution in a matter of a few hours - even though some are off island?

      You are a mess and full of contradiction!

    5. Dear Anonymous at 3:35 pm,

      Jackie said that the undersigned voted to go to GPD and the AG. So, we have a person, who is a member of the cemetery board saying that. Where is your evidence showing that Kiko, Genarinnis, or a Catechist instructed The cemetery board to report it to GPD and the AG?

    6. Dear Anonymous at 2:42 pm and 2:43 pm,

      If the former board did approve of those transaction, there would be a minutes on it and it would not appear as an irregularity in the internal report. If there were no minutes, the transaction would not be approved by auditors.

    7. So, where were the minutes of the resolution that Jackie submitted to the GPD and AG? More contradiction.

    8. I can agree with that. JW has a letter dated 2016 from the former finance board saying they knew and approve to give $13,000 for Mon. James anniversary dinner. But where's the 2014 minutes?

    9. Where are the minutes that prove the unanimous decision that Jackie presented?

      I'm asking again because you refuse to post the first time I asked for the minutes.

    10. Dear Anonymous at 4:00 pm,

      Were there any minutes? If the former finance board approved of it, there should be a minutes on it.

    11. Jackie didn't submit minutes either.

    12. Dear Anonymous at 4:09 pm,

      Oh sorry. I thought you were referring to the 2014 minutes. I am not Jackie, so you will have to ask her for it as she is the secretary. I do not speak for her.

    13. But you're the one arguing the point that minutes validate documents. If the former board's declaration is void without minutes, according to you, then the current board's resolution is void without minutes as well.

      At least the former board each signed their document. The current (and soon to be former) board did not. In fact, Jackie only provided her signature.

      This is certainly entertaining.

    14. C'mon Jackie, we all know its you. lol! You sound like her, you correct your errors like her, we know it's you.

    15. Of course the Former board will approve the monies used for Monsignor's Anniversary. Rivera, Shimizu, Taitano and Calvo are all from Monsignor's inner circle. But it is still wrong to use money from the Catholic Cemeteries and use it for the purpose of Monsignor's Anniversary and then repay it back with interest after the fact. We should hold these people accountable for using the monies that are reserved for Catholic Cemeteries and not for personal use. Look at the checks given to Josh Perez. All these people are in the inner circle of Monsignor. Sad....
      AB Hon is covering up monsignor... Let the truth come out. Thanks to these people for using church money for monsignor's anniversary and maybe other things like Cardinal Tagle's visit.

    16. Dear Anonymous at 4:15 pm,

      If there were minutes granting Monsignor James the $13,000 for his anniversary dinner, this irregularity would not appear in the Internal Review Report in the first place. The fact that it appeared in the Internal Review Report shows that there is something wrong. I agree with Guamboy. Money that belongs to the cemetery should never be used for anyone's personal needs. Also, as Guamboy puts it....all these people belong in the inner circles of Monsignor James. As for Jackie, she should be the one to have the minutes considering that she is the secretary of the Cemetery Board.

  2. Since Pius, Genarinni, Kiko, Apuron, and company refuse to return RMS... they have provided evidence that they do no obey the Church hierarchy. They follow the NCW hierarchy. They disobey.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 2:47 pm,

      Actually, Archbishop Apuron is the only one who can rescind that deed restriction. I can only say that it is a good thing that deed restriction is in place. No matter what Archbishop Hon does, he cannot sell that property.

  3. "The first person to show disobedience was Archbishop Hon (the very person whom the Pope sent). According to Father Mike in the Patti Arroyo talk show, he revealed that the FIRST thing that Archbishop Hon did was try to remove Archbishop Apuron"

    What if AB Hon's superior(s) told him or encouraged that Archbishop Apuron should be removed? His actions would not be disobedient.

    He has stated over and over again that his role on Guam was to build unity. He never said that it was to protect Archbishop Apuron's position or support his decisions. If he was "ordered" or had already determined that Archbishop Apuron should have been removed from the very beginning in order to "restore unity", his actions would not be considered disobedient if he was given free choice over what unity meant in our situation. Afterall, he doesn't have much time here.

    Also, I do not think that you can put the blame on someone for your own or someone else's actions. You blame Archbishop Hon for teaching disobedience to Fr. Jeff and Fr. Mike through his own disobedient behavior (an assumption). So we can also blame Archbishop Hon for encouraging the disobedient behavior of Catholic Cemetaries. I think that is wrong because this sort of explanation encourages people to not take responsibility for their role in the decision making process. Why AB Hon did what he did and continues to do can only be asked directly of or revealed by AB Hon. You cannot blame his actions as one of the direct causes of the actions of another human being because we each have a responsibility to judge for ourself whether to follow those actions or not. Is that not what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

    Is it not said in the bible that we should listen to what is being preached but not follow the example of the hypocrites?

    Fr. Jeff, Fr. Mike, and Catholic Cemetaries will have to be responsible for their actions, but we all have a choice to follow their lead or not. Just as they had a choice to obey or not.

    And if we all have so much time worrying about the actions of others, perhaps we should be spending that time praying for our bishop, apostalic administrator, priests, our church, and ourselves and doing what we can for God in our daily lives. We can look at the example of others, but we all have a choice to follow that example or not.

    Just another hypocrite

    1. Dear Just another hypocrite,

      If he felt that removing Apuron would restore unity, he should have asked the Pope directly rather than manipulating the Presbyterial Council into removing him so he can present the vote to the pope.

      I agree that we are responsible for the choices we make and the sins we commit. However, we must also be aware that the choices we make and the sins we commit has an impact on other people and even affect them. After all, the result of Adam and Eve's sin had an impact on all of us. As a result of their sin, all of mankind was born with original sin.

    2. Is the Pope a micro manager? Is that not the reason why he has created so many councils to help in his ministry. If the council assigned to "our case" predetermined or encouraged AB Apuron's removal then it was the failure of our priests to be unified under the guidance of AB Apuron and confidence in his ability to be our leader to prevent that.

      Who's fault is that?

  4. After the press conference this afternoon there will be no AG or police investigation. The claims put forth by Jackie Terlaje are bogus and she apparently did not secure unamous votes from the board. As a show of confidence in Mgsr James, he is now appointed as Delegate to the Administrator regarding the Church's patrimony.

    Pride, jealously, and vindictiveness dig us deeper and show not only the island but all over the world how rotten our fruits really are! What happened to being Christian? Where is our humility? Is the slandering of a priest what we are called to do?

    So when the jungle is disobedient they should be excommunicated and deserving of hell? But now that the NCW is, it is a divine right of free will? Keep on keeping on because these actions tell the whole world more than the jungle ever could.

    Our Lady of the Rosary pray for us who have recourse to thee!

  5. Dear Diana,
    The thing about disobedience (and to what extent it is as a sin), is that it is dependent upon the INTENT, as you indicate. And who is to say what that is for any of these people? Only they and GOD knows.
    I think INTENT is behind all this, and so I don't agree with your 'disobedience breeds disobedience' line of thinking. They are all acting on what they believe is the right thing to do--despite what their superior says. They'd all disobey even if Hon didn't do so at the beginning.

    As far as the Cemetery Board, the time for them to have reported their findings was at the beginning. To act on it immediately after AB Hon's press conference just invited speculation as to their INTENT--as you mentioned. (Notwithstanding the unorthodox manner in which it was done.)

    As to sin and whether venial or mortal ? Well, I agree--that is up to God. We on earth have to deal with facts, laws, documents to make our judgements. And in the end we will all find out whose INTENT to disobey was truly based on for the good of the Church and truth, and whose was otherwise influenced.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 7:06 pm,

      Our behavior also has an affect on others as well. Martin Luther disobeyed the Church. So, it is not surprising that his followers also ended up disobeying him. Sin begets sin.

  6. I don't understand the purpose of reasigning priests. How is this going to promote peace and harmony. Just upsets the villagers/parishioners.

    1. Well it is quite obvious why he removed our beloved Pale' Edivaldo! He is guilty of openly believing in Archbishop Apuron's innocence...and that goes against the agenda of Archbishop Hon. For the sake of 'unity and harmony' Hon is trampling anyone against his agenda. Look at Mons. David. Look at Father Adrian. Look at all the others...

    2. What is so wrong with moving Fr. Adrian to Umatac? Umatac for so many years has had no assigned priest so the priest assigned to Merizo has had to do their masses as well as Merizo's. It is GOOD that they have their own priest. And the NCW should be happy they have more southern priests for those small communities. In fact they may even be able to flourish and grow because of them.

      Also, what is wrong with being assigned to DYA and DOC? If anything, you're beloved priest will do GOOD there just as he's done for your parish. You should be happy his talents can be used to help those people!

      Stop looking at all the negative and perhaps you'll see that despite the crap that comes out of the news and all the worrying going on that there are still things worth being happy about.

      Things could be worse.

  7. Part 1
    I am not a follower of the Neocatechumenal Way but I respect them! I am a regular Catholic who devotes many of my volunteer hours helping my Parish, but I am not part of the CCOG or LFM. I believe that the CCOG and LFM is a group that is out to push their personal agenda, ie, Removal of Archbishop Apuron and other things. I have been a very active parishioner for about 16 years of my life and I am concerned with the current Archdiocese administration. Why? Because since Archbishop Hon has arrived, he was and still is being confronted by the people who cause the greater division in the Church on Guam. But, since Archbishop Hon is showing his colors to protect or favor more of the local priest such as Monsignor James, Fr. Paul and Fr. Jeff but what about the other priests who are willing to help for the good of the Church. There are many priests that have been silent and obey their superiors like the some filippino priests and the priests that are following in the neocatechumenal way. But, I believe it is the local priests that are the reason for these division. Such as Monsignor James. When he was removed by Archbishop Apuron for Financial Mismanagement was because he signed for checks from the Catholic Cemetery Inc. for the use of his personal Anniversary Celebration. Even though there is an intent to repay after the celebration is unbecoming of a priest. His evidence is that the former board approved the transaction is still in question because the members of the board at that time are close friends. Why do I say close, is because John Rivera is Monsignor's godson, Gerald Taitano was the President of the Cathedral Parish council and John Jr. Calvo is also monsignor's boboy (Nino to his son as well) and Joshua Perez who is Monsignor's boboy and who wrote a check to himself in those amount. I question why did the previous board concluded to use Catholic Cemeteries money to support monsignor's party? These questions will not be answered.
    Back to Archbishop Hon being in favor of local priest. It is upsetting for me to understand why? Let us be fair. In his Presbyteral Council, it consists of members of local priest who is bitter and is one sided and who believes that the Neocatechumenal way is a problem. I personally beg to differ. I believe we all need to coexist and learn to bring unity but unity right now is not the problem. The priests in this archdiocese are grouped and some will not even want the breathe the same air as others. These groups are: Local priests, Filippino priests, priests that are in the neocatechumenal way, capuchin priests and even local priests who hates the following groups. The priests needs to know that they are priests for the Archdiocese of agana and not for themselves. I am concerned with the way the neocatechumenal way is being treated by Archbishop Hon and some local priests. This is why there is a division. The problem is that they rather create a deeper conflict but I hope Archbishop Hon does realize that it is not only the local priests, it is all the priests that needs to reunite.

  8. Part 2
    In regards to assignments of priests, I am wondering why is there a need to reshuffle priests. I believe that priests should move every 6 years but his committee saw it fit to put some priests who has not even been a pastor or administrator for 6 years in a parish. I believe that they should move priests who have stayed longer in the parishes. Such as monsignor James, he was rector for 20 years. But I know for a fact he will not take a small assignment. Fr. Mike C. has been in Toto for more than 10 years but his parishioners will become angry if he is moved. Well guess what. I heard he will be pastor of Yigo church. So I wonder how would toto parishioners will react. Sometimes it is for the good of the church.
    In conclusion, Archbishop Hon needs to reevaluate his committees and place 2 of each priest groups for the best interest of the Church. Archbishop Hon also needs to apologize to the people of guam and Archbishop Apuron for writing a statement that he is asking the Holy See to remove Archbishop Apuron as Archbishop of Agana. Why? Because his statement already implies that Archbishop Apuron is guilty. I personally believe that he is innocent of all these allegations because all of these allegations came forward by Tim and his followers. Also, keep in mind that the lawyer Dave Lujan is Monsignor's godfather. Wow! Talk about connects. Tim also used to work alongside Monsignor James as the Gift shop manager. All connected. Archbishop Hon should also investigate as to how the Archdiocese was exposed and the documents that are publish on Jungle watch. He was the leak. Monsignor James is helping in giving all the documents to Tim. Evidence are a personal emails from Fr. Adrian to Aaron Quitagua and many other personal and private letters or statements to the priest. Archbishop Hon, investigate the local priests who are at the root of all these such as Monsignor James. But, wait he's best friends with them. So No.

  9. A bar in Manila? a priest in a bar? I would understand a pub but not a bar!? Talk about Skeleton in a closet!