Sunday, April 30, 2017

The End Of The Road For SNAP

According to The Catholic World Report

Years ago, a number of Catholic World Report articles argued the case that the group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) – whom the media has called upon repeatedly over the years as a reliable voice to bash the Catholic Church over its handling of the sex abuse crisis – was actually nothing more than a front group for contingency lawyers and was driven by a deep ideological animus against the Church.

Now, recent lawsuits against the organization, including one by SNAP’s own former director of development, have, if anything, revealed that those arguments were too modest in their estimation of SNAP’s inner workings.
And in the wake of these lawsuits, SNAP’s most high-profile leaders—its founder and president, Barbara Blaine, and the group’s national director, David Clohessy—have suddenly announced their resignations.

SNAP has now quickly dissolved from a group awash in money and international media admiration into an organization that is near-broke, mired in costly litigation, and on the brink of extinction. What happened?

Enter Gretchen Hammond
In the summer of 2011, SNAP hired Gretchen Hammond as its director of development. By the end of 2011, Hammond, who had a background in the nonprofit world, had already helped to increase contributions to SNAP by more than double.

However, as Hammond became more familiar with the inner workings of SNAP, the more she became concerned that SNAP was not simply an innocent "victim advocacy group." She was especially troubled by the group’s cozy relationships with Church-suing lawyers and the “donations” that poured in from them. 

But most notably, Hammond – an abuse victim herself – also noticed that SNAP was not only not serving the needs of victims, but actually ignoring them. Abuse victims were simply being used as props and tools to get funds from lawyers.

When Hammond finally took her concerns to SNAP leadership, that is when her relationship with the group soon deteriorated. SNAP fired Hammond in 2013, but before she left she gathered extensive internal documents from the group, which expose SNAP’s shifty relationships with lawyers and the group’s brazen disregard for actual victims.  

In February of this year, Hammond filed her lawsuit against SNAP for “retaliatory discharge,” meaning the group had fired her for reporting to leadership the acceptance of kickbacks from attorneys. 

While many lawsuits are often rife with mundane legal language and layered legal arguments, Hammond’s suit is an eye-opener. From the very first page, Hammond lays out a portrait of SNAP as a group of committed leftists who hate the Catholic Church and who have used sex abuse victims as pawns in a craven money-making scheme with plaintiffs’ lawyers to damage the Church. From Hammond’s suit:
  • “SNAP does not focus on protecting or helping victims – it exploits them.”
  • “SNAP routinely accepts financial kickbacks in the form of donations. In exchange for the kickbacks, SNAP refers survivors as potential clients to attorneys, who then file lawsuits on behalf of the survivors against the Catholic Church. These cases often settle, to the financial benefit of the attorneys and, at times, to the financial benefit of SNAP, which has received direct payments from survivors’ settlements.”
  • “[A]ttorneys and SNAP work together in developing the legal theories and strategies of survivors’ lawsuits. Attorneys and SNAP base their strategy not on the best interests of the survivor, but on what will generate the most publicity and fundraising opportunities for SNAP.”
  • “SNAP claims status as a tax-exempt organization … In reality, SNAP is a commercial operation motivated by its directors’ personal and ideological animus against the Catholic Church. 
  • “SNAP callously disregards the real interests of survivors, using them instead as props and tools in furtherance of SNAP’s own commercial fundraising goals.”
The exodus begins 
Leaders at SNAP were surely hoping that news of Hammond’s lawsuit would not spread very far. But soon, a number of major news outlets, including the Chicago Tribune and theChicago Sun-Times, took notice.

However, less than a week after Hammond’s suit, on January 23, David Clohessy, the group’s long-time national director who was a favorite among journalists seeking punchy quotes for their articles bludgeoning the Catholic Church, announced his resignation.

Yet Clohessy insisted to various media outlets that Hammond’s lawsuit and the revelations that accompanied it somehow had nothing to do with his resignation. And some of Clohessy’s explanations for his departure bordered on the comical. In an interview with the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Clohessy actually cited “high cholesterol” as a contributing factor for his decision to resign.

Clohessy also gave conflicting statements to the media regarding the timing of his resignation, including saying that he had actually resigned back in October. But even as he claimed this, Clohessy’s name was still listed on SNAP’s web site as its director. 

Then, less than two weeks after Clohessy’s resignation, Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s founder, announced her own resignation. And just like Clohessy, Blaine claimed her resignation “had absolutely no bearing on my leaving” and that “the discussions and process of my departure has been ongoing.”  

SNAP now claims that the organization will continue as “99.9%” volunteers with Barbara Dorris, the group’s longtime “outreach director,” now taking the leadership role. 

The road to the end
There were, however, several signs that SNAP was in trouble even before Hammond’s lawsuit.

Back in 2012, major red flags were raised when a lawsuit against SNAP by a Missouri priest exposed that SNAP was closely collaborating with Church-suing attorneys. The suit uncovered that SNAP was actually publicizing lawsuits that had not even been filed in court yet.  

But a more serious blow to SNAP came in June of 2015, when a priest in St. Louis, Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, sued SNAP in federal court for defamation, claiming that the group had conspired to falsely accuse him of child abuse. In news articles, media statements, and posts on its web site, SNAP branded Fr. Jiang as a “child molesting cleric” and a “cunning predator” even after law enforcement twice cleared Jiang of any wrongdoing. 

SNAP, however, refused the judge’s orders to turn over relevant documents in the case. Eventually, last August, the judgeentered a judgment against SNAP and also ordered SNAP to “pay the reasonable expenses, including plaintiff's attorney's fees, caused by their failure to comply with the Court's orders.” 

In retrospect, it should have been little surprise that SNAP’s aggressive, over-the-top approach to attacking the Catholic Church would eventually catch up with it. The ruthlessness and recklessness with which SNAP, especially its director David Clohessy, would attack the Church cannot be overstated. 

And if there were any doubt as to what motivated Clohessy in his attacks, a 2011 email exchange with an alleged victim – cited in Hammond’s lawsuit – should resolve the matter. Clohessy wrote:

“i sure hope you DO pursue the WI [Wisconsin] bankruptcy … Every nickle (sic) they don’t have is a nickle (sic) that they can’t spend on defense lawyers, PR staff, gay-bashing, women-hating, contraceptive-battling, etc.”

Such angry opposition to the Church and its teachings should not have been surprising to anyone. As we reported here at CWR back in 2012, SNAP dedicated itself to aligning with left-wing causes. SNAP President Blaine appeared as a featured guest at a charged conference called “Women Money Power,” hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation, the very influential pro-abortion lobbying group. At the conference Blaine joined noted pro-abortion activists, including Eleanor Smeal, Sandra Fluke, Rev. Barry Lynn, and Dawn Laguens (a vice president at Planned Parenthood), for a panel discussion titled “Bishops, Politicians, and the War on Women’s Health.” 

And within months of the Feminist Majority get-together, SNAP invited Rev. Barry Lynn, the “progressive” president of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, to speak at its annual conference. And a year later, at the 2013 conference, Eleanor Smeal, the president of Feminist Majority, was SNAP’s keynote speaker.

Add to these episodes the fact that David Clohessy was once a local leader of the far-left activist group ACORN, and SNAP’s political agenda is established with little doubt. 

In pursuit of his left-wing campaign against the Church, Clohessy would make countless media appearances and press statements in which he would attack Church officials and accused priests with little regard for veracity. In a 2012 deposition, Clohessy even admitted under oath that he provided false information to the media. Yet even after making this embarrassing admission, Clohessy continued to let falsehoods fly

But it is Clohessy’s fearless mean-spiritedness over the years that cannot go without mention. Aside from his countless attacks on innocent priests and bishops, Clohessy has clearly made it his mission to torment priests, bishops, and the Catholic flock any way he can imagine.

Clohessy actually once led a court campaign to allow SNAP toharass and intimidate parishioners outside of Sunday Mass. He has also incited the harassment of accused Catholic priests by publishing the personal phone numbers and email addresses of them on the SNAP web site.  

The examples are legion. But the lowest of the low may have occurred in late January of 2012, when Clohessy actually suggested that Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua wasfaking his cancer and dementia to avoid appearing in court for an abuse case. Less than 36 hours after Clohessy made hiscruel remark, Bevilacqua passed away in his sleep at age 88. Clohessy never apologized.

Mixed media reaction
While nearly every significant news outlet in the country has excitedly cited at one time or another SNAP’s Clohessy and Blaine in attacking the Catholic Church, the media’s reaction to the pair’s sudden resignations has been muted. 
Newspaper and television outlets in Chicago reported on Hammond’s lawsuit and the resignations. The Kansas City Starand the Boston Globe, both of whom have covered clergy abuse cases extensively, also generated modest articles about Hammond’s lawsuit against SNAP.

The most notable silence, however, has come from the New York Times and its crack “National Religion Correspondent” Laurie Goodstein. Over the years, the Times and Goodstein have made reporting on the Catholic Church sex abuse story an obsession, and they have repeatedly quoted SNAP leaders. On March 13, 2012, the Times and Goodstein even ran a sympathetic page one story on SNAP when SNAP and David Clohessy were flouting court orders to turn over documents. 

The Times then followed the article with a crazy editorial the very next day, claiming that the Catholic Church was somehow “hurting victims’ advocates” by expecting SNAP to obey the law and follow a judge’s orders.

Yet even as the ship at SNAP has been quickly sinking, Laurie Goodstein and the Times have gone radio silent, not publishing a single syllable about the group’s demise.
And in this sense, nothing has changed. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Public Law 33-187

The sad thing in our society is that scammers and opportunists do exist. Public law 33-187 is being challenged by the Archdiocese of Agana.  This law may be unconstitutional, but it also opens the door for scammers to target the Catholic Church.  According to The Media Report:  
In 2010, Vincent Carroll at the Denver Post fearlessly noted, "[F]raudulent or highly dubious accusations are more common than is acknowledged in coverage of the church scandals — although they should not be surprising, given the monumental settlements various dioceses have paid out over the years."
In 2005, Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal, writing about abuse lawsuits against the Church, asserted, "People have to come to understand that there is a large scam going on with personal injury attorneys, and what began as a serious effort [to help genuine victims] has now expanded to become a huge money-making proposition."
In addition, in 2001 (!), an East Coast attorney wrote, "I have some contacts in the prison system, having been an attorney for some time, and it has been made known to me that [accusing a Catholic priest of abuse] is a current and popular scam."
Who knows how many more such scams are being perpetrated today while the mainstream media sleeps? 
Public law 33-187, which was passed by the Governor and Guam Legislature, is an open door for scammers to walk in and target the Catholic Church.  In the United States, the U.S. bishops' have also expressed their opposition to these kind of bills and laws, which is a good sign that they have finally caught on to the relationship between accusations against priests and the enticement of guaranteed financial settlements.

This law targets mainly the Catholic Church.  In prison, the ones who face claims of sexual abuse that are decades old are only Catholic priests.  Among the thousands of men who have passed through prison for sexual abuse charges, there is no other case of a man facing charges that were many years or decades old, going back to 20 to 50 years ago. This happens solely to Catholic priests, and it is because of the enticement of money.  The law made it easy for scammers to scam the Catholic Church out of millions of dollars.  According to one news report:
The Catholic Church told police it was duped into paying $188,000 to a woman who claimed she was injured when raped by a priest. 
The police only became aware of the woman's claims that she was raped by a Palmerston North Catholic priest - who abused her with a knife and a broken bottle - when the church learned it had been duped out of the payments. 
The woman, who has name suppression, appeared at the Morrinsville District Court on Wednesday, June 8, to be sentenced on one charge of obtaining by deception $188,190.17 from the Catholic Church, which paid for various medical operations and psychological tests in relation to the abuse claim. 
The woman supplied fake medical reports to the church to support the claim. 
The fraud was discovered only when the church queried one of the reports with a health provider.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

3rd Annual Gala Dinner Video Presentation 2015

This video is very interesting.  Thank you to the poster who sent it to me through my blog despite that he/she does not want his/her comment posted.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Renewing Baptismal Promises

I found this article on the internet about the NCW of the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia renewing their baptismal promises during the Easter Vigil.  According to the article:

KOTA KINABALU:  The second Neocatechumenal community at Sacred Heart Cathedral here made their solemn renewal of Baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil Mass on 2017. 

The 41 brothers and sisters of the community dressed in white robes, had celebrated the Election Stage of their catechumenal journey during the season of Lent.

Before the final prayers and blessings, Archbishop John Wong, who is also rector of SHC parish, led the congregation in congratulating the community on reaching the final stage of their journey in faith with warm applause.

There are three priests in this community: Fr Tony Mojiwat, assistant parish priest at Holy Trinity Church, Inobong; Fr Simon Williams, who is on mission in Iraq; and Fr Ernesto Lagan, who is serving a parish in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The first community of the Neocatechumenal Way in SHC, with about 25 brothers and sisters celebrated the same stage in 2011.

These two communities have been brought through the various stages of the Way by an itinerant catechists team, led by Fr Giuseppe (Pippo), Lauria, together with Fernando Valdes and Kathryn McGarr. 

During Easter, the communities celebrate the daily Eucharist together at the parish wearing the white robe.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hope And Healing Program

Image result for Attorney Michael W. CaspinoThe Hope and Healing Program offered by the Archdiocese of Agana offers a better alternative to years of court litigation.  The main thing that sex abuse victims are in dire need of would be counseling and/or psychiatric help.  If they are a substance abuser due to the traumatic event of child abuse, they would also need to enroll in a rehab program to deal with their substance abuse.  According to the news article:

The program is two-pronged: 

  • Professional counseling has started for those who have already called the Hope and Healing Guam hotline: 1-888-649-5288.  This will be followed by rehabilitation and long-term treatment as needed, and guidance from a spiritual director. 
  • Individual review of each claim for compensation, along with referral for investigation, once an independent board is formed as early as next week.
Counseling, psychiatric care, and even rehabilitation should always come first when treating a victim of sex abuse. This is where healing begins, and many times, the victims cannot afford to pay for it.  However, the program will be paying for the treatments.   

The Hope and Healing Guam hotline is 1-888-649-5288 and is available 24 hours everyday.  All calls are confidential.  You can also read the interview with Attorney Michael W. Caspino, the Executive Director of the Hope and Healing Guam Program in the following weblink: 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Responding to Anonymous

This post is in response to the anonymous poster who made a comment in the last thread.  His/Her comment can be found here.  His/Her comment are in blue while mine are in black.  The red comments are quotes from the Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way.  

Dear Diana, when the NCW wanted to go around Archbishop Hon about the RMS land, you had to be corrected in a painful way. Your boards were declared illegitimate and were disbanded. Now, the NCW wants to go around Archbishop Byrnes about evangelizing. Is this the right thing to do, Diana?

First of all, we never went around Archbishop Hon about the RMS property.  Since the very beginning, we have been saying that ONLY Archbishop Apuron and his successor has the authority to rescind the Deed Restriction. Since the very beginning, we have been saying that ONLY Archbishop Apuron and his successor has the authority.

The jungle, on the other hand, have been claiming that Archbishop Apuron and his successor have absolutely no authority.  They claimed that ONLY the NCW has the authority to rescind the Deed Restriction.  And lo and behold, past events only showed that we were correct.  Who was the one who rescinded the Deed Restriction?  Who removed the Board of Directors and the Board of Guarantors? So, who had authority all along? If the NCW was REALLY in control as the jungle claimed, then how was it that Archbishop Byrnes was able to rescind the Deed Restriction and remove the two boards of RMS?  Did we not say all along that only Archbishop Apuron and his successor are in control and only he and his successor have the authority to rescind the Deed Restriction and remove the boards? To this day, the jungle has not given any explanation as to how Archbishop Byrnes was able to rescind the Deed Restriction and remove the Board of Directors and Board of Guarantors. 

Furthermore, we are not going around Archbishop Byrnes.  He said not to build any new communities.  To build new communities, there must be an invitation to a catechesis.  The NCW is not holding any catechesis nor giving out any invitations.  We are spreading the good news that Christ has risen and conquered death. We are going door to door spreading this good news and asking people if there is anyone they would like us to pray for.  

The issue raised is the qualification of your catechists. They are not supposed to teach just "something" that is not in conflict with the teaching, rather they should teach what is laid down by the church and requested by the local bishop! 

The NCW is not in conflict with what the Church teaches.  The problem is YOUR interpretation.  For example, it was brought out in the jungle that the catechists teaches that we are not Christians.  If you look up the word "Christian" in, it gives you 11 different definitions.  So, the question begs...which definition is the catechists using?

The second definition of "Christian" is defined as "pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ."  An example of this definition would be "Spain is a Christian country" or "There are three Christian religions: Catholicism, Orthodox, and Protestantism". 

Most of the time, the catechists do not use the second definition.  They often use the fourth definition, which stated "exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike". You can call yourself a "Christian" (second definition) simply because you are Catholic, but can you say that you are "like Christ" (fourth definition of Christian)?    

RCIA catechists are certified under the aegis of RCIA to teach of faith. Your catechists, on the contrary, stun the rules of RCIA, despise RCIA catechism and teach things apart from the RCIA material. Would it not be better to collaborate with RCIA to provide a consistent knowledge base about Christ and our Catholic faith to all believers?

The NCW is NOT an RCIA program. The RCIA program is only for those who are not baptized or who lack the sacraments of Holy Eucharist or Confirmation.  We follow the adopted Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way. According to Title II, Chapter 1, Article 5, Section 1 of the Statutes (the bold is mine): 
§ 1. The Neocatechumenate is an instrument at the service of the bishops for the rediscovery of Christian initiation by baptized adults. Among these adults, the following may be identified:10 1st. those who have drifted away from the Church; 2nd. those who have not been sufficiently evangelized and catechized; 3rd. those who desire to deepen and mature their faith; 4th. those who come from Christian denominations not in full communion with the Catholic Church. 
As you can see, the NCW is for those who are already baptized adults while the RCIA is a program for those who are not baptized or who lack some of the sacraments such as Holy Communion or Confirmation.  We follow the approved Statutes of the Way.  If we are to follow the RCIA program, then what was the purpose of the Vatican approving the Statutes and the Catechetical Directory? The Statutes and Catechetical Directory were approved by the Holy See and given to the NCW to follow.  Where is it written in the Statutes that the NCW must follow the RCIA program? 

When you go out to evangelize, you defy the spirit of the moratorium. The concern is that acting as a loose cannon and defying decency may result in even more conflicts and even more need of correction. Please, allow discussion of this matter, because this is relevant issue and valid concern. 

You say "spirit of the moratorium".  The moratorium does not have any spirit.  As I pointed out, there was a "pause" in building new communities for one year. Evangelization has nothing to do with this pause or even with building new communities.  We do not recruit anyone going door to door.  We simply spread the Gospel of Christ.  That is what evangelization means.     

Monday, April 17, 2017

He Is Risen! Alleluia!!!

Christ is risen!!! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!!!! Now that Christ has risen from the dead, the NCW communities will be going out evangelizing in the villages from door to door spreading the Gospel of Christ just as Christ commanded us to do. Spread the Gospel brothers and sisters so that all can be brought to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Archdiocese Claims Law Unconstitutional

According to The Pacific Daily News:

Image result for Archdiocese of Hagatna
The Archdiocese of Agana says a 2016 Guam law that retroactively lifted the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse cases is not only unconstitutional but would apply only to the alleged perpetrators, and not institutions such as the church.
Dozens of former altar boys have sued priests, the archdiocese, and in some cases the Boy Scouts of America in federal court, asking for millions of dollars in damages for sexual abuse they said happened decades ago, when they were children.
The Archdiocese late Monday for the first time provided the federal court with the specific reasons it believes the lawsuits should be dismissed. Its attorneys challenged the idea that the statute of limitations can be lifted retroactively and also the idea that institutions such as the church could be retroactively held liable, in addition to the alleged perpetrators.
The archdiocese’s attorneys said while not every retrospective law violates the due process clause of the island's Organic Act, extending an expired civil limitations period can unconstitutionally infringe upon a vested right.
The archdiocese, in its court filing, also stated the 2016 law could allow institutions such as the church to be sued centuries after the alleged abuse, long after witnesses have died, memories have faded and evidence has been lost.
The alleged sexual abuse by priests on Guam happened from the 1950s to late 1980s. Before the law was changed in 2016, the statute of limitations to sue for that alleged abuse was only one or two years.
“Both as a matter of statutory interpretation and constitutional imperative, the 2016 bill did not revive expired civil claims against third parties such as the archdiocese,” attorneys for the archdiocese said in a memorandum filed in the U.S. District Court of Guam.
“The 2016 Bill attempted to revive expired claims only as to alleged perpetrators, not third parties,” wrote the archdiocese’s attorneys, U.S.-based Mary McNamara, Britt Evangelist, Paul Gaspari, Daniel Zamora, and Guam-based John C. Terlaje.
So far, the archdiocese faces 47 clergy sex abuse lawsuits. Of those cases, 40 are in federal court. Sevencases are in the Superior Court of Guam, but have not moved forward because trial court judges continue to recuse themselves, citing a conflict of interest.
Gov. Eddie B. Calvo last September signed Sen. Frank Blas’ bill into Public Law 33-187 , allowing victims of child sex abuse to sue their abusers and the institutions with which they are associated, at any time.
Although he signed it into law, Calvo said he was concerned about whether it is unconstitutional to retroactively lift the statue of limitations on lawsuits.
The archdiocese's attorneys said Blas' original version of the bill attempted to allow non-perpetrators to be sued, but that section was deleted from the final bill.
As a result, the attorneys stated, the 2016 law allows only perpetrators to be sued retroactively, but institutions can only be sued moving forward.

‘Bishop Camacho’

Retired Saipan Bishop Tomas A. Camacho also is asking the federal court to dismiss the childhood sex abuse lawsuit against him, stating the 2016 law is invalid.
A former altar boy, Melvin Duenas, alleged that Camacho raped and sexually abused him multiple times in the early 1970s when Camacho was a priest on Guam under the Archdiocese of Agana.
Camacho, through his attorney William Fitzgerald, said statute of limitations has expired, and it was not retroactively revived by the 2016 law. He also said the attempt to revive a case more than 30 years after the statute of limitations expired violates the Organic Act of Guam.
Meanwhile, Laity Forward Movement president Lou Klitzkie on Tuesday said the group will take a break from its weekly picket in front of the cathedral on Easter Sunday. The weekly picket calls for Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s removal as archbishop and defrocking. Apuron is undergoing a Vatican canonical penal trial and faces least four clergy sex abuse cases filed by former altar boys in Agat.
Apuron's attorney, Jacqueline Terlaje, also asked the federal court to dismiss the lawsuits against Apuron, citing reasons similar to those raised by the archdiocese.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


It is said that humility is the only weapon that can destroy the Devil.  And this is true.  Christ humbled Himself to the cross, and death was destroyed.  We are called to be true Christians like Christ.  We are called to the cross.  Christ said to take up our cross and come follow Him.  And where did Christ go?  He died on the cross.  This is what it means to be a disciple of be a "Christian."

The Christians of the Early Centuries were often misunderstood by their persecutors. They were often feared and hated.  People usually fear and hate what they do not understand.  Unlike the others who worshiped their gods in the temples, the Early Christians had no temples because they understood that their bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit. When people got to know the Christians, then their fear and hatred dissipated.    

We saw through Sacred Scripture that the first place the Apostles preached were in the synagogues.  The Apostles were Jewish. The good news was spread in the synagogues first, but the Jews didn't like the Apostles preaching to them, so they were kicked out of the synagogues.  

Then they preached to the Gentiles. The first people who called themselves "Christians" were the converts in Antioch. Christianity grew among the Gentiles like wildfire. So, brothers be humble.  Our mission is to spread the Gospel of Christ to the entire world.  Our mission is to be the light of the world so that those who see the light of Christ in us can also praise God our Father.  Our mission is to be the salt of the earth.  This salt dies so that others may live. 

Image result for crucifixion

John 15:13-19  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Guam Family Receives Papal Blessings

What a beautiful occasion!  It is not often that one would have someone from faraway Guam get a blessing from the Pope.  It so happened that a family from Guam was there in Rome and suddenly a man comes out yelling "bambino, bambino!  Give me your bambino!"  The infant was given to Pope Francis. This memory will always be cherished by the Tajalle family and all of Guam's people. Biba Guam!!!! According to The Guam Daily Post:

Guam girl gets blessing from pope

"This is an awesome opportunity to share our blessing with the entire island. It's not every day someone from Guam gets to experience this." – Shawn Tajalle

The air was cold and it was still dark outside when Shawn and Laura Tajalle got their five kids ready on a trip to St. Peter's Square at the Vatican early Wednesday morning to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis during his weekly Papal Audience and Mass. What they got was a memory that will last for generations to come, and a blessing they want to share with their beloved Guam during a troubled time for the island's Catholic community.
The couple has been stationed in Shape, Belgium, for nearly two years where Shawn Tajalle serves as a captain in the U.S. Army. With a new duty station to report to in the summer, the family wanted to experience the Vatican before heading to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
Shawn Tajalle's parents, Joey and Sandra Tajalle, went with them, fulfilling a lifelong dream to visit Rome and see the relics and saints.
"We woke up early to try and beat the crowds," Shawn Tajalle said. Their group of 12 ended up being the second in line to go through security, giving them highly coveted front row seats to see Pope Francis and his motorcade.
They waited for several hours as crowds flocked to the square. "As he (Pope) was coming, the crowd was pushing against the fences," Shawn Tajalle recalled.
There on the white popemobile, the family saw Pope Francis waving to the crowd heading their way, when Shawn Tajalle heard a man 20 feet away yelling to him in Italian.
"He kept saying 'bambino, bambino, give me your bambino,'" Shawn Tajalle said. "I was hesitant to give him my daughter. This guy was a stranger calling for my kid."
A bit confused, he reluctantly handed over his 14-month-old sleeping daughter, Makenna, to the man who passed her along to one of the pope's ushers, who walked right up to the pope's car and raised the sleeping girl to the Holy Father.
"She was sleeping because we were up so early and for some reason when the pope kissed her, she opened her eyes. It was so surreal," Shawn Tajalle said.
When Makenna returned to her father, she went right back to sleep. Makenna was the fifth child that day to receive a blessing from the pope.
The family was able to document the blessing on cell phones, and the Vatican took several photos that the Tajalles purchased yesterday as keepsakes.
Being raised Catholic, visiting the Vatican was a dream come true and Shawn is grateful he was able to share the experience with his visiting parents.
"They brought us up in the faith," he said.
With all that's happening in Guam with the Catholic Church facing dozens of child sex abuse lawsuits and division over the Neocatechumenal Way, Shawn Tajalle said the encounter with the pope wasn't just a blessing for his daughter and his family, but for his beloved island of Guam.
Shawn Tajalle said he and his parents were raised in the Neocatechumenal Way, and with the troubles in the Catholic Church in Guam, he "kind of walked away" from the church, but the blessing at St. Peter's Square opened his eyes.
"God is good. He's always provided for us and puts us back on track to where we should be or where we need to go," he told The Guam Daily Post.
Shawn Tajalle said the pope thanked everyone who came to attend the Mass on Wednesday and said the Apostolic blessing was extended not just to those in attendance, but to their families with the intention to bring "the blessing back home."
"This is an awesome opportunity to share our blessing with the entire island," the Father Duenas Memorial School graduate said. "It's not every day someone from Guam gets to experience this."
Joey Tajalle was overjoyed to witness and experience the papal audience and his granddaughter's papal blessing, calling it a "powerful experience."
The trip had been planned for almost six months as they had scheduled the trip to attend their son's military promotion.
"My parents in the early '70s always spoke to us about Rome and how beautiful it is," Joey Tajalle said. "It's by the grace of the Lord that we were able to encounter such a grace by waking up early."
Still euphoric about the experience and sharing it with friends from Guam and around the world, Shawn Tajalle said he believes this experience will surely impact his daughter's life as well as the people of Guam.
"People back home need to be strong in their faith," he said. "God will provide when you least expect it."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Backfired To CCOG

The first woman have come forward, charging sexual allegation against a Father Joe R. San Agustin (also known as Andrew San Agustin).  According to KUAM (the bold is mine): 
The first woman files suit against the Church for clergy sex abuse. 65-year-old B.T. lives in Saipan, but filed her complaint in the District Court of Guam on Tuesday. B.T. alleges she was sexually molested by Father Joe R. San Agustin also known as Andrew San Agustin when she and her younger sister came with the priest to Guam for vacation. San Agustin was employed by the Archdiocese of Agana, but temporarily assigned to Mt. Carmel School in Saipan where he was B.T.'s teacher. While on Guam, she alleges the priest kissed her and touched her privates as well as digitally penetrated her when she was 12-years-old. B.T. is suing for $5 million.
KUAM News has learned that San Agustin is a member of the Concerned Catholics of Guam, but no longer a priest for the Archdiocese of Agana.
Joe R. San Agustin is a member of Concern Catholics of Guam and has been known to make comments in the JungleWatch blog.  Now that this has come to light, should the organization "Concern Catholics of Guam" be sued as well???? After all, the law says that they can sue the institution for hiding a sex abuser. Or is CCOG going to claim that a "person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law"?   

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

EWTN Schedule Update

Dear Brothers, 

Here is an update on the EWTN schedule: 


Sunday, April 2 at 5:00 pm
Tuesday, April 4 at 5:00 am 
Friday, April 7 at 10:00 pm 


Sunday, May 7 at 5:00 pm
Tuesday, May 9 at 5:00 am
Friday, May 12 at 10:00 pm

In The News

The attorneys for the Archdiocese of Agana is requesting an extension to respond to the sexual abuse lawsuit.  According to PNC news:
If the judge approves, the deadline for the Archdiocese of Agana to respond to the numerous lawsuits will be moved from April 10 to May 12.
Guam - Attorneys on both sides of the dozens of lawsuits filed against the church are asking for an extension for the archdiocese to respond to the allegations of institutional sexual abuse.
Attorney John Terlaje, who represents that Archdiocese of Agana and Attorney David Lujan who represents the 33 alleged victims in federal court, submitted a joint request to move the deadline to respond from April 10 to May 12. Most of the plaintiffs are seeking $5 million each in damages while at least two of Lujan’s clients want $10 million each.
Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes said there are a number of factors for the requested delay.
"I’m sure the factors are endless. One concrete factor that is a difference is that the Boy Scouts have now become part of the equation and so that’s one kind of obvious reason why," he noted. 
Last month the archdiocese announced that they have created a special fund for sexual abuse victims and have an estimated $132 million in assets.
In other news, one parent whose child attends Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School is requesting that the school remove the name of the Bishop due to the fact that he has been named in covering up the sexual scandal of Father Louis Brouillard.  If his name is removed from the school, what about the statue of the Bishop in Tamuning?  Will that also be removed? According to the Guam Daily Post: 
Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes said yesterday a parent of a child who attends Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School has asked that the school drop the bishop's name. 
The former Guam bishop is named in numerous child sexual abuse cases as being aware of certain abuses of altar boys, and allegedly did little to stop or investigate the abuse.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Desire And Zeal Of The NCW

Matthew 3:22-25  And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.

Image result for Catechists in the ChurchGod always do good while Satan does the opposite.  In the scripture above, the teachers of the law accused Christ of doing the devil's work by HEALING a person possessed by demons.  It is already clear that this kind of thinking does not make any sense.  How can healing be considered evil?  Satan would never heal a person by driving out demons.  It goes against the nature of Satan to do that.  

While some accused the Neocatechumenal Way of being evil, evidence shows that some marriages have been saved, that some families and itinerants have given up everything to go on mission for Christ, that vocations into the priesthood and convents have been inspired among its members, and that the youth remain active in participating in World Youth Day pilgrimages.  

The NCW have also built up their parishes through volunteer work.  If one were to visit the parish, one would find some members of the NCW serving as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, CCD instructors and coordinators.  Some of them were elected into parish councils and have helped the parish in various ways. Some have even volunteered their service in the parish choir and in maintaining and cleaning the parish grounds.  Others have donated time and money in renovating the parishes and donating flowers for the Church.  All these were done without any cost to the parish.  All these were done as a result of the brother's desire to serve God and His Church. 

This volunteer work is also found in the NCW itself.  There are no rules of forming a Catechist, Responsible, and Co-responsible in the NCW.  It was all done with the person's desire and zeal to volunteer their service to God.  It was done with a "yes" response after they were asked to become a Catechist, Responsible, or Co-responsible in the Way. Missionary work was also done voluntarily.  Sometimes, the person who volunteered to do a service without pay and with only their desire and zeal can turn out to be a better volunteer than one who was paid to do the job and holding a degree.