Guam - Father Paul Gofigan has been asked to resign as the Pastor of Santa Barbara Catholic Church. According to a letter Father Gofigan addressed to his parishioners dated July 20th, he explained why he has been replaced by Father Dan Bien as the temporary Parochial Administrator or Santa Barbara Church.
According to the letter he was asked by the Archbishop to resign because he believes that he is still employing an individual he was directed two years ago to terminate. The individual, according to the letter, committed a crime more than 32 years ago. "I knew this individual had paid his debt to society, and had fully repented, and he and his wife and their two daughters were eager to return to the Church and embrace their Catholic faith. Although I disagreed with this decision, out of obedience to the Archbishop, I had to comply," Fr. Gofigan wrote.
Fr. Gofigan stated the Archbishop and his advisors are under the mistaken belief that the individual was not terminated and as a result on July 16th was asked in a letter from the Archbishop to resign or "experience a more arduous and painful closure to your assignment at Santa Barbara Church."
Fr. Gofigan says the matter could have been cleared up if they had simply spoken to him and conducted a basic investigation. He added that he could have easly accepted the Archbishop and his advisors demand to resign or follow the more difficult path which will "ultimately lead to the truth". He said after much prayer and quiet reflection he has decided not to take the easy path and instead request for a hearing so that he can be allowed to defend himself and to save his vocation as a priest, "I cannot in good conscience accede to their demands without defending my vocation as a priest and allowing the truth to be heard," he wrote.
Offices of the Archdiocese of Agana were closed today and therefore could not be reached for comment.