Priest responds to archbishop's decree of removal by archbishop
by Jolene Toves
Guam - His bags are packed but Father Paul Gofigan is not ready to go without a fight.
It was the last day of moving for the priest as he loaded the last of his belongings, but adding insult to injury Fr. Paul says he feels he is being blacklisted. "I am being ostracized and if you want to use a very good word that describes everything I'm being blacklisted," he told KUAM News.
Father Gofigan was asked to cover his former classmates' parish in the states for a month and while he gladly accepted. "All of a sudden I had a response from my classmate saying that his bishop had denied my request so I can only suspect that something was said to that diocese," he recalled.
According to Gofigan he has a history of issues with Archbishop Anthony Apuron and recent action is an attempt to cover his tracks. The archbishop signed an official decree of removal of Father Gofigan as the parochial administrator of Santa Barbara Church in Dededo, but Father Gofigan says the decree fails to mention the first letter he received on July 16.
"It's is really an attempt this particular decree to correct in writing what was erroneously done and bundled up in the first place," he said.
And while the decree of removal stated that Father Gofigan did not respond in the allotted time, he says he did and the letter was prepared by his canon lawyer on November 7. "The church is always compassionate when it comes to these matters and of course this was something beyond our control it is a force of nature the courier service did not get here on time," he said.
Father Gofigan is now a priest in residence at Saint Anthony and he says that just means he has a place to sleep in the meantime as his canon lawyer has filed an appeal for a hierarchical recourse and review of his case. He adds that an appeal can take up to a year but if Rome agrees with Father Gofigan's plight he will be restored to pastor of Santa Barabara Church however if denied he says his position as a priest can be shortlived as it will be left in the hands of Archbishop Apron.
"I will continue to be obedient to the archbishop continue to celebrate mass be obedient to Monsignor Bibi who is the pastor of Saint Anthony Church and continue to do whatever he ask me to do within reason of course," he said.