Friday, December 11, 2015

Eileen Benavente-Blas: "Build your own Churches on Guam"

HAGÅTÑA — The Neocatechumenal Way has been on Guam for almost 20 years, but I was not aware of this “movement” within the Catholic Church until two years ago, when the archbishop fired Father Paul Gofigan and literally locked him out of Santa Barbara Parish.

Father Paul showed mercy, forgiveness and understanding toward a certain individual in need just as Christ would have done. This angered the archbishop who apparently would not have acted in the same way.

A year later, the archbishop fired Monsignor James Benavente from his position at the chancery even though he was responsible for the successful refurbishing of Pigo Cemetery as well as finding generous donors to fund numerous diocesan projects. Monsignor James had one week to remove his personal effects from his residence of 20 years.

Both priests were fired based on unsubstantiated charges alleged by the archbishop.

The belief among faithful Catholics is that Father Paul and Monsignor James were the two top candidates to succeed the archbishop when he must retire at age 75. As a pre-emptive strike against one of them succeeding him, the archbishop fired them both and spread lies about them.

The archbishop’s treatment of both of these priests was hurtful to them personally as well as to their families. He didn’t care.

Faithful Catholics believe the archbishop wants a Neo such as he to succeed him. Monsignor David C. Quitugua and Father Adrian L. F. Cristobal are both Neos with positions in the chancery office.

According to information on the diocesan website: “The Neocatechumenal Way is not a movement or an association, but an instrument in the parishes at the service of the bishop to return to faith many of those who abandoned it.”

I am among the many faithful Catholics who have no need of the Neocatechumenal Way. We faithful Catholics are strong in our faith. The Neocatechumenal Way is not intended for us.

We don’t need Neo presbyters saying our Masses.

We don’t need Neo presbyters assigned to our parishes.

We don’t need the teachings of Neo catechists who refuse to acknowledge or answer questions.

We never “abandoned” our faith. We don’t need what is intended for those who have.

To the Neo communities of Guam:

Build your own churches. Quit trying to co-opt our physical places of worship built by the hard work and generous donations of past generations of faithful Catholics and whose upkeep depends on today’s faithful Catholics. Leave our church buildings alone.

Build your own churches that you can decorate with Kiko Arguello’s paintings and icons. Leave our church buildings and statues alone.

Build your own churches where you can sing songs written by Kiko Arguello. Leave our church buildings as well as our hymns and songs of worship alone.

Yes, build your own churches. If you want harmony among fellow Catholics, build your own churches.

17 Nov 2015
By Eileen Benavente-Blas
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