Monsignor possibly removed due to financial mismanagement - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Monsignor possibly removed due to financial mismanagement

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - Exactly one week after a special mass was held to celebrate his 20th anniversary Monsignor James Benavente was removed by Archbishop Anthony Apuron as the rector of the Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral Basilica. Word of the removal began rippling through the island's Catholic community.

He was the headline in this Sunday's weekly Catholic newspaper: "Monsignor James Benavente Celebrates 20 Years", but a week after being honored for his accomplishments in the Archdiocese of Agana, Archbishop Apuron removed him from his role as rector of the cathedral and as director of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese.

Although the archbishop and archdiocese have not provided a comment as to why he was removed KUAM sources say he was removed on allegations of financial mismanagement.

Tim Rohr runs the popular blog JungleWatch. He says those allegations are a farce, noting, "My understanding also because I have had some feedback from members of the parishioners an members of the Financial Council that monsignor has never spent a dime that wasn't approved so the financial mismanagement I don't know. I do know that monsignor asked for an opportunity to respond to the charges he wasn't given on he was told that he would have an opportunity but the next thing that you know he was given a letter dismissing him from the cathedral without an opportunity to address any of the charges."

Aside from Monsignor Benavente's removal the archbishop also dissolved the Archdiocesan Development Group which served as the umbrella organization of the Cathedral's gift shop, museum and media ministries. On Saturday Msgr. James sent a letter to members of the Cathedral's Parish Council and Finance Council to inform them of his removal. He also sent the letter to employees of the Cathedral's pastoral center, gift shop and catholic cemeteries.

He wrote "after 20 years of service as rector of the Cathedral-Basilica, please accept my profound appreciation for your support and working relationship throughout  the years. I ask for your continued prayers for our archbishop, our church, and humbly, for me as well. Please be assured of my prayers and continued concern for you and your families." Calls to Msgr. James for comment went unreturned, however Rohr says he will be  appointing someone to speak on his behalf and will be issuing a statement. 
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