Archdiocese won't sell churches, schools despite complaint - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Archdiocese won't sell churches, schools despite complaint

Posted: Updated:

The attorney for the Archdiocese of Agana in its current bankruptcy case before the district court says Archbishop Michael Byrnes has no intent to sell off Catholic schools or churches to pay off settlements in the more than 200 sexual abuse cases that have been filed against the local archdiocese. This despite a complaint filed by a committee of creditors arguing its part of their assets.


All that's needed is for the judge to give the green light on the Archdiocese plans to sell its Hotel Accion property to TF Investment LLC to pay off settlements in the church sex abuse cases. But it's going to take much more if anyone thinks it plans to sell off any local churches or schools.

Attorney Ford Elsaesser represent the archdiocese is in its bankruptcy case.

"These parishes were all built by the parishioners there isn't some magic supply of money or material from a diocese to build parishes, parishioners build parishes and own them and there is no one intent of the archdiocese to sell any parish or schools," he said.

A Committee of Unsecured Creditors, however, has filed an adversary complaint for declaratory judgment, essentially seeking clarification from the court to determine that all vehicles, churches, and schools are in fact assets and property of the archdiocese. Attorney Elsaesser, however, says they are only held in trust.

"He can't sell pick any of the 26 parishes," he said. "The cathedral, for example, he cannot sell the cathedral. He cannot sell any of the small parishes. There is a process within canon law that would prohibit him for selling it for these purposes."

Attorney Elsaesser says there's case law to support this "trust relationship."


"The best analogy I can give if you have a disabled family member or parent who could no longer care for themselves you became their guardian or trustee," he said. "You would hold their money and maybe even the title to their home but everybody knows you don't own it. They still own, but you're holding it in trust for them. That's really the relationship that legally exists in other words the parishes are owned by the benefit of the parishioners they're not like the hotel where the archbishop can sell the hotel and use the money to pay the clams for clergy sex abuse."

Elsaessar will be filing the church's response in about a month and a half. The committee of unsecured creditors was appointed in March by the Office of the U.S. Trustee. Serving on the committee are the Bank of Guam and several of the alleged clergy sexual abuse survivors.

"I think it's unfortunate I think as it gets further out in the news it's going to create a fear factor out there I don't think that really helps," Elsaessar said. "The process the committee has a right to follow this lawsuit we disagree with the assertion, but we'll hopeful ultimately to get the whole case resolved or perhaps this matter will get decided by the court sometime in the future."

And until the matter is resolved mediation is on hold.

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Governor appoints 3 to complete Cannabis Control Board

    Governor appoints 3 to complete Cannabis Control Board

    Two weeks since it was signed into law and things are really rollingalong. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero appointed three people to Cannabis Control Board. They are ChamGlam Botanika owner and herbalist Ursula Herrera, Attorney Vanessa Williams and William ParkinMore >>
    Two weeks since it was signed into law and things are really rollingalong. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero appointed three people to Cannabis Control Board. They are ChamGlam Botanika owner and herbalist Ursula Herrera, Attorney Vanessa Williams and William ParkinMore >>
  • Legislature will consider agency, board appointees next week

    Legislature will consider agency, board appointees next week

    Senators set the agenda for next week's legislative session. Twelve bills and a slew of agency director and board appointments were approved for debate during a rules committee meeting Thursday. One of the bills would ease the residency requirements for oMore >>
    Senators set the agenda for next week's legislative session. Twelve bills and a slew of agency director and board appointments were approved for debate during a rules committee meeting Thursday. One of the bills would ease the residency requirements for oMore >>
  • Former mayor of Sinajana Alfonso Pangelinan passes away

    Former mayor of Sinajana Alfonso Pangelinan passes away

    The island is mourning the loss of former Sinajana mayor Alfonso Matanane Pangelinan. Pangelinan was Vice-Mayor of the central village from 1965 to 1967 and Mayor from 1968 to 1973. He also worked for Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo during his two terms in oMore >>
    The island is mourning the loss of former Sinajana mayor Alfonso Matanane Pangelinan. Pangelinan was Vice-Mayor of the central village from 1965 to 1967 and Mayor from 1968 to 1973. He also worked for Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo during his two terms in oMore >>
Powered by Frankly