Concerned Catholics of Guam could sue archbishop
Tuesday, January 6th 2015, 4:39 PM ChST
Guam - The Concerned Catholics of Guam organization is contemplating the possibility of filing a class action lawsuit against the head of the island's Catholic Church over a multimillion dollar transaction. At the heart of the matter is the Redemptoris Mater Seminary - formerly Hotel Accion in Yona.
The property is valued anywhere between $40 million to $70 million . It was thought to be one of the largest assets of the Archdiocese of Agana, but apparently not anymore.
The CCOG was formed last month to investigate and look into recent controversies in the Catholic Church, and within the past few days the organization uncovered the Archdiocese of Agana no longer holds the deed to the seminary.
According to CCOG vice president David Sablan they've uncovered a paper trail that leads to Archbishop Anthony Apuron who in November 2011 signed off on a decree that assigns the property to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary Corporation. According to Sablan the archbishop did this without the consent of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and against the advisement of the archdiocese legal counsel. "Because of the way that transfer was going to take place the Archdiocese of Agana and the archbishop himself would generally have no control over that seminary so they advised the archbishop against it," he explained.
The CCOG uncovered that the paperwork essentially transfers the Yona property from the Archdiocese of Agana to this Redemptoris Mater Seminary Corporation whose mission is to form men for priesthood following the life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way, which according to Sablan was not the initial intent of the establishment of the seminary. Additionally the property would be under the control of the corporation's board of which the archbishop sits on, but has little say on decisions.
Sablan continued, "Because three other individuals Jesepie and Claudie Genorini and Father Persedy would control any decisions made at that seminary and yet the archbishop is really the head of our church here yet we have three individuals who are not from Guam who would have some control over what happens at that seminary and how it forms young men for the priesthood and that is serious as far as we are concerned."
So serious that the CCOG intends to bring this to the attention of the delegation from the Vatican that is on Guam this week. "Because now we just lost an asset or the control of an asset that should be with the archdiocese and it should be for the formation of young men for the diocesan priesthood and I believe the delegation will check into as well to confirm what it is that they are teaching over there," he said.
Of note is that on the itinerary for the Vatican officials, Monsignor James Benevente, a former finance council member, as well as Deacon Steve Martinez treasurer for the CCOG, were scheduled for a meeting today. As for the CCOG they will meet with the delegation tomorrow. KUAM News did ask for a comment from the archdiocese on this matter, we were told to submit our questions in writing, we are waiting for a response.