Tuesday, November 26, 2013


In a comment to a previous post, Anonymous asks:

How was the Seminary obtained in the first place? Am I being selfish by only thinking of our church here on island? Should I be looking at the Universal Church, and how I can be of help to that mission? 

Let's answer these questions one at a time.

How was the Seminary obtained in the first place?

The story of the how the property that is now the Redemptoris Mater Seminary was obtained is a bit complex. But here's the outline. 

First, the property, the former Accion Hotel was, at the time of its sale, a "distressed" property. The company which owned it was in a state of financial collapse and needed to unload it, which they did at an extremely low price. 

However, even the extremely low price was still a lot of money for the archdiocese. Arrangements were made to purchase the property on terms, but the completion of the purchase was accelerated when the archdiocese received a large gift to assist in the purchase of the property through a religious order based in the states. 

The gift had the condition that the source remain absolutely anonymous. The condition of anonymity was critical because the donor did not want to hurt the religious order through which it came, and of which, there is a branch on Guam.

The fear was that should the source become known, the public would associate the large monetary contribution with the religious order, and local support of that order could decline due to the false idea that this particular group of religious actually had that kind of money to give away. The didn't and they don't.

However, soon after the gift was received and the property secured, the source of the contribution was not just announced, it was proclaimed as evidence of a sign that a Neocatechumenal Seminary on Guam was the Will of God.

Sadly, the violation of the condition of anonymity produced just what the donor feared, which was not only a reduction in local support for the order, but even a backlash from those who were opposed to the Neocatechumenal Way and who then cast the local branch as a supporter of the NCW. 

This was a double slap to the order because not only was it harmed financially by the violation of the condition of anonymity, but the property was never meant to be used exclusively for the Neocatechumenal Way in the first place. 

Someday, and maybe soon, we will go into all the details and name names.

Am I being selfish by only thinking of our church here on island?

The short answer is: No, you are not being selfish. It is good that we should desire a seminary here in Guam, and its purpose and role can be likened to our university. 

Because Guam is the largest and most populous island in Micronesia, it is only fitting that we should have the first, and so far only, university in the region. And just as the university serves the educational needs of our region, a seminary on Guam, again due to Guam's size and population, should similarly serve its religious needs.

The concept of having a local seminary, serving the needs of men from across Micronesia who desire to fulfill their calling to the Catholic priesthood, who upon ordination return to their islands and their homes to serve their parishes, is a beautiful idea. But that's not what we have. 

What we have is a missionary seminary ordered specifically to produce priests to serve in the Neocatechumenal Way. By definition, a "missionary"seminary is not ordered to serve a diocese and the parishes therein, but to its missionary ends, not diocesan life.

The seminary's website says the following:

The Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary, Redemptoris Mater, of the Archdiocese of Agana forms priesthood candidates holistically for the new evangelization in Guam, in the Pacific Region and the entire world.

The term "holistically" raises a red flag, but let's skip that for now. The fact is that the seminary's mission is missionary. And the fact that its founders consider Guam to be (once again) "mission territory" is both a commentary on how the leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way view 400 years of Catholicism on Guam AND the capability of its local pastors to respond to the call for the "new evangelization." 

Evidently, our priests, ordained before the advent of the Neocatechumenal Way, are not capable of this "evangelization", since we must now (once again) rely on foreigners, formed specifically in the Neocatechumenal Way,  to evangelize Guam. 

A new colonialism
In effect, the NCW represents a new colonialism. And it is ironic that the Archbishop, once a champion of Guam's cultural heritage, would so easily welcome a form of worship that not only is foreign to our culture, but is specifically imbued with the practices and music of a subculture of the country which first colonized Guam!

Odder still is the embrace of what is essentially a foreign power and foreign governance or our local church, when, post-Vatican II, we saw a move away from foreign governance of the local church which is why we went from a Baumgartner to a Flores and then to an Apuron. 

The Archbishop is the direct beneficiary of this trend towards more immediate inculturation. But in practice, as evidenced by the number of priests we now have who have no cultural or ethnic connection to Guam, we see the reverse of what was apparently desired by the Council. 

And of course, if after 400 years of Catholicism, Guam is incapable of producing its own priests and incapable of evangelizing its own people, then what does that say about the Catholic leadership of the island for the last few decades? I say, the "last few decades" because Guam once produced a bounty of religious vocations from among its own. 

An interesting twist
However, there is an interesting twist to this story. It appears that the Catholic population of Guam has less to worry about than do the leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way. For while the purpose of their seminary is to form priests to serve the NCW around the world, almost every priest ordained from this seminary has been assigned to a parish on Guam. 

This must be a source of frustration for the NCW leadership and the new priests. Essentially the NCW believes that parish-based Catholicism is dead and that the community-based model is the future. The fact that these new priests are locked up in traditional parish duties, for which they are ill-equipped, is basically antithetical to their formation which has formed them for service in the community-based missionary model of the Neocatechumenal Way.  

The South rises
Thus we see the tensions being played out, particularly in some southern villages which tend to be the most provincial. The people there, long used to their "Capuchins" and local priests, and even their guest Filipino priests (with whom there is yet much cultural affinity), are now assigned priests from a variety of foreign lands, who are difficult to understand, with whom there is little cultural affinity, and who are essentially placed there to transform those parishes into neocatechumenal communities.

It is not the fault of these priests, who are good and sincere men, and who are simply trying to do what they are trained to do. But the conflict between people, who love their parishes, and the priests put there to build something different, is bound to erupt into something ugly. 

(I have known many of these priests since they first came here. I personally like and admire them, enjoy their company, and have great respect for their priesthood. The "priests" are not the issue.)

The people of Dededo have watched as the "NCW priests" have been assigned to Barrigada, Chalan Pago, Asan, Agat, Santa Rita, Merizo, and Umatac. They saw that parishes which welcomed the NCW, like Tamuning and Yigo, remained in the good graces of the chancery, while parishes that didn't, were threatened, as they were in 2008 when three pastors were told to welcome the Way or leave. 

The people of Dededo have watched this and knew that Judgement Day would one day come to their parish. Their pastor, Fr. Paul, had welcomed the NCW but on the condition that it hold its Eucharistic Celebrations in the church. The leaders of the NCW refused. The people of Dededo knew it was only a matter of time before their pastor would receive "the letter". He did.

What are we doing?
But beyond this conflict, there is also the question as to why we are recruiting men from other dioceses to come to ours. Shouldn't they be encouraged to serve in their own dioceses? How would we feel if a bishop from another diocese showed up here and recruited local men to leave here and go someplace else to live and serve as priests? There are of course local men serving as priests elsewhere, but it a good bet they were not recruited away from Guam by another bishop. 

If Redemptoris Mater was true to its missionary commitment, then recruiting men to be formed for the missions would be a wholly legitimate enterprise. However, they are being recruited to serve the Archdiocese of Agana. The fact that our leadership wants to recast Guam as "mission territory" in order to justify keeping those priests here does not change the fact that these men are simply being recruited from other dioceses to serve ours.

Should I be looking at the Universal Church, and how I can be of help to that mission? 

Yes. You should be. The Seventh Precept of the Church is: "To participate in the Church's mission of Evangelization of Souls." We are ordered to "go and teach all nations". And we do this in a variety of ways. Some are called personally to be religious missionaries to other places. But all of us are called to pray and support them. We, laity, are especially called to evangelize right where we are, "to sanctify the temporal order", as St. Josemaria Escriva termed it. 

The difficulty with the Redemptoris Mater Seminary extends from the difficulty posed by the Neocatechumenal Way. I am not speaking of the local conflicts. I am speaking of the larger issue the Church has in canonically ordering "ecclesial communities".  These communities often do not fit previous canonical structures, thus, in the case of the NCW, there was a need to construct a whole new Statute before they could be given a defined canonical status in relation to the rest of the Church. 

Therefore we are left with the question: When we are called to support the seminary, are we supporting the formation of our own priests or are we supporting priest to serve elsewhere? The answer is "yes", or "yes both." However, because the question and the answer has not been clearly dealt with, and because the NCW has become a grave source of conflict within our local church, people have begun to pull back their support as evidenced by the dismal results of the recent appeal. 

Smart people in the chancery should do what business men do. When they see revenues drop, they don't blame the customers, they look at their business model and fix it. So far, though, they are only blaming the customers.


  1. Hey Tim,

    I remember reading on one of your post about the Curias all being in the NCW and I also remember seeing on the archdiocese of Agana site the names of the Curias and their position way before you had mentioned about them. I decided to go ahead and look at the archdiocese site again and to my utter amazement I could not open it up or it would not even load. I have tried for a couple of days to get on their website but no success. Are they trying to clean up or cover up something that they don't want known??? Please correct me if I assume wrong. But it has gotten me thinking Hmmmmm......

  2. Wow, wow, wow...why haven't I heard this before?While my husband was in the NCW he gave a huge amount of money to them. Although I didn't have any say in it at the time, I wish this info was avail back then. It's funny because the priest used to call money the shit of the devil, but at the same time they require so much money out of its members after they reach a certain stage. Where does this feces go after it is placed in the trash bag they pass around?

    I never joined the NCW and my husband is no longer in the Way. He got to a point (a scrutiny) where they told him since I wouldn't join a community he would soon have to choose between his community or his family. My refusal to join was holding him back in his progress to salvation. He was told that salvation was through the Way and his community would pray for him, nurture his spiritual needs, and help him grow. They could be his new family.

    Thanks be to God he chose me and our family and not the other family "literally" IN THE WAY!

    The Irish priest in the Way used to call money the "shit of the devil", but I found it very difficult why they kept on demanding more money, even passing around a trash bag to show contempt for the sin of money. I always wondered where this "green feces" eventually wound up? That would be an interesting trail to follow. Can you look at this next Tim?

    On a different note, what happens to local vocations? A son of a good friend of ours was at the RMS seminary, but then he was transferred to Florida. After ordination James Arriola will become a priest for Florida rather than here, which is a huge, huge shame. I think there were one or two other local male vocations that were sent abroad as well. Why can't our bishop keep these locals here and ship someone from South America or Europe to where ever?

    Additionally, why do we have that huge and beautiful seminary and not all our seminarians are allowed to stay there? It seems to me that living in community with other seminarians should be a part of the vocation process. Regular seminaries don't allow seminarians to live outside in apartments or on their own, do they? So why does the bishop force some of our seminarians to do so? Is it based on whether they are in the NCW or not? If so, that seems totally unfair to those not in the NCW.

    Lastly, I once heard that the Archdiocese selects whether men are allowed to progrss to the seminary based upon whether they are in the NCW or not. It was mentioned that by one of my husband's community members that since we now have enough NCW seminarians we don't needother men so they are turning away vocations simply based upon that fact...if you are in the NCW, then welcome. If you are not in the NCW then go find a more benevolent bishop who will take you in. I think that is a sad statement on how far entrenched the NCW is on Guam and on how far they are willing to go to insure that all people of Guam will eventually be a part of the NCW. It's kinda scary, or am I just overreacting?
    Call me concerned!

  3. @ Susan. archagana.org no longer works. Try aganaarch.org. Not sure why the change. Not sure what you mean by "Curia", but I suppose you mean the "big three" in the chancery: Archbishop, Vicar General, and Chancellor. Yes, all three are in the NCW.

  4. @Anonymous, in the case of Junee Valencia, a seminarian who did not want to be formed in the NCW, I am told he did not want to stay there. At first he wanted to be sent away to the seminary as most of our diocesan priests have been, most recently Fr. Richard Kidd. However, there appears to have been a recent policy put in place that would have required Junee to attend RMS. Because it is a NCW seminary and Junee did not want to be in the NCW, he objected. I understand he was first told to get lost. But after his case was made public on this blog (and I'm sure other inquiries were made) a compromise was worked out where he could attend classes there but didn't have to live there or participate in the Neo liturgies. And no, you're not overreacting. There is grave cause for concern. I haven't even begun. Note, I never intended to get involved in this, but the Archbishop's attack on me in Manila and his attempt to bully me through the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher has changed my mind.

  5. Thanks Tim. But why does Junee have to live elsewhere? Why can't he attend the seminary and live there, but choose to not participate in Saturday evening private masses and other strictly NCW events? It seems that setting him apart is just an attempt to send him away.
    Still confused, but getting very close to angry. :-(

  6. I was told it was his choice, but then he might not have had one. At first they were simply not going to allow him to become a priest for the Archdiocese if he didn't submit to the Neo process. You're probably right. They'd like to get rid of him. And as mentioned, they tried. I'll try to find out more.

    On another note, I want it known that I take no delight in doing what I am doing on this blog. It is not fun. It is tiresome. And it is depressing. Very depressing. I waited until I had very clear signs before I went ahead with this. I repeat: "VERY CLEAR SIGNS."

    Meanwhile, GET ANGRY!

  7. What I can't understand is we are all Catholics and as such we should be one but now there's NCW. NCW for what? If you follow Christ and the commandments- isn't this what's important? Not getting into divisions within our Catholic community?

  8. I do not understand what "division" you talk about. Me as a member of the NCW, I still attend parish Eucharist even after going to Eucharist with the NCW. If you attend Eucharist regularly, can you divide those who are part of the NCW and those who are not? Because for sure, I do not flaunt that I'm a member nor do I think it's necessary. We are taught that even though we are part of the NCW, we should keep strong our bond with our parish. And this has been told to me many time for the past 13 years. Maybe you see the division with the higher people I guess if that's what you would call it.

  9. Tim, by the way do you know if the NCW has ever been audited by the financial officer at the chancery? I know that each parish is audited and are accountable for their finances. Just a thought!

    They have a gala to recognize benefactors and their tickets are not cheap. They pass the trash bag during their big fling at a hotel. Where does the money go to?

  10. Anon... For the "hotel fling" question, I ask you, who else is going to pay for the retreat at the hotel? Why are you asking Tim, if he has no first hand experience?

  11. Feel free to give us an accounting. By the way, as far as the necessity of "first hand experience" I understand Kiko has a lot of advice for married people.

    As for the inquiry about the audit of the seminary, I don't know. I do know that Fr. Pius is on the archdiocesan payroll. Does anyone know his job?

  12. As for the comment above asking about the division, I will refer you to my latest post which should be up in a few moments. However, the very fact that you have to be encouraged to keep connected to your parish makes the division self-evident. The real issue though is that the Archbishop has taken sides. If this was not the case, hardly anyone would care.

  13. Father Pius is probably paid a stipend for being the Archbishop's spiritual adviser on how to become a true shepherd of Our Island.

  14. "I want it known that I take no delight in doing what I am doing on this blog. It is not fun. It is tiresome. And it is depressing. Very depressing. I waited until I had very clear signs before I went ahead with this. I repeat: "VERY CLEAR SIGNS.""
    Why then do you go about doing it? If you are being slapped in the face, why would you want to slap back? Do the "hits" on your blog encourage you? Im just saying, and yes I am a member of the NCW and I have admiration for your knowledge of the faith and your endless efforts for the RESPECT OF LIFE. I also had alot of respect for Father Paul but when I found him "liking" anti-NCW posts and comments on Facebook, that really bothered me. I listened to the recording of the Patti Arroyo show where you claimed that "June" told Fr. Paul to "SHUT UP".....I never heard that....she did share her frustration with the whole situation, and how she wished it would just stop. You boast at "June" holding the record, your choice of title encouraged the "hits". Im not trying to attack you Tim, but your blog in its true form of being an avenue for open opinions, is encouraging others to believe everything you say is truth and factual. I have seen people post links to your blog, and then claiming that the Archbishop is an evil person. Youve never said it openly but it was left for the reader to imply. Have you attempted to meet with the Archbishop? Have you confirmed that it is the intent of the Archbishop to threaten you? Like you said, this is very depressing. Whats more depressing is knowing that this will not help our faithful one bit.

  15. As I said, I waited until I had "very clear signs." And June did tell Fr. Paul to shut up. It should be obvious. There's a lot more to this. I was just waiting for another sign to publish it. I think you may have just given it to me.

  16. I don't think that people who write on this blog perceive the Archbishop as an "evil man". I believe that they are just airing out their frustrations.

    I lived within the spirit of the NCW. I sat with them, prayed with them had agape with them etc. My problem was being told that I am committed to the Way and therefore must fulfill my duties to do preparations and the sort. Well, yes, The Lord comes first, then my family, then the community. When I am constantly reminded that the community is my family then the buck stops here.

    Sometime I feel like I was put in a trance to believe that being in the Way was my salvation. I do not believe that being scrutinized and moving up to the next level brings me closer to The Lord. I do not need to climb a ladder to reach heaven. This reminds me of how the Tower of Babel was being built. They thought that the higher they built, heaven would be reach.

    We all need to pray. I am hoping that the Archbishop would see what is truly happening and not rely on the words of others.

  17. If I were to copy and paste comments that refer to the Archbishop as an "evil man" that stem from reading this blog(links attached to the comment)it would just create more drama. Tim has not said once as much as I remember that the Archbishop IS this or that, he also has not mentioned that he(archbishop)IS NOT. So like I said it is left for the reader to understand based on the choice of words, punctuation's and text editing(bold, caps). So when a reader has negative comments about our shepherd and links articles from a specific blog, wouldnt you think that the thoughts stemmed from reading the blog article? All Im asking is in what way will all of this help the other? Are we not only hurting more people? There has always been a separation in our church created by the radicals, are we trying to mend this or create more division? Tim we all need to just relax, let go and let God. You are trying to retaliate at something that has wronged you, but in the end how will you benefit from this? Thank you for what you do on this island and lets just work towards peace.

  18. People are free to draw what ever conclusions they like. I have done nothing but report facts. I am amused though that you think you know my motivations. You don't. I'm not ready yet to share what I know. If I did, you would not have posted this comment. You would have "let go and let God". But perhaps it's time for a story. See my next post.

  19. I think youve taken my comments the wrong away, its almost as if you feel that every post I or others may put is personally against you or to shut you up. I totally agree that you and others have the choice to say what you want to say and also that others have the choice to draw the conclusions that they so choose. It may not be your fault, but the obvious risk in interpretation is there. Sometimes its not what we say but what we dont say. I felt it was my christian duty to remind you of the "let go Let God". I see your posts and as I agreed, I could almost feel the emotions behind it all. I myself drew a conclusion that this was getting the best of you and just wanted to let you know that its alright, relax, let go let God. I also used "we" to include myself. I have no idea about your motivations or anything of that manner and that does not bother me. Please know Im not trying to ensue a debate. Peace! Pray for me as I pray for You.

  20. A man's life has been ruined by lies. And you want to "just relax"? BTW, since you seem to believe that I have some hidden anger that is motivating me, I gave it some thought. And yes, there is something. In January 2006, I was called to a meeting, where, in the presence of the Archbishop, a lie was concocted to cover for something he had done. I refused to participate in the lie. The Archbishop said nothing. Perhaps that is the source of my real anger as I now see more lies. Would you like to know the details of that meeting? I can name the people who were in the room.

  21. I remember attending a Sunday evening Mass at the cathedral a few years ago at which a Neo was invited by the priest – I think it was Monsignor David Quitugua – to speak to the congregation. I don’t remember the speaker’s precise words, but I remember this for certain: he clearly regarded the regular non-Neo Catholic Church as deficient. In support of this view he provided a long litany of spiritual and material ills that he suffered before he joined the Neos and while he was part of the regular non-Neo Catholic Church. He said – again, I don’t remember the precise words, but here I pretty closely paraphrase – “I was once just like you,” and at the same time cast a hand toward us, the congregation. Without knowing any of us – he was from the States — he could deduce that we were all in a spiritual malaise and that our souls were in jeopardy based upon the mere fact that we were regular non-Neo Catholics. My question is this: Does Archbishop Apuron believe that the Roman Catholic Church is somehow inherently flawed; that it is deficient as a source of spiritual sustenance and guidance and thus needs to be replaced by the NCW? If not, why does he invite people to assert this position at the cathedral? This speaker clearly did not view the role of the NCW as to aid the traditional RCC or to operate in harmony with the traditional RCC. He viewed the traditional RCC as the problem: a stumbling block to salvation. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded by the speaker and more so by the fact that a priest had invited him to the pulpit to attack the Church.

  22. The Neo group is good for some who have lost their way and need support from others who are in the same boat as they are. Somewhat like alcoholic anonymous.

    To air your dirty laundry is another thing. So many have spoken of their marriages on the brink. Take a look at the new priest, Father Luis Camacho who spoke of his parents' marital problems. We all have our faults and our failures, but I do not need a small circle of people to find comfort in, especially the ones I do not know.

    The problem here lies in the fact that the community comes first. I have seen priests shrug their duties to the flock because the community calls. What is more important, having agape' with the community, or saying, I will take a rain check because someone is here and needs my help? I know because I was told to come back the next day, because the supper or gathering with the community is more important. I knew then and there that my soul was not important to this priest. Oh well, such is life within the church!