In January of 2012, four of the five members of the archdiocesan finance council received a letter from Archbishop Apuron kicking them out of the council. (Kicking people out who get in his way appears to be standard operating procedure for AASA.)
Cumulatively, they had served on the finance council for more than fifty years. Their crime? They opposed the decision of the Archbishop to hand over the Yona property* to Kiko. The Archbishop's crime? Another violation of Canon Law, but who's counting.
Canon Law requires every diocese to have a finance council. There is never to be a time when there isn't one. There are to be at least three members. With the en masse firing of four of the five members, the archdiocese, on January 11, 2012, in violation of Can. 492 §1, was without a finance council.
The one member not fired? Msgr. David C. Quitugua, who was then the only member of the finance council in the NCW. New members of the finance council were later appointed. How many are in the NCW? Three, a majority, and the minimum for a quorum.
By the way, the reason given by the Archbishop to the fired members of the finance council was that their five year term had expired. Funny. For some of them, their five year term had expired over a decade ago. The terms are renewable, and barring a document dismissing a member, the terms are considered automatically renewed. At the time the Archbishop fired them, the four members were in the midst of another automatically renewed term.
The fired members could have filed a canonical complaint. But these are people with much better things to do and the time spent serving the church on the council was simply a service to the church, a service they had performed well for many years, but now, a service that was no longer wanted. They were simply "in the way" because they were not "in the Way".
In hindsight, a premonition of their firing can be found in a letter they received a month earlier. On December 6, 2011, Msgr. David C. Quitugua, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Agana, wrote the other four then-members:
The finance council, as other consultative organs of the archdiocese, has the purpose of allowing the archbishop to obtain, not a binding opinion, but a consultation about facts or activities of the archdiocese.
This an extremely disturbing statement, and not just because it is wrong, but because it shows a chancery willing to remake the church to serve a different master.
We have already seen this in the blatant willingness of all three members of the chancery to celebrate an illicit liturgy, and in the case of the Archbishop himself, publicly defy the pope. But now we see the Vicar General, the supreme counsel to the Archbishop on matters of Church law, modifying Church law to facilitate the alienation of Church property demanded by the chancery's new masters.
The Archdiocesan Finance Council is the ONE council in church governance that is NOT merely consultative. Can. 1292 §1 requires the bishop to obtain the CONSENT, not just a consultative opinion, of the finance council in order to "alienate the goods of the diocese." This provision is intentionally prescribed in Church law to protect the ordinary members of the church (us) from out of control bishops who think they can do whatever the hell they want.
The fact that the Vicar General himself, the person who is supposed to have the greatest understanding of and responsibility to the laws of the Church, was willing to change Church law and redefine the responsibilities of a diocesan finance council, should not only cause us all to worry much more than we already are, but should wake up the red-robed fellas in Rome, who - though they may not respond to any other cries - unexplainably wake up when they hear the sound of cash exiting church coffers. And the departure of 30 million dollars - the current estimated value of the Yona property - makes a sound louder than a curial cardinal's snoring.
More to come.
*Note: "Yona property" is the property which the Redemptoris Mater Seminary operates. It is usually referred to as the "seminary property", but technically the seminary is just a tenant, not an owner, at least not yet...we think.
This is the first in a series of posts about the attempt by Archbishop Apuron to give away a very valuable church asset to the Neocatechumenal Way. Rather than separate posts, the subsequent parts of this story will be added to this same post and the date will be changed to place the most recent modification of the story at the top of the blog.