Thursday, October 23, 2014

YOU'RE WELCOME

Now that the Archdiocese has "erected" the St. John Paul the Great Seminary in Malojloj, I would be happy to say "you're welcome", but no one from the seminary as yet has said "thank you". In the spirit of charity and good sport, however, I'll give them a "You're welcome" anyway.

Let's review why a "You're welcome" from me is appropriate.

Since 1999, the Catholics of Guam were told that the Redemptoris Mater Seminary was "for Guam". In fact, a 2010 publication celebrating itself declared the seminary to be "A Miracle for Guam." In the publication we are told that the seminary was both diocesan and missionary. There's nothing unique about that, the Church by its nature is "missionary". 

So, no problem. The people of Guam continued to pour lots of money into the seminary thinking all the time that it was their seminary and it was producing priests for Guam. It did occur to some that there were a disproportionate amount of foreigners coming to the seminary. But since we were told that they were coming to serve the Church in Guam, most figured "no problem". 

The RMS folks have many interesting things to say about themselves in their 2010 self-congratulating publication. They speak of the growth of the number of seminarians as if there really was growth of the number of seminarians. There wasn't. There was only growth in the number of seminarians Archbishop Apuron was importing via Kiko Arguello's worldwide vocation machine. But on paper, it didn't matter where they came from, Archbishop Apuron could take the credit for "producing" vocations even though he was only importing them.

Still the Catholics of Guam did not complain, even though they were being taxed ever more heavily for the support of this growing immigrant population. The people of Guam are naturally welcoming and they are quite used to welcoming foreign priests to the island. However, this was a little different. No, a lot different. 

The priests who had come to Guam over the last 400 years of Guam's Catholic history were already priests, trained, formed, educated, ordained, and prepared to go to the ends of the earth. The guys Archbishop Apuron has been bringing in are not trained, formed, educated, ordained, or prepared to go anywhere or do anything. The people of Guam would have to provide for their training, formation, education, preparation, and ordination. 

Still the people did not complain even though we have no idea how many we paid for who simply went home or went elsewhere. Nor did we ask why Guam had 20 times more seminarians per Catholic than dioceses like Boston or Newark (which tells us we are taking in seminarians who are not wanted elsewhere). Nor did they ask if these men had been psychologically screened, academically qualified, or vocationally assessed as would be required of any one entering a seminary and aspiring to the priesthood. We didn't ask any of those questions because we trusted Archbishop Apuron. (Silly us!)

Another funny little entry from the self-congratulating 2010 publication is the phony myth that the Accion Hotel property was acquired for "free":
"When God gives, He gives abundantly! Imagine, a property worth millions acquired by the diocese for free!"
This is such a lie that I am sure that the people who worked so hard to acquire the property just want to vomit when they hear this. Just because the property was acquired without the archdiocese having to fork over its own money does NOT mean it was acquired for free. Many people spent many hours, days, weeks, and months, working to acquire the property. And then after that, hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours were spent turning the former hotel property into a seminary.  

In the matter of the acquisition, the money was given to the archdiocese by a stateside donor who was located through the hard work of a local nun. The money was given on two conditions:
  • That the gift be used to purchase a defunct hotel property for the "purpose of a seminary"
  • That the identity of the donor NOT be made known.

Archbishop Apuron violated both conditions. Amazingly he publicly named the donor, and the money was not used for the "purpose of a seminary", at least not for the Archdiocese of Agana. 

RMS happily took our money for the better part of 15 years, but then in July of 2013, something happened. As we all know, Fr. Paul Gofigan was kicked out of Santa Barbara, but he was also kicked out of his post as vocations director. In his care at that time was a young man named Junee Valencia who was aspiring to the diocesan priesthood and wished to attend a seminary in California as most of the other diocesan priests here in Guam had done before. 

Archbishop Apuron refused to send him to California and insisted that if he wanted to be a priest in the Archdiocese of Agana, he must attend RMS. However, as everyone already knew, RMS was a neocatechumenal seminary and Junee desired a traditional diocesan formation.  (Go herehere, and here for the story.)

During this debate, I decided to check out the Articles of Incorporation for RMS and read clear as day in Article III:
“The purpose of the Corporation shall be to establish and conduct a House of formation to prepare men for the priesthood for the new evangelization following the life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way.”
Hmmm, this was never actually stated. The 2010 RMS publication congratulating itself only referenced the seminary as "diocesan and missionary", which, as already explained, did not raise any flags. But here we have a constituting document stating that the purpose of RMS is to "prepare men for the priesthood....following the life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way." 

Archbishop Apuron was giving Junee Valencia NO OPTION to be any other kind of priest other than a neo-priest. No other diocese in the world forces its men to be neo-priests. Neo-seminaries, where they exist, exist alongside regular diocesan seminaries, and for the most part, neo-seminarians are required to take their studies at a traditional diocesan seminary. However, in the Archdiocese of Agana, not only is it the other way around, the Archbishop permitted NO OTHER OPTION. 

And then I decided to make something else public, Article IX, which gives Giuseppe Gennarini and his wife Claudia, a New Jersey couple, 50% of the decision making power for "the most important affairs" of the seminary. And what are the "most important affairs" of the seminary? The formation of priests.  

The other 50% of the decision making power is divided up between Archbishop Apuron and a neo-priest who doesn't live here. So Archbishop Apuron only has 25% of the decision making power over who becomes a priest and who doesn't. That's dangerous. Two lay people and a priest who have nothing to do with Guam get to decide who is going to be a priest FOR Guam. 

So not only was RMS never a diocesan seminary as we were told, it's not even ours. 75% of it is controlled by people from somewhere else, who along with Archbishop Apuron, their only goal is to grow the Neocatechumenal Way whether we like it or not. 

So how much has this cost us? 

The spread in the U Matuna promoting the most recent annual appeal stated that it costs nearly One Million dollars a year to run RMS. The Archdiocese of Agana, meaning the Chancery, puts up 10% of that and the rest is said to be funded through gifts and fundraisers. Given that the annual Seminary Gala is the seminary's major fundraiser, and that the Gala is attended and funded by Guam Catholics, we have no reason not to believe that the better part of those gifts and money raised through fundraisers comes from the PEOPLE of the Archdiocese of Agana. 

So given that the seminary is 15 years old, and allowing for increasing expenses over that period, it is not unreasonable to believe that the people of Guam have coughed up close to Ten Million Dollars over the last 15 years to support a seminary because we were told it was ours.

Amazingly, as if to say "Oh no, we've been found out!" Archbishop Apuron, after I made these revelations last year, announced in December of 2013 "that he has decided to erect a diocesan seminary for Guam."

Oh, wait, you mean for 15 years we did not have a "diocesan seminary for Guam" when we were told that we did? Well, yes. And I didn't say that. HE DID when he announced that would "erect a diocesan seminary for Guam."

Obviously the erection of a "diocesan seminary for Guam" is a BIG admission that RMS is NOT a "diocesan seminary for Guam", even under the guise of its being "both diocesan and missionary" as the 2010 self-congratulating publication stated. So, by the erection of this other seminary, Archbishop Apuron is admitting that RMS is NOT "diocesan" in any way shape or form otherwise there would be no need to erect a "diocesan seminary for Guam."

Of course, we knew that about RMS already. Their formation is so completely neo that their products stumble and bumble through a simple Mass. And those that eventually get the hang of it, clearly show their preference for their separate "celebrations" with their small communities. 

We can't blame them. They did not sign up to be parish priests. They signed up to be neocat presbyters. But Archbishop Apuron needed to perpetuate the ruse that RMS was a diocesan seminary (vocations are the currency of clerical advancement), so he ordained them and made them fill the traditional role of a diocesan priest even though not only are they NOT formed for the diocesan priesthood, they are actually taught that parish-based Catholicism is dead.

Now back to Junee Valencia. 

Having exposed all the b.s. about RMS, we were thrown another bone. There would be a separate seminary for Junee, the "seminary" in Malojloj. Except that it wasn't a seminary. It was an abandoned monastery. And Junee would be made to sleep and eat there while his RMS counterparts wined, dined, lounged and slept in the palatial former hotel after having sucked up nearly ten million dollars from faithful Guam Catholics. 

And while he would live and eat apart, Junee still had no other option other than to take his classes with the neo's at the neo-seminary. And the same is true of the other 4 men who recently joined Junee in his Malojloj boarding house. 

Almost a year later (this week), the new "seminary" was finally officially "erected". But despite all the hoopla, off the record, while he said all the right things about the seminary in public, Archbishop Apuron referred to the seminary as something "they wanted", meaning of course it is not something "he wanted". 

But actually, no, Archbishop. These men did not want an old monastery to sleep in. They want an authentic formation for the diocesan priesthood, and an "erection" (sorry) does not a seminary make, especially now that we see who you put in charge of it: three un-incardinated priests (who you can control or tell to get out), Msgr. Arroyo, who is nice enough but not in a position health wise to take on any more duties (though he will always do your bidding), and the infamous Fr. Adrian who is the one who lied for you to Aaron Quitugua about his not being able to attend a real diocesan seminary.

Really, Archbishop. Not a single incardinated diocesan priest who is not a neo (excluding Msgr. Arroyo - for now) to run a diocesan seminary? Of course given what you say about that seminary and those seminarians when you think no one (on our side) is listening, those appointments make sense. 

How sad that the erection of this boarding house is just another lie made necessary by our exposure of the first lie which was that RMS was not what you said it was. The sad part is that some on our side are buying this new lie and giving Apuron the cover he needs while he snickers at you over pizza with Harold. 

Stop the ruse. Stop the charade. Stop hurting real vocations. Send those men to St. Peter Chanel, the regional seminary for the episcopal conference to which the Archdiocese of Agana belongs and where they can have real courses with real teachers and not the junket-happy profs they get at RMS. Oh, and by the way, "You're Welcome". 

Related stories:

CLARIFICATION ON THE MISSION OF REDEMPTORIS MATER SEMINARY and INTERNATIONALITY, August 23, 2013

HOW WAS THE SEMINARY OBTAINED IN THE FIRST PLACE?, November 26, 2013



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