TO THE APOSTOLIC VISITORS TO THE ARCHDIOCESE OF AGANA
ON THE MATTER OF TWO SEMINARIES FOR GUAM
Prepared by Tim Rohr for the Apostolic Visitors:
Most Reverend Archbishop Savio HON Tai-Fai
Your Excellency Archbishop Martin Krebs
Reverend Father Nowak
Most Reverend Archbishop Savio HON Tai-Fai
Your Excellency Archbishop Martin Krebs
Reverend Father Nowak
December 28, 2014, Hagatna, Guam
Recently, Archbishop Apuron returned from a photo-op with Pope Francis, boasting about how pleased the Holy Father was that Guam had two seminaries.
Dear honored visitors, this has to be the lowest any prelate has ever sunk: lying directly to the Holy Father’s face and then bragging about it.
First, Guam does NOT have two seminaries. It has one seminary (and even that is questionable given its lack of credentials) and a boarding house for what Archbishop Apuron believes are disobedient misfits.
The young men in the boarding house, an abandoned monastery, have been sent there to shut both them and us up.
Here’s what really happened.
In August of 2013, I made the public aware 1 about the plight of Junee Valencia, a young man who desired to serve the Archdiocese of Agana as a diocesan priest, but who was forced by Archbishop Apuron to attend the local Redemptoris Mater Seminary (RMS) instead of being sent to a traditional and accredited seminary off-island like almost every diocesan priest from Guam before him.
Junee’s objection to attending RMS was that it was a decidedly Neocatechumenal Way formation. This was obvious by what it had already produced since its founding in 1999.
My blog, JungleWatch, brought an unwanted light to the problem. Archbishop Apuron had been able to fund RMS with the donations from the people of Guam because they had been led to believe that RMS was “a seminary for Guam”, a phrase which led the people here to naturally believe that RMS was a diocesan seminary at which diocesan priests could be formed and readied for the priesthood.
However, not only was it apparent that RMS was producing something very different than diocesan priests, its academic credentials began to be questioned. Some noticed that there was no academic handbook, no authentic list of faculty, and no public credentials other than Archbishop Apuron’s saying it was affiliated with the Lateran, though no document was ever proffered.
This lack came to the fore when a young man, Aaron Quitugua, like Junee before him, petitioned Archbishop Apuron to sponsor him to Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. Archbishop Apuron, through his chancellor, Fr. Adrian Cristobal, advised Aaron that he could not be sent to the Oregon seminary due to “a lack of financial resources.” Aaron volunteered to take care of his own expenses if only Archbishop Apuron would sponsor him. Aaron was then told by Fr. Adrian Cristobal 2 :
I regret to inform you that your request to have the Archdiocese sponsor you at Mt. Angel Seminary is denied. In the event that you do have a change of direction in this matter and decide to follow the course of action that we require, please fell (sic) free to contact me.
The “course of action” which “we require” was formation solely at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
At this moment it became clear to all that to be a priest in the Archdiocese of Agana, one had to be formed in the Neocatechumenal Way. There was no option. And it was at this juncture I decided to investigate.
I published several posts on the matter, but the following post, published on October 23, 2014 best tells the story. In addition there are several links within the story leading to substantiating material.
In short, Archbishop Apuron not only did NOT want a second seminary, he specifically did NOT want a DIOCESAN seminary. He only “erected” the second seminary after I exposed the real nature of RMS (constituted ONLY to form priests in the Neocatechumenal Way). He has since privately mocked this “second” seminary and its seminarians. Yet, he went to the Holy Father and bragged to his face about having two seminaries.
Honored visitors, we are sickened by this man and his lies. Sickened!
Here’s the post:
Since 1999, the Catholics of Guam had been told that the Redemptoris Mater Seminary (RMS) was "for Guam". In fact, a 2010 publication 3 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 had many interesting things to say about themselves in their 2010 self-congratulating publication. They spoke 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, a sort of “ready mix” vocations mixture.
Still the Catholics of Guam did not complain, even though they were being taxed ever more heavily for the support of this growing neo-migrant population.
The people of Guam are naturally welcoming and historically have welcomed 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 pay for all of that.
Still the people did not complain even though we had no idea how many men who had been brought here at our expense, but who had later went home or went elsewhere. Nor did we ask why Guam had 20 times more seminarians per Catholic population than dioceses like Boston or Newark. Nor did we 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". They wrote: "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 fact, given what we know was taken from us for the seminary through just the “annual appeal”, the dollar figure is in the millions.
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 almost immediately publicly named the donor, causing many problems for the donor and the religious order which helped to procure the donation in doing so. And the donation was not used for the "purpose of a seminary", at least not for the Archdiocese of Agana, as we shall see.
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 here, here, and here for the story.) 4 5 6
During this debate, I decided to check out the Articles of Incorporation for RMS 7 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.”
This had never been actually told to the people of Guam. 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 has now permitted NO OTHER OPTION.
We know this to be absolutely true because of what Fr. Richard Kidd was told by the Chancellor, Fr. Adrian Cristobal, when Fr. Richard was trying to get sponsored to a “real” seminary. Fr. Adrian told Richard: “In this archdiocese the diocesan priesthood is no more. Anyone who wants to be a priest must go through the Neocatechumenal Way.”
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 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 is 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 8 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, as is, of course, even the 10% from the Chancery - since it comes from us to begin with.
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, announced 9 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 he 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".
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 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.
Note: It is well known amongst the elders of Guam who know him, that Archbishop Apuron has always been ambitious for his own clerical advancement. “Tony is after a red hat” is a commonly uttered. Prior to RMS, vocations had literally dried up under Apuron. With RMS, Apuron would have a better resume with Rome. And all at our expense.
Now back to Junee Valencia.
Having exposed all the nonsense about RMS, the people of Guam have been 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 Guam Catholic faithful.
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 after the announcement, the new "seminary" was finally "erected". And while he publicly took credit for the “new seminary”, privately, Archbishop Apuron referred to the seminary as something "they wanted".
NO,! These men did not want an old monastery to sleep in. They want an authentic formation for the diocesan priesthood, and an "erection" does not a seminary make, especially now that we see who Apuron put in charge of it: three un-incardinated priests (who Apuron can control or tell to get out), Msgr. Arroyo, who is not in a position due to his health and age to take on any more duties (though he will always do your bidding), and the infamous Fr. Adrian who lied for Apuron to Aaron Quitugua 10 about his not being able to attend a real diocesan seminary, and who told Fr. Richard Kidd:
“In this archdiocese, the diocesan priesthood is no more.”
Really? 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 Archbishop Apuron says about that seminary and those seminarians when he thinks 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 Archbishop Apuron 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 and mocks the “new seminary” and its “seminarians.”
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".
- End of Post
As a postscript, we must question why young men from Guam who desire to serve the Archdiocese of Agana in the diocesan priesthood are NOT sent to St. Peter Chanel,11 the regional seminary for episcopal conference to which Guam belongs, and of which, Archbishop Apuron has served as its president, and which St. Pope John Paul II required the bishops of the conference to support. 12
1 “To be a priest in the Archdiocese of Agana.” Tim Rohr. JungleWatch. August 23, 2013
2 “I regret to inform you.” Tim Rohr. JungleWatch. February 24, 2014
3 “A Miracle for Guam”. Guam Pacific Daily News. Special Sections. 2010.
4 “The Chancery vs Gofigan Update”. Tim Rohr. JungeWatch. July 27, 2013
5 “To be a priest in the Archdiocese of Agana.” Tim Rohr. JungleWatch. August 23, 2013
6 “Why Junee must live apart.” Tim Rohr. JungleWatch. November 29, 2013
7 Articles of Incorporation. Redemptoris Mater House of Formation.
8 2014 Archdiocesan Annual Appeal
9 “A new diocesan seminary for Guam”. Umatuna. December 15, 2013
10 “I regret to inform you.” Tim Rohr. JungleWatch. February 24, 2014
11 “Don’t be suckered again.” Tim Rohr. JungleWatch. October 17, 2014
12 ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II TO THE THE BISHOPS OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF THE PACIFIC, Suva (Fiji), 21 November 1986