In today's U Matuna, with the Apostolic Visit hardly over, the chancery has set forth a front page article entitled "Setting the record straight: Redemptoris Mater Seminary." The article reprints the chancery's responses to questions posed by KUAM news. The questions were initiated over the recent discovery of a Deed Restriction and a DECREE OF DESIGNATION, restricting the the use of the former Accion Hotel property solely for the "perpetual use" by RMS.
Let us review each question and answer in detail:
1. Is it true the Archbishop Apuron made a declaration of deed for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary against the advice of the Finance Council in 2011?
ANSWER. No, things are the other way around. The previous Archdiocesan Finance Council wanted to alienate the property where the Seminary and the Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores Catholic Theological Institute are hosted. The Finance Council at that time in fact had the intention to sell the property to cover the debt incurred by the Cathedral and the Catholic Cemeteries.
Did Archbishop Apuron assign the former Accion Hotel property to RMS against the advice of the Finance Council in 2011?
Obviously, if Archbishop Apuron believe that to be true, then he simply could have advised Mr. Untalan that he intended to proceed with the assignment. Instead, he said nothing and recorded the deed without the knowledge of the legal counsel or the finance council.
If there was nothing wrong with doing this then there would have been no reason not to advise the AFC that he was proceeding. He did not.
The establishment of a diocesan seminary and a prestigious Theological Institute are “goods” of such paramount importance for the life of the diocese that to think to sell the property to cover a deficit is unthinkable and it would be irresponsible for the Archbishop to even harbor that idea. The Seminary and the Institute are both essential for the future of the Archdiocese of Agana. The seminary and the Institute are also fundamental to help the evangelization in the Pacific. In fact, four dioceses have already sent twelve seminarians to the Seminary and Institute and many other dioceses are planning to do so. Given the importance of the Seminary and of the Theological Institute in the life of a diocese, canon law requires that a seminary may possess those means necessary for fulfilling its goals (see Code of Canon Law ca. 114). Among its fundamental means there is the stability of the property on which it is operating.
The chancery speaks as if there will be no more Archdiocese of Agana if we didn't have this particular property. Notwithstanding that the sale of the property could have financed the building of a much more efficient seminary building and financed the education of seminarians to boot, how has the Archdiocese of Agana managed all these years before RMS, and even 20 to 30 years ago when we had many more local vocations than we have now?
Of course we managed, even thrived without a local seminary. Many dioceses, especially small ones do not have their own seminaries and for good reason. Given the small population of such dioceses it is cost prohibitive to sustain a seminary of such quality that men desirous of the priesthood should have access to.
2. Can you confirm that the Redemptoris Mater Seminary is for the Neocatechumenal Way and not a Diocesan Seminary?
ANSWER This is absolutely false and wrong. The building hosts the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, from which have been ordained 16 diocesan priests for Guam. Twelve of these diocesan priests are working in this archdiocese ministering in the parish, and not for the neocatechmenal (sic) way.
Moreover the building hosts also the Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores Theological Institute which provides the theological formation for the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Seminary and the St. John Paul the Great Diocesan Seminary. Without the building we would not have the possibility of forming priests for our archdiocese and also to help other dioceses in need in the pacific (sic).
Again, with "the building". Not only could a far superior facility have been built without taxing Guam's Catholics hundreds of thousands of dollars like the current RMS is doing now, an existing building, like the old Carmelite monastery in Malojloj would have sufficed. If it is good enough for the men studying for the traditional diocesan priesthood, then it would have been good enough for those in the Neocatechumenal Way.
3. Is it true that because the property has been designated to RMS it can no longer be included in the Asset of the Archdiocese of Agana? (It should say "as an asset" of...)
Answer No, this is totally false. The property is designated for the use of the seminary respecting the intention of the donors, but the Archbishop can designate it for other use in the future, respecting however the intention of the donors who gave money to acquire a building for the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Seminary and for the Theological Institute, the title is listed in the property of the Archdiocese of Agana, as it is easily verifiable and it has never been alienated. This property came into the archdiocese thanks to the Neocatechumenal Way, not the other way around.
Archdiocesan legal counsel, Edward Terlaje, former AFC president, Richard Untalan, or even the title company which worked on the acquisition can attest to the fact that the donor DID NOT give "money to acquire a building for the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Seminary." (Notice that the chancery leaves out the word "Missionary" in the name of the seminary here). The property had already been acquired through a loan with the Bank of Guam, a loan which Mr. Untalan and Mr. Terlaje worked very hard to acquire.
Because Atty. Terlaje was the attorney who drafted the original RMS corporate documents and had argued against the inclusion of a Board of Guarantors and specifically against the power that Mr. Gennarini insisted that the Board be given.
The Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Acts, the highest Vatican Body for the Interpretation of legislative acts (church law), wrote concerning this particular issue that:
I. This was not at an act of alienation but of designation and that the property was as well secure in the hands of the Archdiocese: “it was just a transfer of title between two corporations sole which have the same and only member who enjoys alone of all powers of extraordinary administration.”
II. Since the intention of the donation was for the erection of the Seminary and of the Theological Institute, the designation of the title to the “corporation sole” Redemptoris Mater was therefore an act which was obligatory to respect the intention of the donation.
The chancery probably thinks this letter from the Vatican is a "grand slam" shutting up all opposition. But a letter from the Vatican means absolutely nothing in Guam when the issue is real property. Real property on Guam is subject to the laws of Guam, not the laws or the opinions of the Vatican.
4. Who is part of the Corporation for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary? I understand that Archbishop Apuron holds 25% so who holds the remaining 75%?
ANSWER. I do not know who invents these things: the Redemptoris Mater Seminary is a corporation sole which means that it is governed exclusively by only one member, the Archbishop of Agana (the ordinary). As in every corporation sole all decisions pertains to the archbishop. The Archbishop has two Boards to assist in matters pertaining to the seminary:
the Board of Directors reviews annually the daily management of the seminary; the Board of Guarantors does not manage at all the seminary neither ordinarily nor extraordinarily but only guarantees that the purposes of the corporation are “in accordance with the Articles of Incorporation and the Laws of Guam”. Directors and Guarantors are appointed exclusively by the sole member, that is the Archbishop, and he can change them whenever there is need.
We have gone over this before, but let's do it again since the chancery persists with its campaign of misinformation.
(By the way, this is such clumsy wording it is very likely not Atty. Terlaje's wording. And knowing that he was opposed to the insertion of this article, it is very likely NOT his.)