True, I had promised the visitors I would not call Archbishop Apuron a liar. So I will let you do that after you read this.
We have already noted the absolute insanity of Archbishop Apuron's latest public garbage dump on Msgr. James. The abuse is beyond description. Sadly, the real harm is not to Msgr. James. He's a man and he'll deal with it. The real harm is to the church and the thousands of Catholic faithful who are horribly scandalized by the sight of a bishop beating his priest in public.
Imagine your father taking your brother out into the street and beating him publicly for some act of disobedience. The shame does not just accrue to the sibling who is beaten, but to the whole family. This is what Archbishop Apuron is doing, and now that we have had a visit from Rome, we have to assume that he is doing this with the permission of the Vatican unless they act otherwise. I know that this is not true, but we have to assume that this is what others are thinking, many others.
The $7 million loan is a loan which was approved by all Church bodies including Archbishop Apuron, Msgr. David C. Quitugua (the Vicar General), and even Rome. Yet, Apuron, Quitugua, and Cristobal want to make it look like Msgr. James incurred this debt on his own.
Some further facts:
• The $7 million dollar Cathedral Basilica loan was procured in 1998 for the renovation of the Cathedral and the Catholic Cemeteries. Of the original $7 Million dollar loan, only $1.7 remained as balance as of July 2014. An additional $2 million was taken out for the St. Therese and Museum 6 years ago. The remaining balance is from the Catholic Cemeteries.
The credit cards used by Msgr. James were not procured privately or secretly by Msgr. James. The were ISSUED by the Archdiocese of Agana. Yet Apuron et. al. try to make it look like they didn't know about them by saying in the report that they were "discovered."
• The Cathedral Basilica never had a credit card. Only the Gift Shop. That credit card was used to purchase inventory for the GS. I know, because as the manager of the gift shop for 4 years, I placed many of the orders myself. Christmas inventory alone could exceed $30,000. The balance was always paid down at the end of the year after holiday sales. Most retail operations who depend on heavy Christmas traffic operate this way. The gift shop NEVER defaulted in payment.
• The Catholic Cemeteries also had a credit card. The balance due was from conferences held for management for the annual National Catholic Cemeteries Conference. There was never a default in payment.
Five Star Hotels. The report says "Five star hotels". However it only notes the Shangri-La in Manila. It only notes the Shangri-La because that was the only "five star hotel" which was used by Msgr. James. Yet, Apuron et al try to make it look like Msgr. James availed himself to five star hotels around the world (as does Apuron). The reason Msgr. James stays at the Shangri-La is because he has a special rate of $130 a day which is the equivalent of a mid-range hotel.
• Many of the Shangri-La hotel charges are church business related. Msgr. James was often tasked with hosting church dignitaries or clergy who have helped the archdiocese or were meeting them there to invite them to Guam.
• Archbishop Apuron often stayed at the Shangri-La himself and whenever he stayed with Msgr. James, Msgr. James picked up the hotel tab for the archbishop.
More on the use of credit cards.
• Msgr. James regularly used his personal credit card to pay for the Cathedral Basilica's power bill, allowing for an additional 30 days to pay off the bill, which he always did.
• Because the Cathedral Basilica does not have a credit card, Msgr. James used his personal card to purchase certain items for the church which were to be later reimbursed. As most of us know, few businesses take checks, especially when you're from somewhere else, and no one travels with a lot of cash, so a credit card is absolutely necessary so Msgr. James used his own card to make church purchases. Every credit card purchase was accompanied by a receipt to justify the expense.
• In fact, a past former Executive Director of the Archdiocesan Development Group had used his personal credit card to purchase church related supplies for the Cathedral and Gift Shop in excess of$15,000, but because he lost his receipts, Msgr. James did not reimburse him so he decided to make it a donation instead.
The 20th anniversary reception for Msgr. James was not paid for by the Catholic Cemeteries, it was paid for by his family and close family friends. The chancery knows this. So it is simply a LIE.
The accusation about cemetery crypts or plots being give to friends and family as favors is a lie. Plots and/or crypts were given to two families for services they have done in exchange for them. The exchange was based on value for value. The "Benavente" plot cost less than $10,000.
There is also the matter of WHO now is making the payments on the outstanding balance of the loans?
• Apparently the archdiocese itself is paying for those loans (which means they are using our collections). The archdiocese should have been the one to pay these loans from the beginning. The Agana Cathedral is the bishop's church, NOT Msgr. James. In fact, Msgr. James was never given the title of pastor even though he acted as a pastor there for 20 years.
• Archbishop Apuron has always reserved the title of pastor for himself even though he has NEVER acted as a pastor to the Agana parish. Fine. If Archbishop Apuron wants to be the pastor of the Cathedral Basilica parish, then LET HIM pay those loans.
• However, he NEVER paid on those loans while Msgr. James was there. He let Msgr. James scrape and scratch for the money to pay for his (the archbishop's) projects, while he (the archbishop) jetted about the world with his neo boboys.