PDN: Did the Neocatechumenal Way attempt to influence the transfer of title to the former Accion Hotel property in Yona from the Archdiocese of Guam to an entity whose officers are members of the Neocatechumenal Way?
PIUS: Actually it is the other way around. The purchase of the Accion Hotel was proposed by the Neocatechumenal Way to the archbishop, (1) because in order to start the seminary and an institute, there was a need for rooms for 30 to 40 seminarians, 10 faculty professors, four classrooms, a library for 20,000 volumes, a chapel. The money for the purchase of the hotel was donated to the archdiocese by an off-island benefactor who offered it with the explicit intention of erecting the seminary and the theological institute. (2) The previous owner of the hotel sold it for just $1.9 million with the proviso that the building be used as an educational facility. Actually, the archdiocese did not put down a penny.
Regarding the transfer of the title, the legal adviser of the archdiocese, five years ago, asked that the title be transferred to the Redemptoris Mater Corp. to respect the intention of the donor and to safeguard the property. (3) This corporation is a 'corporation sole' where there is only one member, namely the archbishop, who has all power. (4) He is assisted by a board of directors who (oversees) the daily administration. The only member, namely the archbishop, chooses all directors. Then there is a board of guarantors that guarantees that the corporation follows the original purpose for which it was created. The Archbishop chooses, confirms, or dismisses freely these guarantors. (5)
"May I ask a favor...send me a letter of support for the donation made by your donors and benefactors to the Archdiocese of Agana in 2003 for the purchase of the Accion Hotel for the Archdiocese of Agana for the purpose of housing the Redemptoris Mater Seminary and the Theological Institute for the formation of priests."
Dear Archbishop Apuron, in 2003 when the said "funds" were donated, we had absolutely no knowledge of these entities (like Redemptoris Mater Seminary, the Neo-catechumenal Way, or the Theological Institute for the formation of priests), not to speak of any specific intention whatsoever to relate this donation to them. In fact, we did not even know of these lay organizations, so naturally we could not direct anything to them by name. It was our sole intention to help the people of Guam to provide a property for a seminary for the formation of priests for the Church in Guam. At that time, in 2003, we were made aware of the burden you were carrying in regard to the purchase of this property for a seminary. It was our desire to help relieve you of this concern and enable the Archdiocese to conduct a seminary in the former hotel. This was our intent. It was not our intent that the Archdiocese place on the hotel property, purchased with our donation, a deed restriction, in perpetuity, whereby the property is now dedicated to be used only for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary and Theological Institute. As a result, we felt "very ill at ease" when we came to know about the "Deed Restriction" which gives the Redemptoris Mater Seminary control of the said Property in "perpetuity". The phrase, "in perpetuity" implies that the seminary now belongs to the Neocatechumenal Way Christians, which is the only group permitted to use the property now or in the future.
In conclusion, dear Archbishop Apuron, I cannot sign the letter your drafted for me because it would not in fact be truthful. We are keeping you, the seminarians and all the people of Guam very much in our prayers. May the Spirit of love bring peace and unity to all. Sincerely in Christ, TDR.
"The money for the purchase of the hotel was donated to the archdiocese by an off-island benefactor who offered it with the explicit intention of erecting the seminary and the theological institute."
"...the corporate powers of all corporations formed under this Part, shall be exercised, all business of such corporations, and all property of such corporations controlled and held by a board of not less than 3 and nor more than 11 directors to be elected from among the holders of stock or where there is no stock from members of the corporation."
"...the drafter of these organizational documents purposely and deliberately designed the structure of the organization so that the Board of Guarantors shall have veto power over all decisions including the decisions of the archbishop and his successors."
- unelected, and...
"Thus, we are faced with the unusual practice of a separate, unelected, and un-removable board having veto power over a board of directors, the officers, and the sole member, the Archbishop of Agana and his successors."