We are not going to shoot all our bullets at one time. We are going to wait for the other side to say stupid stuff and then we're going to knock the legs out from under them one at a time. As expected, THE DIANA provides...and so shall we:
DianaJuly 6, 2015 at 10:44 PM
The RM seminary belongs to the Archdiocese of Agana. Jacques Bronze is a real estate attorney who does not specialize in religious institutions and corporation sole. The law firm of Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP in Denver, Colorado, whom the Archbishop hired, is a law firm that specialized in establishing corporations sole in many Catholic dioceses in the U.S. and in civil-religious issues related to corporation soles. Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP also specializes in religious institutions.
According to Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP:
"The authority of the Archbishop over the entity, particularly with respect to the administration of real property, is a fundamental aspect of the canon law relationship between the Archbishop and Redemptoris Mater. The method used by the Archbishop under civil law of conveying beneficial use of the Property to Redemptoris Mater while retaining legal title to the Property within the Archdiocese of Agana is consistent with canon law prescribed structures; is consistent with civil law methods widely used by numerous Catholic dioceses in the United States both historically and currently; and is a necessary civil law structure to reflect and enforce the Archbishop's powers of jurisdiction over Redemptoris Mater under the Code of Canon Law."
As you can see, Superales, Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP took into account the CANON LAW of the Catholic Church......something which your "Bronze Shoe" did not because she does not specialize in religious institutions nor in corporation soles.
First let's start with "she". Jacques is a man's name. And Attorney Bronze is male.
Second, Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP is not licensed to do business in Guam and any attempt by the firm to represent itself as adjudicating a Guam legal matter is an ethics violation which could be pursued by the Guam bar. The only reason it has not been pursued is because Apuron has withdrawn the opinion from public view so that no one can determine whether or not his law firm committed said ethics violation. (Smart, Apuron, smart!)
Third, Canon law requires church authorities to observe "the general and particular provisions" of civil law in the matter of "contracts and their disposition":
Can. 1290 The general and particular provisions which the civil law in a territory has established for contracts and their disposition are to be observed with the same effects in canon law insofar as the matters are subject to the power of governance of the Church unless the provisions are contrary to divine law or canon law provides otherwise, and without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 1547.
Fourth, as Attorney Bronze makes clear, the matter at hand involves the transaction of real property and is subject to civil law 1) because the Archdiocese of Agana chose to incorporate itself under Guam law, and 2) because the Archbishop of Agana chose to transfer the property via civil means (a recorded deed). Doing so subjects the transaction to the civil scrutiny of Guam law. And thus Attorney Bronze finds:
• Who owns the seminary real property and matters relating to corporate governance of a Guam established not-for-profit corporation is quite simply not a theological or doctrinal matter requiring the disregard of state civil law and application of the Roman Catholic Church, i.e., the Canon Law and nor would the application of civil law result in the violation of the First Amendment.
• The Archdiocese through its “Civil Law Report” which no church member can get a copy of, but can only stand and read a 19-page document, attempts to weave an argument that in light of the fact that the seminary real property was Church property and the fact that not-for-profit established by the Archbishop has a religious purpose, thus a dual status, and in light of this intersection between secular and Canon Law, Canon Law should determine or control the determination of the aforementioned two issues; i.e., the conveyance to RMHF and the corporate governance issues surround the RMHF. The Civil Law Report then goes on to state that to the extent there is a gap under Guam law, then Watson v. Jones would address any legal infirmities under Guam Law.
Note: The Denver opinion stakes its claim on the possibility that there is a gap in Guam Law. However, there is no gap in Guam law relative to this case. Attorney Bronze continues:
• The First Amendment does not remove from the purview of civil courts all controversies involving religious institutions. When a church dispute turns on a question devoid of doctrinal implications, civil courts may employ neutral principles of law to adjudicate the controversy.
• The secular law provides this church in Guam with the ability to use neutral civil law to create and protect property interests consistent with the tenets of the church. The Archbishop of Agana, a corporation sole, allows the corporation sole to be operated according to canon law. They do not however, provide that canon law governs property ownership in the secular world.
• …corporation sole statutes do not require application of canon law in determining interests in church property under state law.
• …there is no constitutional requirement in this case that internal church law be considered in determining a purely secular dispute. Holding and binding a church organization to the consequences of its choices it has made about how it organized its affairs with relation to its real properties and its relation with the secular world, does not substantially burden the exercise of religious freedom. Hence, in the instant case, the Archdiocese of Agana chose Guam law to incorporate itself as a corporation sole and it drafted a deed which was recorded at the Department of Land management Government of Guam, conveying certain Guam property interests.
• …based on Guam statutes governing interpretation of deed and contracts, the property interest conveyed is an absolute conveyance of the entire fee simple title of the subject properties to RMHF, subject to the restraint in use.
This means that the Deed recorded at Land Management on November 21, 2011 was "an absolute conveyance" of title to the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation (or RMS) and that the property is forever owned by the RMS.
We now wait for the next piece of inane stupidity from THE DIANA to expose more of the Bronze opinion. Meanwhile, let's talk a bit about legal recourse.
Since the Archdiocese of Agana freely chose to incorporate itself under the laws of Guam and because it freely chose to do a real property transaction via civil provisions, Canon Law requires the Archdiocese of Agana to observe civil law in this particular matter. In fact, it is civil law that is working in Apuron's favor.
While he argues that he did not give away The Property, it is civil law that says that he did. And as we have already seen from previous posts, particularly the one about the September 7, 2011 agenda of the AFC, it WAS Apuron's intent to wholly convey the title to The Property from the beginning.
He only backed away from this position after the secretly recorded deed was discovered and our subsequently making it known on this blog that Apuron had violated the right of the Holy See to approve the transaction.
So civilly, it would be hard to bring a case against Apuron because what he did was entirely legal from a civil standpoint. As the Archbishop of Agana and a corporation sole, he has the legal authority to do whatever he wants with archdiocesan property. It is only Canon law which binds him in this regard.
Because Guam law treats a corporate sole as a trust and its head as a trustee, it is possible to sue Apuron for violating the terms of a trust. However, there is not much precedent in this regard and there is always the danger of a judge throwing the case out on the grounds that it should be considered an internal church matter.
So what can we do?
This is where the recently discovered meeting agenda comes in. It is clear from the agenda, by the use of the plural "incorporators", that this was more than Apuron's idea. There were other operators, clandestine operators, who were quite likely "conspiring" to get title to the property in order to use it as a bargaining chip with the next bishop. In short, there could be grounds to investigate a conspiracy to extort.
Gennarini was smart to let his local fools do his dirty work for him. Doing so makes it difficult to go after him personally. However, it would not be difficult to go after his "local fools", meaning the RMS board of directors - which includes Apuron, as possibly party to a conspiracy.
The CCOG is looking into all of this. One thing is for certain. In order for the CCOG to pursue any kind of legal recourse they are going to need a purse. Its officers and current members have already fronted the money for the Bronze opinion. They are going to need more to continue. CCOG does not yet have a way to contribute online. So meanwhile, if you wish to back the CCOG in this effort, please send your checks to:
Concerned Catholics of Guam
P.O. Box 8647
Tamuning, Guam 96913
Note: The CCOG has not made known its course of action. All of the above is my personal speculation about possible legal recourse.
I will be releasing portions of the actual opinion as we address it. The above quotations are from Part III of the opinion. Part III can be accessed here.
One last note. I have received several comments that certain members of the NCW have been meeting with a "Filipino businessman" to discuss the leasing of a large piece of property. The NCW itself is not a corporate entity and cannot lease property. However, RMS is, and we all know which "large piece of property" RMS now owns.
If the rumors about this discussion are true, we might be able to deduce three things: 1) Gennarini knows the gig is up and Apuron will be soon gone; 2) Gennarini is already expecting Apuron's replacement to not be as mindless as Apuron; and 3) the future of the seminary is at risk and he is moving to turn the property into an income producer for the NCW via the corporate structure of RMS.
Given what Gennarini has already masterminded through his puppet bishop, we wouldn't be surprised that the rumors are true.