Thursday, March 9, 2017


Posted by Tim

Perhaps because we have been so conditioned to immediately distrust anything coming from the chancery, and rightly so, there were many misperceptions about the "settlement fund" unveiled at yesterday's press conference.

The first thing to understand is that the presenter, Richard Untalan, and current president of the Archdiocesan Finance Council (AFC) was one of the four members of the AFC "fired" by Apuron in 2012, after he secretly recorded the instrument which gave away the Yona property. Additionally, Untalan and the others were belittled and threatened by then Vicar General, David (Lurch) Quitugua, who accused them of a "vulnus" against the bishop, for even proposing to discuss the matter at an AFC meeting. 

The fact that Untalan is back at the helm of the AFC along with another formerly "fired" member, Joseph Rivera, plus the presence of Art Ilagan (It was Rivera and Ilagan who publicly stood up for Msgr. James in front of the Cathedral on August 8, 2014), should say something about the fact that we are not dealing with the "same ol' same ol'." But then perhaps most viewers were not aware who these men are let alone the roles they played in the past.  

Also, while not taking any direct credit for the plan presented, behind the scenes I had, several months ago, urged the creation of such a fund as part of a larger plan to begin to restore credibility in our religious leadership. Prior to this those religious leaders were failing miserably to "reach out" to victims by doing little more than offering a phone number that sounded like 477-RAPE-ME-AGAIN, and the establishment of a commission led by someone who (many knew) was part of the problem. 

The bottom line message I wanted to get across to the chancery was that it did not matter what they did, so long as it was they who did it, it would mean nothing given the absolute mess Apuron left us and Hon (initially) had aggravated and Byrnes had thus far bumbled. 

The good news about the fund is that it is NOT the archdiocese who will administer it. This is what so many missed and still miss. To clarify, I will copy the comments I made on the KUAM live feed during the conference.

Tim Rohr20:35 The fund is not limited to 1 Million. It's simply the opening balance. The fund will continue to be funded by the archdiocese (which means you and me if you're Catholic). It will be administered by a third party not connected to the archdiocese.

Tim Rohr30:45 Richard just emphasized that not every victim wants to come forward publicly, which a law suit would require. The independent fund is the alternative.

Tim Rohr23:32 Not a smokescreen. In fact, the settlement fund is part of a larger plan designed and proposed in part by the CCOG in order to make sure that the church is EXCLUDED from the settlement process.

Tim Rohr28:59 Just so you know, this group can be trusted so long as Richard Untalan remains its president.

Tim Rohr20:10 Most victims and their attorneys do not want a long drawn out and expensive court battle. The settlement fund offers an option. But nothing is keeping any victim from pursuing civil action through the courts if they so choose.

Tim Rohr26:33 This press conference is specific to the actions of the finance council which is tasked specifically with coming up with a plan to see to it that every victim is treated fairly even if they do not wish to go public by going through the court system.

Tim Rohr0:00 I will clarify again. The figure of ONE MILLION is only the opening balance for the fund. The amount to be funded will depend on the settlements to be determined by the victims and the independent administrator of the fund. If the victims are not satisfied with the settlement amount, they can still pursue damages through the court.

Tim Rohr35:32 The problem the church still has is what started all this. In 2006 Apuron took public sides with the Neocatechumenal Way against the majority of the Catholic Faithful. Unfortunately there is still a lot of distrust about the church leadership in this regard and people are withholding donations because they are not clear as to where their money is going, especially since under Apuron, millions went to RMS. Byrnes still has not closed that seminary and recently was reported to have validated the NCW communion rite which was the source of the controversy back in 2006. Hoping this is not true. But it will be up to Byrnes to clarify...soon.

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