Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Latin class at RMS (you'll understand later)


What has led me to this decision is a very simple thing. The model of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary envisions a type of priesthood, and the producing of priests, that, frankly, while it works in places like Denver where there’s over a million Catholics or like Miami where there’s a couple million Catholics that have this type of seminary, it’s very sustainable. 

But in a small island like ours, and as I look back on the history of this, as I’ve paid attention personally to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary here, the main reason for closing the seminary here is that it is not a sustainable model for the archdiocese of Agana. 

I have worked with the review committee, followed up on the review committee that Archbishop Hon installed last year. I’ve consulted with our presbyteral council, with our finance council, the college of consultors, everybody I could consult with, the seminary senior officers, and this has been my determination.

The current semester that is underway will be the final semester of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. The semester ends in the first couple of weeks in December. So certainly by the end of the year, the seminary will be officially closed. 

In that connection, in the coming weeks, I will establish a transition team to deal with important points of closing the seminary. 

So first of all, the first concern of course is the seminarians, who are there. So part of the role of the transition team is to foster a way for the seminarians who wish to continue their pursuit of the priesthood to other seminaries. Most probably other Redemptoris Mater Seminaries. 

Secondly, we will want to pay attention to how do we collect all the records, so this is a very detailed point, but it’s very important we have a repository of the records of the transcripts of what has taken place here, so that the seminarians, moving forward, know where they can find copies of their transcripts so they can be moving on to other things. 

Thirdly of course, we’ll have to look at the moveable assets of the seminary and their disposition. And we’ll also have to…another key point of this transition time will be how do we continue to take care of the property. 

So I’ve been here for about a year. The seminary was one of the first things, one of the first questions I faced. And I’ve deliberated long and hard, this has not been an easy decision. I know it saddens many, especially the people in the seminary. And it’s not with any delight that I do this. This has been a very difficult decision. But I think it’s the right one for moving ahead here in the Archdiocese of Agana. 


Because Archbishop Byrnes is a very nice person, he was vague about the real reason he closed the seminary. Unfortunately, being nice and purposely vague in situations like this which require absolute clarity have the potential to create greater problems than those one might be attempting to solve. So thus we see comments like this:


AnonymousOctober 4, 2017 at 3:20 PM
Did you hear one of the reports ask AB Byrnes that he thought RMS can sustain itself? AB Byrnes said "That's not the point!" LOL!!! That is the point! First, he said that Guam cannot sustain a seminary because it's a tiny island, then he's saying the opposite when someone brought up that the seminary has been sustaining itself without any help from the Archdiocese.


DianaOctober 4, 2017 at 3:33 PM
Dear Anonymous at 3:20 pm, 

Archbishop Byrnes is the Coadjuator Archbishop of Agana, and he does not even know how much the Archdiocese would save if they close down the seminary. Yet, he admitted that he spoke to the Archdiocesan Finance Council? 

He did not know that it would cost the Archdiocese $40,000 per year PER SEMINARIAN. That was what the Archdiocese was paying before RMS was established. After RMS was established, it only cost the Archdiocese $9000 per year per seminarian. And he admitted that he spoke to the Finance Council??? Someone does not know how to do their math. The answer to the question is simple. There is no savings. It cost the Archdiocese more money to send the seminarians off-island.


The choice of the word "sustainable" was unfortunate, because we could expect the small brains to immediately attach the adjective "economic" to it. But that's not what Byrnes was talking about. He makes it a little clearer in this exchange with the PDN reporter:

REPORTER: "Archbishop Byrnes, when you mentioned that the main reason for the closure of the seminary is that it’s not sustainable for an archdiocese, like, for this archdiocese to continue operating that, (is it) because the archdiocese is spending so much on that seminary?"

(Byrnes' response at 8:46 in the KUAM live feed): "It more has to do with the model of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. And I can’t go through all of that, but it envisions producing priests who will serve for a period of time on the island and then will go off into the missions, and so, we have several, close to a dozen priests who are off-island who are involved in matters of the Neocatechumenal Way - that’s the model." 

REPORTER: "So it’ s because they are formed in the Neocatechumenal Way process and not…"

BYRNES: "It’s the aim of their priests…and that’s as far as I’m going to go on that."

REPORTER: "So if their priests were to stay on Guam…"

BYRNES: "That would be a whole different kind of seminary. Redemptory Mater Seminaries are unique institutions."


The bottom line is that RMS is what we have always said it was. In fact, it has always been exactly what its corporate formators said RMS was: "TO FORM PRIESTS IN THE LIFE AND PRACTICE OF THE NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY. " (Article 3, RMS Articles of Incorporation - the original ones). 

This is why Byrnes said "That would be a whole DIFFERENT kind of seminary" when a reporter asked "if their priests were to stay on Guam...."

RMS was NEVER a seminary "for Guam." RMS was ALWAYS  a seminary for the Neocatechumenal Way and its own incorporation documents stated so.  RMS was only a seminary IN Guam, and only in Guam because Apuron promised them a free lunch...and a mega-million dollar seaside palace to boot. 

The word "sustainable" had nothing to do with costs. It had to do with the fact that it was a "whole different kind of seminary." 

Additionally, and this was only brought up by the KUAM reporter, the Blessed Diego Institute, the academic arm of RMS, had lost its affiliation with the Lateran. 

The affiliation had originally been granted in 2007, but after 5 years of noticeably poor performance, was renewed in 2012 with conditions. 

We knew this which is why JungleWatch constantly asked RMS to publish the current certificate of affiliation with the Lateran. We knew that if the Lateran had actually renewed its affiliation (accreditation) that Apuron and the RMS hierarchy would have had it splashed on the front page of the Umatuna. It wasn't. 

After months of research in 2014, we found a small picture on the Umatuna website of the conditional renewal which had been used with a news story about the renewal. It was in Latin and because of its size, mostly unreadable. We had the image professionally enhanced and the Latin translated. It was typical vague Vatican speak, but it was clear that the renewal of the Lateran affiliation was definitely conditional. (Latin. English)

We knew the renewal the affiliation had to be conditional because we knew that RMS literally had NO permanent professors except for maybe Francis Walsh whose "masters" degree was questionable, and David the former VG, who was sick most of the time. The other "permanent professors" were demonstrably "visitors," maybe staying long enough to get a bit of a tan around the RMS pool. 

The bottom line, as Byrnes confirmed in the Q & A of the  press conference, is that the Lateran DID NOT RENEW its affiliation with Blessed Diego Institute, essentially making the academic arm of RMS the equivalent of one of those Korean or Chinese fake universities that got busted here in Guam a few years ago. 


Bye, bye, RMS. You NEVER were a "seminary for Guam." You never were a "Miracle for Guam." You were a scam from the outset. That said, the real victims of RMS were not necessarily the faithful Catholics of Guam who gave millions over the years to RMS, but the otherwise sincere young men who believed their neocatechumenal masters who sent them to Apuron's version of "Tony's Boy's Town."

Now, hoping they will find their true vocations. 


Recommendations by JungleWatch