Thursday, February 9, 2023

NOTE TO PARISHIONERS


A detailed list of properties owned by the Archbishop of Agana (aka Archdiocese of Agana) transferred to the Trust (established for the benefit of certain claimants) includes several properties currently operating as parishes. 

Those properties are of no use to the claimants unless they are converted into cash, so presumably the Trust will put the properties up for sale. 

Now is the time for parishioners who want to save their parishes to organize, incorporate, and make every effort to purchase their parish properties back and keep them under the control of their own corporation. 

And Canon Law is on your side.

During the bankruptcy hearings, there was an attempt by the defense to make the case that individual parishes were not "owned" by the Archbishop, but were individual entities in the control of the pastor and by extension the people of the parish. 

Unfortunately, the lay people who testified in support of this position based their testimony mostly on stories and hearsay and (per my recollection) received very little (if any) help from the church's attorneys to support their argument.

I remember being astounded at the church's silence on this matter given what was at stake and given that church law was and is on the side of those who testified trying to save their parishes. Consider the following:

Though some dioceses in the United States are set up as civil “corporations sole”, this civil legal construct is not appropriate for the Ordinariate, nor does it accurately reflect the Church’s understanding that each individual parish is its own separate public juridic person.

...the parish or mission is designated as a public juridic person to give it a formal canonical status. The juridic person as a canonical “corporation” then assumes all of the obligations and privileges of an established parish or mission. If it owns property, the property becomes part of the public juridic person of the parish and its administration must be governed by canon law. This means that all parish property is controlled by the parish (in the person of the pastor (c. 532)), and its civil incorporation must reflect that reality. 

- Parish Property Ownership in the Catholic Church 

Instead of making these arguments, the defense let themselves be beaten into a box with one word and the one word was itself "One." 

The question from the plaintiff's to the defense was "is the Catholic Church one?" This question was asked over and over and it was aimed at well-meaning lay people who should have been defended by the highly paid lawyers for the archdiocese, but weren't. 

The lay people answered from a "belief" perspective, i.e. the "One" Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Obviously "One" in this context only means "One" in belief, not "one" in worldly ownership. 

But that distinction was never made, and our church leadership simply caved:

According to the vicar general, (Fr. Romeo Convocar) following a ruling from District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, “the archdiocese is essentially one body, which means all the liquid and real property assets of all parishes and schools owned by the archdiocese are part of the bankruptcy estate.” - SOURCE

Even though I wanted to see justice for the true victims - especially those who came forward and put their names and faces to the cause, I also wanted to see justice for the Catholics in the pews, most of whom are also innocent victims in this matter, given that they would be made to pay the bill, not the perpetrators.

Perhaps the "archdiocese" so weakly defended itself because not a single member of the clergy would be made to pay a dime. What a shame. 

6 comments:

  1. How many of those are owned by the kikos?

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    Replies
    1. None at this point. But expect them to attempt to purchase.

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  2. Anyway, Kudos to the Plaintiff's attorney. He zeroed in on the "one" thing and didn't let it go. He'll be singing "One Bread, One Body" all the way to the bank.

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  3. How do we incorporate the parish? I’m very worried about mine (Our Lady of the
    Blessed Sacrament) Agana Heights.

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    Replies
    1. Contact Dave Sablan, president of the CCOG. He'll know.

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    2. Thanks ­čÖĆ­čĆ╝

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