Thursday, January 29, 2015

Internal Report: Part II

There are already 100 comments in my post "Internal Report of Cathedral Bascilica and Catholic Cemeteries," and it appears that people still want to discuss this topic. There has also been a few divergent comments under that thread, so please folks do not diverge from the main OP as much as possible.  

I only included part of the report, which stated the following: 

Between January 2009 and July 2014, Msgr. Benavente received payments of $326,913.61 by simultaneously drawing payroll and stipends from the Catholic Cemeteries, and stipend payments from the Cathedral-Basilica.  Upon the change of administration, credit cards in the name of the Archdiocese were discovered holding balances in excess of $60,000; the credit card in the name of The Catholic Cemeteries was specifically used by Msgr. Benavente for restaurants, air fare, the Shangi-La Hotel in Manila and other five star Hotels.  In the same period, The Catholic Cemeteries and the Cathedral-Basilica expended more than $123,000 towards credit card payments to First Hawaiian Bank and American Express.  Other payments for a credit card in the name of Msgr. Benavente, a gas card, and cellular/data phone privileges, which were paid for by The Catholic Cemeteries, accounted for an additional $23,000.  Notably, $13,000 of cemetery funds were paid for Msgr. Benavente's 20th Anniversary reception.  Total advances documented between January 2009 and July 2014 by both entities for Msgr. Benavente are nearly $475,000.  This does not include cemetery family crypts valued at 380,000.00, which were gifted by Msgr. Benavente to his close friend and family: in other words, no fee was charged for these cemetery plots.

The rest of the Internal Report can be found in the Archdiocese of Agana website:

It was Monsignor James who first brought the scandal of financial mismanagement to the media. The first time the public heard of the financial mismanagement of Monsignor James did not come from the Archbishop. It came through Tim Rohr's blog, which is a social media. It was on July 26, 2014 when Tim first posted about hearing the removal of Monsignor Benavente.

It was in the morning of July 26th when a letter from the Archbishop was delivered to Monsignor James. This letter did not go to the Media. It only went to Monsignor James. Monsignor James then wrote a letter to the employees of the Catholic Cemeteries, the Catholic Gift Shop, and the Catholic-Bascillica informing them of his removal. That letter (which stated "Confidential") was given to Tim Rohr and published on his blog.  It was through Junglewatch that the public learned about the reason for Monsignor's removal.   

At 9:17 pm, KUAM picked up the story because someone sent KUAM the same letter. It was also through Junglewatch that the public learned the reason for Monsignor Benavente's removal.  Tim Rohr published the following information of Monsignor James Benavente on Saturday, July 26, 2014.

This was where it all started.  The Umatuna did not mention any financial mismanagement. It only mentioned that Monsignor James was transferred and that Monsignor David would take over his position.  Now, CCOG wants to know why the Archdiocese released the Internal Report regarding Monsignor James and not privately speak to Monsignor James about it.  I think they should start from the beginning and ask why did Monsignor James went to the media first to reveal the scandal regarding himself.   

Monday, January 26, 2015

Canon Law 766

Now that the annual catechesis is taking place in some parishes, a few people are complaining that a lay person does not have the right to get up and preach during the homily.  The NCW has been telling them that they have the permission of the Archbishop.  Yet, they feel that the Archbishop is wrong.  According to Canon Law 766, a lay person can be permitted to preach in a church or oratory as long as they have the permission of the Bishop.  Of course, the homily is always reserved for the priest, but what the NCW is doing during the Mass is NOT a violation. They have the permission of the Archbishop as well as the parish priest.   

The brothers who are preaching are giving their testimonies.  They are not giving a homily, which is reserved for the priest alone.  Also, as I mentioned...they have the permission of the Archbishop and the parish priest.  Tim Rohr is not the Bishop (although I would not be surprised to find that he would love to be the Bishop).  The Archbishop is not violating any laws in giving his permission for allowing a layperson to speak their testimonies in the Church.  Tim Rohr is the one who is in violation for he has no right to tell the Archbishop what to do. 

Can. 765 Preaching to religious in their churches or oratories requires the permission of the superior competent according to the norm of theconstitutions.
Can. 766 Lay persons can be permitted to preach in a church or oratory, if necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems advantageous inparticular cases, according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops and without prejudice to  can. 767, §1.
Can. 767 §1. Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent; in thehomily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (the bold is mine): 

On November 14, 2001, the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 766 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the Latin Church of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated November 27, 2001.

Complementary Norm: Preaching the Word of God is among the principal duties of those who have received the sacrament of orders (cc. 762-764). The lay faithful can be called to cooperate in the exercise of the Ministry of the Word (c. 759). In accord with canon 766 the National Conference of Catholic Bishops hereby decrees that the lay faithful may be permitted to exercise this ministry in churches and oratories, with due regard for the following provisions:

If necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems useful in particular cases, the diocesan bishop can admit lay faithful to preach, to offer spiritual conferences or give instructions in churches, oratories or other sacred places within his diocese, when he judges it to be to the spiritual advantage of the faithful.

So, who is Tim Rohr to tell the Archbishop what he can and cannot do?  Is he the Pope??  It is not the NCW leadership who is telling the Archbishop what to do.  It had always been Tim doing that. 

During the KUAM newstalk today, a parishioner came on and said that he was upset with Father Alberto because a layperson was giving his/her testimony during the homily.  Father Alberto already told this parishioner that they have the permission of the Archbishop.  This parishioner insisted that the Archbishop was wrong and was in violation, and Father Alberto walked away.   

Internal Review Discloses Specific Details

The following article appeared in today's Pacific Daily News:

The Archdiocese of Agana yesterday disclosed specific details of alleged financial mismanagement by Monsignor James Benavente, the former administrator of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries.

An Archdiocesan internal review report, which was distributed inside yesterday's issue of Umatuna Si Yu'os, the archdiocese's newspaper, alleges Benavente used funds for the two entities interchangeably, used clergy stipends to make personal credit card payments and used cemetery funds to pay for his 20th anniversary reception, along with other allegations.

"The Archdiocese of Agana in the past several months has been conducting an internal review of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries of Guam, Inc. following a determination by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, that The Catholic Cemeteries was not auditable," the review report stated.

The report also states during Benavente's time as administrator of the two entities, he developed projects that resulted in the Archdiocese incurring $7 million in debt.

Pacific Daily News made several attempts to contact Benavente yesterday, but was unsuccessful.
Tim Rohr, a friend of Benavente, said Benavente had been asked by Vatican officials not to respond to the allegations.

"The real issue is that he's never been given a chance to respond to the allegations to the Archdiocese," Rohr said. "In any protocol, you don't go to the media or the public first, you go to the person. He hasn't been given a list of the accusations. These aren't new, and this is a severe breach of confidentiality."

Benavente released a statement in August after allegations were first made against him.
"Despite my repeated pleas to be presented with the written allegations of financial mismanagement and the opportunity to respond, the decision was made to go to the media and public first," Benavente said. "I am confident that this entire situation could have been resolved amicably in order to spare our community the hurt and division that exists today; however, the lesser road was chosen."

Projects Benavente administered account for 37 percent of the total debt of the Archdiocese while the remaining debt is spread among all parishes and Catholic schools, according to the report.
Upon changing administration, credit cards in the name of the Archdiocese were discovered holding balances in excess of $60,000, the report states.

"The credit card in the name of The Catholic Cemeteries was specifically used by (Monsignor) Benavente for restaurants, air fare, the Shangri-La Hotel in Manila and other five star hotels," according to the report.

In the same period those charges were accrued, The Catholic Cemeteries and the Cathedral-Basilica expended more than $123,000 toward credit card payments to First Hawaiian Bank and American Express, and an additional $23,000 of The Catholic Cemeteries' funds were allegedly used to pay for a credit card in Benavente's name, a gas card, and cellphone and data privileges, according to the report.

Additionally, the report states that $13,000 of cemetery funds were used to pay for Benavente's anniversary reception, the report states.

Operating in the red

The Cathedral-Basilica is currently operating in the red, and according to the report, this is because of actions taken by Benavente.

According to the report, Benavente offered scholarships, medical donations, employee loans and other donations from parish funds, despite a lack of available funds.

Past-due obligations for both the Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries total $400,000, which does not include the $7 million owed to First Hawaiian Bank, the report states.
The monthly income generated by the Cathedral-Basilica is "insufficient to pay for both past due and current" obligations, according to the report.

Monsignor David Quitugua, who is the Cathedral-Basilica's current rector, issued a letter to parishioners yesterday that said the parish will need to increase revenues in the coming months and years to address incurred obligations.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Church Will Never Fail

The following was a comment from my last post.  To the commenter who made this comment under my last post, thank you.  Although it is a long comment, but well worth the read.  Those who oppose the Archbishop claim that THEIR Church is being taken over by the Way.  In the first place, it was never "their" Church.  The Church belongs to Christ.  Furthermore, how can they believe that the Catholic Church would be taken over?  She has stood for over 2000 years, and suddenly...they believe that she would be taken over?  Where is their faith in Christ who promised to be with her until the end of time?  I like these words spoken by Cardinal Consalvi (bold is mine):   

"As his armies were swallowing up the countries of Europe, French emperor Napoleon is reported to have said to Church officials, "Je détruirai votre église" ("I will destroy your Church")." Wen informed of the emperor's words, Ercole Cardinal Consalvi, one of the great statesmen of the papal court, replied, "He will never succeed. We have not managed to do it ourselves!" If bad popes, immoral priests, and countless sinners in the Church hadn't succeeded in destroying the Church from within, Cardinal Consalvi was saying, how did Napoleon think he was going to do it from without?"


Hafa Adai Diana - I discovered a post written by a Father Landry back in 2002. While he was writing about the sex scandal in the church, I have attached a section of it because it relates to this "scandal" occurring today here in Guam. Because of its length, I have to send it in two parts.

Part 1:
"The Church will never fail

For almost three years of my life in the early 1990s, while in my car I listened to nothing but tapes by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, one of the greatest Catholic preachers in American history. On a couple of his tapes for priests' retreats, Bishop Sheen said that he preferred to live in times when the Church has suffered rather than thrived, when the Church had to struggle, when the Church had to go against the culture. It was a time for real men and real women to stand up and be counted. "Even dead bodies can float downstream," he said, pointing that many people can coast when the Church is respected, "but it takes a real man, a real woman, to swim against the current."

How true that is. It takes a real man or a real woman to stand up against the current that is flowing against the Church. It takes a real man or a real woman to recognize that when you are resisting the flood of criticism, you are safest when you stay attached to the Rock on whom Christ built his Church. This is one of those times. It's a great time to be a Christian.

Some people are predicting that the Church is in for a rough time, and maybe it is. But the Church will survive because the Lord will make sure it survives. One of the greatest comeback lines in history was uttered two hundred years ago. As his armies were swallowing up the countries of Europe, French emperor Napoleon is reported to have said to Church officials, "Je détruirai votre église" ("I will destroy your Church")." Wen informed of the emperor's words, Ercole Cardinal Consalvi, one of the great statesmen of the papal court, replied, "He will never succeed. We have not managed to do it ourselves!" If bad popes, immoral priests, and countless sinners in the Church hadn't succeeded in destroying the Church from within, Cardinal Consalvi was saying, how did Napoleon think he was going to do it from without?

The Cardinal was pointing to a crucial truth: Christ will never allow his Church to fail. He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church (Matt. 16:18); that the barque of Peter, the Church sailing through time to its eternal port in heaven, will never capsize-not because those in the boat won't do everything sinfully possible to overturn it but because Christ, who is captain of the boat, will never allow it to happen.

Part 2.

The magnitude of the current scandal might be such that some will find it difficult to trust priests in the same way as in the past. That is regrettable, though it might not be a completely bad thing. Yet you must never lose trust in Christ! It is his Church. After Judas's death the eleven apostles convened; the Holy Spirit chose Matthias to take Judas's place, and he proclaimed the gospel faithfully until he was martyred for it. In the same way today, even if some of those the Lord chose have betrayed him, he will call others who will be faithful, who will serve you with the love with which you deserve to be served.

This is a time in which all of us need to focus ever more on holiness. We are called to be saints, and how much our society needs to see this beautiful, radiant face of the Church! You are part of the solution-a crucial part. And as you go forward in Mass to receive from the priest's anointed hands the sacred body of your Lord, ask Christ to fill you with a real desire for sanctity, a real desire to show his true face.
Maybe this scandal can kindle in you the same thing. If you choose, this scandal can lead you down to the path of spiritual suicide. But it should inspire you to say finally to God, "I want to become a saint so that I and the Church can give your name the glory it deserves, so that others might find in you the love and the salvation that I have found."

Jesus is with us, as he promised, until the end of time. He is still in the boat. Just as out of Judas's betrayal he achieved the greatest victory in the universe-our salvation through his passion, death and resurrection-so out of this new scandal he may bring, wants to bring, a new rebirth of holiness, a new Acts of the Apostles for the twenty-first century, with each of us-and that includes you-playing a starring role. Now is the time for real men and women of the Church to stand up. Now is the time for saints. How will you respond?"

It is unfortunate that Mr. Rohr is insisting that all the faithful do not contribute to the charities appeal. It is unfortunate that he feels money will hurt the church. Jesus Christ was clear ... You cannot serve God and money. I hope that in the midst of all this, every catholic faithful will ask, "what would Christ do?" and then respond accordingly.

Internal Report of Cathedral-Basilica And Catholic Cemeteries

An anonymous commenter in my last post alerted me to the fact that Tim Rohr had published the Internal Report of the Cathedral-Basilica and the Catholic Cemeteries.  How did he manage to obtain a copy of the Internal Report should not be a mystery since he already admitted that he has spies in the Chancery.  I wonder if Monsignor James was aware that Tim Rohr has just made public this Internal Report showing evidence of his financial mismanagement.....because I do not see it in the Pacific Daily News or KUAM.  Did the Archdiocese of Agana plan on publishing this information without first speaking to Monsignor James?  The alternative would be for Monsignor James to come forward and admit his wrongdoing so the Archdiocese would not need to publish their findings.  That opportunity is now gone since Tim took it upon himself to make the findings public in his blog.   

Since the media monitors Tim's blog, I am sure he will be flooded with inquiries from the media. Thanks to Tim, we now know that the Archbishop was telling the truth all along.  I think that the following piece below mentioned in the report is very interesting.  This most likely explains why Monsignor James' family was very upset by his removal.  I suppose they did not want the public to know that they received FREE cemetery plots valued at $380,000.  According to the Internal Report: 

Between January 2009 and July 2014, Msgr. Benavente received payments of $326,913.61 by simultaneously drawing payroll and stipends from the Catholic Cemeteries, and stipend payments from the Cathedral-Basilica.  Upon the change of administration, credit cards in the name of the Archdiocese were discovered holding balances in excess of $60,000; the credit card in the name of The Catholic Cemeteries was specifically used by Msgr. Benavente for restaurants, air fare, the Shangi-La Hotel in Manila and other five star Hotels.  In the same period, The Catholic Cemeteries and the Cathedral-Basilica expended more than $123,000 towards credit card payments to First Hawaiian Bank and American Express.  Other payments for a credit card in the name of Msgr. Benavente, a gas card, and cellular/data phone privileges, which were paid for by The Catholic Cemeteries, accounted for an additional $23,000.  Notably, $13,000 of cemetery funds were paid for Msgr. Benavente's 20th Anniversary reception.  Total advances documented between January 2009 and July 2014 by both entities for Msgr. Benavente are nearly $475,000.  This does not include cemetery family crypts valued at 380,000.00, which were gifted by Msgr. Benavente to his close friend and family: in other words, no fee was charged for these cemetery plots.

Now that Tim Rohr has made public the findings of the Internal Report, which was dated January 23, 2015, is he going to call the Archbishop a "liar?"  Will he be calling him a bully?  How was he a bully when it was Tim Rohr who made the findings of the Internal Report "public" after the information was leaked to him?  Archbishop Apuron said that he removed Monsignor James for financial mismanagement.  That is the truth. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Building Up The Church

According to our Statutes, the Neocatechumenal Way is for those who have fallen away from the Catholic Church, those who desire to deepen their faith, and those who come from Christian denominations not in full communion with the Catholic Church. 

In the Way, mission families and itinerants are sent to foreign countries to evangelize non-Christians.  A Catholic needs to be prepared to evangelize non-Christians.   Preaching fire and brimstone to non-Christians will not convert them.  Sometimes, the best way to evangelize is through one's behavior.  As I mentioned before, Ghandi once said that he likes Christ but he does not like Christians.  Ghandi did not reject Christ, but he also did not convert to Christianity because he saw that the behavior of Christians were far from Christlike.  The NCW is an itinerary so that we can live out our baptism to be like Christ.  If Ghandi had met Mother Teresa, he probably would have a different view of Christians.     

The NCW currently has 102 Redemptoris Mater Seminary affiliated with the Lateran University in Rome.  This seminary has produced many priests to do diocesan and missionary work.  In the past, Guam has asked for priests from other countries such as the Philippines because we were unable to produce enough priests for Guam.  With the establishment of two seminaries, we no longer need to ask other countries for priests.  Rather, we are now in a position to help other countries who are lacking priests.  The more priests are produced on Guam, the more we build up the Catholic Church. 

Members of the Way are told to attend Sunday Mass with the parish once a month.  However, there are some of us who attend Sunday Mass with the parish more than once a month due to the fact that we have become more involved in our parishes.  There are NCW members who have joined the church choir, become lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and alter servers but we do not have a sign on us proclaiming that we are from the Way.  We do not need to announce ourselves.   Others build up the parishes by doing volunteer work in cleaning and maintaining Church grounds.  Others participate in the parish council, work in parish offices, and even volunteer their time teaching CCD in the Church.  

The youths in the NCW are also active in the celebrations.  Many of them love music and chose to be cantors.  Many of them participate in the monthly scrutacio reading the Bible and reflecting on the biblical readings.  Families of the NCW are also transmitting the Catholic faith to their children during morning prayers.  The youths are the future Church, and it is great to see the youths involve in the Church and speak about Christ our Savior.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Announcement To The Readers

Please keep your comments civil.  Any mockery, derision, or name-calling of me or other commentors will not be published.  If you come here only to bash the Neocatechumenal Way, your comments will also not be published.  Any hate comments will be deleted.  Also, please make your comments in English.  If you are unable to write in English, please get someone who can help you.  

Some parishes are now advertising for the upcoming catechesis.  Anyone who is interested or even curious to learn about the Way is welcome to listen to the catechesis.  If you find that the Way is not for you after listening to the catechesis, then please move on and peace be with you.  Remember that the Way is not for everyone just as the ordained priesthood is not for everyone.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

World Youth Day, 2016

In the last World Youth Day, about 40,000 youths from the Neocatechumenal Way went to Brazil to see Pope Francis. The next World Youth Day will be in Poland in 2016.   We are hoping to be there if God wills it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Allow All Catholics To Be Heard

An anonymous poster alerted my attention to the following that was printed in today's Pacific Daily News: 


A local TV show, "The Buzz," recently featured the new organization Concerned Catholics Inc. Comments rooted in misinformation about the Neocathecumenal Way were made by Greg Perez, the guest, and Jesse Lujan, the host.

I, too, am a concerned, practicing Catholic. I am involved in the Way, a charism approved by the Catholic Church since 2004. The Way helps me "walk the talk" of being a Catholic, a Christian; a walk that is not easy. I have never left the Church. In fact, the Way has helped deepen my faith.
Unfounded statements made during the show include that the Way practices and teaches a different cathechism of faith and that it is causing a division within the Church. A written reply is insufficient to address these and other one-sided remarks as they can easily be misinterpreted. But a dialogue with those of us in the Way, instead of listening only to critics, might be a more adequate approach to address concerns.

Based on personal experience and direct observation, the Way is undeniably an important, additional, Catholic vehicle helping many to discover or re-discover the power and presence of Christ in their lives.

These are some observations:

• Most Concerned Catholics board members seem to be affiliated with known critics of the archbishop. Have members considered the possibility that they have been triangulated by factions who have separate issues with the Church?

• Seemingly, the goal of this new group is to get rid of the archbishop. Will there be any effort towards an objective review of issues?

• How about seeking input from those actively in the Way for balanced perspectives? Otherwise, not all concerned Catholics in Guam are represented.

• How will others know of the opportunity to provide feedback?

• What criteria is being used to determine the factors that are "dividing" the Church?

Have they looked at testimonies from people who have, in fact, returned to the Catholic faith or have converted to Catholicism because of the Way? Have they listened to those who have experienced healing from abusive backgrounds, addictions, and from spiritless lives and those who have been helped to reconcile from estranged relationships, including with God?

Will they look at the numbers of those who have answered the call to religious life, sacramental marriages, openness to life, church ministry, itinerancy or mission life? Can they objectively look at the parishes that have publicly denounced the Way saying that they do not want "us" in their parishes? Can they agree that rejection, prejudice and discrimination against those who choose other paths to spiritual growth are factors that destroy any community?

What about the disrespectful discourses in some of the social media perpetuated by some who profess to defend our Catholic faith? Will they review those websites and assess how name-calling, derision and mockery is a source of divisiveness?

What does it say about the ethics of person(s) and organization(s) that underhandedly and secretively video tape spiritual gatherings then slant and distort images and information against the speakers and the people gathered in faith? These behaviors are unethical and immoral.

Do they endorse that type of information gathering?

• Is a campaign of hate and bigotry targeted toward those in the Way conducive to building Church?

• Some critics refuse to accept the rightful authority of the Vatican Council in its endorsement of the Way. By whose authority will Concerned Catholics base their decisions with regards to the Neocathecumenal practice of the Catholic faith? Will they accept the authority of the Vatican Council?

What our community needs is a diversely represented organization to facilitate healing. Rather than fault-finding, instead acknowledge the strengths in our faith community and identify areas for improvement. Strengths in Guam's overall Catholic community include the following: There are now more Catholics who have become attuned to the "Word of God" by virtue of the Neocathecumenate celebration of scripture. Because of this focus, some Non-Neocathecumenate Catholics have also joined Bible study groups to quench their thirst. Many parishes are working to build "community," recognizing that the "lack of community" leads many to leave the "physical" churches and discover other paths to Catholicism/Christianity. Individuals, like myself, have dug our heels deeper and have recommitted to "walk" this "Catholic walk" despite the criticisms of those who are "uncomfortable" with our practice.

Many non-neocathecumenate Catholics are assessing their own practices perhaps, because of the controversies, and are, hence, reinforcing their own prayerful ways. How powerful a divide is that?
I sincerely appeal to Concerned Catholics to engage in a process that will allow all voices to be heard on this matter so that a genuinely Christian resolution to all concerns can be reached. Please do not tread on our rights and freedom to worship as we believe.

More importantly, if the Way is providing an option to help our island community with its high rates of suicide, teen pregnancies, domestic conflict, violence and substance abuse, why on Earth would anyone want to dismantle it?

Mariles Diaz Benavente is a resident of Barrigada Heights

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Human Interpretations

The reason why the laity is not allowed to make any private interpretation of Sacred Scripture is because they would come up with many different interpretations.  For example, this one sentence: "I did not say that you stole money" can be interpreted in five different ways. 

1.  I did not say that you stole money.......meaning that it was someone else who said it. 

2.  I did not say that you stole money.......meaning that I said something different. 

3.  I did not say that you stole money........meaning that I said it was someone else who stole the money, not you.

4.  I did not say that you stole money.......meaning that I said you borrowed the money, not steal it. 

5.  I did not say that you stole money.......meaning that you stole something else, not money. 

If this one sentence can be interpreted in five different ways, how much more the Holy Bible?  Only the teaching office of the Catholic Church has the authority to interpret Sacred Scripture. The Catholic laity does not have this authority.  They can reflect, contemplate, and mediate on the word of God, but only the teaching Magisterium can correctly interpret the word of God.  Having said this, this brings us to another point.  If the Holy Bible can be interpreted in different ways, then so can documents.  The jungle is full of deliberate misinterpretations. 

Recently, KUAM news interviewed Father Adrian.  One of the questions they asked him was:  "Can you confirm that the Redemptoris Mater Seminary is for the Neocatechumenal Way and not a Diocesan Seminary?"

Father Adrian gave this response:   This is absolutely false and wrong. The building hosts the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, from which have been ordained 16 diocesan priests for Guam. Twelve of these diocesan priests are working in this archdiocese ministering in the parish, and not for the neocatechmenal (sic) way.

The following is Tim Rohr's deliberate misinterpretation of Father Adrian's response.  According to Tim: 

It really doesn't matter where they are working. What matters is what they were trained to do. And they were trained specifically to serve the Neocatechumenal Way. It says so in Art. III of the RMS Articles of Incorporation:

The purpose of the Corporation shall be limited to the following: to establish and conduct a Seminary to prepare men for the priesthood, for the evangelization, following the life and itinerary of the Neocatechumenal Way as a way of formation in accordance with the precepts of the Roman Catholic faith.  The Corporation may own, lease, or otherwise procure all such real and personal property as may be necessary to carry on any of the Corporation's business. 

 Notice that Tim tells his readers that it does not matter where they are working.  He goes on to say that the RMS priests were specifically trained to serve the Neocatechumenal Way, and then have his readers focus on a document. 

The REALITY is that twelve of those priests are ministering in the parishes, doing regular Mass.  The TRUTH is that the RMS priests were also trained to do the regular Mass, and a few of them have also expressed to learn the Latin Mass.  If they are truly serving ONLY the Way, then why are they conducting the regular Masses?  Why ignore this important fact?  If one is really interested in the truth, one should also look at what is actually being PRACTICED.  After all, anyone can take a document and interpret it any way they like it to be especially if one has a hidden agenda.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Church Is A Living Organism

Joelene posted the following comment, which can be found here. The bold is mine.

Must read more. Church does not interpret Bible, Church is not person. The Magisterium interprets Bible, consists of bishops. The Holy Ghost works in interpretation. When you have the Holy Ghost, you can interpret the Bible. Along the Magisterium.

There are so many errors made in this comment.  First of all, the Holy Spirit is in every baptized person, but this does not mean that the laity can interpret Sacred Scripture.  In the Catholic Church, no lay person is authorize to interpret Scripture.  Why?  Because then you would end up with 20,000 or more different interpretation.  That is the reason why there are more than 20,000 non-Catholic Christian denominations.

Private interpretation is not condoned in the Bible (2 Peter 1:20).  Individual interpretation by the Early Christians was never practiced (Acts 8:29-35).  The reason we have more than 20,000 different non-Catholic Christian denominations is due to the many different "individual" interpretations that each non-Catholic Christian churches allow. 

Jolene is correct when she said that the Magisterium interprets the Bible, but she appears confused as to what the "Church" is.  The Magisterium is not separate from the Church no more than Christ being separated from His bride. 

CCC 84  The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."

CCC 85   "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

Furthermore, Jolene says that the "Church is not a person."  It appears that she views the Magisterium a "person" but not the "Church".  The Church is defined as "the People of God," "the Body of Christ," "the Bride of Christ," and "the Temple of the Holy Spirit".  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:  

CCC 797  "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church."243 "To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members."244 The Holy Spirit makes the Church "the temple of the living God":245................

CCC 2245  The Church, because of her commission and competence, is not to be confused in any way with the political community. She is both the sign and the safeguard of the transcendent character of the human person. "The Church respects and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen."

I do not know how anyone can read these verses in the Catechism and not think of the Church as a living organism.  The Church is a living organism animated by the Holy Spirit.  She is our Mother and teacher of the faith.  And Mother Church is alive, not dead.  The Holy Bible also shows that any persecution on the Church is also a persecution on Jesus Christ who is one with His Church (Acts 9:4 and Acts 22:7).   


Setting The Record Straight

The jungle has posted a photo of Father Edivaldo with his family and is using this photo to tarnish his reputation as a priest.  The jungle did not obtain any permission from him nor his family to publish this personal photo, but Father Edivaldo has given me his permission to set the record straight because some people are misled into believing that these young girls are local Guam girls. 

Dear Diana,
A parishioner brought to my attention that a picture of my family and me was posted by the junglewatch blog recently.  The picture is of me with my nieces  and my Sister during a trip home.  The junglewatch did not get my permission to use this personal photo.  The junglewatch did not get permission from my sister and brother to use their children's picture. I am writing to give you permission to post the picture so that the truth may expel any misconception anyone may have because of the Junglewatch's intentional misstatements about me. 
Thank you. 
Fr. Edivaldo

NOTE:  As per Father Edivaldo's request, his photo of him and his family members is removed.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Love Of Money

An anonymous commenter copied and pasted Tim Rohr's post regarding the sale of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, which can be found here.  Tim thinks that the Financial Council's idea of selling the property was not such a bad idea.   According to Tim Rohr: 

Here's why:

$75 million dollars, or even half that, could have wiped out the entire debt of the archdiocese, which is estimated to be nearly $20 million *, with plenty of money left over not only to build a brand new seminary, but create an endowment that could have paid for the education of seminarians for years to come, eliminating the need for the annual archdiocesan appeal.

* $20 million is the figure estimated by the former AFC. Note that the remainder of the debt incurred by the renovation of the Cathedral and the Cemeteries, a project overseen by Msgr. James, is only 1.7 million. That means the archbishop himself owes another 18 million. Yet we only hear about the debt supposedly incurred by Msgr. James - which as we have already explained, is another debt which Archbishop Apuron himself incurred, not Msgr. James.

Some commenters even agreed with this.  They do not see anything wrong with selling this property to pay off the debts incurred by the cathedral and Catholic cemeteries.  Let us take a close look at it.  A Japanese businessman built a hotel, and it turned out to be a failure.  He sold it to the Catholic Church for 1.9 million dollars.  Bear in mind that this Japanese business man could have sold the hotel for 75 million dollars because that is what it is worth.  Rather, he sold it to the CATHOLIC CHURCH for only 1.9 million dollars.  That is a bargain price. 

How would it look like if the Catholic Church turned around and sold the property for 75 million dollars so she could make a profit from it?  It would make the Catholic Church appear that she only cared about the material goods rather than the spiritual goods.  In the first place, the money that was used to purchase this property did not even come from the Catholic Church but from a donor who wished to remain anonymous.  Would the Japanese businessman feel terrible knowing that the Catholic Church sold it for more than what he generously offered?   Since when has the Catholic Church been in the business of taking something for free and turning around and selling it at a higher price to gain a profit?   

Archbishop Apuron was correct in firing the financial council because apparently they were more interested in the material goods that the hotel offered.   

Putting Things In Order

As we already know, the Archdiocese of Agana came out publicly and said that it was the former Finance Council who wanted to sell the seminary in Yona to pay off the debts incurred by the Cathedral and Catholic cemeteries.  Some people found this to be NEW information, when it was actually information that was given FIVE MONTHS AGO.  A few anonymous commenters even asked me for evidence to show that the former Finance Council wanted to sell the property.

After the Archdiocese came out with this statement, Concerned Catholics declared that this statement was not true without even investigating the former Financial Council. According to KUAM news: 

In Father Adrian's response to KUAM News he states that it was the Archdiocese Finance Council who wanted to alienate the seminary and sell it to cover the debt incurred by the catholic cemeteries, however the CCOG contends that this is not the case and alleges that Archbishop Anthony Apuron secretly made the declaration to assign the property over to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary Corporation in November 2011.

So, here we have CCOG already concluding that the Archdiocese statement on the Finance Council wanting to sell the seminary is false without conducting any investigation on the former Finance Council.  Regarding Father Adrian's response to KUAM, Tim Rohr said that it was a lie.  According to Tim Rohr: 

...and just in time for the former AFC's meeting with the Visitators tomorrow. Did you forget that the AFC actually has the minutes of their meetings and can prove that you are lying? And, incredible, you actually submitted your comments in writing to KUAM!! Haven't you guys learned yet not to write anything? Now the former AFC actually has absolute documentation of your lies. Absolute! And you want to be the next bishop????

Thus, here we have both CCOG and Tim Rohr saying that Father Adrian's responses to KUAM is false and a lie.  So, did the former Finance Council wanted to SELL the seminary?  According to the Pacific Daily News dated January 9, 2015 (the bold is mine): 

Businessman Richard Untalan, former government of Guam budget director Joseph E. Rivera, Sister Mary Stephen Torres and Monsignor James Benavente were "terminated en masse" from the finance council after they objected to Apuron's decision, according to the letter they sent to the archbishop in January 2012.

A donation to the archdiocese allowed it to snap up the former hotel more than a decade ago for $2 million. The property cost $57 million to develop, but a business sold it after it failed as a hotel operation.

The finance council at the time wrote to Apuron that the property, if sold by the archdiocese, "can eliminate the entire debt of the archdiocese" using just a fraction of the sale proceeds.

Notice what I placed in bold:  "The finance council at the time wrote to Apuron that the property, if sold by the archdiocese, "can eliminate the entire debt of the archdiocese" using just a fraction of the sale proceeds." Monsignor James Benavente was a member of the Finance Council and knew that selling the seminary would eliminate the debts of the cathedral and Catholic cemeteries.  At any rate, it is reported in the PDN that the Finance Council WROTE to Apuron about selling the property, and obviously the Archbishop has that letter. 

If CCOG was REALLY interested in finding out about the TRUTH, they would have gone back and investigated the former finance council.  Apparently, Concerned Catholics is not really concerned about the truth, which makes their agenda suspect.   

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Speaking In Tongues: A Lesson In Catholicism

In my last post, an anonymous poster wrote the following, which can be found here.

OMG, Diana! You claim the ELL (English Language Learning) RMS priests are like the Apostles and then, just like our Protestant brethren, quoted Acts 2:4 "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim" (NAB) but neglected to keep the quote in context.

In the verses that follow (5-11) we read there were "devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem" (v 5) and "they were confused because each one heard them [the Apostles] speaking in his own language" (v 6) which means that people from different nations CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD what the Apostles were saying, unlike what we in the pews experience when RMS priests ramble on at the pulpit. We can hardly understand what they are saying!

Let's move on. The "devout Jews from EVERY NATION" recognized that the Apostles were "speaking Galileans" (v 7) and then asked "Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language?" (v 8) again showing that there was no hindrance to understanding what the Apostles were saying, which is very different from what happens when RMS priests stumble throughout their homilies. When asked why RMS priests don't have notes or prepared homilies, one presbyter said he lets "the spirit guide" him, which is clearly the case when there are long pauses between phrases (not even sentences) which makes it hard to follow the train of thought.

In verses 9 and 10 we can read a list of the places these Jews are from and in verse 11 we read once again speaking of the Apostles "yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God" which (again) informs us that the Apostles did speak in tongues and were understood by the Jews who heard them speak.

BTW: The RMS priests speak different languages but RMS priests DO NOT speak in "tongues" like the Apostles did on Pentecost Sunday.

According to this anonymous poster, he/she obviously thinks that those walking in the Way do not understand Catholicism and therefore goes on to instruct me as to what he/she thinks is "true Catholicism."   He/she wrote (capitalization is mine):  The RMS priests speak different LANGUAGES but do not speak in "TONGUES" like the Apostles did on Pentecost Sunday. 

As we can see here, the anonymous poster SEPARATED "language" and "tongues" to mean different things.  The Greek word for "tongues" is "glossa." According to Strong's biblical translation, it can also mean "language." As a matter of fact, the New Jerusalem Bible (a Catholic Bible) uses the word "language" instead of "tongues" in Acts 2:4.  These are the same passages found in different Catholic Bibles (the bold is mine): 

Taken from the Douay Rhimes:
Acts 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

Taken from the New American Bible (which the Catholic Church uses): 
Acts 2:4   And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Taken from the New Jerusalem Bible:  
Acts 2:4  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves.  

The commentary notes found in the New American Bible is very straightforward.  This is what it says (the bold is mine): 

2:4  To speak in different tongues: ecstatic prayer in praise of God, interpreted in Acts 2:6, 11 as speaking in foreign languages, symbolizing the worldwide mission of the Church. 

The commentary in the New Jerusalem Bible is much longer and more detailed, but pretty much says the same thing.  So, how did this anonymous commenter conclude that RMS priests speak different "languages", but do NOT speak in "tongues" is beyond me.  This is what happens when one interprets the Holy Bible on their own without the Catholic Church.     

In the Neocatechumenal Way, we read the commentaries in the Bible especially during scrutacio so as to understand how the Church interprets it.  We are supposed to go by the Church interpretation of Sacred Scripture, not according to our own interpretation.  Only Protestants interpret Scripture on their own exactly like what the anonymous commenter did.  He/she did not bother to read the Church's interpretation in the commentary of the Bible but proceeded to interpret  scripture himself like the Protestants always do. Pentecostal Protestants also interpreted Acts 2:4 as something different that does not mean "language."  The video below shows children "speaking in tongues" at a Pentecostal Sunday church service.             

Friday, January 9, 2015

Very Sound Advice

An anonymous person made the following comment, which I published in my last post.  It provides good advice to everyone especially those who oppose the Way.  

A Redemptoris Mater Seminary is a diocesan seminary that operates with the help of the NCW. The NCW stuffs these seminaries with vocations, thus resolving the most burning issue of most dioceses (definitely that of the Archdiocese of Agana, which in the past had to resort to importing priests). If an ordinary wants this kind of help in his diocese, he accepts that these vocations come as a result of a faith formation that needs to be continued throughout the seminary formation and later in the life of priestly ministry. If an ordinary does not accept this, that diocese shouldn't have an RMS seminary. It is like when someone wants a cow in order to have it's milk: this person would have to accept the conditions which the cow needs to survive and be able to give milk. Do not get a cow if you are not willing to feed it. 

To ensure the proper faith formation of the students, the NCW itinerant team responsible for the Way in the US is included in the board of guarantors of the RMS of Guam. They are the ones responsible for filling it up with students, so think before you want to kick them out. If they are taken out (which is ultimately the decision of the local ordinary, and not of any group of concerned or not concerned individuals), Guam local Church would have to fill her seminary by herself (which, it seems frankly, she wouldn't be able to do).

There are 102 RMS seminaries around the world right now. Apparently all of these seminaries operate successfully to serve the local and the universal Church. To my knowledge, no complaint has EVER surfaced to the effect that the diocesan priests who had been formed in these seminaries are worse than priests formed in other seminaries, or that they showed partiality in their service of the local Church where they had been assigned (such as not serving the whole parish, only the NCW communities), or that they administered the sacraments irreverently. As far as I know, they serve the parishes to the best of their abilities and, once they have done that, nourish their faith through the NCW itinerary.
In view of these facts I must conclude that the RMS seminaries (filled up by the NCW) are an immense plus to the dioceses they operate in, and through their openness and missionary impulse, to the universal Church.
I would invite all those who think or feel that they dislike the existence and operation of the RMS of Guam to ponder these facts, think of the future of the Church in the Pacific and, putting aside their feelings of hurt and anger over some reassigned clergy, support the wise decision of the lawful hierarchy to preserve this gift of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Ardiocese Responds To CCOG

KUAM news reported the Archdiocese response to CCOG's claims regarding the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.  Yet, despite the Archdiocese coming out with an explanation, I could bet that the jungle would just declare it to be lies.  Nevermind the fact that even Father Pius came out with the same explanation five months ago.  I could also bet that CCOG is not going to believe the Archdiocese.  Why?  Because they already stated in their press release that statements coming from the Archdiocese are unreliable.  At any rate, according to the news report (the highlight is mine): 

Guam - As the Concerned Catholics of Guam organization met with a delegation from the Vatican on island for a pastoral visit late this afternoon,  the Archdiocese of Agana responds to the findings of the group's investigation into the Redemptoris Mater Seminary - and according to Father Adrian Cristobal the multimillion dollar property remains an asset of the archdiocese, despite claims and documents provided by the CCOG.

Father Cristobal, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Agana, is responding to recent concerns raised by the group which believes the seminary property is no longer an asset of the archdiocese and that the seminary is not following its intended mission to form young men into diocesan priests.

In response to questions submitted in writing to the archdiocese, Father Adrian says that could not be further from the truth 'this is totally false" . Father Adrian says the title is listed in the property of the Archdiocese of Agana. Matter of fact he also states that the property came into the archdiocese thanks to the Neocatechumenal Way.

He also responds to the CCOG's contention that in December 2011 Archbishop Anthony Apuron signed off on a declaration of deed against the advice of the Archdiocese Finance Council. Father Adrian again denies those allegations. He says it was the other way around and that the council wanted to alienate the property " in fact had the intention to sell the property to cover the debt incurred by the cathedral and catholic cemeteries."

Father Adrian said that the establishment of a diocesan seminary and a prestigious theological institute are "goods" of such paramount importance for the life of the diocese that to think to sell the property to cover a deficit is "unthinkable and it would be irresponsible for the archbishop to even harbor that idea. The seminary and the institute are both essential to help the evangelization in the Pacific." and cites that Canon Law 114 requires that a seminary possess the means necessary for fulfilling its goals including the stability of the property on which it is operating.

So who exactly has control over the RMS? According to Father Adrian the Archbishop of Agana, in this case Archbishop Anthony Apuron. While the CCOG contends that the archbishop no longer has control Father Adrian say, "I do not know who invents these things: the Redemptoris Mater Seminary is a corporation sole which means that it is governed exclusively by only one member the Archbishop of Agana." Meanwhile the CCOG believes that the archbishop is only 25% of the RMS corporation. Father Adrian acknowledges that the archbishop does have two boards to assist in matters pertaining to the seminary. A board of directors and a board of guarantors but stresses that the board of guarantors does not manage the seminary. He adds  the directors and guarantors are appointed by the archbishop and "he can change them whenever there is a need".

Meanwhile KUAM News has also learned that the former finance council that advised against the 2001 Declaration of Deed has a meeting scheduled with the visitors from the Vatican.

The points I highlighted above are similar things that Father Pius told the media FIVE MONTHS AGO.  Again, we have not changed our story.  Finally, the Archdiocese has now revealed that it was the Finance Council who wanted to sell the seminary to pay the debts incurred by the cathedral and the Catholic cemeteries.  The "perpetual use" keeps that from happening and ensured that the donor's wish was granted.  The donor attached a tie to the money that he freely gave to the Archdiocese.  He donated the money with the explicit intention that it be used to build a seminary.  The finance council had no respect to the donor's intention, which prompted the Archbishop to file a "perpetual use" deed.     

The Redemptoris Mater Seminary did NOT come from the people of Guam.  It came as a result of the Neocatechumenal Way.  So, the Way has contributed TO GUAM by building a seminary FOR GUAM.  Contrary to what is being said in the jungle and worldwide by anti-Neo websites the NCW has contributed to the Catholic parishes and the Catholic Church, but the NCW members do it anonymously.  We do not want accolades and praises for the good things we do for the Catholic Church, which is the reason why the donor wishes to remain anonymous.  The donor also walks in the Way and is practicing what the Catholic Church teaches, which is not to seek the praises of this world nor build up treasures on earth.