Father Pius, what is your reaction to a recent statement made by Apostolic Administrator Savio Hon Tai Fai that the RMS is no longer owned by the Archdiocese of Agana?
First of all, Mons. Hon himself said repeatedly that the owner of the property where the RMS and the blessed.... are located is the archdiocese. This is not in discussion. If you refer to the declaration regarding the deed of restriction.
Archbishop Apuron put the decree of restriction to protect the seminary and the Theological Institute and to give them permanence and stability and also to defend these property for the Church, which otherwise –as you can see by the enormous interest in them– would have already been sold out. Actually the previous Finance Council in 2011 wanted to sell it, but the Archbishop said: “Over my dead Body”.
Have you been in communication with Archbishop Anthony Apuron? If so, when was your last talk? Where is he located presently?
I do not know where he is located. I talked to him about two weeks ago.
Were you aware that the Holy See had instructed Archbishop Apuron to rescind and annul the Deed of Restriction a year ago?
Archbishop Apuron put the decree of restriction to defend the property from greed and to protect the seminary and the institute, which are forming priests for Guam and the whole pacific. Already 17 priests have been ordained and four deacons and of them 14 priests and all the deacons are serving on island. If he had not put this restriction the property would have been sold in 2011.
Archbishop Apuron never defied the Pope since the Pope never said to lift the deed of restriction. If you refer to the indication of a Congregation of the Holy See, I must remind you that in the Catholic Church every Archbishop answers only to the Holy Father directly and the opinions of Congregations are consultative.
Are you a Neocatechumenal Priest? What's the difference and how would you address the contentions made by those the Concerned Catholics of Guam?
No I am not a neocatechumenal priest. I am a discalced Carmelite since 40 years and I have been a provincial of the Carmelites in Malta. The Neocatechumenal way is not a congregation or an order, but it has been recognized by the Holy See as an itinerary of Christian formation to help people rediscover their baptism. Neocatechumenal priests do not exist.
Will the guarantors listed on the Deed Restriction for the RMS be obedient to the Pope's directive to give back the Yona property? If not, will the new owners be seeking legal action? If so, on what grounds?
The Board of Guarantors has no power whatsoever on the deed of restriction. The title of the property is in the name of the archdiocese and the deed of restriction in the name of the archbishop of Agatna and only the archbishop or his successor can lift it. The Board of Guarantors is only a consultative board regarding the mission of the seminary, inch is that of preparing priest and not, for example, preparing scuba divers. In the statutes and bylaws of the corporation is very well specified that the board of guarantors has no authority in administering the temporal goods, only the archbishop has such powers and authority. They have no administrative power. Control upon all temporal goods is in the hands of the Archbishop, as the statutes and bylaws of the Seminary say. The Archbishop is the sole member of the non-profit sole corporation of the RM Seminary.
The Pope never gave any directive. It was a Congregation of the Holy See, which gave this indication and, as I said, an archbishop answers only to the Holy Father.
The Redemptoris Mater Seminary is a duly erected public juridic person in the Archdiocese of Agana (cf. c. 238, cf. cc. 113-123), and therefore it is a permanent institution –until the archbishop wants it- which need the “means which are foreseen to be sufficient to achieve their designated purpose” (c. 114 §3) to exist and to continue its mission of forming priest. Among them one of the most urgent, obviously, is a permanent see to host five classrooms, a library with thirty thousand volumens, rooms for 40 seminarians and for formators and professor, computer room, dining room etc.
The Deed restriction is simply an act according to canon law that allows the Archdiocesan RM Seminary to use that Yona property.
It seems that actually most cause of dissension and tumult is this deed of restriction so that by lifting the restriction the building, hosting the seminary and the theological institute, may be sold and then everything will be ok. It is really perplexing to see how much some people are interested in selling this ecclesial good.
Clearly there are many people who would like to cash in the 50-75 millions dollars involved. But one cannot but wonder: what deep interest may be in destroying a seminary and a theological Institute? Someone wants to fill his pocket? Or there are some people who wants to build a Casino? Imagine that in nearby Saipan the powerful Chinese consortium Imperial Pacific, headed by Mark Brown (former CEO of Trump Casinos and then of Sheldon Casinos) invested seven billions dollars to develop a Casino there! Imagine the interests! People may kill for much less that that.
But Saipan was just a detour, because they wanted to invest in Guam with its enticing two millions tourists every year. But in Guam all has been blocked until now by archbishop Apuron, who always fought against establishing casinos and bringing more mafia, prostitution, crime, drugs. So clearly, if there are interests of this kind, the first thing is to destroy the Archbishop.
One day, when all this has passed, they will rediscover the valor of this Archbishop and the historians will add a chapter to the evangelization of this Island, an important chapter which will be added to the chapter written by Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores.
Going back to your question: what will the Board of directors and the Board of Guarantors do? The building is not ours, we have permission to use it until the Archbishop wants, and only the Archbishop or his successor can decide on this building. If the building will be sold, the Gospel says: if they send you out of one city, go to the next. If it is necessary, we will, and we will be honored to share in the sufferings and persecutions of Christ.
But Guam will lose one of the most powerful instruments to fight the devil who wants to destroy our youth and the families: priests who through the sacraments can transmit the grace of God.
Are priests that are formed at the RMS only that of the Neo-catechumenal Way? Can you detail how many seminarians there are at the RMS and how soon they'd become priests?
The RMS is open to anyone who is called to become priests. In fact we have various seminarians who are not from a Neocatechumenal Community. There are 40 seminarians and each one of them has his own itinerary to follow; that will determine the number of years left to be ordained a priest.
Lastly, how much does it cost the Archdiocese of Agana to fund the RMS annually?
The archdiocese through the annual appeal gives the RMS about 80 thousand dollarsk which corresponds to roughly 20 percent of our budget. All the rest comes form small private donations. We are also very proud to be able to receive seminarians from very poor dioceses of the Pacific and, in some cases, we have almost completely forfeited their costs to help them. We are Catholic and every catholic is concerned for all the world.