RESPONSE FROM BOARD MEMBER OF REDEMPTORIS MATTER SEMINARY
Most of you know me as Dr. Eusebio, a surgeon who has practiced on Guam for many years. Some perhaps from my childhood going to Sinajana Elementary school, St. Jude Thaddeus School or now known as Bishop Baumgartner Memorial School and graduating from Father Duenas Memorial School, Class of 1972. What perhaps most of you don’t know is that Archbishop Apuron has appointed me to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary since 2002. All the recent speculations in regards to the ownership of the seminary, quality of education, amount of monies spent, etc. has brought sadness and disappointment. As you are well aware there are always two sides to a story and my desire is perhaps to clarify some misconceptions or misunderstandings revealing the truth as I know it.
The Redemptoris Mater Seminary is an Archdiocesan missionary seminary ordaining and educating diocesan priests. There are many orders of priests Capuchin, Carmelite, Benedictine, Jesuit, etc. and Diocesan. (There are no Neocatechumenal Way priests.) These priests belong to the diocese of Guam. They are missionary however and may be sent on missions at the discretion of the Archbishop. Since 1999, our seminary has produced 17 Diocesan priests. From the very beginning, it was the desire of this Archdiocese to find a place to permanently house the seminary. The availability of the Hotel Accion property made this a reality. It is important to understand the INTENT of the Archdiocese to purchase the property FOR the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. The initial handwritten application for the loan to the Bank of Guam listed the purpose of the loan was to purchase the property for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. The unanimous approval of the Archdiocesan Finance Council to purchase the property known as the Hotel Accion was in order to permanently house the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. The approval of the Apostolic Delegate for the Pacific, Archbishop Coveney, to purchase the specified building was to house the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary. There has never been a question who the Archdiocese acquired the property for and therefore Archbishop Apuron placing a deed restriction on the property never changed the INTENT of the Archdiocese to permanently house the Redemptoris Mater Seminary on that property.
The Archdiocese of Agana is a Corporation Sole, the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation is a Corporation sole and both list Archbishop Apuron as the only member. You can have as many advisors, committees, directors as you want but only one person makes the decision to approve or deny anything, the Archbishop. This contrasts with a corporation aggregate which has many members who have fiduciary responsibilities, to stockholders for example, and vote to decide whether to approve or deny a motion. This is typical of many business corporations but is NOT the situation with the Archdiocese. Therefore, if for example, the Board of Directors of the Seminary were to decide to sell the property, they could not without the approval of the sole member of the Corporation. A deed of restriction for the use of the property by the Redemptoris Mater Seminary does not change ownership of the property nor the ability of the owner to sell the property. This legal opinion was confirmed by the Lewis Roca Rothgerber law firm from Denver, Colorado whose expertise is on civil and canon law. Additionally, a title search by Pacific American Title company on August of 2014 listed the Archdiocese of Agana as the owner of the Yona property, housing the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
In regards to the deed of restriction, Archbishop Hon claims that the Holy See directed Archbishop Apuron to lift or rescind this deed but failed to clarify that the office making this “request” was his very own Congregation of Evangelization and he as the Apostolic delegate was the one making the request. The pope, as stated by Archbishop Apuron, never made the request. This request, however, was sent to the Congregation of Legislative Text (the highest Vatican Body for the Interpretation of legislative act) for an opinion and stated, “ the Archbishop’s act of assignment, therefore, can neither be considered a sale nor alienation, but only a [required] transfer of ownership between two “Corporation Soles” which have only one member who alone enjoys all the powers of extraordinary administration.” Additionally, Bishop Arrieta, the Secretary of the Congregation, stated, “ what seems to emerge from the whole affair is that the Archbishop (Apuron) has limited himself to only fulfilling a required act and truth”. The Vatican, the Holy See, the Pope has many arms or congregations to oversee the Catholic Church and both of these Congregations are “branches” of the Pope. Why Archbishop Hon fails to mention these facts remains to be understood.
The Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Guam and Blessed Diego Institute is accredited by the Lateran University or what many people refer to as the Pope’s University. It is one of the most prestigious universities in Rome. Representatives from the University examined the facility, curriculum and staff, deeming it worthy of affiliation. The seminarians graduate with a degree from the Lateran University. Furthermore, 4 ordained priests have enrolled to graduate education in Rome without any difficulty and one will be completing his doctorate this year. Why would any graduate school accept a student from a seminary that is a “Sham”?
In regards to seminary finances, it was costing the Archdiocese over $40,000.00 per year per seminarian before the Redemptoris Mater Seminary existed and now it is only costing approximately $9000.00 per year per seminarian. This is a significant cost saving!! Most of the seminary income come from private donations and the “subsidy” of the archdiocese is only about 12% of the total income. Last year the subsidized amount was $73,800 for the year and the year before was $83,700.00. Where the reported $200,000.00 amount came from is unclear but these are the reported figures from our Board meeting.
The facts I presented are true to my knowledge and hopefully clarifies the position of the Seminary. Many of the facts have previously been stated but drowned by extracurricular voices. A lot of mud has been thrown with the hope that some of it sticks. I pray that some of these facts I presented washes some of it away so that you may have clarity. The seminary is a jewel that we do not want to loose. It is critical in our role to evangelize which was given to us when we were baptized as Catholics.