RESPONSE VISITATION REPORT OF THE REDEMPTORIS MATER SEMINARY OF GUAM
BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RMS
The report on the seminary prepared by the Visitation ad hoc Committee shows a lack of knowledge on the seminary's reality but, most of all, fierce bias and prejudice. However, in the interest of clarity and for all people of good will who love the Church and the truth, we will answer the main points addressed in the report:
1. REGARDING THE “DIOCESAN” IDENTITY
The report of the Committee questions the “Diocesan Identity” of th RMS without understanding what “diocesan”means. The RMS is a diocesan seminary duly erected by the Ordinary of the Archdiocese, as acknowledged by the Visitation Committee Report; thus, the nature of the RMS is “diocesan” by virtue of the fact that the Ordinary has established the institution (CIC. 238 §1). Additionally, the Articles of Incorporation of the RMS specifically identify the Sole Member of the Corporation, as the Archbishop of Agana. More important, the Statutes of the Redemptoris Mater seminaries have been approved by the Holy Father and by more than one hundred cardinals, archbishops and bishops. However, the Report elaborates a rough “theorem” trying to demonstrate that the Seminary is not diocesan, therefore preparation for priests is bad, that priests formed there are bad and that therefore it must be closed. Let us examine it point by point:
Report (Point 1): A legal opinion by Attorney Jacques G. Bronze (see Appendix V) was presented to the Archdiocese of Agana and holds that the land which is currently being used by the RMHF and RMS is not owned by the Archdiocese of Agana (“Bronze Opinion”).
ANSWER: The Bronze Opinion, arguing that the property has been alienated and therefore the seminary is no more diocesan, is unfounded and ridiculous. The proper authorities for the determination of this issue were, first, canonically, the judgment of the Pontifical Council of Legislative Texts by Bishop Arrieta stating that there was no alienation whatsoever by Archbishop Apuron; second, the Government of Guam by the Department of Land Management who has issued certificates of title confirming the ownership in the Archdiocese of Agana; third, the Articles of Incorporation that in art. XII, iii state that the Archbishop is the sole administrator of all the temporalities of the RMS; fourth, the opinion of the Lewis-Roca law firm, specialized in corporation sole laws, stating that the ordinary has never lost control of the property or of the Corporation and that therefore the restriction of use, decreed by the ordinary to establish the juridical person of the seminary (CIC. 114 and 120 §1) and to protect its stability, can be freely revoked by the ordinary or his successor.
Report (Point 2): The statutes of the RMS are specifically designed to form presbyters for the “New Evangelization” as understood by the Neocatechumenal Way. As a result, the seminarians’ formation does not prioritize the importance of parish ministry, parish management and the general familiarity of the seminarians with parish life.
ANSWER: The Neocatechumenal Way is a way of Christian initiation into faith approved by the Holy See and supported by the last four Popes, Pope Francis, Pope Benedict, St. John Paul II, and Pope Paul VI (Statutes of the NCW art. 1). To form presbyters for the “New Evangelization” is not a characteristic of the Neocatechumenal Way, as it is made clear by the St. Pope John Paul II’s Ad Limina message to CEPAC on Dec. 5, 1999.
The majority of the priests formed in the RMS are serving in the parishes of the Archdiocese: Fr. Alberto (Mount Carmel), Fr. Antonino (Nino Perdido), Fr. Edivaldo (Our Lady of Peace and Safe Journey), Fr. Kryzstof (Santa Rita), Fr. Julius (San Dimas and San Dionisio) are pastors serving in the parishes of this Archdiocese performing daily masses, baptisms, weddings, funerals and performing many other pastoral duties; Fr. Michael is vicar at Dulce Nombre de María, Cathedral Basilica, Fr. Edwin is vicar in Our Lady of Lourdes, Fr. Vincenzo is vicar in San Vicente in Barriagda, and are serving under priests not from the RMS and obeying them. The priests formed in RMS take care of all parishioners; there is no distinction between those who attend the Neocatechumenal Way and those who do not. Seminarians also participate in Archdiocesan events: the parish fiestas, constant liturgical assistance at the Cathedral, days of recollection, walk for life or any other special event The seminarians do pastoral works in the parishes in different periods of the year, getting to know the people, the difficulties, the sufferings, and the realities, giving them a tremendous affinity and love for the parishes and its parishioners. The priests formed at the seminary are incardinated in the Archdiocese of Agana; thus confirming the diocesan nature of the RMS.
Report (Point 3):. “Decision making on all levels, from the daily administration to the most important matters of governance, is controlled by the leadership of the Neocatechumenal Way”.
ANSWER: The seminary is “controlled” only by the Ordinary; in this case, the Archbishop of Agana is the Sole Member and sole authority of the seminary. Article 18 § 3 (Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way) provides that the RMS is governed by the current norms for formation and incardination of diocesan clerics (CIC canons 232-272 and CCEO canons 331-366); these norms are approved by the Holy See, and cannot be modified without its approval (cfr. Article 18 of the Statute). The fact that the formators are from the Neocatechumenal Way and not from the archdiocese does not affect at all the diocesan character of the seminary since it is the secular tradition of the Church to use for the formation of priests those charisms and experiences most suited for it: so the formation in San Francisco is totally entrusted to the Sulpicians Fathers and in Fiji to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and not to diocesan priests.