Neocatechumenal Way, Seminary Drama Will Continue
By Joe R. San Agustin
Pacific Daily News
April 23, 2016
Archbishop Anthony Apuron claims that his deed of restriction, filed secretly with the Department of Land Management, in November 2011, did not transfer ownership and control of the seminary property in Yona. Not true. In my analysis, the advancement of the NeoCatechumenal Way’s agenda and the enthronement of its cultic religion on the Catholics of Guam is at the center of all this hoopla.
The Way, in the mid- to late-1990s, convinced Apuron that a seminary in Guam will enhance his leadership of the Church in the Pacific region. Thus, the establishment of a Redemptoris Mater Seminary … in Guam in December 1999 became a necessary prelude.
Serendipitously, the former Accion Hotel was put up for sale at a very low price of $2 million. Its value today, however, has been pegged at between $40 million and $75 million. The Archdiocese of Agana took out a bank loan to buy that property, which was shortly thereafter paid in full by a donor.
The archdiocese now has a seminary fully paid for, with The Way operating it. The title to the seminary property, however, was not in the name of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary corporation, something The Way wanted done to ensure perpetual ownership of the property.
In September 2011, the Archdiocesan Finance Council was asked by Apuron to agree to the transfer, since the council’s consent was required, as well as Vatican concurrence. The council voted against the transfer; Vatican approval/concurrence was not obtained. Even the archdiocese’s own legal counsel at that time advised against the transfer.
In late November 2011, notwithstanding the council’s vote against the transfer, the absence of Vatican concurrence and against his own legal counsel’s advice, Apuron covertly registered his deed of restriction, giving control and ownership to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary corporation — in perpetuity.
In early 2015, more than three years later, the clandestine deed was found at Land Management and exposed. The deed — according to a Guam real estate attorney’s legal opinion — was indeed an alienation of property, a transfer of property to Redemptoris Mater Seminary. Apuron’s claim that he still owned the property was debunked by Jacques Bronze’s research and legal opinion.
The chancery subsequently hired an off-island law firm to affirm that the Archbishop of Agana still owned the property. If you wanted to see that opinion, however, you had to go to the chancery; you were not allowed to make a copy or take notes and a staff member had to be with you at all times to oversee your review.
Amidst continuing controversy, the chancery last year requested a certificate of title from Land Management to show that the Archbishop of Agana is still the owner of the property, hoping to win over the general public into not believing the Bronze legal opinion.
Land Management acquiesced and issued a certificate of title not showing the deed of restriction. It was deleted, thus showing (per last entry), the Archbishop of Agana as the owner. The chancery printed that certificate of title in the church’s weekly newspaper in November 2015 and touted it as proof that the archbishop did not give the property away.
Attorney and former Sen. Robert Klitzkie noticed the error (the omission) and brought it to the attention of Land Management’s management. Land Management initially admitted its error and assured Klitzkie that a correction will be made pursuant to Guam law via a petition to be filed with the court. Land Management and an assistant attorney general opted instead, to “fix” the certificate of title administratively (after consultation with the chancery legal counsel) by issuing another certificate of title — this time with again showing the deed of restriction, but not showing the Redemptoris Mater Seminary as owner. Instead, it showed the archdiocese as owner! That is why we say “correcting the error” was worse than the error itself.
Land Management’s admission of the errors, the questionable motive for the errors, Land Management’s questionable way of “fixing” the errors, the Office of the Attorney General’s support of the Land Management solution to correcting the error and now Sen. Tom Ada’s “smelling of a fish” — and a foul smell it is — and his wanting to hold an informational hearing on Land Management’s policy and practice in handling certificates of title changes all add to the intrigue. A simple petition filing with the court would have been a fast, transparent and correct solution.
“Fixing” a defective certificate of title administratively is not an option in the law. The drama continues and will continue until the truth comes out. It’s all about the advancement of the NeoCatechumenal Way’s cultic religion upon the Catholics of Guam. It’s all about the betrayal of our spiritual leader. It’s all about the money!
We’re looking forward to Ada’s hearing findings. Stay tuned!