Byrnes closes theological institute
By Haidee V. Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
January 16, 2018
|Archbishop Micheal Byrnes|
A theological institute that the Neocatechumenal Way used to operate has officially closed, a week after the movement's former seminary also closed.
Both facilities operated in the Archdiocese of Agana's property that used to be the Accion Hotel in Yona. The Yona property is one of 41 assets that the archdiocese said could be sold to help settle the now more than 150 Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits filed against the archdiocese.
Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes signed a decree officially ceasing the operations of the Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores Catholic Theological Institute for Oceania, effective Jan. 9.
Byrnes said the decision came after a committee review of the institute's nature of inception and operation, the model for which is not sustainable for the archdiocese.
The archbishop said the decision was also in consultation with the Presbyteral Council, the College of Consultors, and the Archdiocesan Finance Council.
As of Jan. 1, the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, which had been the seat on Guam of the Neocatechumenal Way, also officially closed and its keys were turned over to Byrnes.
The theological institute was established to provide academic formation for seminarians at the RMS.
The Neocatechumenal Way is a movement within the Catholic Church whose practices sometimes are at odds with those of Guam's traditional Catholic community. In March 2017, Byrnes asked for a one-year pause on the formation of new Neocatechumenal Way communities.
Archbishop Anthony Apuron, a part of the Neocatechumenal Way movement, deeded the Yona seminary and theological institute property to the Neocatechumenal Way against the advice of his own advisory council, which he later fired.
Byrnes said the theological institute was decreed together with RMS on Guam in the use of property and in the operation of its goals.
After Apuron left Guam in 2016, the archdiocese, under Byrnes as coadjutor archbishop, took back control of the Yona property.
Apuron is on Vatican canonical trial, which started a few months after former altar boys accused him of sexually abusing or raping them in the 1970s when he was a parish priest in Agat. A Jan. 10 lawsuit also alleges that Apuron raped his nephew when he was archbishop, around 1989 or 1990.
The pope appointed Byrnes as replacement for Apuron, should Apuron resign, retire or is removed.