Catholics criticize Apuron, sect

Pacific Daily News

Written by
Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
Pacific Daily News

There’s a bigger, deeper battle behind the recent controversies involving the local Catholic church, some observers said yesterday.

As dozens of island Catholics gathered yesterday at the steps of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica to support ousted Monsignor James Benavente, and also to pray for healing, observers said the deeper rift stems from a sect within the church whose actions depart from some of the oldest Catholic traditions.

Archbishop Anthony Apuron removed Benavente from being rector of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña over alleged fiscal mismanagement, the archbishop stated yesterday.

“There is a bigger issue at play here: The imposition of the Neocathecumenal Way upon the Catholic Church in Guam,” said Charles White, a Guam resident who writes a blog called The Thoughtful Catholic.

“Members of the Neocathecumenal Way practice their faith in a way that largely separates them from their parishes,” White wrote in an email.

“For example, they celebrate Mass away from the Church proper every Saturday night, instead of attending normal parish Masses,” White stated. “While they insist that these Masses are open to others, in practice, they are not. They are not even published in the parish bulletin.” …
The Guam Catholic church’s leadership, through Archbishop Anthony Apuron, hasn’t responded to phone calls or emailed requests for comment on the Neocatechumenal Way.

Apuron is a member of the Neocathecumenal Way, says Tim Rohr, another outspoken critic of the archbishop who offers daily updates on local church issues on his blog Jungle Watch.

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