Church problems detailed: Apuron defends actions, parishioners petition Vatican

Pacific Daily News

Written by
Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
Pacific Daily News

The previous management of Guam’s Catholic cemeteries overstated its assets and used land that wasn’t under its name to secure a loan, Archbishop Anthony Apuron announced yesterday.

The archbishop issued a public statement to further explain his reason for firing Monsignor James Benavente, who was the director of Catholic Cemeteries of Guam Inc.

Apuron also removed Benavente as rector of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica — a post he held for nearly 20 years.

Benavente this week declined to comment on the issue, but he participated in a Tuesday prayer, organized by those who do not support the archbishop’s actions.

Richard Untalan, a former finance official for the island’s Catholic Church, this week questioned the decision to blame Benavente, saying Apuron also played a role in the financial decisions.

Untalan, former president of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, said a $7 million debt cited by Apuron is related to money that was borrowed by the church for renovation and construction.

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