Protests continue strong

By Neil Pang
Guam Daily Post
November 20, 2016

Protests calling for the removal of Archbishop Anthony Apuron from his position as Ordinary for the Archdiocese of Agana continued strong yesterday morning when almost one hundred Catholic faithful turned out to the weekly protests. Source Jose Martinez of the Laity Forward Movement

With the issue of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary resolved by Coadjutor Michael Byrnes’ actions last week, members of the various Catholic lay organizations continued in their mission calling for accountability and transparency.

Laity Forward Movement organizer Lou Klitzkie told the Post in an email that more than 100 people showed up Sunday morning to protest outside the front doors of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña.

The protests, which have been going on since June of this year, have called attention to the main issues that many Catholic faithful have felt were not being properly addressed.

Dave Sablan, president of Concerned Catholics of Guam, explained that CCOG was primarily concerned with three things when they joined the weekly protests: the return of Rev. Paul Goffigan and Monsignor James Benavente to their respective posts, the return of the RMS Yona property to the Archdiocese of Agana and the removal of Archbishop Anthony Apuron from his office.

According to Klitzkie, the tone of the protests had changed since Byrnes rescinded the controversial and potentially illegal deed restriction and title transfer, and formally returned the parcels of land known collectively as the “RMS Yona property” via documents filed with the appropriate government agencies last week.

Klitzkie said that with the RMS situation more or less resolved, the protesters were able to focus on their message - “Apuron Out.”

Though Post files state that Apuron had earlier claimed it a more difficult task than merely rescinding the document filed with the Department of Land Management, Byrnes was able to complete the task within days of becoming aware of his assignment, and did so entirely on his own using his “complete ecclesiastical authority.”


Sablan, who said that he had been able to review the documents recently submitted with DLM and Rev and Tax, reported that Byrnes had followed church law in taking the actions that he did. Further, because the Archdiocese of Agana was able to resolve the problem before the November deadline and because Sablan said that it would no longer be necessary for CCOG to file a lawsuit.

Sablan told the Post that CCOG had worked closely with the archdiocese, and that they had provided church officials with the directives and funding necessary to ensure that the paperwork was completed in a timely and efficient manner.

Going into the future, Sablan said that CCOG would continue to operate for the original purpose that it was founded.

Firstly, Sablan said that the next likely action on the part of the archdiocese would be to file for something called a “quiet title” transfer – essentially a shortened period of time during which complainants may submit opposition to the amendments made by Byrnes after which no claims can be heard.

Sablan stated that CCOG would continue to offer legal and financial aid in the event that oppositional forces make themselves known.

Beyond that, Sablan explained that CCOG would return to their original mission of helping in the formation of priests for the Archdiocese of Agana and promoting financial transparency and organization within local parishes and the larger diocese.


Calling Apuron an “embarrassment,” Sablan added that the last major issue for CCOG at present is the fact that Apuron is still in possession of the title of Archbishop of Agana despite Byrnes' appointment by the Pope.

With the line of succession in place, Sablan said the Vatican only needs to remove Apuron from his office for the Catholic Church to finally mark the beginning of a new chapter for the island’s faithful.



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