Guam Church’s ‘toxic Environment’ Turns More Toxic

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Marianas Variety
November 23, 2016

Although the Archdiocese of Agana has officially taken over the Redemptoris Mater Serminary building from the Neocatecumental Way, the conflicting accounts of acquisition and ownership of the property have become a contest of who’s telling the truth.

Dr. Ricardo Eusebio, a former member of the recently abolished RMS board, said the ownership of the property has stirred confusion that was caused by a “gigantic mountain of lies.”

“There was no truth to the accusations by various organizations that the property was ‘given away’ to the Neocatecumental Way and alienated from the Archdiocese of Agana,” Eusebio said.

At a press conference on Monday, Eusebio also lambasted Mother Superior Dawn Marie, head of the Carmelite Order, who said last week the dispute over the Yona property and the sex scandals in the church have created a “toxic environment” that forced the Carmelite nuns to end their 50-year mission on Guam.

Dr. Ricardo Eusebio

“Yes, Mother Dawn Marie claims we live in a toxic environment,” Eusebio said. “It has been fueled, however, by her own desire to seek public attention and provide her own rendition of the truth in regards to the seminary. She attempts to discredit Archbishop (Anthony) Apuron and deems him guilty without a trial.”

Eusebio also took a potshot at Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, who, during his five-month temporary duty on Guam, facilitated the Archdiocese’s takeover of the Yona property and called for Apuron’s ouster as head of the local church.

“I am not fond of Archbishop Hon,” Eusebio said.

Taking up the cudgels for Apuron, Eusebio said the disgraced former archbishop successfully led the battle against abortion, same-sex marriage and casino gambling on Guam.

“Unfortunately, a subversion of his moral authority has occurred from within the Catholic Church, where a few organized vocal groups along with some clergy led by Archbishop Hon have neither addressed these issues nor supported the moral authority of the Archbishop of Agana.”

Among other things, the RMS property dispute was a mess that Hon was tasked to clean up when the Vatican relieved Apuron of his pastoral duties on June 6, 2016. Last week, Rev. Michael Jude Byrnes, newly appointed archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana, issued a decree, rescinding Apuron’s 2011 deed of restriction that gave the RMS a permanent right to the property.

Prior to Byrnes’ decree, Sister Marie gave media interviews, disclosing that the Order of the Discalced Carmelites was the benefactor that donated the $2 million to pay off the bank loan used to acquire the Yona building, which was formerly the Accion Hotel. The order remained an anonymous donor until last week.

Marie said she was not aware that the donation was to be used for RMS. She alleged that Apuron had asked her to “lie” and say that the donation was intended as a gift to be used for Neocatecumenal Way’s seminary.

“We appreciate the clarification made by Mother Dawn Marie this week regarding the genuine intent of the benefactor, which was unfortunately twisted by some people,” Hon said. “The Sisters tried hard to tolerate it and to remain silent as much as possible. I am glad that before her departure this week Mother Dawn Marie was able to reveal the truth in a limpid way.”

The Order of the Discalced Carmelites, which began its mission on Guam in 1966, celebrated its final mass on June 14 and left for its new home in California.”We didn’t have a hope for a viable future, that’s the reason we had to move,” she said.

Rebuking Marie’s claims, Eusebio provided the media a copy of e-mail exchanges in 2003 between Apuron and Mother Stella Maris, then the head of the Camelites , in which they agreed to use the donation for the purchase and renovation of the old hotel building, which was to be converted into NCW’s seminary.

Even though Apuron designated the building to RMS in 2011, Eusebio maintained that the property was never taken away from the Archdiocese. This argument, he added, can be supported by the fact that Byrnes reassigned the property to the Archdiocese and, at the same time, abolished the RMS board, which ran the seminary.

“So, paradoxically, we are extremely happy that all the lies involving the loss of property … have been revealed for what they are: lies and calumnies,” Eusebio said. The new archbishop, with a stroke of his pen, demonstrated the toxic nature of this gigantic mountain of lies.”

Eusebio said he will try to seek an audience with Byrnes when he arrives on Guam at the end of month. “I would like to tell him what exactly we did as a board,” he said. “. If you’re alone, there won’t be anyone to support you. I will tell him how important it is to have a board.”








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