SINCE the Concerned Catholics of Guam organized at the start of this month, the number of problems that they are asked to look into continues to grow, said David Sablan, vice president of the group.
The Concerned Catholics announced their intention to investigate the local archdiocese and heal a rift within the church on Dec. 9 and since then parishioners have approached them with related problems they want the group to sort out, Sablan said.
“There have been allegations against our archdiocese that have been milling around and this group wants to search out the facts and come up with the truth,” Sablan said.
“What we thought at first was maybe one or two, or a small number, of incidences is now growing tremendously,” said Greg Perez, president of Concerned Catholics. “And again, it’s really disappointing to see something like this happen and … we’ll continue to seek truth and justice.”
The group is hoping to find out how the money of the archdiocese is actually being spent as well as find out why funds are spent on the Redemptoris Mater seminary in Yona, Sablan said. Since the group announced its purpose on Dec. 9, one member, Deacon Steve Martinez was instructed by Archbishop Anthony Apuron to dissociate himself from it, lest he be censured. Martinez’s possible censure is another issue the group is hoping to investigate.
Further, Sablan said parishioners have approached the group about the Our Lady of Guadalupe statue. He was told the statue was taken off its pedestal for repair years ago but has not been replaced.
Additionally, Sablan said Apuron implied the Concerned Catholics are “plotting against the church.” A Dec. 17 letter addressed to Martinez said Martinez is in violation of Canon Law 1374, which prohibits individuals from joining an association that is plotting against the church, Sablan said.
The implication was “shocking” and “surprising” to Sablan and he called on the archbishop to apologize to the group. Sablan said the group’s objectives are not a plot against the church. “We laid out our objectives, we were very transparent about our purpose,” he said.
The group plans to present a list of the issues they are concerned with to high-level church officials visiting from the Vatican sometime next week. The list will also be presented with a petition the group is circulating, Sablan said.
The petition is not to oust the archbishop, said Vangie Lujan, secretary of the organization. The petition is to support the group’s objectives and purpose.