+ Concerned Catholics of Guam, Inc. +
For Immediate Release
For further information, contact:
- Gregory Perez, president at 727-3233 or
- David Sablan, vice president at 482-4647
December 9, 2014
Guam Catholics organize to investigate archdiocese
A group of Catholics from parishes across Guam have decided to formally incorporate as a non-profit organization to investigate problems with the Archdiocese and its management that have come under fire recently, and to address ways to improve the services of the archdiocese to the parishes throughout Guam.
The non-profit corporation organized to address major concerns and issues that have affected the Catholic faithful on Guam, with the objective of resolving the problems affecting the confidence and trust they have in their church leadership.
“Concerned Catholics of Guam, Inc. (CCOG) was established because many of the Catholic faithful are at a loss and confused as to what is going on at the Chancery,” said Greg Perez, president of the organization. “A few of us would meet occasionally to discuss these stories about the Archbishop, priests who have been allegedly blamed for mismanagement of funds or alleged disobedience and then removed from their parishes, the lack of transparency with the finances of the Archdiocese, neglect of precious artifacts in the archdiocesan museum, among other issues. We decided to do something about this, so we organized ourselves to address these problems and seek the best solutions possible to correct them.” Perez further stated.
“These problems are serious,” said David Sablan, vice president of CCOG. “I believe many of the faithful of the Catholic Church on Guam have lost trust and confidence in their church leadership. They deserve to know the truth. For example, we were told plausible reasons for the removal of two priests from their parish duties. We found out later the way the archdiocese actually handled the removal of those two priests from their duties was shocking. The due process rights of these two priests were ignored. Reasons given for their removal were suspect. Some of us question also why do we need two seminaries on Guam? Do we really have that many vocations to the priesthood that warrant two seminaries? How are these two seminaries being funded? They should not be funded from the money people give to the archdiocese and the parishes throughout Guam. They should raise funds and charge tuition and other fees to sustain themselves, but is this happening?” Sablan added. “These matters are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Statements coming from the archdiocese cannot be relied upon, unfortunately, in light of all that has occurred these couple of years,” Sablan said.
“The group will be proactive in representing the laity of the Catholic Church on Guam. They need a voice that will be heard on issues of concern to all,” said Evangeline Lujan, the secretary of CCOG, and a former volunteer at the Cathedral-Basilica national museum before it was closed by the archbishop at the same time Monsignor James Benavente was removed as rector of the Cathedral-Basilica, four months ago.
“We have read news reports of problems with the finances of the archdiocese; about mistreatment of members of the clergy, and how members of the neo-catechumenal way movement at the invitation of the archbishop have worked its way into the affairs of the archdiocese and some parishes throughout Guam. Parishioners are wondering if their practices are in line with the precepts and rubrics of the Roman Catholic Church and their own statutes as approved by the Vatican. We need answers and the truth to these troubling questions.” Sablan further added.
In addition to the management issues of the archdiocese, CCOG listed other objectives they intend to address per the attached list.
The officers of Concerned Catholics of Guam, Inc. are:
- Gregory D. Perez, President
- David J. Sablan, Vice-President
- Stephen Wm. Martinez, Treasurer
- Evangeline D. Lujan, Secretary