Christian Seminary closes to pay child sex abuse legal fees

Kuam

“Those pursuing priesthood will have to go elsewhere for their education. This after the seminary officially closed doors late last month. What comes next, hopefully, will help the church with paying down millions in clergy sexual abuse lawsuits.

A new year brings big changes to the Church.

“By January 1, Archbishop (Michael) Byrnes had in his hands officially the keys to the entire facility,” said Tony Diaz, the archdiocese’s director of communications, referring to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. Mid-December marked their final semester after nearly two decades in existence. “It has officially ended as far as the formation and academics. No more seminarians down there are undergoing formation,” he said.

Up to 20 seminarians, all affiliated with the Neocatechumenal Way, will have to continue their studies elsewhere and on someone else’s dime. “The seminary has ceased formation and these young men are on their own with the help of their groups,” he said. “They’re moving on to other seminaries elsewhere, off-island. We pray for them. The archbishop, when he made the announcement; he said he was committed to helping these young men who would continue their studies elsewhere.”

Late last year, Archbishop Byrnes announced closure of the seminary and reported the model just wasn’t working for Guam. The Church, instead, will send those pursuing priesthood to seminaries off-island. Diaz confirms the Church is funding the education for three young men who are currently attending St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, California.

With the seminary closed, the real work can begin on the property itself.

“The goal is to sell it,” said Diaz. “So there’s a lot involved in that.” The RMS was once a hotel. The property tops the list of assets the Church anticipates selling in order to fund settlement for the 150-plus clergy sexual abuse lawsuits filed to date.

No word yet on how much the property is worth, but the properties must be Vatican-approved prior to sale.

“That’s one chapter, but many more chapters to go in righting our church, fixing our church, improving all around,” he said.”

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