VIDEO: Local Teen Denied Sponsorship to Off-Island Seminary, Archdiocese’s Reasons Unclear

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Guam – Local Catholic follower Tim Rohr is raising concerns about the activities at the Archdiocese of Agana after a local man was denied sponsorship to an off-island seminary even after offering to pay for his own education.

PNC obtained a copy of the email exchange between that man, Aaron Quitugua, and Father Adrian Cristobal. In the emails, Rohr accuses the Archbishop of a blatantly lying after the Archdiocese had initially claimed that they couldn’t afford to send Quitugua off-island.

“Here’s a guy, a local boy, probably 18 to 20 years old. He’s been an altar boy since he was old enough to stand over at the cathedral. Short little kid with glasses, very sincere, very angelic, cherubic looking kid really, and everybody always knew he was gonna be a priest and he always knew he was gonna be a priest,” Rohr describes Quitugua.

Aaron Quitugua is a local student seeking to become a diocesan priest on Guam. However, he has been denied sponsorship to an off-island seminary even after he offered to pay his own tuition. Quitugua declined an on-camera interview, but Tim Rohr, a close Catholic observer, says he’s helping Quitugua shed some light on the issue.

You can read more on this in Rohr’s online blog.

“And so along comes the big day where he’s gonna apply to the seminary and he’s told–because every priest before him has gone off island to the seminary in the states–so Aaron says I wanna be a priest for the Archdiocese of Agana. The answer is that the Archbishop gave him is that, ‘We don’t have the money to send you off island. You’ll have to attend the local one.'”

The local seminary, the Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, at the Redemptoris Mater, however, is fairly new. It’s not yet accredited and, as Quitugua points out in the concerns he voiced in his email, it will not transfer the college credits he’s already earned from the University of Guam.

“So you go off island to the seminary, it’s just like going to college, and then you come back and you’re a priest and you’re like Monsignor James and like everybody else,” explains Rohr. “See every other seminary is part of a four-year institution where you get the equivalent of a college degree. Well there is none of that here.”

What is here, according to the theological institute’s website sanvitoresinstitute.com, is an affiliation to the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. The affiliation, the website states, “would be a guarantee of the continuation and growth of the Catholic faith in the Pacific.”

But Rohr has some deep concerns about this new seminary and its involvement in the widely criticized neo catechumenal way.

“The archbishop says, well too bad, you’ll have to be a neocatechumenal, you’ll have to go to our seminary. Well that seminary is not accredited,” he points out. “They have this sort of fake institution that’s supposed to give you a certificate or something like that when you get done with it, but it’s not the equivalent of a college degree.”

So Quitugua offered to pay for his own tuition. And he states this several times in his correspondence with Father Adrian.

“I regret to inform you that your request to have the Archdiocese sponsor you at Mt. Angel Seminary is denied,” was the response he got.

PNC sought comment from Father Adrian last week, but he declined. Instead he directed us to Umatuna Si Yu’os, the Archdiocesan newspaper.

In the March 2nd edition is a centerfold Q&A section. One of the questions focuses on sending seminarians off-island. In its answer, the Archdiocese states in part that a bishop is canonically within his right to decide which seminary he chooses for the formation of his seminarians.

“Our Archbishop is taking the opportunity to utilize the faculties and formation centers we have on island to provide for the formation of future priests. Therefore, at this time, it is not necessary to send seminarians to another country or state for formation,” it states.