Although the possibility that the church property in the heart of Guam's capital would have to be sold to raise funds for a mediated settlement of the clergy abuse was first raised last year, the official announcement by Archbishop Michael Byrnes of plans to relocate and sell the Chancery property still came as a shock to reporters called to hear the announcement.
The Chancery itself and the residence of Archbishop Byrnes will be relocated to the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica grounds and surrounding buildings.
As the official press release from the Diocese put it, "The move is part of archdiocesan efforts relating to the liquidation and sale of church property on Guam in the midst of challenging financial times and settlement of clergy sexual abuse cases.
Upwards of 160 such cases have been filed in local courts. The mediation process to be applied to most, if not all of the cases is set to begin in September and requires sale of certain Archdiocesan properties.
The Diocese expects relocation of its offices to also take place in September.
[See our April print edition for a full report]