Diocese wants best outcome for everyone in Kukui Gardens situation
I WOULD LIKE to clarify several misperceptions regarding my role and that of the Roman Catholic Church in the Kukui Gardens situation.
The Roman Catholic Church in the state of Hawaii (also known as the Diocese of Honolulu) has no jurisdiction over Kukui Gardens or the Ching Foundation.
Additionally, the diocese plays no role in the daily operations of the Catholic organizations represented on the Kukui Gardens Board, i.e. St. Francis Healthcare System and the Marianist Center of Hawaii (Chaminade University and St. Louis Schools). Despite popular perceptions based on our shared Catholic identity, these entities do not come under the direct authority of the bishop. Therefore, the diocese is not privy to complete information about the foundation, its structure, Kukui Gardens or the details of the pending sale. In fact, it is my understanding that we, like other nonparties, are legally prevented from access to confidential information available only to the parties involved.
CONTRARY to assertions made in the local media, I have not refused to become involved in the Kukui Gardens controversy. While my involvement has not been precisely what certain parties would have prescribed, I have been quite involved. Since February 2006, my advisers and I have spent many hours in dialogue with those involved on both sides of the controversy and have discussed among ourselves how the best interests of those in need can continue to be served as the Kukui Gardens project moves forward.
As the bishop of Honolulu, I, like many in the community, am extremely concerned about the well-being of the tenants in need at Kukui Gardens. Given the Catholic Church's long and documented advocacy for affordable housing and our history of outreach to those who are most in need, we have a keen interest in a positive outcome for the Kukui Gardens tenants who are in need.
Having listened to the parties involved, I must acknowledge the good will of advocates on both sides and the extreme complexity of the issues involved in finding a reasonable solution. The complexity of the challenge does not lend itself to either sound-bite solutions or attacks on the motives of the others involved.
OUR DIOCESE represents neither side, but rather, like the community at large, supports an outcome that will best serve the needs of the parties involved with particular emphasis on those in the greatest need.
Given the recently reported developments that a new nonprofit buyer might be prepared to purchase the property and maintain its affordability for the residents in need, now might be the time for the decision makers to re-examine whether there is a better way forward for Kukui Gardens.
We continue to believe that the best interests of the tenants in need and the common good of the community are best served by the values of clarity and charity. To that end, we will continue to promote the dissemination of accurate information and respectful discussion as all segments of the community work together toward the best possible outcome for Kukui Gardens and its tenants in need.
Larry Silva is the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.