Vatican Temporarily Replaces Archbishop Of Guam Over Abuse Claims

New apostolic administrator for the Archdiocese of Agana appointed

By Haidee V Eugenio

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 8, 2016) – Pope Francis named a new apostolic administrator for the Archdiocese of Agana as the church investigates sexual abuse allegations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

While Apuron remains Archbishop of Agana, Archbishop Savio Tai Fai Hon has been given temporary authority to govern the archdiocese.

“The appointment of an apostolic administrator ‘sede plena’ means that while the administrator will discharge the archdiocesan pastoral duties, Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron remains the Archbishop of Agana,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

Apuron, 70, has led the archdiocese since 1986. He said he asked for the appointment of an apostolic administrator, pending the investigation.

On Tuesday, Walter Denton, 52, accused Apuron of sexually assaulting him when he was an altar boy in 1977 and Apuron was the parish priest in Agat.

It’s the third allegation against Apuron in recent weeks.

Roy Quintanilla issued a public statement in May saying he was molested by Apuron in the 1970s. About a week later, Doris Y. Concepcion of Arizona accused Apuron of molesting her son, former Agat altar boy Joseph A. Quinata, who died in 2005.

Apuron and the Archdiocese of Agana have denied the allegations, and Apuron has not been charged with any crime.

The announcement of a temporary archbishop for Guam comes a few days after Pope Francis approved new procedures for removing bishops who are negligent in handling sexual abuse complaints.

In a video released Tuesday from Rome, Apuron said, “By this appointment, the Holy Father has understood the importance of establishing the truth and will allow an independent investigation of these false allegations to proceed. I reaffirm my innocence and I’m a victim of these horrible calumnies and I welcome the assistance provided by the Holy Father in sending us Archbishop Hon. I urge you my dear people to pray for me, your Shepherd, and for our Church. I am convinced even though we’re passing through these difficult moments, the Lord has not abandoned us and he will guide us to the truth.”

Hon is the current secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, a congregation in the Catholic Church that directs and coordinates the work of spreading the gospel as well as missionary cooperation.

In January 2015, Hon visited Guam, along with Archbishop Martin Krebs and the Rev. Tadeusz Nowak, for what the Archdiocese of Agana called a “pastoral visit.”

A support group for victims of clergy abuse on Tuesday responded to the Pope’s decision to appoint temporary leadership in Guam.

“We are encouraged that the Vatican has taken this first step. Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron is now a twice-accused predator archbishop — who has also been accused of intimidating victims, bullying Catholics, and manipulating church rules regarding abuse to protect himself. But this is only a first step,” said Joelle Casteix, Western Regional Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“We hope that the new administrator reaches out to and works with victims and local Catholics who have demanded transparency and change. Without their bravery and tenacity, Apuron’s alleged crimes would never have been exposed. We also encourage anyone who has seen or suspected abuse to report immediately to civil authorities.”

A few details about Archbishop Savio Tai Fai Hon’s history with the Catholic Church:

  • Born Oct. 21, 1950 in Hong Kong
  • Became an ordained priest in Hong Kong in 1982
  • Was the former president of the Salesians of Don Bosco of China, a Roman Catholic institute that has expanded to several nations throughout the world
  • A professor of theology at the Holy Spirit Seminary College of Hong Kong
  • Was appointed to Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in December 2010 by by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.
  • In February 2011, Pope Benedict appointed Hon to be the Titular Archbishop of Sila

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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Comments

The "Catholic" church exerts an undue influence on the lives of the people living on Guam. For instance, the "Catholic" church actively and vigorously campaigned against gambling on dog racing a few years ago - they won. The "Catholic" church on Guam also opposed legalizing Medical Marijuana. One and one-half years - 36 months later, Gov Guam (elected mostly by the good "Catholics" on Guam) has not managed to implement the will of the electorate.

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