Timothy J. Rohr
P.O. Box 9001
Agat, GU 96928
July 28, 2016
Honorable Frank Blas Aguon, Jr.
Ste. 503 DNA Bldg
238 Archbishop Flores St.
Hagåtña, Guam 96910
Ph.: (671) 475-4861/2
RE: TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF BILL 326-33 AS SUBSTITUTED BY THE COMMITTEE
There was no better illustration of why we need the current legislation than what we witnessed yesterday at the press conference called by Archbishop Hon Tai Fai, the Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Agana.
Later, when pressed to respond after a third and fourth alleged Apuron victim came forward, Hon made a public statement about how he was praying for both Apuron and the victims “without prejudice.”
On June 12, Walter Denton, who accused Apuron of raping him when he was a 12 years old altar boy in Agat, stood on the steps of the Cathedral mere feet away from Archbishop Hon. A PDN news camera captured Walter asking Fr. Ted Nowak who was standing next to Hon to speak with him. Hon was addressing the demonstrators in front of the Cathedral. Nowak told Denton “No, he has to say Mass.” Then Nowak and Hon turned their backs on Denton and disappeared into the Cathedral.
Denton and his wife decided to attend the Mass celebrated by Hon. However, according to Denton, before Mass began, Hon addressed the congregation noting that there were protestors in front of the Cathedral but that they would be gone “in two weeks.” Denton and his wife walked out of the church.
On July 1, Robert Klitzkie and Greg Perez, representing the Concerned Catholics of Guam, met with Archbishop Hon and shared with him a lengthy list of issues, including and especially mentioning his lack of attention to Apuron’s alleged victims. According to Mr. Klitzkie, Hon’s only response was to “quibble” with the word “victims” and to say “good-bye.”
For decades now, the Catholic Church has shown itself generally unwilling to police itself in the matter of the molestation of minors by Catholic clergy unless it is suddenly faced with legal and fiscal consequences.
This is what happened on Monday, July 25, when Archbishop Hon was served the summons to defend against the complaint filed by Attorney David Lujan in behalf of his clients, the alleged victims whom Apuron subsequently and publicly libeled, slandered, and maligned.
It is no coincidence that Hon called a press conference two days later to say that he was now going to reach out to the victims and that he was taking the allegations seriously. Given the international press Guam had during the initial phase of the allegations against Apuron, practically the whole world knew that this was why Hon was sent here. Yet it took a law suit and nearly two months for him to get around to saying so.
Sadly, the abomination of child sex abuse has thrived in the bowels of the Catholic Church because of a culture of mutual clerical secrecy and a false hagiography attributed to the clergy by many well-intentioned laity. But most of all, as we are now seeing in the media with greater frequency, the “filth in the Church,” as Pope Benedict once termed it, can be laid at the feet of the episcopal arrogance we suffered first from Apuron and now from Hon.
Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, seems to move these “Monarchs of the Church” to responsible action other than the very long arm of the law. And sadly, while it should be God’s law which moves them, it is not. It is laws like the one before us today.
Senators, whether you know it or not, the whole world is watching. Go to the Flag Counter on JungleWatch.info and see the number of countries which are tuning into the drama being carried out daily in Guam. Watch the Real Time Counter and see the log ins clicking through every few seconds from every corner of the globe. Check the PageView counter and see it tick up by at least 10,000 views per day. In the Flag View Counter, check to see how often Vatican City logs in.
Why are they watching?
Archbishop Apuron is a member of a very powerful and well-financed international organization which has wrought similar heartache and destruction in dioceses around the world. Even now it is caring for him and hiding him as it has other disgraced clerics, most recently our own Fr. Luis Camacho who was secretly shuttled off to a diocese in the Middle East after his arrest in Guam last year.
The fact that it is a bishop who stands accused of these horrors, and that a major figure of the Roman Curia has been assigned to Guam in his stead, has heightened world attention on what is happening right here, right now, and in this room.
There is a chance that should this law pass and be enacted into law, that Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, one of the few bishops in the world who is a member of this organization and who is a major player in its mad scheme, will be brought to justice, and the Vatican will finally see that this hiding and moving and secreting about of those who abuse and ravage and rape our children, will not only not be tolerated, but will be pursued and prosecuted and punished by every possible legal means.
Senators, the world is watching and waiting to see if you are ready and willing to stop these monsters.
Resident of Agat, Guam
Pdf copy here