Friday, February 10, 2017

TODAY'S PRESS CONFERENCE AND TWO POINTS

Posted by Tim

Today at 1:30, Archbishop Byrnes held a press conference to provide an update on his response to the sex abuse scandal in our diocese. You can watch the video of the conference here

I would just like to make two points. I found it odd that Archbishop Byrnes chose to begin and end the opening prayer WITHOUT the Sign of the Cross. So just a note to the Archbishop: We Catholics in Guam are not shy about making the Sign of the Cross in public. Feel free to do it.

My next point is taken from the PDN reporters question: What happens if it is the bishop himself who is accused? 

The USCCB'S CHARTER FOR THE PROTECTION OF YOUNG PEOPLE makes one small provision for this at the end (which we will examine). However, as you can see by the samples of the language from the Charter below, the Charter assumes that the offending cleric is a priest or deacon, while the bishop is consistently mentioned only in his governance role:

Article 5
Diocesan/eparchial policy is to provide that for even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor* whenever it occurred—which is admitted or established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon is to be permanently removed from ministry and, if warranted, dismissed from the clerical state. 

The diocesan/eparchial bishop is to exercise his power of governance, within the parameters of the universal law of the Church, to ensure that any priest or deacon subject to his governance who has committed even one act of sexual abuse of a minor as described below (see note) shall not continue in ministry.

A priest or deacon who is accused of sexual abuse of a minor is to be accorded the presumption of innocence during the investigation

Norms
6. When an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest or deacon is received, a preliminary investigation in accordance with canon law will be initiated 

8. When even a single act of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from ecclesiastical ministry

9. ...diocesan bishop/eparch shall exercise this power of governance to ensure that any priest or deacon who has committed even one act of sexual abuse of a minor as described above shall not continue in active ministry

10 The priest or deacon may at any time request a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state. In exceptional cases, the bishop/eparch may request of the Holy Father the dismissal of the priest or deacon from the clerical state ex officio, even without the consent of the priest or deacon. 

12. No priest or deacon who has committed an act of sexual abuse of a minor may be transferred for a ministerial assignment in another diocese/eparchy

The possibility of bishops as the "accused" surfaces only twice. Once in the Preamble: "The sexual abuse of children and young people by some deacons, priests, and bishops" and next in "A Statement of Episcopal Commitment," at the end of the Charter:

2. We will apply the requirements of the Charter also to ourselves, respecting always Church law as it applies to bishops. Therefore, if a bishop is accused of the sexual abuse of a minor, the accused bishop is obliged to inform the Apostolic Nuncio. If another bishop becomes aware of the sexual abuse of a minor by another bishop or of an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor by a bishop, he too is obliged to inform the Apostolic Nuncio and comply with applicable civil laws. 

As you can see, the bishop has to tell on himself, or at best, another bishop is supposed to. So even though the above says that the requirements of the Charter "will also apply to ourselves," by virtue of the fact that he must tell on himself to the Nuncio exempts him from the provisions of the Charter relative to the treatment of priests and deacons. 

Also, there is no information about what will happen beyond the Nuncio. It disappears into the Roman labyrinth of secrecy.  This is exactly why Apuron used to sing (and maybe still does), "No one can get me." 

Still, kudos to Byrnes for trying to go in the right direction. He has an opportunity here to truly gain the trust he says he is seeking by modifying the Charter to include the word "bishop" wherever it says "priest or deacon," and to clearly outline what happens after the Nuncio is informed. 

He might also want to include a provision which prohibits bishops from threatening to sue their accusers to "defend the Church," as Apuron threatened to do and would have done had there not been JungleWatch. 

53 comments:

  1. What a breath of fresh air this is compared to what we were subjected to for decades. Abp Byrnes may be young and have little experience running a diocese but his humility and sincerity are a welcome change. I pray for more positive actions and true healing for everyone in the church.

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    1. Fresh air? Still smells of the same old rot. The Neo's have their way. RMS continues. Pius running things.

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    2. What has Byrnes actually done since arriving on Guam, aside from rewarding criminal Cristobal with school in Canada? So far, he's a dud.

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    3. If Byrnes is "fresh air", he'll let the Neocats suffocate you. He's incompetent, not humble.

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    4. Humility says Andrew. Byrnes has a lot to be humble about. He doesn't know what he's doing and doesn't seem to want to learn.

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  2. Correct impression, Andrew, of the man. But Pius is in charge. Don't kid yourself.

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  3. watched but frankly hardly builds trust.

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  4. what does "permanent removal from public ministry" mean? A life of prayer and penance in solitude? At the expense of the archdiocese in which the subject priest is incardinated, like Fr. Brouillard? Or, can it mean "defrocking"?

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    1. Both. But remember, in Brouillard's case he was not removed from ministry by Agana, but by Duluth, which is where Flores shipped him, and where he continued to abuse.

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    2. Can this new policy be applied to (Fr.) Luis Camacho retroactively?

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    3. The Diocese of Duluth is also bankrupt because of pedophile priests. Their bishop refused for well over a year to surrender personnel records demanded by the Courts. It is one of the worst dioceses in Minnesota.

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  5. The sign of the cross is only our outward profession of what we believe in our hearts. A profession in the fundamental truth of our faith that God is Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I surely did not expect this from our shepherd who should be teaching by his very example. On another note, If Louis Camacho is incardinated in our Archdiocese, and we are paying his salary, this charter from USCCB sex abuse policy should apply to him also. Question is, How will Byrnes enforce it if Camacho is in hiding? Can we suspend Camacho's salary to draw him out and then enforce the requirements of this 0 tolerance policy? Waiting anxiously for some answer to this very important question.

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    1. Waste of timeDiana said he's not guilty. Sorry.

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    2. I asked the same thing about Camacho. He should be laicized and handed over to civil authorities for prosecution. He's a punk, not a priest.

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    3. He WAS handed over to the civil authorities. He was arrested. However, the girl was of age of legal consent for sex and chose not to press charges. He was still charged with custodial interference. However, thanks to the AG, the same AG who "worked something out" with Jackie on the Certificate of Title fiasco, the case disappeared. And we think Rome is bad!

      As an aside, aren't our laws funny. A seventeen year old can legally consent to sex, but cannot be picked up from school by someone who doesn't have her parents permission.

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    4. Just as un-funny as our laws here in the US. School nurses need parental consent to give sick kids aspirin, but they can dispense prescription contraceptives and send pregnant girls to abortionists without their parents' knowledge or consent.

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  6. I agree with Andrew about a breath of fresh air. Byrnes is starting with the Charter which will be amended to fit the local situation and to include all clergy, including a bishop, religious, and laity. Just wait and see. :)

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    1. Will be "amended?" Not. He may do it now that we have pointed it out to him. But he made no mention of amending it to include bishops, in fact, he declared that the treatment of bishops was already addressed in the Charter. Right. The bishops are supposed to tell on themselves. LOL. That charter was written by bishops for bishops.

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    2. But, Tim, but, Tim the charter is the gold standard : )

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  7. The USCCB Charter is public information and official policy of the US Catholic Church. Byrnes is not doing anything special by following the rules.

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    1. Guam is not part of the US Church.

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  8. Guam's bishops are non-voting members of the USCCB because Guam is a US Territory.

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    1. No. We only have observer status because our diocese is not part of the USCCB. Guam is part of the Episcopal Conference of Oceania. We only have observer status because Guam once was a member of the USCCB. We switched in 1984.

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    2. Anytime the 'observer' slash molester showed up to observe he was laughed out of town. Loser.

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    3. Tim is one hundred percent right.
      The only way we could be re-integrated within the US conference of Bishops would be if at a later date Guam decided to become a full fledged State of the USA like Alaska and Hawaii did, or like Puerto Rico is currently considering.
      But looking at the "intellectual and political leadership " of our island, we are not likely to go down that way any time soon, if ever.

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    4. Guam not wanting Statehood is irrelevant to the US. They already own the place and they'll continue to exert their military presence unimpeded. It's estimated that they'll soon control 40% of the island. More than that if South China Sea threats worsen.

      Your "intellectual and political leadership" can't even control their own archdiocese, so it's obvious they won't get anywhere with the massive US Government either.

      I don't mean to sound unkind, but you have to face facts. That's just the way it is.

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  9. will Fr. Rudee survive the background checks?

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    1. Rudee. Where you been? Silenced? By your pastor?

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    2. He's been very active. Just not publishing his filthy crap.

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    3. When is Byrnes going to do something about Rudee and the other priests having affairs? Or is it just same old, same old, wink, wink, nod, nod Old Boys' Club?

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    4. Mary Lou Garcia-PeredaFebruary 12, 2017 at 11:02 PM

      Thank you, Tim, for sparing us the vulgarity that is characteristic of comments submitted by the Rude Presbyter Rudy. I, for one, do not miss them.

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  10. I find it odd that an AB would begin a prayer WITHOUT the Sign of the Cross, which distinguishes the Catholic faithful from all other Christian faiths. AB Bynes has a touch of "Vatican II" ecumenicism.

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    1. Everything Byrnes has done so far is "odd". He's not in synch with the urgency of this situation. It needs a kick-ass archbishop, not a wimpy academic whose strings are pulled by corrupt Rome.

















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  11. AB Byrnes said that the way to address a Bishop who is accused of sexual abuse is for the College of Consultors (a subset of the Presbyterial Council) would deliberate and decide what to do, then forward their decision to the Nuncio. Sounds like a good plan.

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    1. Maybe. But the college of consultors is hardly impartial. The future of any incardinated priest is intimately tied to his relations with his bishop. Imagine Edivaldo as one of the consultors.

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    2. Number one, is Edivaldo in the college of consultors?? Number two, the college of consultors is hardly a well oiled machine. Apuron didn't use it for years!!

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    3. You don't need a damn committee to handle child abuse!

      The way to do it when child molestation is reported is to immediately suspend the priest and let civil authorities investigate the case. If he's innocent, that makes it official and the accuser's lies can be dealt with. If he's guilty, to hell with him.

      Actually, I'm in favor of frontier justice for pedophiles, but that's not p.c.

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    4. CCOG sent the Chancery a 7-Point Plan to address how to treat victims and reports of Clergy Sex Abuse. That when adopted by the Chancery and the Archdiocese of Agana will cover the bishop, religious, and anyone who works for the Archdiocese in the schools, etc. That is what needs to be incorporated into this general plan of the USCCB, which deals more specifically on what to do with the Clergy who are accused of child sex abuse.

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    5. Is college of consultors list up to date?? Anybody?

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    6. Yes, that Plan from CCOG recommended professionals from the community and government whose work involves dealing with sex abuse victims and abusers be the ones to handle any clergy sex abuse. Simple reason: No one can trust the clergy to deal with clergy sex abuse. That is like going to the mafia bosses to tell them that you were beaten up by one of their henchmen. I can see the mafia bosses say, "Don't worry, forget about it." We need independent and objective 3rd party involvement in the handling and resolution of such clergy sex abuse crimes. No one in the Chancery is a professional in this sensitive matter. Any plan to deal with clergy sex abuse MUST include the outside organizations, otherwise, any plan without them included is another SHAM!!!

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    7. Merely leaving it up to civil authority doesn't do the job. Look at the case of lock-in' Loiuie. The civil law didn't line up with the Church's definition so they went down a completely different track. You need a church group with more independence to insure the fight thing is done. AND, instead of Apurun you need an honest bishop who will do the right thing even if it is hard.

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    8. The Church lets pedophiles skate and you can't even control your own archdiocese.

      Penitentiary monasteries are ancient history. The only imprisoned pedophile priests were put behind bars by civil authorities. One American was sentenced to around 275 years. Civil Courts don't pander to these monsters.



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    9. "You can't control your own archdiocese." Who are you referring to?

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  12. What do Byrnes and his adoption of the USCCB charter on protecting our youth from clergy sex abuse and the Vatican investigators being sent to Guam have in common? My answer: $80 million dollars worth of lawsuits! It is a sad commentary that the Vatican did not do anything publicly to show their interest in the sex abuse victims of apuron until the lawsuits filed grew from Two Million Dollars worth to Eighty Million Dollars! I wonder how much more the lawsuits have to be to get the Pope to announce his interest/visit?
    Truly, money talks and ... you know what... walks!

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    1. 12:13. Excellent comment!

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  13. As a corollary to Anon 02/11@12:13 pm's comments: what if no lawsuits were ever filed by these sex abuse victims of apuron/brouillard, will we have the USCCB Charter being adopted for Guam? Will we have Vatican investigators coming to Guam? I seriously doubt it. What we will get is the comment that the Vatican knows, the Papal Nuncio knows, the new Archbishop knows and they are all working "secretly" on the cases.
    Byrnes said it correctly: it will take a long time to regain our trust. Until then, I, at least, will look at all their pronouncements and their actions with suspicion.

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    1. No priests spoke out about sex abuse. The only person inside the Church to speak out was Deacon Stephen Martinez. Apurun wanted to can him, but he survived, even though he was replaced by Deacon "For Sure For Sure" Claros. I think he should be the one to weigh in on sex abuse. Deacon Martinez, where are you?

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    2. Long time to regain trust? Will it ever. If ever.

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  14. Byrnes is just a placeholder for Apuron. He won't do squat.

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  15. Our elders have frequently said that these days the dollar does not go as far as it used to. In the "good old days", they would say, a gallon of gas only cost 35 cents a gallon, now it's almost $4 a gallon, and so many other comparisons on the value of the dollar. I got a new one for you: You know what lawsuits of $80 million dollars can get you nowadays? A visit from Vatican investigators, that's what. As for the apuron "canonical trial," $80 million wil get you the comment, "it's on-going." And that's ALL you're going to get. You want more information, file more lawsuits! Yep, I now agree with my elders that the dollar can't buy much nowadays.

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  16. The bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota and its disgraced, closet homosexual ex-archbishop are textbook examples of what happens when bishops and priests are left to police themselves. Catastrophe!

    Both the former SPM archbishop and one of his auxiliary bishops were removed in a massive abuse cover-up exposed by their own Chancellor/chief canon lawyer.

    The booted archbishop was reassigned to an affluent Michigan suburb where the justifiably outraged laity demanded, and got, his immediate removal. He was subsequently welcomed into an extreme right-wing Catholic organization in Northern California's lush Wine Country where he now lives in style. His despicable new groupies are wealthy old clericalists who promote every type of bigotry you can think of. I don't know what became of his ex-auxiliary bishop. He seems to have vanished.

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  17. Rose de los Reyes (Seattle, WA)February 19, 2017 at 1:04 AM

    I’m trying to keep an open mind about whether or not --- since the time of his appointment on Oct. 2016 --- Abp. Byrnes has been contacted by Filoni Baloney (his “immediate supervisor”) and ordered to tow Filoni’s party line of defending/protecting the NCW (but to not do it overtly so as not to cause additional raucous from the local Faithful). Based on his words (where generally speaking, he seldom mentions the NCW) and actions (“inaction” is more descript) this interview has me leaning toward the “yes” (as many in JungleWatch have asserted) there is likely dictum from the Filoni Baloney to leave the NCW alone on Guam. The very telling part is Abp. Byrnes’ Top 3 priorities of his administration: (1) address the lawsuits and problems plaguing the archdiocese relating to sexual abuse by clergy; (2) improving on the “dodgey” financial condition of the archdiocese; and (3) confer with the local priests who have felt “left out” by Apuron because they were not NCW followers. All three problems Abp. Byrnes has identified as problematic are tied in one way or another to the presence of the NCW on Guam. For a person described by those who know him and have previously worked with him as a fine balance between one who is spiritually discerning and logical, there is a disconnect between that characterization of him and his inaction in addressing the root of the top three problems in the archdiocese that he himself has identified. That problematic root is the presence of the NCW on Guam. In both his words and actions, Abp. Byrnes “doesn’t go there” as far as the NCW is concerned. My sense is that he knows the NCW’s presence on Guam is problematic --- how can he not have come to that conclusion by now? He’s an intelligent person, logical say those who know him. He is muzzled by Filoni Baloney when it comes to the NCW. The right thing to do is chuck Filoni’s muzzle and administer to the archdiocese and tend to his flock the way Jesus has prescribed, not the way Filoni has prescribed. Abp. Byrnes’ Top 3 priorities will not be resolved until and unless he addresses the NCW presence on Guam --- specifically, crippling them to the level of almost zero influence on the local Church, and better yet, getting rid of their existence on the island. Either solution can be achieved under even one legitimate reason that sits above church politics --- disallowing their heretical teachings and practices to take place in his archdiocese.

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