Saturday, July 22, 2017


Posted by Tim

This is an article I have mixed feelings about. While some may see the priest-perpetrator as courageous and give him credit for contrition, I have questions about his choosing to remain in the clerical state, which permits him to continue to receive financial support from the diocese in which his crimes were committed, while meanwhile, his diocese, meaning the lay people who support the diocese, eventually suffered greatly due to the lawsuits brought against their diocese, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The priest was young enough at the time of his conviction and release to have started a new life and could have found a way to make a living. (Actually, so was Louis Brouillard at the time Archbishop Flores got rid of him in 1981.)

My main concern in this story, however, is the issue of the confessional seal. The priest states:
"By the time I was ordained, that attraction (to young boys) hadn't changed. I had not acted on it, but it was certainly in my fantasy life. It was a deep, dark secret that — aside from confession — I would have never admitted to anyone."
The priest(s) who heard his confession did not have to break the seal by telling on the confess-ee, but the confessor(s) certainly could have directed him to tell his superiors about the problem or even advise him that the life of a priest was not the place for someone with same-sex attraction, especially an attraction to young boys. Maybe the confessor(s) did. But it does not appear to have been the case. But then this was the post-Vatican II 60's and 70's, when seminaries were purging their candidates of "straight men."

Eventually, lives were ruined, and this priest's primary victim died of HIV. Here's the story. (And unlike NCR, I will permit comments.)


  1. At least Gilbert Gustafson had the grace and strength to admit the abuse.

    In Guam's case if Apurun had such grace and strength there would be zero lawsuits today. But Apurun had lacked grace for many decades. It seems the NCW sucks grace from all who follow so the member follows only cult leadership.

    But Apurun's lack of spine does have one benefit. It has allowed many victims to come forward with their stories. This may never have been possible with an admission by our shamed bishop.

    Sex abuse is a crime against the person, but also a crime which deeply affects the community. And sex abuse is a crime out community has known about but refused to properly address, until recently.

    May we learn a lesson about remaining quiet while others suffer. May we also have the strength and grace to speak out whenever we become aware of sex abuse.

    It is the only way we can prevent history from repeating itself.

  2. Gustafson stated, "In 2002 I made the choice to remain in the clerical state, even though I know I will never again be in active priestly ministry." Was it actually his choice or that of his bishop? This highlights the point you made, Tim, regarding Apuron. If he is laicized he will be outside the control of the church. He will be free to roam the world and do as he pleases which means many people will be at risk.

    1. As a bishop he had no one to control him. What or who will control Apurun if he remains in a clerical state? Won't he be an uncontrollable mess then just as he has been in the past?

    2. The difference here is that Gustafson was criminally convicted. There are already civil controls in place for criminals. Unless there is a more recent incident within the current criminal statute of limitations, Apuron will not be criminally convicted and thus not subject to any form of civil control. Any control will be up to the pope.

  3. I have mixed feelings about him too. Should he be lynched or legally executed?

  4. Apurun was known to be very close to "his boys" at RMS. It sure would be refreshing if one of those boys told the real secrets of their bishop's relationship with them.
    But even current priests refuse to talk about a case of sex abuse that happened in their midst at St Patrick by our same shamed Apurun.