Friday, December 8, 2017

PACIFIC ISLAND TIMES: INTERVIEW WITH ARCHBISHOP BYRNES

Archbishop of Agana Michael Byrnes gets one tough introduction to Guam: A year of surprises a long way from Detroit




[My highlights in yellow and my comments in red.]

It began with an overseas phone call to then auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit, Michael Judge Byrnes.

Archbishop Byrnes: It was an almost complete and total shock. I was in England on my way to a retreat down in Sussex, from London to Sussex. And I was on a bus and got a phone call from the [Papal?] Nuncio for the U.S., Archbishop Christof Pierre is his name, I recognized, OK, it’s a Washington, D.C. number…

Lloyd: 202?

Byrnes: So the only people I know there, it’s probably the Nuncio and sure enough it was, and he said, ‘are you alone?’ Well I was seated by myself. There was nobody next to me, so I said, ‘kinda,’ so he went right into it, saying the Holy Father wants to appoint you as Coadjutor Archbishop of Guam.  And he went on and on explaining, seemed like he was a little nervous, at least that was my impression. So I said, ‘The Holy Father wants to appoint me?’ And he said, yes. So I said, ‘I’ll do it, if you can tell me what we need to do.

[Now, why would the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States be "nervous" calling an obscure midwestern auxiliary bishop?" Could it be that that the Nuncio was put up to it? By who? Could it be that he knew that he was told to call Byrnes and knew why he was told to call him? Byrnes' next statement gives us a clue.]

He said, ‘First of all, you’ve got to go to Rome, because Cardinal Filoni, the head of the Evangelization of Peoples says the Holy Father wants to meet the gentleman who will be the priest and the bishop who will go to Guam.’ So we had to make arrangements and I flew back to the U.S. and then in about two days, I flew to Rome.

[So there you have it. "Cardinal Filoni Baloney." Just as we thought. Filoni was involved in Byrnes' selection. But why? How would perhaps the Vatican's most powerful prelate, already called "the Red Pope," even know the name of an obscure auxiliary Detroit bishop?]

Archbishop Byrnes did meet with Pope Francis, “a huge honor” and gradually learned more about his new assignment.

Byrnes: Whenever someone tells you ahead of time what’s going on and they say, ‘these are the different challenges,’ it’s all theoretical. It wasn’t until I got here that I realized, wow, there’s a lot going on here.

[Now why would that be? Why would Byrnes only learn what is "going on here" only upon his arrival when in fact he was being sent into the most troubled archdiocese in the world, and the only diocese in the world whose archbishop was the first bishop in modern history to undergo a Vatican trial? Don't you think that Byrnes would have been given more information? But then there's that name again: Cardinal Filoni. No, Filoni, Kiko's pope, needed someone he could dupe, he could puppet. He thought Byrnes was it. Fairly young. American. And what's more, American looking. A nice guy. Perfect. The people of Guam will automatically defer to him, or so Filoni thought - based on his understanding of the post WW2 penchant for Charmorro deference to American generals..."]

At the time of Archbishop Byrnes’ arrival on Guam, ten clergy sexual abuse cases had been filed in local courts. That figure now exceeds 140. Based on his previous experience in the states, the archbishop said even a single case often suggests there are more to be revealed.

Lloyd: People who live here or have been here for a long time tend to think of Guam as the center of the universe. I’m curious though, within the church, had you ever heard anything of these controversies?

[Note that this condescending observation is made by the PIT reporter.]

Byrnes: No. Absolutely not.  I knew maybe where Guam was.

[He knew where Guam was...and that's it. So why was he chosen? Again the answer is easy when you understand who chose him: FILONY BALONEY, i.e. KIKO'S POPE.]

Archbishop Byrnes got a briefing from members of a delegation that had visited Guam.

[HUH! A "delegation that had visited Guam." What delegation? Why not a briefing from people who actually live on Guam? Why not a delegation of people who have suffered three decades of the reign of terror under the rule of the man he had been called on to replace. But no. The delegation had only "visited Guam." SMH!]

Byrnes: They kind of filled me in, but just hearing it or reading it just doesn’t measure up.

Lloyd: What struck you first when you got here?

Byrnes: The first memory I have was flying in, flying by the island and thinking, ‘this is small.’ There were a lot of lights. That was cool because people back in Detroit were saying, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re going to Guam.’ They were thinking I was going to live like in a grass hut. I said, ‘no, no, no.’ The city of Detroit, with two of the larger suburbs, that would be the size of Guam.  My first impression was that it is small, but as I’ve come to live here and explore, in Detroit, there’re no mountains. We’ve got mountains here! [Laughs] And we’ve got an ocean. And lakes.

This was good news for Archbishop Byrnes, an enthusiastic swimmer, who soon grew to love the Pacific Ocean.

Byrnes: I swim over at Ypao Beach at least once a week, sometimes twice. I use the pool down here [Hagatna] too. So I’ve done some swimming and some hiking. I’ve gone to Tarzan Falls. Did a nice hike up in Ritidian with a guide, Nash Camacho, into some of the latte sites.

Stateside relatives have visited and the archbishop has struck up friendships with some local families, “so yeah, it’s becoming a lot like home.” But the sexual abuse cases and the lingering effects of years of mishandled diocesan finances have consumed much of the archbishop’s intensive work schedule.

[As we have often said on JungleWatch. The Vatican will try to skirt the sex abuse issue and will get Apuron on "mishandled diocesan finances"...much like how the feds got Al Capone for tax evasion. But, "mishandled diocesan finances" is a reality, a big reality. And the real culprit is not RMS, but Kamalin Karidat, which we shall soon see was set up as Apuron's personal slush fund. Dave Sablan of CCOG was impugned for making that allegation. But he was right. And you soon shall see.]

Byrnes: Those are the two. The very first day I landed here, got in at 1 a.m., and that’s when I had a chance to sleep a little. At 10 a.m., I met with the priests and then at 1 p.m., I met with the lawyers. My memory is a little hazy, but my first recollection is being told, ‘the lawyers are here and you’ve got to talk to them.’ Of course it was a different set of lawyers than we have now. The first set of lawyers helped us, but we finally discerned a different path, more of a mediation, settlement kind of path, so I’m much more comfortable with where we are now.

[Yah. A different set of lawyers which cost you and me nearly a million dollars and didn't do jack. And you'd understand better if I could tell you who it was who saddled us with this "different set of lawyers." I've called them "officious intermeddlers." But I wish I could name them. You'd understand immediately. Because not only were you forced to pay for the intermeddlers "do nothing" friends, you will be forced to pay them much more in another forum. For now, you'll just have to guess.]

Lloyd: Was the initial approach more like denial?

Byrnes: No, it was more like questioning the statute. We ended up filing a motion to dismiss the statute—the statute of limitations—and so we haven’t pursued it, partly because we went in a different direction of a more victim-centered approach.

[Bad idea. Really bad idea. But this was what the officious intermeddlers wanted.]

Lloyd: From what I’ve seen in federal court, Archbishop Apuron hasn’t abandoned that.

Byrnes: Right, and we’ll see how that goes.

Lloyd: Have you ever had an opportunity to communicate directly with Archbishop Apuron?

Byrnes: Shortly after I was appointed I went to Baltimore for the United States Bishops’ Conference meeting and I got a phone call from him saying, ‘I’m on my way, can we meet in Baltimore?’ We had breakfast together and, it was a very superficial conversation. So we met at the hotel where all the bishops were and he went up and greeted a number of them and left. So that’s been my only communication with him.

[LOL. Has anyone EVER had anything other that a "very superficial conversation" with Apuron?]

Lloyd: You’ve stressed openness on this matter.  Has that left you feeling that there should be some more thought given in Rome to approaching things that way?

Byrnes: As far as transparency, financially, our first efforts at it, we posted the Chancery’s  financial situation. Transparency to me is protection in a certain sense. Protection of integrity. The Archdiocese should always be above suspicion and be transparent with what we have as a way of expressing… Hiding invites suspicion. It invites questioning of what is really going on and I’d rather make it clear. This is what is going on, the good, the bad and the ugly.  Transparency is always an advantage, because trust is so easily lost. I walked in to a situation where trust had been lost. It’s easily lost, it’s hard to win it back. I just think it’s the way to go.

Archbishop Byrnes feels he has made progress in winning back trust from the dissident faction that has led protests against the previous leadership.

Byrnes: When you walk into something, you can either expect the people are going to be your enemies or your friends. I’d rather expect them to be my friends, so I tried to walk in with that. I think there has been some trust won. I’ve had some conversations with Mr. Camacho and Mr. Sablan.

During his first year, Archbishop Byrnes has announced the imminent closure of the the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona, which is controlled by the Neocatechumenal Way, saying its operation on Guam is not sustainable. The relationship between this group and Archbishop Apuron has been a central part of the church controversies of recent years.

[The RMS sycophants keep trying to paint this as financial. But Byrnes' "non sustainable" comment had nothing to do with money. It had to do with the fact that RMS does NOT prepare men for the diocesan priesthood, but ONLY the priesthood which is in accordance with the "life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way." The Roman Catholic Church and the Neocatechumenal Way are two VERY DIFFERENT things...otherwise there would be no need for the NCW to have its own seminaries to prepare its priest (presbyters) according to the "life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way.]

Byrnes: I know some of their priests. I’m regularly at their parishes for fiestas and confirmation, that’s just normal, every day. A couple of people in the Chancery are part of the Neocatechumenal Way and it’s not an issue. The seminary has been a point of contention. There’s of course disappointment [about the closure], grief. There’s been a huge investment of time, personnel, finances in the work of the seminary. There’s definitely been some grief expressed to me and some anger. Grief and anger often go together. I know what I’m doing is really difficult for them. It wasn’t an easy decision to make.

Archbishop Byrnes got a lot of attention a few months ago, when he told Guam reporters that a possible return to the island by Archbishop Apuron would be “a disaster.”

Byrnes: I don’t tend to follow the blogs, though I get some information from them. And there was some pushback on that, but we all live where we live and that’s our perspective in reacting to things.

[Dear Archbishop Byrnes. You may want to follow mine. I can save you a lot of time.]

P.S. Dear haters. Your attack on my family will not work. I will persevere. God is my judge. 

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