Saturday, February 10, 2018


Another report from La Stampa. Highlights, mine. Comments in red, mine.

Guam’s Archbishop Apuron breaks his silence: “I deny all allegations made against me”
The February 7th audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican. The verdict of Cardinal Burke's trial remains unpublished. The latest accusation from his nephew. The Church on the island is hit with an avalanche of lawsuits

Pubblicato il 10/02/2018
Ultima modifica il 10/02/2018 alle ore 10:36

“Holy Father, I wanted to see you before dying.” Arriving at the Paul VI Hall in a wheelchair * due to health problems, Msgr. Anthony Apuron, the Archbishop of Guam suspended amid abuse accusations, greeted Pope Francis at the end of the general audience on February 7th. Bergoglio reacted with affection, shaking the bishop’s hand and privately giving him a few words of encouragement. 

[If he arrived in a wheel chair, he did not stay in it:

He stands behind the "n."]

Apuron had recently undergone surgery, as he revealed in a statement released in the last few weeks breaking his silence concerning the accusations of sexual abuse against minors first made against him in June of 2016—accusations which forced him to suspend himself as archbishop of the Pacific island while a canonical trial was initiated.  

[If Apuron suspended himself, he suspended himself on June 6, 2016. Walter Denton would not come forward until the following day. Roland Sondia a week later. And Mark Apuron, a year and a half later. On June 6, the day Apuron himself told us in a "selfie" video in front of St. Peter's Basilica, that he had "suspended himself," there had thus far been only one allegation from one 52 year old man who had not lived on Guam in decades, and a mother - who also had been absent from Guam for decades - of another man who had been dead since 2005. Yet, THIS was what made Apuron run to Rome and "suspend himself?" And by the way, both of those accusations had been made in May...not June.]

“As I lay sick after another surgery and I face the final judgment approaching evermore close, having lost interest in this world” reads the statement, in which the prelate specifically responds to the latest accusation from his nephew Mark Apuron, who in an interview with a Guam news outlet described an alleged assault in the bathroom of his uncle’s house during a family dinner. The incident, according to the man, happened sometime around 1989 or 1990. 

 With that of Mark Apuron—a relative from a part of the family rarely frequented by the archbishop, according to what he’s told his closest associates—the number of accusers now stands at five. The other four are former altar servers who claim they were abused at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Guam, where then Fr. Apuron was pastor. Accusations from which have emerged some contradictions and incongruences in the course of the process conducted by five bishops and overseen by American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, whom the pope sent to the island to investigate the case.  

[So Apuron "rarely frequented" that part of the family! But even at "five," that's still a measly number of accusations, and certainly no cause to lose "interest in this world" for a man who is truly innocent. Apuron has been given the best forum in the world to prove his innocence: FEDERAL COURT. Yet, he continues to demand that his cases NOT go to court.]

["Accusations from which have emerged some contradictions and incongruences.." Really? Well then the Vatican investigation has been tainted and compromised by Apuron's supporters, hasn't it? How else would La Stampa know this?]

“God is my witness” states Apuron in the message, “I deny all allegations of sexual abuse made against me, including this last one. All these events are helping me to direct my hope towards the only righteous judge, and for this I am very thankful. I am saddened, however, by the timing of this latest accusation that alleges an act which supposedly happened in incredible circumstances.” 

[Well then, Mr. Apuron, simply come back to Guam and demand your day in court. Simple as that.]

“These allegations have been mentored and promoted by the same source,” continues the archbishop, “and this one seems particularly timed to influence the verdict of the Vatican trial conducted by the Holy See, as a last resort out of fear that I may be exonerated.” 

[If we are to believe Apuron, Apuron himself demanded a Vatican trial. But now he tells us that the tribunal which he entrusted his fate to can't be trusted - since it can be so easily compromised by one small 30-year old accusation by a single relative from a part of the family he "rarely frequented."]

The “source” mentioned by Apuron in his statement which he claims is seeking to create pressure on the judges, was already discussed by Vatican Insider in an investigation published last September 20 which provoked heated reactions on the Pacific island . The former shepherd of Guam (still technically the ordinary of the archdiocese) speaks clearly of “people who have only their power agenda at heart” and “who are destroying the Church in Guam…may God have mercy on us all and save His Church from the powers of darkness.”  

[It makes a good story, except for one fact: the people who rose up against Apuron are the very epitome of the island's Catholic faithful and remain so. So if the destruction of the Church in Guam is the aim of this "source," it has done a terrible job. In fact, if anyone was the "source" of the destruction of the Church in Guam, it was Apuron; for, under his 30-year reign of neglect, the number of non-Catholic denominations has exploded from only a handful to over 60, and all composed of former Catholics.] 

I pray”, he states, “that the truth may prevail; I pray for my accusers: fill them with what they desire; as for me, ‘when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your face, oh Lord’ (Ps. 17,15).”  

[Apuron does not have to "pray that the truth may prevail." He only has to demand the opportunity to face his accusers in federal court, which is where his cases are now. Yet, he continues to send his attorney out to demand that his cases be dismissed.]

Apuron’s trial should have wrapped up last August with the release of a sentence but, after several events, appears to have failed to reach a conclusion. This despite the words of current apostolic administrator Bishop Michael J. Byrnes, who in a press conference months ago cited the trial’s notary as reporting that “the sentence has been determined.” 

[Actually the trial has "reached a conclusion," which is why Byrnes said "the sentence has been determined." And, we know that the verdict is guilty otherwise Apuron and his supporters would have not interfered with "several events, " designed to squelch the announcement of the sentence.]

Meanwhile the situation on the island—famous for its natural beauty, evangelized nearly four centuries ago and with a 95% Catholic population—has changed radically. The Church has been hit by a wave of abuse accusations against clergy and Church employees following the senate’s passage of a law removing the statute of limitations for sexual offenses.  

A dramatic escalation of sexual abuse accusations—more than 95 in the last year and a half—with substantial claims for financial reparation from the diocese. Some of them accuse priests in their nineties or ones already deceased. "Our Church is headed for bankruptcy and towards destruction,” a priest in Guam tells Vatican Insider.  

[There is only one priest in his "nineties," and he has publicly confessed. And why should a priest be concerned about bankruptcy? What is that relative to that priest's ordained duty to save souls? He appears to be more concerned with mammon, doesn't he? And "destruction?" People are already returning to the pews now that they see a bishop who is a holy man - something they haven't seen in decades.] 

Another shock to the fabric of the Guamanian church has been the Dec. 15 closure of the Redemptoris Mater seminary and the theological institute affiliated with the Pontifical Lateran University, where just a year ago 48 seminarians were studying for the priesthood, a number that had been projected to rise to 80 after other dioceses in the Pacific had announced plans to send their seminarians to study in Guam. The decision was announced by the coadjutor archbishop Byrnes, who explained that the seminary’s model was “unsustainable” for the island. But the prelate also acknowledged plans to sell the beachfront property in Yona—which has attracted the attention of foreign developers in the past—with the intention of helping cover the costs of out-of-court victim settlements. 

[La Stampa calls into question the Vatican appointed authority of Coadjutor Archbishop Byrnes. It is Byrnes' duty and prerogative to govern his diocese as he sees fit. And if he said that RMS was "unsustainable," then that is his call, not La Stampa's. The fact is that Byrnes was not referring to finances when he called RMS "unsustainable," though that is also true. Byrnes was referring to the fact that RMS was NOT constituted to educate diocesan priests, but priests "formed according to the life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way," as its articles clearly stated.]

Many of the seminarians, among them several local vocations, have relocated to other dioceses or returned to their home dioceses. Some had finished their studies and were awaiting their ordination to the diaconate. With the closure of the Theological Institute—whose establishment was requested by 31 bishops of the Pacific in 2005—twelve professors returned home, including some educated at the Lateran.  

[One wonders why any bishop would demand the formation of a seminary in Guam to send their men to when there was already a seminary established for the region (in Fiji) and blessed by Pope John Paul II himself. Or they could have availed themselves of the many seminaries long established in the U.S., the Philippines, or Europe. Yet we are supposed to believe that all those were so deficient that they begged Apuron to start a completely new seminary in Guam?]

The question of the seminary and the institute has interested the ranks of the Holy See, including the Secretariat of State, for example, and Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples—under whose jurisdiction the archdiocese of Guam falls. The cardinal sent a personal letter to Bishop Byrnes after having received a letter from four priests of the archdiocese of Agaña expressing concerns about the planned closure of the seminary and the Institute (the priests were expelled from the diocese’s presbyteral council for “insubordination” soon after). 

[Yes they were. And not only "insubordination," but ABUSE OF OFFICE.] 

In his letter, the prefect of Propaganda Fide reminded Byrnes of the Church’s interest in not selling the property and the prohibition placed on alienating the property based on previously stipulated conditions. The document was intended to be a private letter but was obtained by a local blog known for promoting accusations against Apuron and the Neocatechumenal Way, an ecclesial reality with a strong presence in Guam

[Suddenly Filoni is so concerned about the alienation of the property when he had no problem with Apuron alienating the property from the Archdiocese of Agana. For even if we accept Apuron's argument that he personally maintained control of the property, the property, since its use was restricted to a corporation that was NOT the Archdiocese of Agana, still separated that property from the material assets, the patrimony, of the Archdiocese of Agana. No. Filoni had other reasons.]  

[And thanks, La Stampa, for the credits, but if all this blog was was "accusations," there is no way it would have the number of views it has nor the effect it has had. And by the way, the NCW does NOT have a "strong presence in Guam." Its bosses had an inordinate amount of power in Guam thanks to their ability to capitalize on the compromised Apuron.]

During a general audience in October 2017 in St. Peter’s Square, a canonical recourse signed by approximately 25 priests, lawyers, and other prominent figures from Guam was hand-delivered to the Pope. The signers appealed to the Pope to personally intervene regarding Byrnes’ decision, which, it read, “has inflicted a spiritual, moral and physical harm upon the faithful of Guam as a result of his actions without respect for canon law.” The appeal --multiple sources report-- is currently under review by some dicasteries of the Curia. 

[Well this is the first we have heard of this. Of course we can pretty much guess who these "priests, lawyers, and other prominent figures from Guam" are. However, if there is anything that is clear at this point, the "spiritual, moral and physical harm upon the faithful of Guam" was perpetrated for three decades by the man they are trying to protect - which is why the pope sent Byrnes here in the first place.]

Besides closing the Redemptoris Mater, Byrnes has meanwhile reshaped the diocese’s bodies, replacing the members of the cemetery board, the presbyteral council, the finance council, the college of consultors and the metropolitan tribunal. His dismissals include several Chamorro (the name given to local natives) priests as well as those affiliated with the Neocatechumenal Way, and in the case of the tribunal, replacing them with—among others—clergy from the Philippines. Reinstated to all the advisory boards was the controversial Msgr. James Benavente, whom we reported on in the previous article. 

[This is funny. Fr. Jeff San Nicolas, a Chamorro, is second in command, as is the supposedly "controversial" Benavente. And Fr. Mike Crisostomo, a Chamorro, fills several key roles. The only "Chamorros" who have been replaced are the two neo's: Quitugua and Cristobal. BTW, apparently La Stampa is racist.]

The latest string of appointments came just a few weeks after an hours-long visit by Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to the island on Dec. 17, 2017. 

[Ah, there it is. A dead give away for La Stampa's source. Apuron has harbored such contempt for Tagle - for several reasons. But here's the main one: Tagle, who as a young Filipino priest probably kissed Apuron's ring at the annual Tagaytay retreats, was raised to the office of Cardinal, while Apuron, who lusted after the hat, was passed over.] 

Cardinal Tagle was the guest homilist at Msgr. Benavente's 20th anniversary Mass. Apuron "looks" on.

PICS (from Apuron's Feb 7, 2018 visit to see Pope Francis "before dying.")

 [Apparently delivering a secret letter.]

Apuron's visit and the article in La Stampa were set up by the Neocatechumenal Way as a way to discredit Archbishop Byrnes in a national Italian publication.  The author, Salvatore Cernuzio, is a member of the Way who regularly writes for Zenit and even writes posts for the Way's official website.  Their plans will backfire.