Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Posted by Tim

"Vatican verdict against Guam archbishop likely not for sexual abuse, say canon lawyers." So reads the headline in a story from National Catholic Reporter. And it is just one of several stories saying the same. 

Are these people really trying to say that Apuron is innocent? 

No. In their lust to go after the big tomato (the Vatican itself and the pope as well), these people are willing to minimize the Apuron story (and even exonerate him) so they can shoot at the Vatican. 

They base their assumption on what they call a "light sentence," given that it did not include laicization for Apuron. 

In fact, even the use of the word "laicize" as reportedly used by the canon lawyers in the NCR story, draws into question their expertise, as not only is "defrock" not a word used in church law, but, according to canonist, Father Damián Astigueta, SJ, a professor at the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University with a specialty in criminal proceedings, neither is the term "laicization:"

While frequently used in the media, the term “laicization” doesn’t really exist anymore among canonists, Astigueta said, and has been widely replaced by the term “loss of the clerical state.”

I have already demonstrated the absurdity of the "light sentence" argument elsewhere. Apuron was not only the first bishop (at least in modern times) to be tried by a Vatican tribunal, he is one of a very few bishops to ever be forcibly removed from office, and the only bishop known to be prohibited from ever returning home. 

Astigueta notes that "dismissal from the clerical state" is sometimes not employed against elderly clerics as it essentially puts them out on the street. And while some would like to see that happen to Apuron, in Apuron's case, because he is privately wealthy, such a dismissal would have been a "get out of jail free card." 

(NOTE: It may very well be that the Vatican is playing it smart here knowing that Apuron's real penalty - deprivation of his assets - will come in his civil trial.)

And by the way, dismissal from the clerical state is not always a punishment. In fact, there is evidence that such dismissal is actually REQUESTED by at least half of the priests who leave the priesthood (aka "defrocked, laicized"). 

The problem for both Apuron's defenders and these unwitting canon lawyers is Apuron himself. Apuron has already told us what he was found guilty of. Following the Vatican announcement, Apuron, through his civil attorney, immediately stated:

"I have been informed of the conclusion of the first instance canonical trial against me.   While I am relieved that the tribunal dismissed the majority of the accusations against me, I have appealed the verdict. God is my witness; I am innocent and I look forward to proving my innocence in the appeals process." 

One finds it hard to imagine that Apuron would be calling on "God is my witness" if he was only found guilty of mismanagement, especially since he so recently invoked "God is my witness" in direct relation to the sex abuse accusations against him:

"As I lay sick after another surgery and I face the final judgment approaching evermore close, having lost interest in this world, God is my witness: I deny all allegations of sexual abuse made against me, including this last one." - Apuron, Jan 19, 2018

There is NO question what Apuron was referring to when he said "God is my witness," both in his January 19 statement and his statement following the announcement of the Vatican verdict (sentence). 

And then there's this from EWTN:

A source told CNA that the credibility of the witnesses will be a major factor of the appeal. 

Really? The "credibility of witnesses?" In what? Financial mismanagement? 

The real problem here is what I already tried to engage in my issues with the people from SNAP. Their real interest, as well as their lawyer friends, is not justice for victims. In fact, it isn't even rooting out bad guys like Apuron. 

It is the destruction of the Church. 

Plus, they are not happy that we were able to do this without them.