Thursday, June 22, 2023


By Tim Rohr

The following was posted on the Facebook page of the Umatuna. I will follow the text with a few comments.

June 21, 2023--Prot. 2023-141
Message by the Apostolic Administrator
U.S. District Court issues Final Decree
consummating compensation plan,
closing archdiocese bankruptcy case


To all in our Catholic family,

With deep thanksgiving to our Almighty God, I share much welcome news from the United States District Court of Guam announcing the official closing of the Archdiocese of Agana’s Chapter 11 Reorganization (bankruptcy) case related to clergy sexual abuse.

We received the following from the Bankruptcy Division of the District Court of Guam late yesterday, June 20:


Notice of Electronic Filing

The following transaction was received from fad entered on 6/20/2023 at 11:44 AM CST and filed on 6/20/2023

Case Name: Archbishop of Agana, a Corporation Sole, Most Rev.

Case Number: 19-00010

Document Number: 1204

Docket Text:

Final Decree. Debtor's [1202] Motion for a Final Decree - GRANTED. The Plan has been substantially consummated; and This Chapter 11 case and Estate are hereby CLOSED. (fad)


"But as for you, be strong and do not relax, for your work shall be rewarded." – 2 Chronicles 15:7

The final decree by Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood means that the archdiocese’s compensation agreement with the victim survivors of clergy sexual abuse is officially approved and completed. That chapter may be closed. However, to be certain, there is much work yet to do in our journey of bringing healing, justice and reparation to those whom our Church gravely harmed.

Legally at least, our bankruptcy status is lifted. Spiritually, it affirms the steadfast truth that God never abandons us. So long as we dedicate ourselves to Him in our efforts to do good, Our Lord blesses us.

Thus, we must continue to focus wholeheartedly on the many tasks and responsibilities of post-bankruptcy work. This includes but is not limited to completing the transfer of properties and assets to the victim survivors through their court appointed trustee; providing tuition vouchers and cemetery plots to their families; activating the non-monetary compensation elements of the plan; strengthening our Child Protection and Safe Environment protocols and policies; reorganizing the archdiocese; and rebuilding our finances. We must work harder to protect all children from harm of any kind.

I convey my sincerest gratitude to the numerous individuals, groups and families of our schools, parishes and archdiocesan organizations for your tireless work, sacrifice and continued support. We have reached this important point of our journey of atonement and reparation because of your steadfast trust in our Lord.

Thank you to Archbishop Emeritus Michael J. Byrnes. We continue to pray for your healing. Thank you to my brother clergy and dear religious sisters. I extend much gratitude to former Finance Officer Josie Villanueva. Thank you to the many volunteers who help the Church in different ways, including the dedicated members of our Finance Council and Internal Review Board, past and present. 

Thank you to the many others even outside of our Church who have had major roles in helping us, from our hardworking attorneys here and abroad, the attorneys of the victim survivors, the banking and insurance institutions, Judge Tydingco-Gatewood, Chief Bankruptcy Judge Robert J. Faris and Curtis Ching of the Office of the U.S. Trustee, and companies which have supported us amid our trials and failures.

Thank you to all the victims, the courageous men and women who have endured in pain and continue to bear the wounds of betrayal and sexual abuse from members of our Church on Guam in the past. We are deeply sorry for the agony, betrayal, deceit and coverup by leaders and members of our archdiocese in the past.

As we work to pick ourselves up from the recent typhoon and the many other storms we have experienced in the past, we give ultimate thanks to our merciful Creator. Thank you dearest God for your unending love for us. In closing, I repeat a Bible passage which I have cited before:

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Yours in Christ,

/s/Father Romeo D. Convocar

Apostolic Administrator, Archdiocese of Agaña


My comments

Fr. Convocar errs in initially referring to the victims as "those whom our Church gravely harmed." However, he fixes the error at end of his message when he again refers to the victims, but this time as those "who have endured in pain and continue to bear the wounds of betrayal and sexual abuse from members of our Church on Guam in the past."

I'm glad he fixed it. "The Church" is the Bride of Christ. It is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and thus, is not only incapable of harming Her own children, but it is blasphemy and the "unforgivable sin," a "sin against the Holy Spirit," (Mk 3:28–29, Mt 12:31–32, Lk 12:10), to even infer it. 

Moreover, by laying the blame for these and so many more atrocities on "The Church," we not only defile the Bride of Christ and thus Christ Himself, we lessen or even remove the blame from the real perpetrators and the evil rot. 

No doubt, the sickness that fomented what Pope Benedict called "the filth in the Church," is systemic, and it is nothing new. In Liber Gomorrhianus (Book of Gomorrah) St. Peter Damian called out even filthier atrocities in the 11th century. 

The following is copied from the book's page on Amazon:

"Alas, it is shameful to speak of it! It is shameful to relate such a disgusting scandal to sacred ears! But if the doctor fears the virus of the plague, who will apply the cauterization? If he is nauseated by those whom he is to cure, who will lead sick souls back to the state of health?"
With these words, St. Peter Damian introduces the Book of Gomorrah, undoubtedly the most stirringly eloquent and impassioned denunciation of sexual perversion ever penned by a Catholic saint. Although it was written almost a thousand years ago, the Book of Gomorrah in many ways seems addressed to our own times, associating the phenomena of clerical homosexual behavior and pederasty, and endorsing the imprisonment of clergy who are a danger to youth. 
The Book of Gomorrah offers a scathing analysis of the evil of sodomy, while also expressing compassion for those who have fallen into such vice and the possibility of their redemption by the aid of divine grace. It explains the devastating effects of the vice both spiritually and psychologically, and warns that such behavior, particularly among the clergy, will bring down the wrath of God. It also urges the permanent defrocking of clerics who are habituated to homosexual behavior and endorses the permanent confinement those guilty of child sex abuse. 

Meanwhile, I still have an issue with Fr. Convocar's correction where he refers to "members of our Church on Guam in the past." It's not "in the past." Sin, immorality, filth, perverted atrocities are never "in the past," especially in the Church because Satan never sleeps and the ordained are his most delectable targets. Church history, if anything, demonstrates that.

Thus St. Peter warns:

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." - 1 Peter 5:8

It is understandable that Fr. Convocar and most others in our local Church want to put the atrocities of Apuron et. al behind us ("in the past"), but that is exactly what Satan wants us to do. 

In fact, what Fr. Convocar really needs to do is erect a Hall of Shame wherein are displayed the names, pictures, history, and all documents related to the proven perps as well as (with their permission) the names and pictures (where possible) of their victims. 
Note: Longtime readers of JW will remember that JW published pictures of Apuron's victims at or about the age when they were raped or molested or otherwise abused by the priest they served. Those pictures probably had more to do with turning the tide against Apuron and ultimately his conviction and sentencing by Pope Francis than anything else. We should be made to stare at such pictures again today x 300 plus. 

The other thing I find bothersome in Fr. Convocar's message,  * and this is not unique to him, is the constant coloring of "children" as the "victims." They may have been minors, but they weren't "children," at least not most. And this is a dirty ugly fact that not only few are brave enough to address, but by continually making this about "children" masks  (maybe intentionally) the real problem.

The fact is that our Church leadership has done nothing to address the real problem, and no amount of "Child Protection and Safe Environment protocols and policies" is going to do it. And it's not going to do it because it wasn't "children" who were the victims, and second, nothing has been done to screen out the worms who perpetrated these atrocities in the first place. 

There is also a third problem: the "deep church" that shielded Apuron and attempted to thwart the efforts of the people on the street at every turn. Said "deep church" is still in place. But we'll get to that another time. 

* I continue to refer to "Fr. Romy Convocar" directly because he is the papal-appointed Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Agana. In other words, on his desk, and at least for now, there is a sign - even if you don't see it - which reads: THE BUCK STOPS HERE. 

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