Tuesday, June 25, 2024


By Tim Rohr

In a recent post, I shared the pope's case against Archbishop Vigano and Vigano's defiant response. For a summary of what's going on, see National Catholic Register's recent post: "Archbishop Viganò’s Astonishing Transformation from Vatican Insider to Alleged Schismatic."

Here in Guam, we should pay special attention. If not for Vigano, many of us are very sure that Apuron would still be Archbishop of Agana. And here's why.

On March 16, 2018, the Holy See Press Office published the following release:

The canonical trial of minors, brought against the Most Reverend Anthony Sablan APURON,OFMCap., Archbishop of Agaña, Guam, has been concluded. The Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation, composed of five judges, has issued its sentence of first instance, finding the accused guilty of certain of the accusations and imposing upon the accused the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam.

The sentence remains subject to possible appeal. In the absence of an appeal, the sentence becomes final and effective. The penalties are suspended until final resolution.

For whatever reason, the release did not specify what exactly Apuron was found guilty of. And as expected, Apuron, or more precisely, his people, immediately pounced on the opportunity to exploit the vague "verdict," claiming that it didn't say he was found guilty of child sex abuse.

However, the release was later amended to include a clearer announcement:


The canonical process in relation to the accusations, including those of child sexual abuse, charged against the Reverend Anthony Sablan Apuron, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Agaña, Guam, has concluded.

The Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, composed of five judges, issued the sentence of first instance, declaring the defendant guilty of some of the accusations and imposing to the defendant the penalties of termination from office and the prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam.

The sentence remains subject to an appeal. In the absence of an appeal, the sentence becomes final and effective. In the event of an appeal, the penalties imposed are suspended until the final resolution.

It's a bit clearer since the first paragraph states "including those of child sexual abuse," but the "clarification" still retains the vague language of "guilty of some of the accusations." The reader has to put 2 and 2 together and get 5 to figure out what Apuron was found guilty of - and a hard assumption can be made from the severity of the sentence: "termination from office and the prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam" - though his supporters spun the penalty as evidence that Apuron did not abuse minors:

If the archbishop has been found guilty of sexual abuse of minors, the penalty leveled against him is unusual - often a cleric found guilty of such crimes would be "laicized," or removed from the clerical state, sources said. - CNA. Aug. 28, 2018

The reference to "Guam" made the release sound even weirder, coming from such a high office in the Vatican, given that there is no "Archdiocese of Guam." Rather, it is officially the "Archdiocese of Agana."

At the time, those of us who had been in the heat of this battle for several years, recognized the Vatican mumbo-jumbo regarding such a serious matter as evidence that a certain highly-placed, neo-friendly cardinal had tampered with the announcement, and that said tampering was a red flag that there was more tampering to come. Saving Apuron was critical to the agenda of the Neocat generals so we expected Apuron to appeal and he did:

After he was found guilty, Apuron released a statement insisting on his innocence and announcing his appeal.

"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," he said.

"God is my witness; I am innocent and I look forward to proving my innocence in the appeals process," the statement read. - CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY, August 28, 2018

Given that Cardinal Raymond Burke, probably the Vatican's most competent cardinal and lawyer, had been at the head of the Apuron investigation from the outset, we knew he had most likely presented the water-tight case that got the guilty verdict and booted Apuron out of Agana and that there was little possibility of Apuron winning an appeal.

We also must remember that Apuron was the first bishop in modern times to stand trial before a Vatican tribunal for crimes against minors. In fact, one of the reasons it took so long for the Vatican to take action is because at the time accusations against Apuron came to the attention of the Vatican there was no protocol in place to handle a bishop who had been thus accused. 

Bishops had been accused of such crimes before but none were put on trial. They were either removed by agreement or resigned their office. So why did Apuron go to trial? We have to continually remind ourselves that Apuron was never acting on his own. He was a pawn in a much larger power game orchestrated by the Neocat generals who had a lot to lose on their world stage since Apuron was their number one "priest-maker" - a key component to the expansion of power within the Church by the NCW. 

It's not over

And do not think that this is over. Apuron's personal abuse case in Guam has yet to go to trial: "Trial eyed in abuse cases against Apuron, others..." And besides "I didn't do it," Apuron's defense will be that he is a victim of a calumnious conspiracy orchestrated by me:

The church meanwhile is also accusing Martinez of being part of a conspiracy or the "Rohr Group" to topple the archbishop. (KUAM, June 3, 2016. Also see Apuron's press releases here and here.)

In 2012, a blog called “Jungle Watch” was created online, attacking Archbishop Apuron and the Neocatechumenal Way, accusing them of manipulating the prelate and “colonizing” the entire Agaña diocese. The site is managed by Tim Rohr, a real estate agent employed by Msgr. Benavente and involved in the projected sale of the seminary. - La Stampa. Sep. 21, 2017 

Note: I was never involved in the "projected sale of the seminary," as the record now shows. In response to the false allegations about my role, I was prepared to sue Apuron and the Archdiocese, but decided to hold back and let the truth come out via the real victims.

While it was a given that Apuron would appeal, a strange twist came when Pope Francis announced that he was bypassing the normal course of appeals and would be judging Apuron's appeal himself:

The pope explained that in considering Apuron's appeal, he is bypassing the traditional "giuria"--the council of bishops that make up a tribunal--and will be considering the appeal himself. This is because Apuron's situation is a "very difficult case." - CNA, August 28, 2018

Notice the date of the report of the pope's decision: August 28, 2018. Six days earlier, on August 22, 2018 *, Archbishop Vigano had shocked the Catholic world with a now-infamous 11-page letter wherein he blew the whistle on the now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as well as the entire Vatican apparatus which in clear view of Pope Francis had protected McCarrick. 

Having blasted Francis directly as well as several other major prelates, Vigano called for Francis to resign:

Francis is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren. Indeed, by his action he has divided them, led them into error, and encouraged the wolves to continue to tear apart the sheep of Christ’s flock.

In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them. - Archbishop Vigano. Letter. Aug. 22, 2018

To be sure, Franics was not expecting such a challenge from such a highly-placed and well-respected Vatican insider. (Vigano had been second in command at the Vatican under Pope Benedict 16.) And while it is only my speculation, it is an educated speculation that Francis, in the glaring light of the disgusting McCarrick scandal, decided to throw Apuron under the bus as a little demonstration that he did not tolerate ordained sex abusers, and particularly consecrated ones (bishops). 

Without Vigano's very public and naked accusation of Francis and his "lavender" connections, it is quite possible that Francis would have let Apuron off the hook and he'd be back in Guam wreaking hell on all of us:

(Archbishop) Byrnes: Disaster if Apuron were to return (Pacific Daily News, July 6, 2017)

So now, as is his "MO" with his enemies, Francis intends to make Vigano pay. 

The O'Brien Thing

As a side note, this mess allows me the opportunity to once again bring up how Francis' Vatican tried to make me "pay" for exposing Apuron. 

In October 2013, I received a letter from Cardinal Edwin O'Brien threatening to remove me as a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem (of which he was then the Grandmaster) if I didn't stop picking on Apuron via my blog. At the time, the only thing I had posted was about Apuron's mistreatment of Fr. Paul Gofigan, nothing else had blown up yet. I wrote about it here

I challenged O'Brien multiple times to proceed to come after me. He never responded, leading me to believe what I had suspected: that O'Brien had no clue what was going on and had been put up to silencing me by the same people that were trying to silence me in Guam. 

However, in August 2018, I learned that there might be more to O'Brien's running for cover after I confronted him when he was called out by Archbishop Vigano in Vigano's letter of Aug. 22, 2018 (pg. 5):

As far as the Roman Curia is concerned, for the moment I will stop here, even if the names of other prelates in the Vatican are well known, even some very close to Pope Francis, such as Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who belong to the homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality...Cardinals Edwin Frederick O’Brien and Renato Raffaele Martino also belong to the same current...

By the way, and I have yet to develop this. After I snuffed out their (Apuron and his people) attempt to silence me even from the Vatican, they went after my family. I intended to expose all of it at a trial on a personal matter. However, the trial was "interrupted" after the first day and never continued. Three years later the matter was suddenly and unexpectedly closed via settlement. I chose to settle to protect my son. This is probably the most evil part of the story...which is why I hesitate to tell it. Maybe one day.

Now, back to Apuron's proposed Guam trial. Apuron fully intends to exonerate himself and condemn me at his trial by exposing the "pressure group that plotted to destroy" him:

Apuron, in his statement, said there's been a coordinated campaign against him. ("Tim Rohr and his associates" - See Apuron's press release of May 31, 2016)

"The pontifical secret prevents me from litigating my good name in public, but I wish to take this opportunity to offer my deepest thanks to the many individuals who have privately and publicly come forward in my defense, despite threats and the climate of fear on my beloved home of Guam," he said.

Apuron said this climate, "shown by the local media, which hampered the work of the court of first instance, testifies to the presence of a pressure group that plotted to destroy me, and which has made itself clearly known even to authorities in Rome." - USA TODAY, April 4, 2019

By the way, while the first announcement about Apuron's guilt did not name what he was found guilty of, the announcement regarding the denial of his appeal did:

On 7 February 2019, the Tribunal of Second Instance upheld the sentence of First Instance finding the Archbishop guilty of delicts against the Sixth Commandment with minors.Press Release from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 04.04.2019

Thank you Archbishop Vigano for standing up to the deep church.

“Just as there is a deep state, there is also a deep church that betrays its duties and forswears its proper commitments before God." - Archbishop Vigano

* The release of Vigano's letter on August 22, 2018 was personally serendipitous. It was the worst and loneliest day of my life. I was in the Virgin Islands at the time to see my children and was in the middle of a very ugly legal battle that I won't detail now (or maybe ever). I learned of Vigano's letter three days later on my way back to Guam. When I saw the date of the letter I saw it as a sign from heaven that I was right about who was really behind the attempt to destroy me. I look forward to Apuron's Guam trial and I hope he subpoenas me.


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