Archbishop Anthony Apuron released a video message responding to the Vatican’s decision to appoint a temporary administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana. Watch the video here.
Original story follows.
Pope Francis named on Monday night (Guam time) a new apostolic administrator “sede plena” for the Archdiocese of Agana, pending investigation of allegations of sexual abuse against Archbishop Anthony Apuron.
While Apuron remains archbishop of Agana, Archbishop Savio Tai Fai Hon — as apostolic administrator — has been given temporary authority to govern the Archdiocese of Agana.
“The appointment of an apostolic administrator ‘sede plena’ means that while the administrator will discharge the archdiocesan pastoral duties, Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron remains the Archbishop of Agana,” the Archdiocese of Agana confirmed in a statement sent after 11 p.m. Monday.
This may well be the first time ever — or at least the first in recent history — that the Vatican made such an appointment in a U.S. territory.
Apuron, 70, has led the Archdiocese of Agana since 1986.
The Archdiocese of Agana, through a statement sent by the Rev. Edivaldo da Silva Oliveira, said Pope Francis named Archbishop Savio Tai Fai Hon, the secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the Archdiocese of Agana “following a request from Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron for an apostolic administrator pending the investigation of an abuse allegation.”
“The Archdiocese and the Archbishop warmly welcome Archbishop Hon to Guam,” the statement added.
A man in his early 50s, Roy Quintanilla, recently came forward to say that he was molested when he was an altar boy in the 1970s by Apuron when the latter was parish priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Agat.
Quintanilla inspired Doris Y. Concepcion to also come forward days later to say that, before her son passed away 11 years ago, he told her that he was molested by Apuron when he was an altar boy in Agat, also in the 1970s.
Apuron and the Archdiocese of Agana denied the allegations. Apuron has not been charged with any crime at this time.
Monday’s announcement comes shortly after Pope Francis approved new procedures for removing bishops who are negligent in sexual abuse issues, and made it clear that lack of diligence in cases involving minors is grounds for dismissal.
It also came three days after the Archdiocese of Agana announced it’s working with a U.S. law firm and independent investigator to look into an allegation — and “rumors” — against Apuron.
Deacon Steve Martinez, the former coordinator of a local church group charged with reviewing sexual abuse allegations involving clergy, said at a press conference last Wednesday that Apuron purposely kept the archdiocese’s sexual abuse policy weak to protect himself.
On Friday, the local church said that this allegation is a “calumny of such magnitude that the only avenue, which we are following, is recourse to the civil and canonical legal processes to address these intentional lies.”
This story is developing.
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