Catholic World News

Guam archbishop’s return would be ‘a disaster,’ coadjutor says

July 06, 2017

Archbishop Michael Byrnes—who has taken over the leadership of the Agana, Guam archdiocese while Archbishop Anthony Apuron faces a canonical trial on sex-abuse charges—has stated frankly that it would be “a disaster” if his predecessor returns to Guam.

Archbishop Byrnes, who was installed last November as coajdutor archbishop “with special faculties” said that he believed “this archdiocese would be unable to achieve peace, really, until it’s clear that Archbishop Apuron is no longer the bishop of record of this archdiocese.” Although he is suspended from his ministry, Archbishop Apuron remains officially the head of the Agana archdiocese, pending the result of his canonical trial.

In a briefing about that trial, Archbishop Byrnes said that the Vatican tribunal hearing the case has not reached a conclusion. He made it clear that in saying that Archbishop Apuron’s return would be a “disaster,” he was giving his own personal opinion.

The Vatican tribunal that is investigating the Apuron case, chaired by Cardinal Raymond Burke, heard testimony from witnesses in Guam and in ths US. The final witness testified in May, and informed sources have predicted that a ruling will be issued sometime this summer.

In his July 5 briefing for reporters, Archbishop Byrnes indicated that the troubles of the Agana archdiocese under Archbishop Apuron’s leadership were not limited to sex-abuse problems. “There was a very widespread disarray and ineffectiveness of the operations,” he said.

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