The coadjutor bishop of Guam has said that the island’s archbishop should not return to lead the diocese regardless of the outcome of a Vatican trial against him.
Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes said: “I think it would be a disaster if Archbishop Apuron were to return as the bishop of record.” There had been a wide loss of trust among the faithful, he said, and “widespread disarray” in Church operations.
Coadjutor Archbishop Byrnes, a former auxiliary bishop of Detroit, spoke to the press in Agana, the capital of the US territory of Guam, last week, offering an update of the canonical investigation and trial of Archbishop Apuron.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, a Church law expert and former head of the Vatican’s highest court, led a Vatican team to Guam in February to investigate allegations of sexual abuse levelled against Archbishop Apuron.
Three men have publicly accused the archbishop of sexually abusing them when they were altar boys in the 1970s. The mother of a fourth man, now deceased, also accused the archbishop of abusing her son.
Archbishop Byrnes said the Vatican trial was in its final phases. “In the next several weeks,” he said, three judges would convene at the Vatican to deliberate on the evidence gathered during the investigation, publish what the accusations were and then decide on a verdict of “not guilty, guilty or not proven”. The Vatican could release its decision by “the end of summer, early autumn”, or later.
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