A Vatican administrator has urged Rome to remove the head of the Catholic Church in Guam over child sex allegations, warning the scandal could bankrupt the church in the deeply religious Pacific territory.
Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai (韓大輝) was sent to Guam three months ago to investigate the accusations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who denies any wrongdoing.
In a statement read out at church services across the island on Sunday, Hon said he had asked the Holy See to dismiss Apuron after the cleric refused to stand down voluntarily.
“I can assure you that the gravely serious allegations against Archbishop Apuron will continue to be dealt with ... a canonical trial,” the statement said.
“His Holiness, Pope Francis, is monitoring the proceedings,” he added.
The allegations date back to the 1970s, with at least four former altar boys saying they were molested by Apuron, then a parish priest.
Apuron, who has headed the Agana archdiocese since 1986, has not been charged with any crime.
Hon’s statement did not directly address the veracity of the allegations, instead expressing sorrow over the issue of clerical child abuse.
“On behalf of the church, I want to apologize personally to the survivors of sexual abuse everywhere who have suffered so much at the hands of clergy,” he said. “We cannot undo the betrayal of trust and faith and the horrendous acts that the clergy have committed against the youngest and the most innocent amongst us.”
In response to the scandal, the Guamanian Legislature last week unanimously passed a bill allowing child sex abuse victims to take their cases to court, regardless of when the alleged crime was committed.
“Victims often need many years to overcome the pain of their abuse and time to obtain the courage needed to speak out about the abuse that they have suffered,” the bill’s author, Guamanian Senator Frank Blas, said.
However, Hon said he would lobby Guamanian Governor Eddie Calvo not to sign the bill into law, arguing it would have “damaging unintended consequences” for the church in Guam.
He said a slew of lawsuits about allegations dating back decades would likely leave the archdiocese bankrupt, as happened to 13 diocese in the continental US.
“Bankruptcy will mean the forced sale of church properties that currently house our schools and social services,” he said. “That will have a devastating effect on education and charitable work.”
Instead, Hon proposed a fund to provide financial compensation for victims and the establishment of a task force to ensure children were protected.
“I submit that we can and must do these things without destroying all the good being done for our community by our church, both laity and clergy,” he said.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday