Guam – Priests suspended by Archbishop Apuron re-instated


Two priests who had been suspended by Archbishop Anthony Apuron have been reinstated.

Monsignor James Benavente has been cleared of the allegations against him regarding irregularities and “financial mismanagement”.

Father Paul Gofigan has also reinstated

Apuron removed Benavente from his position as rector of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in July.

At the time he offered explanation for Benavente’s removal.

But a source said Apuron cited “allegations of financial mismanagement”

At a press conference last Thursday Rev. Jeff San Nicolas read from a letter written by Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai.

The letter stated, “Having examined all the documents and reports made available to me, I hereby declare that Msgr. Benavente’s response is found both credible and satisfactory and that none of these alleged major irregularities should be held valid.”

Benavente said “although grateful it’s not a time to celebrate but instead to roll up our sleeves to continue the critical work of reconciling and rebuilding our archdiocese.”

At the time of his removal, in a letter published online on the JungleWatch blog.

In the letter Benavente said that Apuron had also removed him from his assignment as director of Catholic cemeteries.

Benavente headed the Archdiocesan Development Group

At the same time Aupron dissolved the Archdiocesan Development Group.

The Development group was an umbrella organisation that served the gift shop, the basilica’s museum and the basilica’s media ministries.

Apuron removed Gofan three years ago for not following a directive.

At the press conference on Friday Gofan said, “We never really left, but at least the atmosphere of oppression is gone. And I can feel it.”

He added, “I believe that sentiment goes around with a lot of priests. That culture of fear. That culture of oppression.”

“Today I feel that that heavy burden has been finally released and my name is cleared. My name has been dragged through the mud. One thing I’ve learned is patience.”

After the archdiocese’s press conference on Friday, the Catholic Cemeteries of Guam Inc. filed a complaint with the Guam Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office.

The conplaint alleges that Benavente misused a total of $13,620 placed in Benavente’s trust.

For several years, there has been division the archdiocese over the removal of Benavente and Gofigan,.

Disagreement continues between traditional Catholics and followers of the Neocatechumenal Way.

The dispute is over a land transfer worth tens of millions of dollars.

  • Read Archbishop Hon’s letter
  • Read Benavente’s press relaese


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.