Canonical trial of Archbishop Apuron underway

canonical trial

The canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron started.

“It’s been initiated, I know that much. The argument has been exchanged and now it’s kind of like in the second phase of investigation, examination,” said Archbishop Michael Byrnes, the newly appointed coadjutor bishop of Hagåtña (Guam) at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

Byrnes, who arrived on Guam at around 1 a.m. Monday, said the tribunal has been established and the Apuron trial proceeds, with more or less three judges on board.

Canon lawyer Jennifer Haselberger, a Minnesota-based expert in church law, has said there haven’t been enough trials of bishops to reach any conclusion about what penalty is normal.

“It will be for the judges to determine the penalty warranted, which could be dismissal from the clerical state or removal from office,” Haselberger has said.

As well as the canonical trial ten civil lawsuits have also been filed against the Archdiocese of Hagåtña and its priests — including Apuron.

The lawsuits became possible after Gov. Eddie Calvo signed a law on Sept. 23 that lifted the statute of limitations on civil cases against those accused of sexually abusing children.

Byrnes said he has read the complaints filed. “I’m aware of those. It’s shocking whenever you read that kind of thing,” he said.

He said he intends to meet with survivors, victims or those who have filed lawsuits against priests and the archdiocese.

But he said there are no firm dates as to when those meetings will occur.

The governor, senators and other government officials attended the prayers for the start of Byrnes’ ministry.

85 percent of the island’s population is Catholic.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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