The Vatican recently announced that it upheld its conviction of Guam’s Archbishop Anthony Apuron for “delicts against the Second Commandment with minors.” In laymen’s terms, Apuron was convicted of multiple instances of homosexual pedophilia. The Church ordered Apuron removed from Guam and is barred from presenting himself as a bishop; however, he remains a priest. Apuron maintains his innocence.
Cases like Apuron’s are subject to pontifical secret, meaning the people are informed of the initial charges and final verdict but everything in-between remains a secret. The lack of transparency leads to confusion and questions the integrity of the process itself.
Because all appeals have been exhausted and it is, therefore, presumed that Apuron is guilty, it is disturbing that the Vatican failed to strip Apuron of his title and benefits nor was he laicized. Could anyone say this is an example supporting Pope Francis and the Vatican’s statements of “zero tolerance” since Apuron remains in ministry with benefits. While measures are being taken to prevent these heinous acts and cover-ups from continuing, the example of Apuron is another failure of the Catholic Church to boldly confront and fully expose its crimes against humanity and the dignity of the human person.
Following in the footsteps of Christ, we as Christians are called to daily traverse the mountain that is Calvary, leaving the filth and stench of our earthly lives behind, no matter the cost. We are called to “confess to almighty God and to … my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned … through my fault …” If we ourselves do this as a matter of practice, we can and must justifiably expect the Catholic Church to open wide its doors to the full truth and make its due amends, no matter the cost.