Archbishop's New Appointment Draws Concerns
By Haidee V. Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
November 24, 2017
|In this file photo from June, 2016, Monsignor David C. Quitugua presides over Sunday mass at Dulce Nombre de Cathedral Basilica in Hagatna.|
Editor's note: This story was updated to include a photo of Msgr. David C. Quitugua. An earlier version erroneously contained a photo of Msgr. David I.A.Qutigutua.
One of Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes' latest appointments is drawing concern from a group of Catholics, which claims Msgr. David C. Quitugua's alleged abuse of power as vicar general and judicial vicar under Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron makes him unworthy of holding any post in the chancery.
"(Quitugua) should be retired and removed from being a member of the clergy," Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan said.
Byrnes appointed Quitugua to serve as associate judge for the Archdiocese of Agana effective Nov. 17.
An associate judge assists the church's judicial vicar in deciding cases within the archdiocese. Quitugua was a judicial vicar for the archdiocese's tribunal during Apuron's time.
Byrnes recently also appointed a new judicial vicar, the Rev. Fr. Carlos S. Vila, effective Nov. 17. Quitugua and Vila couldn't be reached for comment as of press time Friday.
Those who hold the post of judicial vicar or associate judge may be priests, deacons, religious brothers or sisters or nuns, or laymen who must have knowledge of canon law, and be Catholics in good standing.
|Sablan (Photo: PDN file photo)|
"Quitugua and Adrian Cristobal, the vicar general and chancellor, respectively, under Apuron, were key henchmen in trying to have the Neocatechumenal Way take over our Archdiocese for their own personal gain," Sablan said. "They had no regard for their fellow clergy members who were not following the NCW."
The Neocatechumenal Way is a movement. Its religious practices sometimes are at odds with Guam's traditional Catholics.
Quitugua is also one of the four clergy that Byrnes removed in July from his advisory Presbyteral Council, stating they were insubordinate, defied his leadership and betrayed his trust.
"Quitugua, Adrian Cristobal and Apuron are at the root cause of division within our local church. We have evidence to show these two and Apuron violated the trust of the Catholic faithful of Guam," Sablan said. "It is scandalous to have Quitugua continue to do anything in our archdiocese because of his blind loyalty to the Neocatechumenal Way."
Apuron is undergoing a Vatican canonical trial and is faces lawsuits in federal court in connection with the alleged sexual abuse and rape of altar boys in Agat in the 1970s.
Sablan said Quitugua shouldn't accept the appointment as associate judge and give Byrnes his resignation, as he did when he was appointed to the College of Consultors.
Byrnes also recently appointed Paul M. Fisher as chancellor of the Archdiocesan Curia, effective Nov. 13.
Pope Francis appointed Byrnes on Oct. 31, 2016, as coadjutor archbishop for the Archdiocese of Agana, with all rights to succeed Apuron should Apuron resign, retire or is removed. Apuron hasn't been back on Guam since he left in May 2016, after former altar boys, or their families, started coming forward and publicly accused him of sexual abuse.
Reporter Haidee Eugenio covers Guam's Catholic church issues, education, business and more. Follow her on Twitter @haidee_eugenio. Follow Pacific Daily News on Facebook/GuamPDN and Instagram @guampdn.