Archbishop plans to file defamation lawsuit


by Jolene Toves

Guam – The archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana is, by nature of the position, the highest-ranking Catholic locally – and as such, the person who takes the cloth in that role is usually the biggest target for scrutiny. But while it’s taught to turn the other cheek and solve disputes through reason and prayer, it seems the leader of the Guam’s Catholic faithful is intending to file a defamation lawsuit amid recent controversies involving the church.

t’s been long and rough road for the island’s Catholic church. This year, for example, the removal of Father John Wadeson stemming from allegation of child molestation prior to coming to Guam. Then there was the sudden removal of Monsignor James Benavente as rector of the Archdiocese of Agana, which was received with outrage and disappointment. Then just recently media reports about a man accusing the archbishop of sexual molestation, and then talks about why Archbishop Anthony Apuron really met with Pope Francis in the Vatican last week.

The head of the island’s Catholic Church, is back on island and issued a statement exclusively to KUAM – Apuron requested to meeting with the pope and he was granted an audience on November 21.

“I wanted to speak with the Holy Father about the situation of the church in Guam and the critical role we play in the evangelization of the Pacific, we spoke of the challenges and the joys of our church. Pope Francis showed interest to know about Guam and the Pacific,” stated his Excellency.

Apuron says that he also invited the pope to visit our island on his way to the Philippines. As for recent allegations of sexual molestation Apuron says nothing could be further from the truth. “It is a horribly calumny and I am obliged to defend not my person but the church. On the advice of legal counsel I will not answer any questions. However defending the church compels me to a suit – a defamation suit – any damages that I receive I will not keep for myself but will be given to the charitable causes of our church.”

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