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Concerned Catholics Protest Outside Cathedral

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The Pope may have appointed an Apostolic Administrator to temporarily oversee the Archdiocese of Agana, but concerned Catholics continue to push for the removal of Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai was appointed Monday night to oversee the local diocese amid sex abuse allegations against Apuron and other issues involving the local church. 

Dozens of concerned Catholics stood and marched outside the Cathedral in Hagatna this morning including Walter Denton and John Toves. Denton accused Archbishop Apuron of raping him when he was 13-years-old. Denton was an altar boy at the time at Mt. Carmel church in Agat where Apuron was a priest. In August 2015 Denton lodged an official complaint with the Vatican. Toves in 2014 alleged his cousin, when he was a seminarian several years ago, was sexually abused by the Archbishop. His cousin however never came forward and the Archdiocese therefore did not investigate the claim.

In recent weeks two other people came forward making sex abuse allegations against Apuron which he has vehemently denied. Archbishop Apuron has responded that he is the victim of a malicious smear campaign because he had uncovered financial discrepancies within the Archdiocese and was cleaning up the Church.

Concerned Catholics protesting outside the Cathedral this morning say that although they accept Archbishop Savio's call to restore peace, harmony and unity they still want Archbishop Apuron to resign or be removed. The Pope appointed Archbishop Savio "sede plena" which means that Archbishop Apuron keeps his title but must fully comply with the Apostolic Administration. In a media release the concerned Catholics believe that because Apuron continues to cling to his title he may continue to "wield some kind of influence on the lives of us Catholics here".

During the protest, Archbishop Savio walked outside and addressed the crowd saying "we're all doing the work of God".  Protestors said the Archbishop invited them to come inside and celebrate mass. On Saturday night Archbishop Savio held a Prayer Vigil for Unity.  During the service it was the first time he had addressed the issue of sex child abuse in the local Church.  Archbishop Savio acknowledged there may be those suffering as a result of the accusations. He asked the Church  to approach the issues in a climate of serenity and pray for unity.

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