Archbishop clarifies statement, abuse allegations
by Mindy Aguon
Archbishop Anthony Apuron has issued a letter to his parishioners, clarifying a few points relating to discussions about homosexuality and allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy on Guam. Apuron wrote, "I want to make it clear that persons with same-sex attraction were not the target of my pastoral letter, nor was it meant to condemn anyone in any way. If I have hurt anyone, please forgive me."
His Excellency stressed that his mission is to proclaim God's unconditional love for all God's children, "especially those who are struggling to experience the freedom that only chastity can give." Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community took offense to Apuron's homily on Sunday and pastoral letter in which he told parishioners that they needed to voice their opposition to Bill 185, the same-sex union legislation, or their "souls would be in peril".
The Archbishop says the Catholic Church will continue to love and embrace all individuals.
As for claims made regarding sexual abuse of children at the hands of clergy on the island, Apuron made assurances. His statement continued, "The Archdiocese takes seriously its responsibility to ensure a safe environment for all minors who are in the care of Archdiocesan personnel. A policy with clear procedures for action is in place and will be quickly enforced when reports of an improper behavior on the part of Archdiocesan personnel are received."
He also stated, "Proper investigative authorities will be immediately notified if and when allegations of abuse or improper conduct are imposed. Again, the Catholic Church does not and will not tolerate any kind of sexual abuse."
Additionally, he said that he is praying for healing "for all who have been hurt throughout the island".