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Pope names apostolic administrator for Guam archdiocese

By Cindy Wooden
Posted: 6/6/2016

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Pope Francis named Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana, Guam. Archbishop Archbishop Hon is pictured in a 2011 photo at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- While not removing Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana, Guam, Pope Francis named a top Vatican official to serve as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese.

Archbishop Apuron, in a statement posted on the archdiocesan website, said he had requested the appointment of an apostolic administrator "pending the investigation of an abuse allegation" against him.

In mid-May, Roy Quintanilla told the media that Archbishop Apuron had sexually abused him 40 years ago when Quintanilla was a 12-year-old altar server at a parish in Agat, Guam, where then-Father Apuron was pastor.

In a video statement hours later, Archbishop Apuron said, "To be absolutely clear and to avoid any misinterpretations of my statement, I deny all allegations of sexual abuse by Roy Quintanilla."

In late May, the archbishop traveled to the Vatican. He was still in Rome June 6 when the Vatican press office announced Pope Francis had appointed Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to be apostolic administrator of the archdiocese while not removing Archbishop Apuron from office.

"The archdiocese and the archbishop warmly welcome Archbishop Hon to Guam," the statement on the archdiocesan website said.

Three days earlier, the Archdiocese of Agana issued a statement announcing it had hired a U.S.-based lawyer and investigator to look into and possibly respond to comments about the archbishop made by Deacon Stephen Martinez, who had served as coordinator of the archdiocese sexual abuse response team until 2014.

"To state, as Stephen Martinez did, that the sexual abuse policy of the archdiocese was kept weak purposefully by the archbishop to protect himself is a calumny of such magnitude that the only avenue, which we are following, is recourse to the civil and canonical legal processes to address these intentional lies," the archdiocese's statement said.

The statement added that Martinez also had been the archdiocesan finance officer, a position the statement claimed he handled with "glaring incompetence."