A review of my new book was included in the March 30, 2018 edition of Pacific Daily News, part of the USA Today network. New book on Catholic clergy sex abuse cover up cites Guam
A new book on sex abuse in the Catholic Church has cited the Guam church and former Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s attempts to invalidate a 2016 Guam law lifting the civil statute of limitation for child sex abuses.
G.R. Pafumi released the first of two volumes of his book, “Inhumanity in the Name of Jesus,” which argue the church’s history and teachings made the cover-up of clergy sex abuse inevitable because of unchecked power and the belief in ecclesiastical infallibility.
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“The Church believes it is never wrong because it has been guided by the Holy Spirit for nearly 2,000 years,” he said.
He said victims of Catholic clergy are no longer willing to remain silent about the abuse they suffered, sometimes decades ago.
“Guam is mentioned in Volume 1 about how Apuron and his lawyers are trying to get the Guam law enacted in 2016 invalidated under the ex-post facto laws of the U.S.Constitution,” Pafumi said.
The 2016 law paved the way for clergy sex abuse accusers to file lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Agana, priests and others, regardless of how long ago the alleged abuses occurred. At least 160 cases have so far been filed in local and federal courts.
Apuron, in court filings through attorney Jacqueline Terlaje, said the 2016 law doesn’t apply retroactively.
Most of the information about Guam will be on Volume II of the book, due out this summer, Pafumi said.
“The Vatican trial of Apuron will be in Volume II if something more than being removed from Guam arises,” Pafumi added.
A Vatican tribunal on March 16 found Apuron guilty of certain of some accusations. The accusations against Apuron include child sexual abuses.
Pafumi said his book isn’t only about clergy abuse, but the cover-up of that abuse by bishops and popes.
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“It was written to help a reader understand how such horrible events could have happened in the Church of Jesus Christ. It was written to show that the cover-up of abuse was not only possible, but inevitable given the Church’s history and belief in infallibility, both papal infallibility and its own ecclesiastical infallibility,” Pafumi said.
He said money spent fighting the new Guam law could be better spent compensating the victims Apuron allegedly molested.
“The church is distrustful of America because it sees the United States as modernistic and Protestant. Yet it uses our Constitution, which separates church from state, to shield itself from the liability created by its priests who have abused children,” Pafumi wrote in his book. “The church will not fix the problem without external pressure.”
Pafumi, in commenting on the outcome of the Vatican trial of Apuron, said Apuron will probably be sentenced to meditate and pray for his sins, but the Vatican hasn’t been specific about his sentence.
“He was not defrocked and no restrictions on his ministry as a priest have been issued thus far than keeping him (out) of Guam. He is 72 years old. In 2014, Pope Francis confirmed the retirement age of 75 for bishops, including in the curia,” Pafumi said. “Apuron was on his way out anyway. You need to focus on where he is to retire and pray. It might be on the ltalian Riviera.”
The Catholic Church on Guam, now led by Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes, apologized again to Apuron’s accusers after the Vatican announced a guilty verdict. The church continues to offer counseling to victims through the Hope and Healing Program. It strengthened its policies and has required mandatory training for clergy, staff and volunteers for the church to help prevent and address abuses of children.
The Archdiocese of Agana also is pursuing mediation to try to settle the clergy sex abuse cases filed in federal and local court.
Attorney Michael Patterson, co-counsel for the archdiocese, said there were at least 10 individuals who said they’re abused by clergy but have not hired a lawyer. Patterson said the archdiocese has decided to include them in the mediation process.
Reporter Haidee Eugenio covers Guam’s Catholic church issues, education, government, business and more. Follow her on Twitter @haidee_eugenio. Follow Pacific Daily News on Facebook/GuamPDN and Instagram @guampdn.