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Guam archbishop wants to help heal U.S. territory

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The new archbishop for Guam will meet with his brother priests as his first order of business on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, as he attempts to heal this island nation rocked by allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy and even the former archbishop.

HAGÅTÑA, Guam >> The new leader of the Catholic church in Guam will meet with his brother priests as his first order of business on Monday as he attempts to heal this U.S. territory rocked by allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy, even the current archbishop.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes says he has been praying for those who have come forward to share their stories.

Byrnes has been sent by the Vatican from Detroit to Guam to replace the current Archbishop Anthony Apuron on an administrative basis.

Apuron has been Guam’s highest Catholic leader for 30 years but faces a church trial over multiple allegations of sex abuse of altar boys in the 1970s. He denies the charges, and has not been criminally charged.

Byrnes says Apuron’s church trial has already started.

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  • His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”

    But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” Matthew 19:10-11

    In mandating celibacy for priests, the Catholic Church has focused on the part about celibacy “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake,” but ignored Jesus’ warning, “All cannot accept this saying.”

    Clearly, not all priests are able to stay celibate, just as Jesus taught. These are men who are afraid to leave the priesthood but who may feel compelled to engage in activities they believe can be kept secret, such as sex that won’t result in pregnancy and with those who can be coerced into silence. Molesting alter boys meets those objectives. But at the root is the Catholic Church’s failure to follow Jesus’ teaching. Better these priests could marry.

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