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  • By Aline Yamashita

Not all is lost

A visiting priest on EWTN proclaimed how awful life is today.

I thought a lot about that. When I read that Pope Francis was being asked to remove Archbishop Apuron from his position, I paused. And I prayed. It has been a painful roller-coaster ride for victims and their families. As well, it must be a painful roller-coaster ride for the accused and their families. Certainly, it must be heart-wrenching for the clergy – all segments.

As always, “Ti Mamaigu si Yu’os. “ God is not sleeping.

While awful situations abound, there is much solace. There is comfort knowing that voices are heard. There is hope when people are courageous enough to speak.

As small as Guam is, we know that painful situations include people we know. So we pray even more. We are thankful for people being peaceful in their sorrow and peaceful in their anger.

It is hoped that all clergy are able to huddle. Perhaps, they are so accustomed to authoritarian structure that they don’t understand the need for organizational and stakeholder leadership. It would be most hopeful if they were unified in moving forward. A support system is needed to help them sort out their feelings – as they, too, are human.

While lifting the statute of limitations will not allow a person to be potentially convicted of sexual abuse, a process to determine and address wrongdoing will help. The consequences of such hurtful, wrong behavior will not repair the pain but may soften the damage. Programs to help with sexual deviance need to be expanded. During the 32nd Guam Legislature, there was one therapist on island addressing the problem. Clearly, Guam needs more.

Guam needs more investment in early childhood education. Our social emotional development is greatly influenced during the first eight years of life. During this critical period, self confidence, self identify, sexual identity are greatly molded. The foundation for healthy, good decision-making is rooted during the earliest years.

When the Concerned Catholics of Guam asked why the archdiocese did not participate in the public hearings that would eliminate time limits, Father Carriveau shared that since 1954, Congress banned any political activity by tax-exempt organizations. Politics and the Pulpit: A Guide to the Internal Revenue Code Restrictions on the Political Activity of Religious Organizations states what is allowed.

Father Ken also shared that if they lost the current case, they would have to file for bankruptcy.

It sounds all material. But it isn’t. The potential loss of places and programs eliminates many supports and services our people depend on.

Those found guilty should be held responsible for their action, rather than the church. Not all clergy sexually abused altar boys. Nor did we, the people.

Back to EWTN. The priest was less than hopeful and certainly not inspiring. While, yes, we have problems, we also have solutions. We know we have many caring people who are doing something about the problems. Not all is lost. And certainly, God is not sleeping.

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