A new chapter
Archbishop Savio Hon Ta-Fai has ended his stint as interim administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana after cleaning up the mess left by the administration of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who has been relieved of his pastoral duties while awaiting his canonical trial.
Control of the Redemptoris Mater Serminary has been returned to the Archdiocese of Agana, ending a fierce tug-of-war over the Yona property. Previously fired church officials have been reinstated. But while Hon has instituted reforms at the scandal-ridden church, scars remain from sex abuse by the clergy.
There is no simple narrative to sum up the challenges that beset the local church, other than a loaded phrase – “toxic environment “— tossed by Mother Dawn Marie, head of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, before leaving Guam.
No one disagreed that the conflicts in church have created a toxic environment, but Hon is confident he is leaving Guam with a restored “unity and peace.”
Amid mounting lawsuits filed by former altar boys against the clergy, the Archdiocese of Agana vows to prevent the recurrence of sex abuse by men of the cloth under its new leadership.
Archbishop Michael Byrnes, the new coadjutor of Archdiocese of Agana, arrived on Guam on Nov. 28, faced with the task of completing the mission to bring the house back in order and assuage the pain of the Catholics.
“We have a long journey to walk through,” Hon said. “With the arrival of Most Rev. Venerable Brother Archbishop Byrnes, we endeavor to close one chapter and to open a new one with renewed vigor or faith, hope and most of all love.”