In the nearly 30 years that Archbishop Anthony Apuron held the title of leader of the Catholic faithful on the island, he obviously was held in high regard – until allegations started to emerge about two years ago regarding the church’s assets and finances, and the alleged abuses of altar boys.

As the allegations against the ousted archbishop started to pile up, he left Guam.

The Archdiocese of Agana didn't really make clear to the public where he was, although in June last year, Apuron did send a video message, with a view of the Vatican in the background. 

At the time, he still wore the a bishop’s robe.

Ultimately, the Vatican sent a replacement to lead the Archdiocese of Agana last year, now in the person of Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes.

But now that Byrnes has succeeded the duties held by Apuron, the local church leadership and Apuron himself still owe Guam, as a community, an explanation.

As tough a challenge life must be now for Apuron these days – after having been removed of the title, the VIP treatment and perks he once had – he needs to show good faith by returning to Guam and answering to the allegations against him.

Even if his legal team would advise him not to say anything in public in response to the various allegations, he should still be able to say sorry to the community, for the trail of hurt he left behind.

The local church leadership also needs to show more effort toward rebuilding the trust of the local Catholic faithful, and part of what they can do is to be transparent about what they know of Apuron’s whereabouts.

The church traditionally continues to financially support even priests who fall from grace, so there’s a really good chance they know his location. If they’re sending checks to Apuron, it means the local church leadership knows where he is.

Transparency is a good start toward regaining the community’s trust in the island’s most established and largest institution of faith.

They can urge Apuron to come back if he wants to pick up his allowance.

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