It appears to me that Pope Francis has "Apuron on the brain." The letter is addressed to bishops and right now there is only one bishop who is at the center of the Catholic world's attention in matters related to the sex abuse of children, there is only one bishop who is on trial in the Vatican, and there is only one bishop who the pope has asked twice now to resign and still he refuses. That's Apuron.This is false. According to the Bishop Accountability website:
The following list includes 84 bishops worldwide who have been accused publicly of sexual wrongdoing – 57 (names in red) allegedly abused minors, and 27 (names in black) are publicly accused of sexual abuse/sexual misconduct with adults only. To date, a mere 4 accused bishops have been laicized: Fernando Armindo Lugo Méndez of Paraguay (2008), Raymond J. Lahey of Canada (2012), Gabino Miranda Melgarejo of Peru (2013), and Jósef Wesołowski of Poland (2014).Pope Francis is fully aware of these figures; therefore, he did not have Apuron in his brain. Archbishop Apuron is not the only bishop who is at the center of the Catholic world's attention. In fact, even Cardinal Pell of Australia was accused of sexual allegations. Tim Rohr further states:
While I welcome the pope's call (again) for zero tolerance, he is appealing for help from the very people who are most responsible for the scandal. While most of the abuse was committed by "priests gone wild," we now know what an integral and secret role the bishops themselves have played in permitting, covering for, and perhaps even cultivating the abuse.First of all, the pope is NOT powerless in exercising administrative authority over bishops. Pope Francis does not need the people's help in getting rid of Archbishop Apuron. He is, after all, the Pope, and he is fully aware that he is the only authority to laicize Archbishop Apuron. The laity never had the authority or the power to defrock the bishop.
Apuron's refusal to resign in the face of the pope's twice request is an example of just how powerless the pope really is when it comes to exercising administrative authority over bishops. Thus the power to hold bishops to account falls to the people, the laity, the parents whose children and grandchildren were ravaged and wounded by by the very men they entrusted them to.
It was only three years ago that Pope Francis laicized Josef Wesolowski of Poland. Yes, indeed....It was Pope Francis who laicized Joseph Wesolowski in 2014 and Gabino Melgaejo in 2013; yet, Rohr wants to deceive people in thinking that the Pope is powerless. If it is true that the pope is powerless, how then was it possible for four bishops to be defrocked by the pope? The laity does not have the authority to defrock a bishop. However, they do have the responsibility to correct their bishops and priests with love. They also have a responsibility to notify Rome and the civil authorities if their bishops and priests have committed a crime.
Secondly, Pope Francis mentioned "zero tolerance." The pope believes in this; yet, Archbishop Apuron is allowed to leave Rome and even attend a Bishop's conference. Does this sound like "zero tolerance"? No. It sounds like Pope Francis is giving Archbishop Apuron the benefit of the doubt. It sounds like he is not judging Archbishop Apuron and will wait for the results of the canonical trial.
The fact is.....Pope Francis never asked Archbishop Apuron to resign. It was Archbishop Hon who asked Archbishop Apuron to resign. And it was Archbishop Hon who flew to Rome to convince the Pope to remove Archbishop Apuron.
You see......even Archbishop Hon knew very well that ONLY the pope had the authority to remove Apuron, which is the reason why he went to Rome to convince the pope to remove him and appoint another bishop in his place. Instead, Pope Francis allowed Archbishop Apuron to keep his title as Archbishop of Agana and appoint a coadjutor Bishop to take his place until the results of the canonical trial are in. If he is found guilty, Archbishop Byrnes will automatically become the Archbishop of Agana and Apuron will lose his title. On the other hand, if he is found not guilty, Archbishop Apuron will resume his position and authority over the Archdiocese of Agana, and Byrnes will remain the next of kin until Archbishop Apuron retires.