Vatican meeting to tackle ‘scourge of clergy sexual abuse’


Guam – Church leaders will gather in Rome to meet with Pope Francis during a worldwide summit in the Vatican next week.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes has asked the local Catholic community for prayers as the meeting of religious leaders will focus on the “scourge of clergy sexual abuse which has darkened our Church in many places.”

He said the Church will examine procedures and practices on the protection of minors entrusted to its care and grave failures related to reporting of sexual abuse by clergy.
Byrnes is hopeful that the summit will lead to genuine reform and signal a turning point in the way the Catholic Church handles allegations of sexual abuse and child protection policies.

According to the Archdiocese, the meeting will comprise nearly 190 Church leaders: the presidents of national bishops’ conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches, superiors of religious orders of men and women, Roman Curia officials and invited experts and guest speakers.

While Archbishop Byrnes will not be attending the summit, he said, “I have reminded the president of CEPAC of the unsettled case of my predecessor, Archbishop Anthony Apuron, which still distresses both the faithful of Guam and especially those who have suffered at his hands. It is our hope that an example like this might emphasize the necessity of transparency and accountability in the way the Church handles clergy abuse cases.”

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.