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.”