I got this nice letter from the archdiocese

I got a letter the other day from the Archdiocese of Agana that surprised me. In the nearly 30 years since one of its then-school teachers began raping me as a young boy, the archdiocese had never said or wrote to me anything taking any responsibility for its cover up of these crimes. Until now.

The letter was written by its apostolic administrator – kind of like the temporary archbishop until Rome selects a new one. In it, he says more to validate my three decades-long lamentation over the criminal and immoral cover up by church leaders than has ever been spoken in the court case or printed in the newspapers. The letter expresses – I believe, sincerely – a heartfelt sorrow for what happened; something I have never received from an archdiocese leader, though some priests have privately commiserated with me.

Perhaps this is the change many of us were hoping to see in the archdiocese; or, at least the seeds of it. The class action suit and bankruptcy are over, so the archdiocese stands to gain nothing by making these admissions and reaching out in sorrow.

I suppose there’s a lesson in the disguised blessings of honesty here. Had the archdiocese and its agents been honest after finding out about the crimes, it’s likely I would have had neither a legal claim against it nor (a now past) resentment for its role. Rather than protect me (and others), its leaders at the time decided to ignore me and to send my rapist into hiding.

The archdiocese took 30 years, in my case, to communicate with me. I’m grateful for it. Better late than never.

Here’s what its apostolic administrator, Fr. Romeo Convocar, wrote to me, on behalf of the archdiocese:


The peace and blessings of Jesus Christ be with you. I hope this letter finds you well despite the extreme agony you suffered from clergy and laypersons of our Catholic Church in Guam in the past.

As the Apostolic Administrator chosen by Pope Francis to currently lead the Archdiocese of Agana, I extend my deepest apologies to you for the grave sin and crime of sexual abuse inflicted on you during your childhood. You were an innocent youngster who loved the Church. Yet, certain representatives of the Church betrayed your trust and hurt you. We are greatly ashamed of this.

Our Archdiocese today takes full responsibility for the physical, emotional, and spiritual harm done to you and for other ways that you have suffered. On behalf of our entire Archdiocese, I am very sorry for the horrific pain our Church members inflicted on you.

As the shepherd of the Catholic faithful on Guam until the pope names a permanent archbishop, I also apologize to you and all victims of clergy abuse for the tremendous failure of our bishops and leaders in the past. Instead of taking swift action to publicly acknowledge the abuse, protect you, and punish the perpetrators, it is evident in my mind that they did otherwise. They avoided responsibility, hid the truth, and did not seek justice. I am sincerely sorry about this.

I pray for you and the many men and women devastated by sexual abuse. Collectively and individually, our faithful pray for you daily. We begin many of our Masses with prayers for you.

Sharing painful experiences and emotions with others brings healing, and we would like to offer the following assistance:

Suppose you want to meet with a religious man or woman for spiritual support. In that case, I have formed a team of spiritual directors. Please contact [contact information follows in letter].

We can also coordinate an initial consultation with a certified therapist. Free counseling is available so long as the Archdiocese has the funds and professionals available.

Finally, we invite you and all victims of clergy abuse in Guam to tell your stories of suffering and abuse through the Archdiocese media. We no longer publish the printed Umatuna Si Yu’us newspaper but will set up an electronic version soon. We can also place your story on the Archdiocese website. [Contact information follows in the letter]. We understand if you do not wish to do so. Still, please be assured of our utmost deference and sensitivity to each person’s unique experience.

As always, revealing your identity is your choice, and it will be respected if you prefer to remain anonymous for any of those mentioned above.

In closing and with the most profound humility, I again acknowledge the Archdiocese failed you. Human beings hurt you. Be assured that our loving God has you forever in his heart. He loves you without limits. Our Lord is with you.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

Very Rev. Fr. Romeo D. Convocar
Apostolic Administrator


Thank you, Fr. Romy, for this letter that, until now, I never thought I ever needed to or would ever read. Thank you especially for those last three sentences, which mean more to me than all the rest.

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