Cardinal Raymond Burke has been sent to the Pacific island of Guam to investigate abuse claims against its archbishop.

Cardinal Burke, a canon law expert and former head of the Vatican’s highest court, arrived in the US territory of Guam last week as the presiding judge in a Church trial investigating allegations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana.

Cardinal Burke told Italian television that the mission was not a “punishment” for his efforts to seek clarification of Amoris Laetitia and that he had been entrusted the task by officials at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Three men have publicly accused Archbishop Apuron of sexually abusing them when they were altar boys in the 1970s. The mother of a fourth man, now dead, also accused the archbishop of abusing her son.

Archbishop Apuron had refused to resign, but in October Pope Francis named former Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Michael Byrnes as coadjutor archbishop of Agana and gave him full authority to lead the archdiocese.

In a separate interview last week Cardinal Burke rejected the allegation that he had ordered a senior official at the Order of Malta to resign – an act that provoked intervention from the Pope.

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