As shepherd of the Catholic Church in Utah, together with the bishops of the United States, I express my personal shame, distress and anger concerning the sexual abuse committed by some of our priests, bishops and other Church leaders against our children, young people and adults whom we are supposed to serve and to protect. Their sins have brought severe pain and embarrassment to many people. It is distressing that some of our Church leaders had mishandled allegations of abuse and covered up such sinful acts. Others did nothing to prevent this deviant behavior while some were not held accountable and even allowed to assume higher position of leadership in our Church.
I join our Catholic community and other people everywhere who feel stunned, enraged and scandalized by the past and recent revelations of these misdeeds and the mishandling of allegations of abuse by some Church authorities. I am truly humbled and ashamed that this is happening in our Church.
In view of the aforementioned, I beg forgiveness for the wrongdoings of my brother priests, bishops and other Church ministers for failing in our responsibility to be the true shepherds Christ called us to be. I also ask for your prayers for all victims and for survivors of sexual abuse so they may come forward to receive help, support and healing they need. Let us pray for abusers and perpetrators of crimes that bring tremendous pain and suffering in their lives and families as well as for our Church leaders, so they can carry out a more vigorous and renewed commitment in safeguarding and protecting everyone under our care. Our Diocese of Salt Lake City pledges to take action to the best of our abilities to review our policies and programs, hoping and praying that we can prevent these sins from happening again.
On September 7, 2018, the First Friday of the month, I ask all pastors of our parishes and missions, and principals of all Catholic schools throughout the diocese to devote a day of prayer, reparation and penance for the sins committed by our priests, bishops and other Church leaders. Remember especially all the victims of sexual abuse and their loved ones for peace and healing. Let us set aside a time for a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction or celebration of the Holy Mass for this special intention and invite the members of our faith communities for their participation and support.
As believers in God’s mercy and compassion, let us be people of hope, that by the grace of God, light may come out of this darkness and that this crisis will bring conversion of heart, renewal of our faith and reconciliation with God and one another, and most of all peace in our Church and in every heart. Thank you for your consideration and support. May God bless us all during this trying and difficult time.
The Most Reverend Oscar A. Solis, Bishop of Salt Lake City
Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City