MORGAN, Utah (News4Utah) – Utah mom Maurisa Mayerle is a devout Catholic and has raised her children in the Church, but “scandalous and evil behavior” among Church leadership has caused her to question whether to allow her sons to enter seminary, she said.
In a letter sent last month to Bishop Oscar Solis of the Diocese of Salt Lake, Mayerle expressed concern over growing scandal within the Catholic Church as a whole. She said overall, she’s pleased with how the Diocese of Salt Lake has handled many allegations of sexual abuse. Still, she wishes the problem did not exist.
“I’ve been angry and upset and embarrassed at times to call myself Catholic,” Mayerle told News4Utah. “But then I have to remember that my faith isn’t about bishops,and Popes and priests. My faith is about Jesus Christ. And that’s what I cling to.”
Mayerle writes for the blog Catholic Sistas. Recently, she asked readers to write their Diocese about the growing problem and plead with them to take action.
Her son Ben, 12, has expressed interest in becoming a priest. She says she feels a certain amount of trepidation about that, given reports of abuse in seminaries. She’s calling on Bishop Solis to encourage resignation of bishops within the hierarchy of the Church, if found guilty of abuse or abuse cover-ups in Utah and abroad.
“We are overwhelmed with grief and fear for the future of the priesthood and the future of the Church,” Mayerle wrote in her letter.
Thursday, Solis made public that the Diocese has received “credible allegations” that 16 priests sexually abused minors over the last six decades. Solis said the Diocese began receiving those reports in 1990.
Two of those allegations surfaced this year, landing two Utah County priests on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse. Law enforcement is handling both of those inquiries.
Here is the full text of Mayere’s letter to Solis.
I want to thank you for your devoted service to our community as our bishop. In these trying times it is comforting to know we have a good and faithful shepherd.
The recent breaking scandals in the Church have become a source of uncertainty and distress for myself and my family. We feel these tribulations call for deep prayer and decisive action from the entire Body of Christ.
Upon your first visit to our home parish of Saint James the Just, you warmly greeted our young son who served on the altar. He recalls you asking if he would consider ever becoming a priest. Your personal attention really made an impression upon him. To this day, he still serves on the altar as often as he can even learning to serve in the Extraordinary form.
Unfortunately, the recent news of scandalous and evil behavior in seminaries has made us reconsider our consent in allowing our sons to pursue potential vocations to the priesthood. We are overwhelmed with grief and fear for the future of the priesthood and the future of the Church.
As a family, we are praying, fasting, and making reparations for Holy Mother Church, the Pope, bishops and priests. That is our call to action and we are grateful we can do such.
I’m writing today to ask what are you willing to do to heal the evil that has been done? I read your statement released soon after the Pennsylvania report was made public. Thank you for your courage and leadership in that regard.
I am hoping you are willing to take even bolder action, especially when you meet with brother bishops of the USCCB in November. Please make the protection of our children, young men, and seminarians a priority, not only within your own diocese, but within the entire Church. Please support the effort to make all Church personnel, including the hierarchy accountable for those failures made in protecting the flock. Please make a call for the resignation of any Church personnel who knew or participated in attempts to cover up abuse within the Church. Please urge your brother bishops to demand a full investigation into the latest charges leveled against prominent members of the hierarchy by Archbishop Vigano.
The wounds are deep. There is much work to be done to heal our beloved Church. We are counting on courageous and faithful shepherds to lead the way. Be assured of our family’s constant prayers for you.
+Ad Jesum per Mariam+