Local Catholic leaders respond to Pennsylvania abuse reports

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is responding to the latest revelations of alleged abuse and cover-up.

Victims are speaking out following the explosive grand jury report in Pennsylvania.

“I don’t understand how an organization has more say and sway in the state that I swore to defend than I do,” said abuse victim Shaun Dougherty.

According to the report, priests were raping boys and girls while church leadership protected and even promoted the attackers.

The latest revelation is cutting Catholics everywhere to the core, again.

“We are hurt, we are embarrassed, we are humbled by the, by just the sheer extent of the problem,” said Jean Hill, Government Liaison for the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

She says the church must do more, and the next steps of addressing the issue need to go beyond clergy members.

“I think if the church is not going to use lay experts to help address these problems then I won’t be satisfied. But, I do think that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is recognizing that it can not be just clergy who address this,” said Hill.

Here’s a full written statement from Bishop Solis:

“As a humble shepherd of the Catholic Church in Utah, together with my brother bishops in the United States, I express my personal shame, distress and anger concerning the sexual abuse committed by some of our priests, bishops and church leaders against our children, young people and adults whom we are supposed to serve and to protect. It is distressing that some leaders have mishandled allegations of abuse, covered up such sinful acts and were not held accountable.

I share the sentiments of many who feel stunned, enraged and scandalized by the past and recent revelations of these misdeeds and the mishandling of allegations of abuse by some of our church authorities.

In view of these grave sins, I beg forgiveness for the wrongdoings of my brother priests, bishops, and other church ministers and for failing in our responsibility to be the true shepherds Christ called us to be. I also ask for your prayers for all the victims and survivors of sexual abuse that they may come forward to receive the help, support, and healing they need. Let us pray for the abusers and perpetrators of these crimes that bring tremendous pain and suffering to victims, and to the families of both victims and perpetrators, as well as for our church leaders, so they can carry out a more vigorous and renewed commitment to safeguarding and protecting everyone under our care. Our Diocese of Salt Lake City pledges to take action to the best of our ability to review our policies and programs, hoping and praying that we can prevent these sins from happening again.

As believers in God’s mercy and compassion, let us be people of hope. Pray 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, reconciliation with God and with one another, and most of all peace in our church and in every heart. Thank you for your patience, consideration, and support. May God bless us all!”

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