SALT LAKE CITY — In the aftermath of a report detailing years of sexual abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City asks for prayers for victims, survivors and perpetrators.
On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania grand jury released the report of how 301 priests abused more than 1,000 children in Pennsylvania. Most of those cases occurred before the early 2000s, when the church began facing scrutiny for the way it handled priests accused of sexual abuse.
The Catholic Church, according to the report, covered up allegations of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania by having fellow clergymen conduct investigations, using terms for sexual abuse to make it sound less serious such as "boundary issues," transferring problem priests to other diocese and other methods.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Most Rev. Oscar Solis, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, said he is among those who feel "stunned, enraged and scandalized" by new and previous reports of abuse.
"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," Bishop Solis said.
Bishop Solis called it "distressing" that sexual abuse has been covered up by some leaders of the church and asked for forgiveness for his "brother priests, bishops and other church ministers and for failing in our responsibility to be the true shepherds Christ called us to be."
In his statement, he asked for people to pray for victims and survivors, as well as abusers and perpetrators, along with their families and church leaders. He also pledged to review policies and programs in the church to help prevent such acts from happening in the future.