Be a Shepherd
In August, in response to the growing scandal within the Church, I wrote this piece for Catholic Sistas and then took my own advice and wrote the following personal letter to our local Bishop and then published it on Facebook in a public post:
Bishop Oscar A. Solis
Diocese of Salt Lake
27 C Street
Salt Lake City UT 84103
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+
I had hoped for an answer from him, but I hoped in vain. Fortunately, my letter got attention from the local news and I was interviewed just a couple weeks after sending my letter. You can see a short video blurb and read my interview here: Catholic Mom Penned Letter to Salt Lake Diocese
Certainly, I thought, I'd get a response from my bishop now. Crickets.
This week I was again contacted by the media. This time it was national media from The Atlantic. The reporter had come across my writing on Catholic Sistas and the interview with a local news agency and she wondered if I could answer a few questions about the ongoing Sexual Abuse Summit in Rome. I declined the interview for various reasons, but she persisted and asked if I knew anyone, especially a parent who would speak with her. Wanting to somewhat control the information she might get, I encouraged Chris to speak with her, which he did just this morning. Bishop Solis figured prominently in his interview, as did the reality that we entered the Church with our eyes wide open, knowing it is an institution filled with imperfect men, and we stay in the Church with our eyes wide open.
"Lord, where shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal Life." John 6:68
My letter to Bishop Solis and his refusal to respond will likely be mentioned in the Atlantic article. I wonder if attention in a national news journal will catch his attention?