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Deadly silence. (you may be right).

A SINCERE THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE MEMBERS OF THE laity who are speaking out on this issue of clergy sexual abuse. My son, Eric, is pictured on the June cover of U.S. CATHOLIC ("Broken trust, broken lives" by Kevin Clarke). We have become extremely involved with this crisis because of our son's death by suicide several months after revealing he had been sexually abused by our parish priest when he was 12 years old.

In investigating the background of the priest, we discovered that he had a long history of molesting (most of the 30 years he served in our diocese). We also discovered, to our horror, that four other young men who had close contact with this priest had also committed suicide. The message I want to make loud and clear is that clergy sexual abuse can lead to deadly consequences.

We have started a Web site dedicated to alerting people to the potential for suicide or attempted suicide at As a church, we cannot stand by silently as members of the laity and pretend that these are just isolated incidents and that the psychological damage done to the victims is not really that serious.
Janet Patterson
Conway Springs, Kan.

Our own priest was dismissed for sexual misconduct. Our church is currently in turmoil, and many members have decided to leave. I am a convert and feel this is where God has been leading me all my life.

But I think the "judge not" mentality should be thrown right out the window. The church is in this mess because persons in leadership positions did not use the good common sense God gave them to sort out, call to account, and dismiss suspicious behavior.

Sadly, it does not seem to be "just a few," rather a few too many. Frankly, I would like to scream very loudly at the guilty, but since I can't, I'll just keep on praying that our Lord will work his miracles in our church, and most especially I'll keep on praying for the dear survivors. Thank you for publishing their stories.
Sharon Tiglao
City & state withheld

All priests who sexually abuse children must be excommunicated and immediately turned over to the authorities having jurisdiction. All documents, statements, and affidavits applicable to each case must be turned over to the prosecution. By virtue of their actions, these men must be incarcerated and permanently punished so they will never darken the church's doorstep again; or darken the precious light of a child's innocence.

Anyone who has knowledge of the evil perpetrated by priests upon children better stand up and start taking action lest they be looked upon as culpable and of the same mind-set. The Catholic Church owes these children--the very least they owe to them is support, protection, and monetary compensation.
Anne-Marie Kimble
via e-mail

While I agree that this is a terrible time for our church, I don't believe anyone who says their faith has been destroyed, had much faith to begin with. Our doctrine is sound, even if some administrative decisions are not.
Stephanie Chodera
Villa Park, Ill.

Kevin Clarke's article "Broken trust, broken lives" (June) was very good. We need to know all the facts and be able to discuss the problems.

The pedophile priests break our hearts. They are sick men and should have been helped before the situation got out of hand. It's even worse when it's a priest that we know.

A good priest that I've known for over 20 years has been called out of his ministry, and I and many others cannot believe it. He was our spiritual leader at our charismatic prayer group. He led the fight against abortion. He helped build a new grammar school and was planning to open a high school. The charge was misconduct. We're losing a very good priest. We are praying for our priests, our church, and all the victims.
Shirley Noel
Northbridge, Mass.
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Publication:U.S. Catholic
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Previous Article:There go millions. (Odds & Ends).
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