Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Letters to the Editor

(From the July 3, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Reconciliation and healing are possible

Dear Bishop Skylstad:

I want to express to you my deep appreciation for the insight and wisdom you demonstrated in your letter to sexual abuse victims ("A Message to Unnamed Victims of Sexual AbuseIR 6/12/03).

I am a clergy sexual abuse survivor who is attempting to work in cooperation with the Church in my journey to healing and reconciliation. Your letter was an affirmation that there indeed are those individuals among bishops and Religious superiors who are striving to be pastoral and healing in their approach to victim/survivors. I know this to be true of my own Bishop, Michael Warfel (bishop of the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska).

I had the privilege of speaking to you and your brother bishops in Dallas in June 2002, and have presented here in Juneau and at Mount Angel Abbey (in Oregon). Despite multiple setbacks and disappointments in my ongoing negotiations with the former superiors of my abuser, I still believe that reconciliation and healing between survivors and the Church is possible without resorting to litigation. This reconciliation and healing only can occur in an environment of complete trust and cooperation. It is vitally important that survivors not be revictimized when they approach the Church. You certainly appear to have a strong understanding of the importance of pastoral care toward survivors, and gaining their trust. I am grateful for your efforts to help ensure that survivors are treated with respect and given the dignity that they deserve.

Please know that I am at your disposal if you desire my assistance in your efforts to educate the priests and people of the Diocese of Spokane about the effects of clergy sexual abuse and the promise of healing and reconciliation.

I will hold you and your diocese in my prayers. Please pray for me!

In Christ who heals all wounds,

Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher, Douglas, Alaska

A rerun alternative


Itís the time of year when you hear it coming from the mouths of parents, from the mouths of children and teens, from newspaper columnists: Thereís nothing but reruns on TV!

My goodness. Iím pretty sure itís not a national crisis.

I have to wonder, though, whether or not weíve allowed ourselves to become culturally hamstrung when it comes to filling the hours not devoted to actual work, whether on the job or at home. Are we so pathetically unable to function without a TV set filling our otherwise empty hours?

My goodness. It is possible to turn the silly thing off. (Save on your electric bill.) It is possible to try a new hobby. (Eat some Popsicles, use the sticks to build a model of the Eiffel Tower. Itís a win-win.) It is possible to volunteer. (With the budget catastrophes they face, schools need all the help they can get Ė public, parochial or otherwise.)

Read a book. Write a story. Draw a picture. Take a walk. Learn a musical instrument. Build a new relationship. Strengthen an existing relationship.

Say a prayer. Give thanks to God that you live in a country where you have choices, that you have a brain that lets you make choices. And choose something other than TV.

Raymond Preiss, Spokane

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