A friend forwarded your cover story ("Sins of the Father," issue of July 20-26) to me, and I am compelled to write in response. First, I want to compliment you on your excellent writing. People don't always understand how sensitive, difficult and complex this subject is. You have certainly captured that.
As a former clinical therapist, I have worked with many sexual abuse victims/survivors in their healing process. Too often, the systems in our society protect the abusers and blame the victims. The Catholic Church has protected abusing priests for many years, and it's time they are held accountable.
In my experience, most people do not begin to understand the impact that sexual abuse has on an individual. It is hard for them to grasp the devastating influence such acts have on all aspects of a person's life. While there is a continuum, if you will, with regard to how survivors are able to cope with their trauma, your story provides a realistic examination of the demoralizing effect the abuse has had on Mr. Strunck.
People in the general public need to become aware of what those working in the helping professions know about the damage that is done and how difficult the journey can be for survivors.
As difficult as it was to read your story, I kept thinking that this story should be a book. It needs to be heard by many, many more people. Despite all his difficulties, Richard Strunck IS a survivor. His story can offer hope to other victims, and perhaps more importantly, the public needs to know the truth. People need to be moved to take action to protect others who are being abused or have the potential to be abused.
I appreciate Mr. Strunck's courage to tell his story, your courage to write it and the co-publishers' courage to put it out into the world. I am sending this under an assumed name, because personally and professionally I need to protect my privacy; however, I wanted you to be aware of my reaction to your story.
— Pat Coopersmith, Seattle
Travesty in the Vatican
Incredible piece of writing ("Sins of the Father," issue of July 20-26). The graphic descriptions are such a big and true part of the story. Ugh on the one hand; true understanding of that criminal misuse of priestly power on the other. This brought the tragedy home to me — to my heart and gut and head — and makes the Vatican's promotion of Boston's Cardinal Law to a position in Rome even more clearly a travesty.
— Patricia Garry, Walnut Hills