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February 20, 2003 Edition

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Sexual abuse:
Bishop Bullock provides strong pastoral response

This week Bishop William H. Bullock has announced the Diocese of Madison's plans to implement the U.S. bishops' Charter and Norms on sexual abuse by clergy.

A national oversight board was established by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. It has asked all dioceses in the U.S. to be in conformity with the provisions it has established. The diocesan plans comply with all canonical, civil, and legal requirements.

But beyond that, Bishop Bullock emphasizes that the Diocese of Madison is providing a strong pastoral response to clergy sexual abuse of minors. Anyone who has talked with our bishop knows how deeply concerned he is about the victims of sexual abuse. He wants to help heal damage done to individuals and communities.

Outreach to victims/survivors. To this end, he has appointed Kate Wiskus as the new assistance coordinator for pastoral outreach to victims/survivors of sexual abuse and to families. Other professionals will assist her in providing counseling, support groups, and spiritual assistance.

Kate Wiskus is well-known to many people in the Diocese of Madison for her work as director of the diocesan Office of Pastoral Services (where she will continue). She has worked with the deacon formation program, vocations, and pastoral planning.

But what many of us may not know is her background in the field of child abuse prevention. In 1974 she founded the first child abuse prevention network in Rock County (Wis.). She worked with area leaders to found a Parents Anonymous group and later, after moving to Iowa, again provided support to victims and education to the public on child abuse.

Wiskus will bring much experience to this new position as well as her compassion and concern for people. A report form will be available from her office for victims to report incidents of sexual abuse. Her office may be contacted at 608-821-3083.

Bishop available. As Bishop Bullock says in his letter published in this week's Catholic Herald (pages 10-11), he himself is willing to speak with individual victims. "We must all respond in ways that help heal the victims and their families," he says.

"As a Diocese, as Church, we are truly committed to assist victims, to heal them, ourselves, and the larger Church. There is no easy way to do this, but do it we must, and we will," the Bishop asserts.

He means it. The Diocese of Madison is following the dictates of Pope John Paul II, who has reminded us, "There is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young" (April 24, 2002).

Support efforts. I encourage all Catholics to support Bishop Bullock's efforts to restore trust and build confidence again in the church. We must all pray - especially during the coming season of Lent - for forgiveness of our sins, healing of wounds, and the courage to move ahead with faith, hope, and love in the years ahead.

Mary C. Uhler, editor

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Peaceful solution needed to prevent millions of deaths
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We reserve the right to edit or reject letters. Limit letters to 200 words or less. All letters must be signed.

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The Catholic Herald
P.O. Box 44985
Madison, WI 53744-4985

Fax: 608-821-3071
E-mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org

To the editor:

In the Gulf War, 148 American soldiers were killed in combat and 235 were killed outside of combat. Over 150,000 Iraqis were killed.

Whereas that war was fought in rural areas, it is expected that a new war will be fought in cities and will kill over a million civilians as well as soldiers on both sides, each made in God's image. I believe that this scale of death challenges us to try to find a peaceful solution to the current situation.

Fr. David Wanish, Madison

We must stand firm to keep world free

To the editor:

In reference to your Jan. 30 editorial, I trust, since the president's speech, you more fully understand the Iraq situation.

If you need further convincing of the need to remove the Iraq regime, see the Wall Street Journal article of Jan. 30 signed by the leaders of England, Spain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Portugal. They all strongly support the U.S. position and thank us for helping set Europe free from two forms of tyranny in the 20th Century.

Only tyrants and maniac leaders want war. Our president does not want war, but we must stand firm when the need is necessary. Most polls favor our position.

Please pray that our politicians will become statesman and make the right decisions for the right reasons.

LeRoy Mason, Baraboo

U.S. must disarm Saddam Hussein

To the editor:

In response to the letter penned by Rev. Trost in the Feb. 6 issue of The Catholic Herald: Most of the people who support the president's policy on Iraq do so because they believe that the only thing worse than disarming Saddam Hussein by force is not disarming him at all. This man came to power and rules by intimidation and violence. He has tortured and murdered over one million of his own people. The list of wars and atrocities could fill volumes. Yet the Rev. Trost does not mention any of this. Is he "unaware" of this "slaughter of the innocents?"

He does, however, mention "The Night of Broken Glass" in Nazi Germany. Shortly thereafter we and our allies bombed Germany "to pieces." Does this mean we were "planning to kill" their women and children? Did we do the right thing then?

It is one thing to be anti-war, but quite another to be anti-American. If we turn a blind eye to this type of tyranny and oppression, then "what kind of society have we become"? If Saddam is ever able to use these weapons that he so covets, then whose hands will the blood be on? As Edmund Burke once said: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Mark Summerbell, Janesville

Thanks for articles advocating peace

To the editor:

As our government leaders prepare to take us into the tragedy of "preventative war," I want to thank The Catholic Herald for publishing, throughout the past year, many outstanding articles advocating peace and/or decrying violence.

I include among these Mary Uhler's editorial of Sept. 12, 2002, as well as articles by Msgr. Paul Swain (April 18, 2002) and Fr. John Stillmank (Oct. 3, 2002).

In addition, many wonderful pieces by Antoinette Bosco and Tony Magliano have been nothing less than meditations on gospel non-violence, superb antidotes to seemingly endless war fever.

All of us should be asking ourselves the question posed by Tony Magliano in his article, "First strike on Iraq: Not necessary for peace" (Jan. 23, 2003 [print edition only]): "Can we really imagine that Jesus would tell us to strike the Iraqis?"

Joan R. Halpin, Madison

U.S. must force Iraq to comply with U.N.

To the editor:

Re your editorial of Jan. 30, 2003, "Iraq war: President still hasn't made the case." You repeat what many "peace only" people (my term) keep repeating, but I don't believe my national leaders have been saying: " . . . the president has still not convinced me that we need to invade Iraq." That's hostile language.

My ears have heard our President George W. Bush and team state that if Saddam Hussein doesn't comply with the 15-0 vote by the United Nations Security Council Resolution #1441, we will go in and force him to comply. Period. He doesn't threaten war. He says that the world has agreed that Saddam must prove, immediately and without any interference, that he does not have what has been pointed out in Resolution #1441. Our job, the world's job, is to be taken to the areas needing verification; not the "hide and seek" game Saddam is playing.

Peace? I was a peace officer (policeman) for 23 years. When confronted with evil or responding to a call for help, we came in force, armed and willing to put our lives on the line to bring the offending person(s) to justice. If the person(s) responded with further violence, we would go in with overwhelming force and bring peace to the area.

I was paid to protect and keep peace in the city. We need peace in the U.S.A. and in the world. We have well trained, wonderful peacemakers that need to know where you stand.

I believe you are not fair in reminding readers of only one paragraph of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: #2308. You said, Catholic teaching is clear: "All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war." Only after all peace efforts have failed can governments wage war for "legitimate defense."

Paragraph #2310 says. ". . . Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace." You should have directed your readers to the full paragraphs 2302 to 2317. Let the reader come to an informed opinion.

Donald J. Eckert, Janesville

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