- Title: USA/FILE: Abuse victim says Pope's tenure has been a "disaster"
- Date: 11th February 2013
- Summary: BOWIE, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 11, 2013) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DAVID LORENZ, MARYLAND DIRECTOR OF SURVIVORS NETWORK OF THOSE ABUSED BY PRIESTS (SNAP) AT KITCHEN TABLE TALKING WITH HIS WIFE, JUDY COVINGTON
- Embargoed: 26th February 2013 12:00
- Location: Vatican City State, Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Crime,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA8UFUSD6SOUP8U7F80C9683XY1
- Story Text: David Lorenz, a victim of a Catholic priest convicted on pedophile charges, says he is "glad" Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down, calling the pontiff's tenure "a disaster". Lorenz says the next pope must enact more transparency in the Church, and release more information on sex abuse cases.
Shock waves from Benedict XVI's announcement that he will soon step down as pope rippled across the Atlantic on Monday (February 11), stunning Catholics in the United States, including victims of pedophile priests.
David Lorenz says he was abused in 1975 by a priest serving as a guidance counselor at a Catholic school in Kentucky. Lorenz was 16-years-old at the time. He did not speak about his abuse until he was in his 30s.
He said he was stunned when heard about the pope's announcement.
"That's hard to put into words. There's part of me that was unfortunately - and this is a sad statement. This is sad to say: but I was glad. I was glad he was stepping down because I think he's been a disaster. And I think that's one of the saddest things, as a member of this church, that I would feel, I would say is that I'm glad that he's gone. At the same time, I don't know - I'm concerned that we'll get somebody just as poor and just as rigid on this issue as he was," Lorenz said.
Lorenz says that Pope Benedict deserves credit for speaking about the pedophile scandals, which rocked the Catholic Church, but says Benedict's words did not go far enough in reforming the institution.
"He was the first one. John Paul II did not address, even address the issue publicly. Benedict has addressed the issue. He has, you know, made statements. And he'll make statements like, 'We have to do all we can to help victims. We will not let this go. He's apologized the Irish. He's apologized to the United States. He's apologized to Australia, Germany, Spain - you know - letters of apology for what's gone on in those countries, but the fact is there's been no action, and words without action really are emptiness. There's not much there. So his track record is pretty abysmal in my mind, because he's taken no action to stop this from happening. He's made statements - no action," Lorenz said.
Nevertheless, the 54-year-old Catholic says it's not too late for Pope Benedict to take meaningful action in the final few weeks of his papacy.
"He has an opportunity. He can take action. He's got a little over two weeks, if I'm doing the math right. He could end his papacy in a stellar fashion, first by being truthful and open, and second, by taking significant steps in bringing the protectors of pedophiles to justice - and laicizing them - getting out of the clerical state and saying, 'if you are a bishop, or if you are a cardinal, or if you are someone who has oversight of these pedophile priests, and you protected them, you can't be part of this church."
Lorenz, who is married and has young children he is raising within the Catholic Church, says the College of Cardinals and the next pope must release more documents and information related to abuse cases and change the culture to allow more transparency within the Church.
"The hopefulness would be that the cardinals understand the damage that has been done to this church. And they've been trying to keep the damage to a minimum by not releasing records, by not being completely open and honest. And every time they are forced to be open and honest, clearly, a lot more comes out than anybody ever imagined. It's happened - the most recent case happened in California. But all they do, in trying to minimize the damage, is to create even more damage. And the successor needs to understand that the truth will set them free. And until they understand that, until they open up all the documents, and until they come clear - clean with what they've done, this church will continue to suffer."
Lorenz serves as a regional spokesman for SNAP - the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests.
Benedict is expected to go into isolation for at least a while after his resignation. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Benedict did not intend to influence the decision of the cardinals in a secret conclave to elect a successor.
A new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics could be elected as soon as March 24, and could be ready to serve by Easter a week later, Church officials said.
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