A clergy-abuse victim who met with Pope Benedict spoke to parishioners at St. Albert the Great Church in Weymouth. He said he plans to try to meet every American bishop he can, to let them know that the church has an “extraordinary opportunity” to set things right.

One of the small group of clergy sex abuse victims chosen to meet with Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the United States has set a goal.


Olan Horne told a meeting of the Weymouth Voice of the Faithful that he will try to meet every American bishop he can, bringing the message that the church has an “extraordinary opportunity” to set things right.


“To move the pope on this issue at this time – that’s light speed in Vatican time,” Horne said Tuesday at St. Albert the Great Church parish hall.


He went into the April meeting in a Washington, D.C., chapel with misgivings, but said he left encouraged.


“I’m knowing that this moment is symbolic and that a meeting with the pope is not the place things get done, but he’s talking about it. He talked about it on the plane before he landed,” said Horne who has been an advocate for abuse victims.


Horne, of Lowell, was abused by a priest at St. Michael’s Church when he was 11.


Pope Benedict told the victims, “I wake up every day. This is the first thing I pray about,” Horne said. The pope said no one had read more accounts of abuse than him.


Horne said that at one point as they talked, Pope Benedict held both his hands.


“That’s a good touch. He grabbed me by the hands and pulled me in,” said Horne.


Horne said he wanted the pope to understand that sexual abuse in the Catholic church is a systemic problem, and he told him that he had to speak to the issue more.


St. Albert the Great Church was scheduled to be closed in the wake of the sex abuse scandal.


Parishioners staged an around-the-clock vigil for 10 months to protest the closing and the church stayed open.


The Patriot Ledger