March 26, 2005 in City

Priest who alleged abuse leaving clergy

Associated Press

BOTHELL, Wash. – A Roman Catholic priest who stunned his parishioners at St. Brendan Church when he told them he was sexually abused as a boy is resigning from the priesthood and may write a book about his experience.

The Rev. Lawrence Minder, 44, said he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his abuse, which he says occurred when he was in seminary as a teenager. Counselors at an Arizona treatment facility told him recently he needed to separate from the priesthood to work through the issues underlying the disorder.

“It’s been an internal conflict for the last three years to, in a sense, keep putting a best face on a situation that has no best face,” he said Thursday.

On one hand, he felt a responsibility as pastor to “protect the fragile faith of the people” and to lead the parish through the larger sex-abuse scandal. At the same time, he was angry at “the scope (of the scandal) and lack of responsible leadership” of the bishops over the years, he said.

Minder initially told parishioners last summer that he would resign. He wound up taking a leave of absence instead, but now is resigning from the priesthood.

The decision “is a step for my health and one that I was very reluctant to take. I love the priesthood, I love the church. It’s a very meaningful way to live,” he said.

At the same time, he said he feels free now to “speak more honestly and openly about the institutional denial of this issue, which still continues.”

Seattle Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni confirmed that the archdiocese received Minder’s request for resignation but declined to comment further. Resigning from the priesthood – a process called voluntarily laicization – could take years and requires Vatican approval.

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