Shaun Dougherty, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest in Pennsylvania, doesn’t have anything he’d like to say to Pope Francis.
“What am I going to tell a pope?” he asked CNN’s Erica Hill Wednesday morning, when she questioned if he had a message for the pontiff after the Vatican declined to comment on the damning report about sexual abuse by priests and other clergy in the state.
“They’re supposed to tell me the morality,” Dougherty continued. “What do you tell an institution that teaches morality but has none?”
A grand jury report released Tuesday says that internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more than 300 “predator priests” have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.
The report also accused church leaders of hiding the abuse.
“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted,” the grand jury report said.
Though Dougherty maintained that the Vatican is treating the Catholic church less as “a moral, faith-based organization” than “a business,” he told Hill that he is “at peace” now that the report is out.
Dougherty, whose abuse began when he was 10 and who gave his first statement on the ordeal in 2012, noted that Tuesday marked “the end of a very long journey.” Although he has been public about his experience for some time, he said, he is “standing on the shoulders of many, many” others who came before him.