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What can the church learn from Penn State?
US Catholic ^ | November 10, 2011 | Scott Alessi

Posted on 11/10/2011 2:29:36 PM PST by Alex Murphy

It didn’t take long after news broke of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky being charged with the sexual abuse of male students for pundits to make the inevitable comparison to the Catholic Church’s own abuse scandal. But with as many similarities as there were early on, they came to a screeching halt when the university's Board of Trustees last night announced the firing of both legendary head coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier.

In a story that's now been widely reported, Sandusky was arrested last weekend and two additional employees of the university were charged with perjury and failing to offer up details they had on allegations against the former coach. Paterno and Spanier, both of whom allegedly knew of allegations and referred them to others within the university, aren't being charged with any legal wrongdoing. But the university sent a loud and clear message that even if the law doesn't hold them accountable, there's still a serious moral issue with their behavior.

All of this likely sounds too familiar to those who closely followed the church's cover up of abuse allegations. There were many priests and bishops who, like Paterno and Spanier, decided that handling things internally was more appropriate than calling the police. Most of them still hold positions of authority in the church, like former Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law, who just last week had a plush celebration for his 80th birthday in Rome. The result, nearly a decade after the abuse scandal in the church first became national news, has been ongoing pain for the victims and a disillusionment with the church and its leadership among many in the pews--if they're even still coming to Mass.

Apparently, Penn State's Board of Trustees was taking notes. Even though the 84-year-old Paterno announced yesterday that he'd retire at the end of this season, they still wanted to make a statement with his firing. He didn't get to go out on his own terms. He didn't get a big sendoff in his last game. And he certainly didn't get a cushy Vatican gig where can spend the rest of his days living comfortably.

It is unfortunate that Paterno, a revered presence at Penn State, had to be made an example. His reputation is forever tarnished, and his great career accomplishments will always come with the stigma of how it all ended. But kudos to Penn State for making the decision, even if it proves unpopular on campus.They've now set the standard that other universities will be held to if something similar should take place.

The firings of Paterno and Spanier say that if there's any chance someone is being sexually abused, and you hear about it, you'd better do everything in your power to act on it and alert the proper authorities. Sure, it may turn out to be a false accusation, but not saying anything creates the risk that more minors will be harmed. And that's a price that none of us should ever be willing to pay.

Hopefully this time, the Catholic Church is taking notes too.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: catholic; grahamspanier; jerrysandusky; joepaterno; pennstate; pennsylvania
It didn’t take long after news broke of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky being charged with the sexual abuse of male students for pundits to make the inevitable comparison to the Catholic Church’s own abuse scandal. But with as many similarities as there were early on, they came to a screeching halt when the university's Board of Trustees last night announced the firing of both legendary head coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier....

....All of this likely sounds too familiar to those who closely followed the church's cover up of abuse allegations. There were many priests and bishops who, like Paterno and Spanier, decided that handling things internally was more appropriate than calling the police. Most of them still hold positions of authority in the church, like former Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law, who just last week had a plush celebration for his 80th birthday in Rome. The result, nearly a decade after the abuse scandal in the church first became national news, has been ongoing pain for the victims and a disillusionment with the church and its leadership among many in the pews--if they're even still coming to Mass.

Apparently, Penn State's Board of Trustees was taking notes. Even though the 84-year-old Paterno announced yesterday that he'd retire at the end of this season, they still wanted to make a statement with his firing. He didn't get to go out on his own terms. He didn't get a big sendoff in his last game. And he certainly didn't get a cushy Vatican gig where can spend the rest of his days living comfortably.

1 posted on 11/10/2011 2:29:36 PM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Sorry, Alex. We’re not going to fire the Pope.


2 posted on 11/10/2011 2:32:08 PM PST by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: Alex Murphy

It’s got nothing whatever to do with the Catholic Church, except that they are the only ones that the media have been persistently attacking—although there are far worse problems in the public schools and in Protestant ministries, among others.

And I think I’d wait a bit to see whether firing Joe Paterno and the President are something the Church should take as an example. Because there are suspicions that the whole business was far more widespread than yet admitted. And Paterno immediately reported what happened to the Athletic director, and it went immediately to the law—where it died because the DA appears to have committed suicide by diving into a river. His computer hard drive was recovered from the river, an apparent effort to erase its contents.

I’m not saying that Paterno shouldn’t have done more when his report went nowhere. But there are others who are far more guilty than he is. It looks like scapegoating to me. And we may never know who the worst offenders are.


3 posted on 11/10/2011 2:39:51 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.)
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To: Alex Murphy

This writer is holding up Penn State as an example of how to do things right?? Most of the country is not so inclined towards Penn State.


4 posted on 11/10/2011 2:41:45 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
The cover of Jerry Sandusky’s autobiography.

5 posted on 11/10/2011 2:45:20 PM PST by radioone ("2012 can't come soon enough")
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To: Alex Murphy
Most of them still hold positions of authority in the church, like former Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law

Archpriest of St. Mary Major is not a "position of authority in the church," unless we're talking about who has authority to decide what brand of incense to stock in the sacristy.

Law has no curial positions at all, due to his age, effective a couple of years ago.

6 posted on 11/10/2011 3:41:58 PM PST by Campion ("It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins." -- Franklin)
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To: Alex Murphy

Kill the DA and wipe his computer?


7 posted on 11/10/2011 3:43:37 PM PST by PilotDave (No, really, you just can't make this stuff up!!!)
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To: buccaneer81

There is no justification for making JP2 “the great” into a saint.


8 posted on 11/10/2011 3:45:51 PM PST by mas cerveza por favor
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To: Alex Murphy
I also didn't notice any Catholics rioting in the streets to keep Law in office in Boston, like there were Penn State students rioting last night in State College.

Even if you go to the Penn State rivals message board today, you'll see that there's a large contingent of PSU fans there who are throwing away their PSU gear, pledging not to contribute to the university, etc. Why? Is it because they're disgusted by the pedophile scandal? No ... they're disgusted with the BOT for firing a man who did little or nothing about the scandal, may have actively covered it up, and who should have gracefully retired 15 years ago!

9 posted on 11/10/2011 3:46:11 PM PST by Campion ("It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins." -- Franklin)
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To: buccaneer81
"What can the church learn from Penn State?"

That certain anti-Catholic useful idiots in our society will not pass up any opportunity to try to form a association between the Church and pedophilia in the public consciousness EXACTLY as was done by the Nazi's and Stalin. The radical left is as the radical left does.

10 posted on 11/10/2011 3:56:47 PM PST by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, in not raise your standards.)
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To: mas cerveza por favor
"There is no justification for making JP2 “the great” into a saint."

We are doubly blessed that JPII will be judged on his own merits and not by the likes of you.

11 posted on 11/10/2011 3:58:21 PM PST by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, in not raise your standards.)
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To: Alex Murphy

“the inevitable comparison to the Catholic Church’s own abuse scandal.”

I’ll take “How Can I Have it so Backwards” for $200 Alex.

The Answer: Who can’t ever pass up a chance to smear the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church’s pederast scandal peaked, I believe, in 1969. Sandusky’s pederast romps occurred in the late 1990’s.

So you were only off by 30 years and have it completely bassackwards Alex.

Lurking’


12 posted on 11/10/2011 4:01:59 PM PST by LurkingSince'98 (Catholics=John 6:53-58 Everyone else=John 6:60-66)
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To: Cicero
...the DA appears to have committed suicide by diving into a river.

This is the first time I've heard of this. Do you have more information? It throws another light on the reports we've gotten so far.

13 posted on 11/10/2011 4:05:08 PM PST by IIntense
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To: IIntense

That’s my guess. His computer hard drive was found in the river, near a town where he unexpectedly said he had to go for some reason. And he disappeared. His body has not been found.

Suicide is my guess because he is the logical person to have brought his hard drive there, presumably because there were things on it that he wanted to prevent any investigators from seeing.


14 posted on 11/10/2011 5:26:07 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.)
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To: IIntense
We don't know that he committed suicide. Neither body nor suicide note was ever found, no murder scene was uncovered by forensics, nothing. His car was found, and his laptop was found in the river, but nothing could be recovered from it. He was involved in a couple of big drug investigations at the time, and had been running searches on his computer at home on "How to fry a hard drive" and "how to ruin a laptop".

It's a mystery.

15 posted on 11/10/2011 5:34:40 PM PST by Campion ("It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins." -- Franklin)
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To: Natural Law

JP2 is not being judged on his own merits (and demerits). Instead, he is promoted in order to sanctify his political correctness and his rejection of Church Tradition. His actual deeds are swept under the rug.


16 posted on 11/10/2011 7:12:48 PM PST by mas cerveza por favor
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To: mas cerveza por favor
"JP2 is not being judged on his own merits (and demerits)."

Blessed JPII has been targeted by the left for his actions against communism and secular immorality. His beatification and his eventual canonization is justified.

For the record Catholics only recognize two persons to have ever been without sin. Sainthood is a recognition of persons by the Church for living extraordinary lives of who lived lives of great charity and heroic virtues.

17 posted on 11/10/2011 7:35:16 PM PST by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, in not raise your standards.)
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To: Campion

As you say. Suicide seems to be the most probable explanation of this combination of puzzling circumstances, but it’s far from certain. And the legal authorities cannot assume it without more evidence. Which, if he went into the river, is increasingly unlikely to turn up.


18 posted on 11/10/2011 7:43:34 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.)
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To: Natural Law

A pope is supposed to be judged on his papacy, not just on personal morality.

JP2 held the line on some forms of morality but not on homosexuality or sexual abuse. He certainly did not hold the line on faith. The left wanted JP2 to do many evil things. He did not do all of those things but he did do some of them, such as permitting alter girls and liturgical dancers. He caused grave scandal by conducting masses with pagan, homo-erotic dancers and participating in pagan daemonic rituals.

I would not normally post such things in front of non-Catholics, but the JP2 situation is dire. Not only did he fail to defend the faith but he is directly responsibility for enabling homosexual abuse on a global scale. Canonizing JP2 would scandalize all Catholics who take the faith seriously and would deservedly make Catholics a laughing stock to the rest of the world.


19 posted on 11/10/2011 10:00:13 PM PST by mas cerveza por favor
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To: buccaneer81

From the magazine this article appears in.

“We believe that Catholicism is a spiritual path that makes sense, a way to live a better and richer life. We invite and help our readers to explore the wisdom of their faith tradition and to apply that faith to the challenges of life in the 21st century.”

I really don’t want to take advice on what the Church should do from that lot.


20 posted on 11/10/2011 10:25:09 PM PST by lastchance ("Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis" St. Augustine)
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To: mas cerveza por favor
"A pope is supposed to be judged on his papacy, not just on personal morality."

Says who?

21 posted on 11/11/2011 1:31:12 PM PST by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, in not raise your standards.)
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To: mas cerveza por favor
"A pope is supposed to be judged on his papacy, not just on personal morality."

Says who? And who get to judge his papacy? You, Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, the hundreds of millions of people liberated from Soviet tyranny, the NYT?

22 posted on 11/11/2011 1:33:23 PM PST by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, in not raise your standards.)
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