Skip to comments.Penn State sends a message. US bishops, take notice.
Posted on 11/11/2011 9:38:23 AM PST by Alex Murphy
At Penn State, a month after the revelation of a sex-abuse scandal, four top executives have been ousted. In the American Catholic hierarchy, a decade after the exposure of hundreds of sex-abuse cases, just one bishop has resigned.
So now the American bishops know what it looks like when an institution takes its responsibilities seriouslyits responsibility not only to curb abusers, but also to hold accountable those leaders who allowed the abuse to go unchecked.
A university president, a vice-president, an athletic director, and a legendary football coach have been dismissed for doing once what many American bishops did multiple times. The trustees of Penn State have sent out a clear message: The sexual abuse of children is a heinous crime, and those who cover up the abuse share the guilt. The American Catholic bishops have very clearly grasped the first part of that message, and just as clearly failed to come to terms with the second part.
The students who noisily protested the firing of Joe Paterno also failed to grasp the point about holder leaders accountable. They admire Paterno for his coaching prowess, and understandably so. They say that he has made enormous contributions to Penn State, and they are right; there is already a statue of the man on campus. But even great men can do bad things. By failing to take appropriate action against an abuser, Paterno wrote his own sad ending to what should have been a stellar career.
The angry students at Penn State are showing a very natural human tendency. They admire Joe Pa, and dont want to think ill of him. They recognize that he made a major mistake, but dont think he should be punished for it. Couldnt we just cut the man some slack?
Perhaps Paterno himself was thinking along similar lines when he first heard the complaints against Jerry Sandusky. Presumably the old coach liked his assistant, and didnt want to make trouble for him. So he handled the matter quietlyand the abuser went unpunished, and more children were put at risk.
No doubt the same sort of sentimental thinking took place in chanceries all around the country (all around the world, it seems), when Church officials learned that Father X had been accused. Father X has done wrong, but hes fundamentally a good man, the bishops and monsignors might have said. Lets help him to work his way out of this problem gracefully. So the priest was quietly removed from his parish, given a few weeks of therapy, and then returned to a new assignment, where he had new opportunities to molest young people.
We all tend to make excuses for the people closest to us. Apparently that tendency affects even the most vociferous critics of clerical abuse. But even if it is a very natural weakness, it remains a weakness. If we want to eliminate the abuse of children, we must get tough with abusers. Sometimes that might mean fighting off the temptation to make excuses for themin effect, getting tough with ourselves.
Blech, to you. (And that isn’t good.)
Spanier was only ousted as President. From what I've read, both he and his wife still hold tenured professor positions at the university.
Why, oh why, does the media always write about the Catholic Church when there is abuse in all churches?
Thanks. I've read that since then. And Schultz was holding his position on an interim basis to begin with and elected to step-down.
So the numbers are the same, but just the names have changed. Instead of getting rid of four men, as the author wrote, the University kept two: Curley and Spanier. I misspoke when I said it was Curley and Schultz.
If only we would let football coaches marry, this kind of tragedy could have been avoided, right? How many heads truly have “rolled” at Penn State? What about the many, many other public schools where abuse is known and tolerated?
“If only we would let football coaches marry....”
Yes, I always thought that was SUCH a stupid “argument” made about Priests. Firstly because look how many married people are caught doing these things, Sandusky is just the latest example, would that he would be the last, but I doubt it. Secondly, the argument for marriage by Priests only makes sense if you are talking about a Priest having an affair with a grown woman. Of course that happens and it may be a sin, but it isn’t a crime, unless she’s married to someone, then it’s adultery.
Everyone has the Penn State scandal backwards. This isn’t about football programs being so sacrosanct that the school will turn a blind eye to infractions. This is about respected institutions being infiltrated by people who use the institution as a shield for their own disgusting deeds.
The other college sports scandals have been about getting the best players on the field. Reggie Bush gets money. At Oklahoma, under Switzer, players with criminal backgrounds were allowed onto the field.
At Penn State, after Sandusky was discovered molesting boys, Paterno divested him from the program. There was no possible benefit to Penn State football in allowing a man who was committing heinous acts to continue to use the facilities to attract and molest young boys.
The reports were so pervasive and so similar, over such a long period of time that everyone in power at Penn State had to know what was going on.
Graham Spanier, the former President of Penn State, was removed by the Board of Regents after the scandal exploded, but maintained as a professor. He wrote a paper entitled “Sexual socialization and premarital sexual behavior : an empirical investigation of the impact of formal and informal sex education.” in 1973, and had Rene Portland removed from her position as head women’s basketball coach because she would not allow lesbian activities on the team.
Note that Paterno and Coleman, who were never accused of any sexual activities were removed from association with Penn State, while Sandusky and Spanier, the molester and the man who made the ultimate decision about his presence on campus, were allowed to remain. Oh, and Penn State will fund Spanier’s defense. Does anyone really think the Board had a problem with Spanier or Sandusky? No. They didn’t put Sandusky on administrative leave when it became obvious what he was doing, even during the grand jury investigation and the deposition of many Penn State employees. They didn’t do it when Sandusky was indicted. They did it when it became a public relations problem.
Anyone who thinks, even at this time, that Penn State is doing anything other than the absolute minimum they can get away with to try and make this story go away is wrong.
The big similarity between the situations at both institutions is that pedophiles infiltrated the institutions and used their good names as a shield to carry on their activities. In both instances, the institution and the press have been so infiltrated by the perpetrators and enablers, that their only goals are to do the absolute minimum necessary to make the story go away so they can return to their network of activities, using the institution as a shield, method of recruiting children, and a money stream.
Ask Phil Lawler and the rest of the staff at Catholic Culture.
Stupidity is not prevalent as is malevolence. No less abhorrent than the actual molestation of our most precious gift, our children, is the continuing exploitation of these victims for secular and political gains. This is no different than those who would speak out against abortion but would make personal from the commercial use of aborted fetuses.
Most notable is the Freeper who has posted numerous threads attempting to link and further condemn the Church with the scandal at Penn State yet he has not yet publicly condemned the coaches, administrators and apologists for the actual deeds. A review of his posts shows that when he mentions them at all it is in statements complimenting them for their handling of the situation.
Instead he has railed endlessly against the sins of the Church in his endless and futile quest to destroy the it.
"Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."" - Mark 7:6
That was the first thing that came out of my mouth regarding this sad affair. If only they would let the coaches marry, tsk tsk!
I love it how the education system is given so many free passes. At least this time, it was brought to light. How many other things have gone on within these institutions that have not been brought to light? Many, I’m sure.
See post #28.
This is about respected institutions being infiltrated by people who use the institution as a shield for their own disgusting deeds.Exactly right.
The leftist media refrains from attacking the various man-made ecclesial communities for the same reason that sharks don't eat lawyers.
Tough is protecting pedophiles for 13 years? Wow.
Insanity? The man was a great pope.
The troubles were not with the bishops he appointed, but those whom he intherited. Look at that list again...
If anyone is the equal of a Bishop in this situation, it would be the University President. But, I notice the article doesn't mention that the President who is stepping down will remain a part of the tenured faculty at the College of Health and Human Development (where they no doubt churn out studies that show buggering little boys is a good thing). Nor is there anything said about the various persons who "investigated" the original claims on behalf of the campus police, various little panels that reviewed that investigation, and so on. Only in the world of the propaganda artist do these things work themselves out instantly. In the real world there are initial actions, and actions that take place over time. Including those tidbits of reality, though, wouldn't fit the propaganda agenda that works overtime to slander the Catholic Church while ignoring the very same thing running amok in the government run schools in this country.
Of course, if those slinging the propaganda are on the same side as those running the schools that's what you'd expect, isn't it? It's like those who use a layer or two of indirection to get around the injunction against quoting a particularly horrible source, they carefully select those sources so they can still post what they know are lies. They just hope no one will scratch the surface and figure out what they're really up to rather than just accepting their claims of being pure as wind driven snow.
Have you no shame? Your response is no better than that of the rioting Penn State students. Even if Paterno was a great coach, all that credit is lost by his enabling of homo abuse. The same applies to JP2, only much more so.
The troubles were not with the bishops he appointed, but those whom he intherited.
For decades JP2 extolled and defended the homo abuser running the Legionaries of Christ, despite numerous true allegations from victimized former seminarians. It was not until JP2 fell sick that Cardinal Ratzinger was finally able to take action. This is just one bad example among many.
It is wrong to desecrate the institution of sainthood just to whitewash the crimes of a notorious homo abuse enabler. When JP2 appointed his fellow homo abuse enabler, the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law, to be archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, JP2 demonstrated that even by that late date, he had not yet repented of his dereliction. It was left to Benedict XVI to acknowledged and apologize for the homo abuse since JP2 never did.