The Catholic Church Responds to Joe Paterno November 11, 2011

The Catholic Church Responds to Joe Paterno

For anyone who sees parallels between Penn State officials not reporting Jerry Sandusky to the authorities and the Catholic Church ignoring the pedophiles within its own ranks, Scott Stantis states the obvious:

"It's a public high school, isn't it? Then whether or not it's biblical is irrelevant."

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  • Anonymous

    The similarities are pretty stunning. A certain member of a powerful institution is known for years to be a child rapist. Numerous people either witness or hear reports of the abuse. The only response is to relay the activities up the chain of command, without every alerting authorities. Once the horror inevitably comes to light, the most dedicated followers of the institution express anger, not at the institution, but at the outside world for being “unfair”.

    There’s one crucial difference though.

    In this case, much of the outrage is not only about the acts themselves, but about the number of people who knew about them and yet did nothing, enabling this rapist to hunt more children. Up and down the board, from reporters to politicians to regular folks, there are calls for every single person who can be liable to be held liable, and for every person culpable, even if not legally, to be fired. There is a stunned outrage that not reporting to the authorities is not illegal if you tell your superior, and an inmediate move to remediate that.

    Why is it that when priests are found to do the same thing, the media does not explode into outrage? Why are there no Bishops on trial? People have demanded the university president step down, but the idea of even disallowing the Pope, a man confirmed to have known about widespread abuse that dwarfs that at Penn St., his pomp, frills and extravagant welcomes in other countries is viewed as preposterous.

    Why does everything, even covering up child rape, become more acceptable when you carry around a religious title?

  • Keljopy

    When hearing this on the radio the other day I said something similar (“if they were catholic they would have just moved him to another school”)

  • Erik

    The same question we’ve been asking for years, but so well put.

  • Newavocation

    I_Claudia writes “Why is it that when priests are found to do the same thing, the media does not explode into outrage?” 

    Because it must be alright for priests since their god is pedophile too.

  • The Pope has more money, power, and loyal addicts.

  • GregFromCos

    I think because it developed so much more slowly. And not to mention, their was likely a fear of loss of viewers if they took on the Catholic Church too harshly. Look at the way some of those priests who covered up things were protected by their flock.

  • Garren openID

    I heard right-wing radio talk show host Laura Ingraham rant this morning about the culture of the university making people feel like the reputation of the organization was more important than reporting this abuse to outside authorities. 

    And she blamed it on taking God out of the schools. Did I mention she’s Catholic? 

  • I_Claudia,

    “There is a stunned outrage that not reporting to the authorities is not
    illegal if you tell your superior, and an immediate move to remediate

    Who has such stunned outrage?  There is no legal requirement to report any crime, regardless of whether you do or do not tell anyone else.      It is not conditioned on whether you tell a superior because it isn’t illegal in the first place.

    If it were the law it would put rape victims in jeopardy of having not only been raped but penalized afterward for not reporting it for personal reasons.    It’s a complex issue that isn’t easily resolved.   There are arguments on both sides. 

  • Anonymous

    There is not mandatory reporting for victims, but in the case of minors, many places do have mandatory reporting policies for adults that witness or have knowledge of child abuse. Policies can vary from requiring any adult to report to making it obligatory in the case of certain classes of adults (educators, law enforcement officers, medical staff etc.). 

    I think there can be a productive discussion of how laws should be written so as to minimize non-reporting, but I certainly think there needs to be some level of legal liability for people who witness or have knowledge of child abuse (or abuse of some other vulnerable group, like adults with disabilities) and elect to not involve authorities, especially when we’re talking about institutions that employ or house the predator.

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