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November 18, 2011

What The Catholic Church And Penn State Tragedies Have In Common

IStock_0boycryinglI don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the tragedy at Penn State.  I cannot for a moment imagine the rage, anger and overwhelming sadness I would have had it been my son who was allegedly raped in a college shower stall by a grown man.  Add to that horrific life-altering assault, the fact that another grown man witnessed the rape and…told his father?  And his father advised his son—who just witnessed a 10-year-old boy being raped -- to tell a…football coach?!  Now mind you this football coach isn’t your average football coach—no way.  This football coach is the king of all college coaches...so he’ll know exactly what to do, right?  Wrong.  The horror unfortunately doesn’t end there, because the larger than life football coach then tells…his boss?  And so on, and so on, and so on…until one day, NINE years -- and who know how many victims -- later, the alleged perpetrator is officially charged with sexually abusing eight boys.

Hmmm, is this sounding familiar?  Does it sound like the tragedy that occurred over decades in the Catholic Church?  Here are just some of the similarities, as I see them:
1.    All the “players” in the Catholic Church and Penn State affairs are key men in key positions in their institutions. 
2.    In both situations, the “good ole boys” worked their butts off to protect…their own.  They were very loyal to…keeping “the secret.”  Their silence, cover-ups and minimal interventions allowed the sexual molestation to not only continue, but to thrive. 
3.    The silence, minimal interventions and passing on of the problem to other equally unprincipled men of power make each and every single one of these priests and men complicit in the rape and molestation of countless innocent children in our world.  Harming the reputations of their institutions is the least of their offenses.

4.    Both the Catholic Church and the leaders of Penn State made a mockery of the offenses by their “punishments” of the alleged offenders.  The Catholic Church punished by sending the alleged offenders to…different churches. What???  All this decision did was set up the next victims in the next churches perfectly.  Penn State’s punishment:  taking the locker room keys away from Sandusky.  Of course without a locker room key he couldn’t possible rape or molest again.  Right?  This also set up more boys to be abused just by the sheer ignorance of the decision. 
5.    And the most horrific of all offenses is that none of these powerful men dared to call the police…for years and years and years.  Not once.  This decision has led to the ongoing abuse of victim after victim after victim.  The ripple effect of that egotistical, cowardly, self-serving decision will reverberate through our world for decades to come.

Too many innocent young boys and young girls paid for -- and are continuing to pay for -- the narcissism, entitlement and utter shameless behavior of these grown men,  who children were taught to admire.  Until powerful men in powerful positions learn to step up and put the safety and welfare of human beings ahead of the welfare of institutions, “the good ole boys” club, and finances, we and the very institutions these men purport to protect will all suffer.  The adults of today must model for the leaders of tomorrow how to truly lead.  We must step up in an entirely different way and show the children of our world that we will protect them at all costs.   We need to model this commitment regardless of whether that person is our family member, colleague, boss, President or priest.   Anything short of this is not okay.

The “good ole boys” networks in Corporate America, colleges, etc., are wreaking havoc in our world.  A travesty of justice was done to the eight alleged victims from Penn State and the unknown others who have yet to come forward and have instead chosen to silence their voices.  These silent victims are trying to deal with the intense rage, demons and emotional scars they feel on their own—in their own private hells.  All because the good ole boys cared more about the fate of their institutions then they did the lives and souls of abused children.

I pray that all of us learn from this tragedy.  I pray that we learn to step up and do the right thing even in the most difficult of times.  I pray that the loving men and women in this world take a stronger stand against irresponsible men in power.  I pray that institutions, corporations and those in power, learn that it’s not all about them, their needs and protecting their own.  When that’s what the power leads to, they are no longer powerful, but rather just another cog in the wheel trying to blindly keep their power going at all costs.  And most of all, I pray for all the innocent children who are suffering at the hands of too many adults who are supposed to be protecting you.  My heart goes out to each and every one of you.


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This is such a great post. It is so outrageous and so common. Thanks for writing this!

Wow. Words fail. Its difficult to believe that I breathe the ssme air as these despicable men- that includes every one of them who knew about what had happened and didnt immediately report it to the police.
I am a firm believer in protection from "cruel and unusual punishment" guaranteed by the Constitution, but this story makes me think that concept is outdated when it comes to child sexual abuse. This victimization of boys and girls by influential men must be stopped, in whatever way possible. I think its past time to institute castration of child sexual abusers.

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