Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Catholic Church Vs. Penn State

Yes, bless the children, in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

As much as the Penn State sexual abuse scandal bothers me, and it does, I can’t help but compare it to what happened nine years ago with the Catholic Church, when the priest/pedophile scandal broke out.  I have been waiting ten years or more for action on that situation and I have never gotten any satisfaction.  Where is the outrage against the church?  I feel like what my husband said at the time has come true.  He told me they will just wait it out and in time people will forget about it.  Now I feel like I am the only one who remembers and wants answers.  

In the case of Penn State, we have eight victims of sexual abuse.  The man, Sandusky, perpetrating the abuse was fired, but there was a witness and he told Paterno, who told a couple of other university officials, all of whom did nothing or contacted the authorities.  For all we know, Sandusky went on to another school and victimized more children.  Maybe, before he was hired at Penn State, he had a job where he was abusing children.  I hope his whole life in thoroughly investigated and more victims come forward.  He should be locked up for the rest of his life.  And laws need to be passed everywhere in this country, that people who know of sexual abuse of children must report it or they will be charged with aiding and abetting the abuser.  There is really not enough that can be done to protect our children.  

But what about the church scandal?  Were any of the priests prosecuted?  There were thousands of complaints over the years, which were handled internally by the church, just like at Penn State.  The authorities should not be involved and the story should not get out lest it tarnish their reputation.  So the church provided some quick “fix” therapy (or so they say) and then transferred the guilty priests to other parishes where unsuspecting parents and children were again victimized.  There is no cure for pedophilia, period.  The pedophile can take medication to eliminate their sexual urges, but who can trust them to do that?  Not me, that’s for damn sure.  Then the only other course of action is to lock them up for the rest of their lives.  As long as they roam free and there are children in this world, they will abuse them.  

Now what specifics are there on the church, who have cases reported all over the world?  Actual reports of sexual abuse in the church started coming out in the 1980’s.  When the scandal broke in 2001 the Pope declared it a “sin” against the sixth commandment of Decalogue, whatever that is, who cares.  Do we need the Pope to declare the sexual abuse of a minor by a priest a “sin.”  A report completed in 2004 found that 4,392 priests had complaints made against them based on 10,667 allegations filed. By 2002 the church paid out one billion dollars in settlements and LEGAL FEES.  Yes, Catholics everywhere who donated money at mass, were paying to defend pedophiles against these charges.  I will say this much, when the church scandal broke in 2001, we stopped giving money to the church.  They wrote us asking for contributions and I wrote back, to my pastor, two scathing letters telling him until I am satisfied that they have taken care of the problem and punished all involved I would be giving my money to worthy charities and not to the church.  I am still waiting.  I could be wrong, but I have yet to hear of a priest going to jail.  So many children were victims, I believe the figures aren’t even close the real number of victims.  Some of these children, as is often the case with abuse of this nature, grew up to be abusers, all of them had their lives ruined and their innocence taken away.  

So while I am outraged at what went on and is going on at Penn State, I will never forget what came out in 2001 with the Catholic Church and I am not satisfied that they have done nearly enough to rectify and prevent this from happening.  I believe they destroyed documents that contained complaints and their cover-up transfers as much as they could.  And what happened to law enforcement?  There were lists of priests in the newspapers who were being investigated and I never heard of anything coming out of those investigations.  Two of the priests were involved with programs and churches that my girls took part in.  One was part of our church and religious instruction program the other was affiliated with the church where they went to Girl Scouts.  I never heard anything about either of them after their names were on the list.  Were they all allowed to withdraw from the priesthood and disappear to who knows where?  I don’t think I will ever know.

When society realizes that children don’t have a voice and they need us all to speak up for them and protect them, maybe something will be done.  Those at Penn State who were willing to look the other way and allow this to go on for ten years, that is a crime.  If it were their children you can bet they would have had plenty to say, but these were someone else’s children so they turned a blind eye to it.  No one had a twinge of conscience?  No one thought that after Sandusky was fired he would be still going after innocent children?  

The whole thing just makes me sick.


  1. I apologize. I usually don't read these because I am too obsessed with facts and accuracy. I mistook this for a news article. Anyway, to clarify, the Pope didn't declare sexual abuse a sin. What Pope John Paul II said was that "a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue by a cleric with a minor under 18 years of age is to be considered a grave sin, or delictum gravius." That means it's a mortal sin (akin to murder), not that anyone other than Catholics will care about that. Dozens of priests were accused, sued and convicted around the county. Many were removed from the church. If you are interested in knowing what happened to the priests involved in programs your daughters attended, give me their names and I'll try to find out. There is a database for that. As for pedophilia and sex abuse of minors, a report done by a university scholar (I'm too lazy to type names, dates etc.) found that, in comparison, sex abuse in schools was 100 times greater than that by priests. But people keep sending their kids to school, don't they? Am I saying that makes everything okay? Of course not! The outrage is warranted no matter who does the abuse. I just sometimes think it's too easy to target the Catholic Church when things are 100 times worse down the street at the public school. I'll crawl back in my quiet place now....

  2. It's just a blog where I vent. I will look up that report and see if I can find the comparison between public schools and catholic schools/churches. The Church is a big target because the number of cases were tremendous and they destroyed evidence so we don't really know the full extent of what went on and for how long. Unfortunately, I hold priests to a higher standard than even teachers, but that's just me. It goes without saying that all sexual abuse of children is wrong and should be punished to the full extent of the law.

  3. I can certainly appreciate venting! And I think every Mom out there constantly worries about this topic!

  4. dont you know the church thinks its above the law? nothing will ever be done what about all the emotional abuse we suffered by the nuns when we went to school nothing will ever be done to them the only way is to never be catholic, im not anymore