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Thursday, November 10, 2011


I think that under the circumstances, Joe Paterno needed to be relieved of his duties as head coach.  Even if he had direct knowledge of one incident, he should have reported it to his superiors AND to the police.  The abuse of the innocent is unconscionable.  There is no excuse for what Jerry Sandusky did, but there is also no excuse for what JoPa didn't do.

It has been a very difficult situation for me, personally as I vetted this in my head.  I was in seminary during a time when all of the allegations about sexual abuse were hush, hush.  I know of instances in which priests did deviant things, but it was all heresay, in other words, I had no direct knowledge of any instance, save one.  And that instance had already been dealt with by the proper authorities. 

As I weighed in my mind the correlation between PSU and the Catholic Church, which is similar,  I came to the conclusion that if the clergy were being shown no quarter (by and large) by the authorities and media,  then neither should the leadership at PSU.  So, Joe Paterno had to go.  Graham Spanier had to go.  Mike McQueary has to go.  Anyone who has had any knowledge AND didn't act should be at the very least relieved of his duties all the way up to and including prosecution, if necessary.

 So, looking at this from a Catholic point of view, I think that several things need to be accounted for:

1.  100% accountability
2.  An independent body should investigate the whole of PSU athletics
3.  Findings should be made public, it is a public institution
4.  Any person having any knowledge and failing to act should be summarily dismissed.
5.  We need to be merciful, we should forgive those who have done wrong and help them to find peace, in a just way.  If justice means losing a job, ok.  If justice means prosecution, ok.  If justice means something in between, ok.

JoPa is not above the law.  While he may have been a "god" at PSU, he is one man.  And one man cannot be more than the whole.  Should he have been able to retire and save face?  Well, my answer to that is no.  That hasn't been the case for any Catholic priest, bishop, or cardinal, so why should it be the same for JoPa?  We as a society must be consistent.

All of that aside, we must focus on the well being of the vicitims.  Many now are young adults and those young people should be taken care of, their needs should be met, their rehabilitation should be assumed by Penn State. 

Most of this will be vetted over the coming months and this certainly isn't the end of the story, but I can honestly say, JoPa needed to go.  Immediately.

N.B.  For those out there that think Card. Law got off easy for being made Archpriest, I would seriously take a closer look.  He lost one of the most influential positions in the Church, certainly in the Church in America.  He had to relocate halfway around the world, to a position which is purely ceremonial.  Card. Law has no real voice and he has no real authority any longer.  Also, he is close to the Holy Father.  While I cannot speak perfectly about this, I would be willing to put dollars toward donuts that Pope Benedict is  frequently checking up on him.   So, let's not think that Card. Law got a free pass.  I, for one, don't think that he did.

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