Penn State and its football team are now embroiled in one of the greatest scandals in the history of  American college football.  It emerged that an assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was over a period sexually assaulting a group of boys.  Other coaches including the famous Joe Paterno himself did not do enough to bring these accusations to the police.

But when the scandal broke several days ago, the university authorities moved with lightning speed.  Coach Paterno (aged 84) has been fired.  The president of the university has been fired.  Two other university officials have been charged.  It is expected that other officials and coaching staff will face charges.  In other words within literally hours of the scandal emerging, those who helped cover it up (unwittingly or not) are out, gone.

Compare this swift justice with how the Catholic  church deals with sex abuse.  Almost all the bishops who aided and abetted and covered up these abuse are still in place – secure in their jobs.  One bishop only is being brought to book.  Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas city has been criminally charged with covering up sex abuse.  But it was not church authorities that nailed him.  It was a grand jury.  And Bishop Finn is still in the job.

How long can the Catholic  church go on protecting bishops who aided, abetted and covered up sexual abuse of children.

Should not the church take a leaf from the book at Penn State where authroties came down swiftly and hard on the perpetrators?

Could the contrast betweeen the two approches be more clear?

Can the Catholic church learn from Penn State?

What do you think?


  1. 1

    I`m in unfamiliar territory, but wouldn`t that require renouncing the infallability of the church ?

    These things cut across all faiths,all professions. It`s a major problem.


  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    The infallibility of the church has absolutely nothing to do with bishops who commit crimes like covering up sex abuse.

  3. 3

    I suspect that the top rank of the catholic church doesn’t think that the abuse of children is a “big deal”.
    They treat it like kids getting caught playing Doctor-a right of passage.
    It’s the only explanation for the far reaching ignorance and lack of action.

  4. 4
    jim Says:

    The Catholic Church cannot learn fron the Penn State situation because they don’t listen. The personnel who were fired should have been suspended pending trial.

  5. 5
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    What do I think, Neil asks.

    I think this is one of Neil’s best editorials and, as such, I have nothing to add.

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