Today's FL Times:
To the Editor:
The heinous tragedy recently revealed at Penn State is reminiscent of the continuing sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
The similarities between the church and Penn State football are striking. Both are all-male, powerful, tradition-heavy hierarchies. Both handled their scandals internally rather than give police and prosecutors control. Both preach righteousness (Paterno’s motto is “success with honor”), but neither provided moral leadership when it was needed most, choosing instead to turn a blind eye to the suffering of children for the sake of their institution’s “brand.”
But give Penn State this much. They fired the men at the top (both president and legendary football coach) within days of the arrest of the alleged perpetrator. In the Church’s case, hundreds of bishops are still in their jobs despite their coverup, obfuscation, and transferring of pedophile priests from parish to parish, school to school and institution to institution.
Added to this is the inconceivable fact that although 22 bishops have been credibly accused of multiple molestations http://www.bishopaccountability.org/
, nearly all of those still alive retain the title of bishop emeritus and are supported by Catholics’ donations. Last, but not least, is the contemptible fact that bishops such as Matthew Clark, supported by politicians like Brian Kolb (shame on both men), continue to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat legislation that would help identify predatory priests currently in ministry!
The contrast between Penn State’s aggressive action and the Church’s continued disregard for children’s welfare cannot be starker. Not even a 61-year career prevented the board of trustees from firing Paterno for failing to provide moral leadership when it counted. The board’s decision sent a message that protecting predators, and the people who shield and enable them, will not be tolerated. I challenge the board of trustees of the Catholic Church (lay Catholics) to do likewise.
For the sake of your children and grandchildren, stand up to Catholic leaders who fail to provide moral leadership. Refuse to protect individuals who cover up charges of sexual abuse or who are themselves abusers. Stop enabling the continued endangerment of your children by withholding donations until those responsible are held accountable and put in jail. The beginning of the cleansing of Happy Valley has begun with bold leadership and decisive action. It is time for rank and file Catholics to do