Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Penn State’s “Long Lent”

November 11th, 2011, Promulgated by Nerina

Football is a big deal in our house.  My 12 year old son loves all-things “sports,” but is particularly enthralled with football (especially of the Green Bay variety), so the story about former Penn State coach arrested and charged this week for several accounts of sexual abuse has been discussed a great deal.  As a Catholic, it has also called to mind the on-going abuse scandal in the Church.  I’ve been looking at the parallels between the situation at Penn State and the Church and there are similarities.  Both reveal an institutional cover up.  Both reveal the exploitation of young people (all boys in the case of Penn State and mostly adolescent boys in the case of the Church).  And both speak to a wider culture that continues to push the boundaries of what is seen as “normal” when it comes to sexuality.

Like the Church, Penn State will likely go through a lengthy self-examination and recovery.  I suspect the institution will find that ridding itself of the cancer of sexual abuse will be painful and get worse before things get better (in fact, there is speculation that this story is about to get much worse).  It will likely find that the institutional “chemotherapies” and “radiation” applied to the problem will slowly address the problem, but not address the environmental cause of the problem – a toxic culture that increasingly sexualizes young children.   How else do we explain a troupe of 7 year-olds doing a provocative dance routine to Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies?”   Why do we accept companies promoting push up binkinis to young, pre-pubescent girls?  And don’t even get me started on “Toddlers and Tiaras,” the repulsive reality show that focuses on the  toddler pageant industry.

Yet, it seems our culture wants it both ways.  Aggressive, liberal sex-education agendas want to give out more and more information to younger and younger children, espousing the view that children are “sexual beings,” but the same people pushing these agendas refuse to acknowledge the role these programs play in scandals like those seen in our own Church and at Penn State (and let’s not kid ourselves, the sexual abuse of children is rampant in public schools, organizations and even homes).  Thankfully, people continue to be outraged when sex abuse scandals are revealed (and the day that we no longer react to them will be the day our culture dies), but I have to wonder, why?  Why are we outraged?  Why do we recoil?  Why, when we read the grand jury indictment(PDF), does  our stomach churn and our head bend in prayer to a merciful God for forgiveness of our sins?  We have told children that they are sexual objects.  We have deluded ourselves into thinking that sexual freedom is the ultimate good and that restrictions on this behavior is oppressive and antiquated.  Somehow, though, we know, that we are not free.  We are, instead, enslaved to sin and our children are the ultimate victims.

God, have mercy on us.

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17 Responses to “Penn State’s “Long Lent””

  1. brother of penance says:

    Thank you, Nerina, for this post. You give us much to ponder.

    I am unable to contribute other than to say that this particular subject
    always, I mean always, reminds me of what our Lord Jesus is quoted saying
    in Sacred Scripture.

    “But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

  2. Richard Thomas says:

    Yes. Lord have mercy on us. The culture is now celebrating homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle yet the lesson from the scandal of the molestation within the Catholic church is not even discussed…..That 80% of all the molestations were homosexual priests on teenage boys. Psychological data, as mentioned by Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, who treats homosexuals, indicates homosexuals are more prone to molest boys and that is a part of the homosexual condition.

    But you will never hear the media, nor the Amercian bishops and most priests discuss this.

    How ironic that the retired Penn State coach, set up a foundation for young boys. It seems he was setting up a continuous supply of individuals to molest.

  3. Bona says:

    These awful things would not happen if women were allowed to be coaches and if coaches were allowed to get married.

  4. Persis says:

    Thank you Nerina, very well said!!

  5. Ben Anderson says:

    These awful things would not happen if women were allowed to be coaches and if coaches were allowed to get married.

    That’s great – a perspective I hadn’t heard yet!

    On a side note, this isn’t the first time we’ve covered joepa on this site:

  6. Hopefull says:

    Thanks for this post, Nerina. I just want to point out the absurdity of some of the sideline antics, without in any way diminishing the horror of what we are hearing about. But there on p 4A of today’s D&C we read the pompous remark of Governor Corbett of Pennsylvania stating: “”We must keep in mind that when it comes to the safety of children, there can be no margin of error, no hesitation to act.” So, Governor Corbett, what are you planning to do about abortion in your state? What a bunch of double talk and self-serving rhetoric. Can he even hear himself?

  7. christian says:

    I would have to agree with Richard Thomas that the majority of sexual abuse victims of Catholic priests are boys. However, there have been Catholic priests who sexually abuse both boys and girls, and some Catholic priests who have exclusively sexually abused girls.(There was one priest originally in Pennsylvania, had multiple, multiple, multiple female victims. When there were complaints, he was just moved to another school campus where he abused more girls. He additionally was filthy and vulgar in talk, attitude, and deed (very sick) and assigned his victims guilt and a filthy status. The majority of his victims came from disadvantaged backgrounds in some way, troubled family dynamics, many times including the loss of a parent. He managed to sexual abuse those who were sad, “down,” and vulnerable who had been sent to him for guidance and help).

    I can’t help but see the parallel of children, especially in disadvantaged circumstances, being sexually abused, between the Catholic Priest Sex Abuse Scandal and the Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal where “Second Mile” program, started by Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky, allowed him garner potential victims. I also can’t help but see the parallel in how the sexual abuse was covered up. Any reporting was kept “in-house,” police were not notified. There were continual cover-ups and the abuse was allowed to go on. The cover-up was done for the good of the school and the good of the game at Penn State, and for the good of the church and the good of the religion in the Roman Catholic Church. HOW MISGUIDED! IN REALITY, IT WAS NOT FOR THE GOOD OF ANYONE, AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR THE GOOD OF OUR LORD AND HIS PEOPLE.

  8. Scott W. says:

    According to Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Vatican official handling sex abuse cases said in an interview that there are about 3000 cases he is handling. Of those. 60% are between priest and post-pubescent males, 30% are heterosexual (priest and post-pubescent female) and 10% are pedophile cases. Now, alot of people go to great pains to say that in pedophile cases, the perpetrator does not see his victim in terms of gender. Ok, but I’ve looked around and have never found a breakdown of pedophile cases by gender of the victim. Since there are two genders, you would expect 50/50 male/female. I suppose one could allow circumstantial deviation that say, the actual statistic was 60/40 male/female. If it turns out more than that, then I’m afraid someone needs to start challenging the pedophiles-don’t-see-gender meme.

  9. Richard Thomas says:

    What is upsetting about the news coverage is that almost everyone was ready to hang Joe Paterno when the news broke last Monday. They were so arrogantly opinionated.
    But through the week, it became apparent that the assistant coach who reported the incident to Paterno, may have downplayed his report to the coach, then may have testified differently to the grand jury.

    I am so sick of people in the media convicting people and being so arrogant before all the information is revealed but didn’t the same thing happen to Jesus?

  10. JLo says:

    Media, mainstream in particular, long ago abdicated its role as watchdog of our freedoms (the Fourth Estate may really be completely dead, having drowned in its biased juices), but even they get some things right, Richard: how does one “downplay” witnessing a man sodomizing a 10 year old in the showers?


  11. Nerina says:

    how does one “downplay” witnessing a man sodomizing a 10 year old in the showers?

    Hi JLo,

    I believe that while the grad assistant explicitly described the incident to Coach Paterno (who contacted the athletic director), the athletic director and the VP said that the student only said he witnessed something that made him feel “uncomfortable.” Their defense is that since they didn’t know of the exact nature of the event, they did all that was necessary at the time. The grand jury found the testimony of the AD and the VP to be unreliable.

  12. JLo says:

    It appears that the “shocked” grad assistant was only too willing in the years following to even play golf and engage in other social activities with that sick pervert who serially robbed children of their childhoods for his evil “needs”.

    Sounds all too familiar in this world that now actually defends and embraces SSA and all that lifestyle encompasses. Cut from the same cloth, those deviants, and seemingly “good” people tell us we must be tolerant of SSA! Add that to your list of musings on how we got here, Nerina.

    As to this specific case and the grad assistant, it’s doubtful that he wasn’t explicit in what he saw, so I’m not surprised the grand jury found the AD and VP testimony unreliable. One truth has emerged thus far: ALL of them obviously thought little about children and only of themselves and their lives lived at Penn State. Pathetic bunch, and they all should face prosecution of some sort. If the DA is not skillful enough to find SOMETHING to charge all those people with (starting with the play-it-safe Paterno), I hope those children and their loved ones take comfort in knowing that those cowardly and self-interested men will one day face the Great Good Judge.

    (I can’t help but wonder, though, if any of those men told the women in their lives. Somehow, I doubt it, because I can’t believe any woman of any worth at all would have condoned the inaction of the good-old-boys club members and ignored such abuse of children.).


  13. Nerina says:

    I’m with you, JLo. I don’t know how anyone could have witnessed what this grad assistant saw and not do something. ANYTHING! Yell out. Make noise. Let the creep know that someone is watching. The first thing I said to my husband is “if a mother had seen that, she would have risked the ire of the coach and done something right then.” And how does a 6’4″, young man not do something? I can’t believe he went on to socialize with Sandusky after the fact.

    Regarding SSA: again, I agree. In thirty years the homosexual activists have done a thorough and effective job of indoctrinating people (especially children and young adults) that there is nothing wrong with homosexual behavior. It is definitely part of the equation – a significant part. And to think there were (are still) so many within the Church agitating for normalizing homosexual behavior. Has there not been enough fall out? How many more children need to suffer?

  14. brother of penance says:

    Recently my adult sons and I were discussing Mike McQueary.

    Each of us admitted that we could not have seen and heard the sexual abuse
    of the boy without trying to stop it or at least call attention to it right
    there and then at the shower.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I told my sons that I would have grabbed a
    baseball bat (if available) and would have rushed into the shower and insist
    Sandusky leave the boy alone.

    I like Rick Santorum!

    Well, guess who would have used the bat? Ben’s choice for president (my first choice

    “To see people turn a blind eye to this monster is just devastating,” Santorum said to reporters after his speech. “How does a guy walk by, a 28-year-old man walk by, and see somebody doing this to a child in a shower and not take a baseball bat and beat the guy’s head in?”

  15. brother of penance says:

    Mr. Santorum’s quote about the baseball bat can be read here:

  16. brother of penance says:

    Nerina’s last paragraph above about SSA (Same Sex Attraction) reminds me of the many statements I heard or read over the past 30 years.

    A sampling includes the following”

    “It is not deviate. It is different.”
    “The gay community has suffered injustice.”
    “Gay spirituality is a gift to the Church.”
    “Homosexuality is a gift.”
    “God made me homosexual.”
    “The Church is unjust.”
    “The Church needs to listen to the experience of Gays.”
    “Put a face on homosexuality.”
    “Our Gay Brothers and Sisters.”
    “Saint Paul had no understanding of Homosexual Orientation.”
    “Sodom and Gomorah were condemned for inhospitality.”

    Nerina is correct when she writes:”In thirty years the homosexual activists have done a thorough and effective job of indoctrinating people (especially children and young adults) that there is nothing wrong with homosexual behavior.”

    Nerina continued with “And to think there were (are still) so many within the Church agitating for normalizing homosexual behavior.”

    Nerina, I know that Catholics like yourself who speak the truth in love are at risk for persecution. May God the Holy Spirit give us the grace to be bold even as we witness homosexual indoctrination continue to make gains in our culture and in the Church.

  17. brother of penance says:

    Spirit Daily ( has a link to a most interesting article.
    “The root of Church abuse: homosexuality”
    can be accessed at

    Matt C. Abbott gives us access to an essay written by Brian W. Clowes, Ph.D., director of research for Human Life International entitled “Homosexuality and the Church Crisis”.

    This article is filled with documentation that substantiates the charge that homosexuality is at the root of the Church’s sex-abuse scandal.

    Nerina, Richard Thomas and Scott W. offered comments which seem to be in line with the best statistical research available.

    Only the most stubborn resistance to facts could persist in calling this contention false.

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