Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I've been writing about Penn State lately, so I thought it would be appropriate to add that I was sorry to hear of Joe Paterno's lung cancer. I hope he can overcome the disease. He and his family have had a topsy-turvy life in the last few months and I wish them well.

I pray for everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope we can all be renewed by appreciating our wondrous blessings in this country despite all our problems. May we also have increased efforts to love and share as the Christmas season comes upon us.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Changing Story

I recently wrote a post, among others, which described some of the Penn State scandal that is being discussed far & wide. At that time, Mike McQueary, an assistant coach who said he saw Jerry Sandusky sexually molest a young boy, had not said, publicly or to a Grand Jury, that he contacted police after he saw it. Many people assumed he did not contact police, but now he says he did. Police are denying they have any reports of it.

It's easy to jump to conclusions when a Grand Jury report is presented to the public with such explosive implications. Many have called for McQueary's firing, and I agree. McQueary now says he acted in the right way at the time and reported the issue to police and Joe Paterno. For Paterno's part, it was upon him to investigate whether the accusations were true or false. We can imagine how difficult that would be for Joe after working with Sandusky all that time, but Paterno was a leader and needed to do what leaders must do. But as for McQueary, was he bound to do more?

If he did indeed do those things he now says he did, either the Grand Jury report is lacking completeness or the police were the culprits. It will probably take time, an unfolding of events, a legal process, for truth, or as close as we can get to truth, to come out. It is human to react emotionally in the first comprehension of a terrible disclosure, as I and others did. But we eventually must overcome the emotions to give others a hearing.

If McQueary was a worker in some less-visible job, it would be easier for him to keep it until the necessary time went by. Even then, he may have trouble with fellow workers. But unfortunately he is in a very visible place, one which may be unnerving to the students and other who work with him even if he is legally innocent. But that is not all. Being legally innocent still doesn't explain why he didn't follow up on why Sandusky wasn't being arrested, when nothing seemed to be happening. Maybe the police and Paterno weren't responding, if that is what was going on. Yet he still had the news media and police of higher jurisdictions with whom to appeal.

Though my emotions are more level and I realize he was in a terrible situation, I think that unless McQueary continued to seek police investigation in a way we don't know about, he should resign as coach of Penn State football or be let go by the administrators. It is not to say he can't repent of his failings to the Lord, because we all have to do that, and work on where his life may turn to do good. But we all must take sin very seriously. Life is not a game.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Victims

I've had a few posts where I wrote about the Penn State scandal. I graduated from there and am very saddened by the whole sordid affair. However, though I've expressed ideas about guilt and sin, I need to also talk about the victims. I happen to have met two adult persons who were molested by family members in childhood. They are not related to me or each other, and I don't know them well. But I know enough to realize they are still dealing with their trauma. One struggles with very severe psychological symptoms which come and go. The other acted out in anti-authoritarian ways in early life, and though coming to a more mature way of handling problems, still acutely feels the personal violation.

An assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, is alleged to have sexually accosted a minor on the premises of Penn State. Another coach alleges to have seen him and reported it to Joe Paterno. Paterno reported it to another superior, and up the line. But throughout, supposedly no one called the police or any other regulatory agency.

A lawyer for one of the alleged victims of retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky said they were worried about a backlash, since Joe Paterno was fired over the controversy. For one thing, Penn State students rioted after the announcement that he was fired after a 46-year career as head coach of the football team there. Probably some bloggers and others backed Paterno, against the University's decision to let him go, to go on with his job or at least finish out the season.

Though I'm talking in ideal terms here, victims of sexual abuse should not have to worry about further victimization. Society and the people in power need to take a stand for them, even if others are not sensitive enough to realize the abused take the priority over prestige, money and the ever-encompasing sports culture. Governors and trustees must see the victims' worth even if they themselves have been de-sensitized to it. I think the trustees did the right thing in terminating Joe Paterno and the University President. They should also have fired Mike McQueary, another assistant coach and the man who allegedly saw Sandusky in the act. (He says he saw it. Why would McQueary say he saw it if he didn't? But if for some twisted reason he lied about seeing it, that would mean he lied to a Grand Jury in which case he should still be fired.)

We have a long way to go to know what to best do for children and adult victims of abuse, or even to find out who they are. People obviously lie to cover their deeds and even if we want to know, we are not all detectives. We could probably all benefit from lessons on how to spot them, because not all assistant coaches, priests or boy or girl scout leaders are abusers. Let us all hope, though, that if we see someone sexually molested with our own eyes, we will get out our phones and call 911.

Working on Comments

I just got a surprise by looking at comments in my blog "published comments" section. There are comments there I've never seen. I had it set up that comments be automatically sent for moderation to my husband's blog and mine by e-mail, but our e-mail address changed a while ago and I just figured out I changed the e-mail address setting on his blog but not mine.

I still don't see the comments on my blog even though the settings say they are published. So if you sent a comment that was meant for my blog and it didn't come through, I'm sorry for the problem. Though I'm not an expert, I will try to correct the situation to make sure the comments come through in the future. I'm very thankful for your notes and interest.

I've decided to allow comments without moderation and see how it works out. I'll also change the comments from a pop-up box to a list under the post. I think I can still delete messages this way and I reserve the right to do so with any I deem inappropriate. I hope we will all try, even in emotional issues, to find ways to communicate and come to better understandings.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Terrible Time

I've been brooding over the Penn State mess, since for one thing I am reminded of it whenever I turn on the TV for news. It's Wednesday evening, and Joe Paterno says he will resign at the end of the season. Much will happen in the next few days, and more heads will probably roll.

I do pray for any victims of aggression that may be suffering at this time. I don't know what is true as far as the allegations, but I can pray to God to help and heal anyone who needs it.

I graduated from Penn State, and also from University of Pennsylvania. Today I happened on a speech given by Archbishop Charles Chaput, who is outspoken about the right to life and was just moved to Philadelphia, which has had its own problems with sex scandal in Church schools. His speech is found here, and it is worth reading.

If you don't want to read the whole thing, these quotes are very worth your while:

The University of Pennsylvania’s motto is Leges sine moribus vanae. It means “Laws without morals are useless.” All law has moral content. It’s an expression of what we “ought” to do. Therefore law teaches as well as regulates. Law always involves the imposition of somebody’s judgments about morality on everyone else. That’s the nature of law. But I think the meaning of Penn’s motto goes deeper than just trying to translate beliefs into legislation. Good laws can help make a nation more human; more just; more noble. But ultimately even good laws are useless if they govern a people who, by their choices, make themselves venal and callous, foolish and self-absorbed.

The deepest kind of revolution never comes from violence. Even politics, important as it is, is a poor tool for changing human hearts. Nations change when people change. And people change through the witness of other people—people like each of you reading this. You make the future. You build it stone by stone with the choices you make. So choose life. Defend its dignity and witness its meaning and hope to others. And if you do, you’ll discover in your own life what it means to be fully human.

We all are faced with difficult decisions. We must ask ourselves what is most important. I am often upset by the way women are treated in the Church, and I wish the Bishops would find in their hearts to value us more. But it is not all about women, it is about all of us. It is not all about life on Earth, it's also about life in Heaven.

It's a double whammy to be associated with Penn State and the Catholic Church if there is any guilt by association. But that's the thing--we are all guilty of sin. Some seems more disgusting because it attacks children on an obscene level. But if life starts at conception, what about abortion? What about the pill if it kills an otherwise healthy embryo? What about in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and genetic screening for imperfections in which embryos are discarded? Though it is not wrong to be scandalized by the sins of others, we must also pray our eyes be opened to our own.

Mississippi just voted against person-hood starting at conception. This is the first time I've been informed that life is based on votes. I've heard some were concerned about repercussions associated with medicine and IVF. If an embryo is life, there should be no question about side issues. They should revolve around the embryo's person-hood.

This is a terrible time for many. But we do have a Leader who was perfect on Earth and is able to guide us through the murky darkness. We must keep our eyes on Him, keep praying, keep hoping. It is the only way to get clean and clear. He is the only way to the Light.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sad, Not Mad

I am a Penn State grad, and as you may know, a story came out this week about a possible cover-up over alleged sexual predator charges against Jerry Sandusky. He was the football team's defensive coordinator at Penn State for a long time, and then left to run a camp. You can read a story about it here in the NY Times, though it is in virtually all papers this morning.

Part of the outrage that is bound to emerge would concern the supposed integrity that Penn State's coach, Joe Paterno, has espoused over the years. Though Penn State has had troubled players like most teams, Paterno emphasized academic achievement and character as part of his program.

No matter the outcome of this affair, unfortunately in this world there are many things to be outraged about. The seemingly unending revelations about priests sexually molesting their young charges, the cover-up by bishops, the unwillingness of the higher-ups to clear up and clear out the victimizers.

Now German Bishops are caught red-handed in a scandal wherein a Catholic-owned book publishing business has been found to sell pornographic material.

In a way I'd like to bask in holier-than-thou vindictiveness toward the male-dominated Church authority. I feel they are unfair to women, and if women had the equality in the Church they should, these things would not get out of hand as much as they do. But, women have their sins as well as men, and my own shows in the very vindictiveness I here confess.

These crimes and alleged crimes still must be revealed, purged, and payed for in whatever way is best. But I believe it is important for all of us to take the path that many before us have summarized simply as "hate the sin, love the sinner." As simple as it is said it is vastly beyond difficult to do. Yet it is our job as Christians to lead others to Christ, whether others are non-believers or believers who have somehow gotten themselves entangled in horrible things.

There's an interesting column at Uncommon Descent in which a radio-cast of Frank Turek asks why atheists are so angry (if you are so-inclined, you can hear the audio and read comments to it here). The context of Uncommon Descent is that biology displays evidence of design, but they have gotten off the subject here. My own conclusion in this context is that atheists, non-Darwinists, Darwinists, IDists and Christians all seem capable of hurling insults at each other. I believe it is true in other contexts as well, such as male authority in the Church. In my opinion, it is human to be angry with those who disagree with us, and my own blog shows past entries where I blew my cool. What Christians should remember, is that our purpose is not to pull all stops just to win an argument, but remember that each person with whom we are engaging is one we want to help experience the love and holiness of Jesus Christ, just as we want that for ourselves. I think to do this we need to ask God's grace and strength. He is merciful, and I believe He has already helped me. I pray he continues to do so.