USA Today Religion Blogger Uses Penn State Pedophilia Charges to Bring Up Catholic Church

November 7th, 2011 4:12 PM

The arrest of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on pedophilia charges has absolutely nothing to do with the Catholic Church.  Neither does an alleged coverup by Penn State officials of repeated allegations of sexual misconduct against Sandusky. Yet religion reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman found a way to shoehorn the Church into the story in a November 6 "Faith & Reason" blog post at entitled "Catholic bishops' lesson for Penn State: Call the cops!":

A trusted adult, respected by the community, offers special programs for vulnerable boys -- then sexually abuses them. Word travels up to higher authorities, but no one calls the police. They handle it within...

Sound familiar? It's the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal rewritten on a university campus.

This time it's Penn State officials playing the role of the bishops from Boston to Los Angeles and scores of cities in between, from the 1950s to 2002 when the scandal exploded into national headlines. Now, instead of a priest as serial child molestor, a grand jury alleges that former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky preyed on boys he met through his youth foundation and enticed into his control with special access to the university's facilities.


Cardinal Bernard Law, Archbishop of Boston in 2002, withstood nearly a full year of increasingly shrill calls for his resignation for gross mismangement before finally stepping down.

But coverage of Law was only the beginning of years of revelations -- thousands of priests, thousands of victims, millions of dollars in settlements and the immeasurable losses of victims who suffer for decades or choose suicide.

And it put the white-hot light on the coverup: What did bishops know, and what did they do? What did Penn State officials know and what did they do? What is the right thing for Paterno to do now?

DO YOU THINK ... the Catholic Church and the U.S. bishops have some lessons to offer Penn State?

Maybe Grossman is just a huge college football fan, but we at NewsBusters have noticed Grossman's penchant for giving a decidedly liberal -- political and/or theological -- spin on the news items she covers, more often than not targeting conservative religious institutions or politically active folks like conservative evangelicals.