Jesus Our Shepherd
Freeh-ed
by Kristine Ward, National Survivor Advocates Coalition News

There are days when the avalanche is made not of snow but of clay feet.

Such was the day Thursday when Louis Freeh delivered his independent report of the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.

The 267 page report was the result of an eight month independent investigation and it was delivered a month to the day that former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of the sexual abuse of children.

Here is the link to the report http://thefreehreportonpsu.com/

In it, our readers will find the top leadership at Penn State: the legendary and nearly god-like Joe Paterno, university president, Graham Spanier, both of whom were fired when the scandal broke, and the two vice presidents who face criminal charges, - all as Freeh describes it "had a callous and shocking disregard for child victims."

Beyond that, the report says, by their lack of action against Sandusky and by allowing empowered him to abuse children.

The similarities between what happened at Penn State and what happened in the Catholic Church are identical twins.

The report reveals:

the desire to avoid bad publicity
the failure to make inquiries
a president who discouraged dissent and discussion
a lack of awareness of child abuse policies and whistleblower policies and protections
the decision by Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schmitz (the two vice presidents) to allow Sandusky to retire, not as a suspected child abuser but as a valued member of Penn State football with continuing ties and continuing access to its facilities
a culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community

With all that, still there is the clear, sharp, outstanding fact that when faced with the scandal breaking into public knowledge because of tenacious news media reporting and a grand jury, Penn State fired Paterno and Spanier.

That separates in a damning way the Catholic Church from Penn State.

Beyond that, it must be said, Penn State, unlike the Catholic Church, commissioned an independent investigation.

The Church's mitered leaders, make no mistake about it, will take to pulpits and house organ newspapers along with their high priced spin patrol and will point to Penn State as "it's happens everywhere, therefore get off our backs" language while coming nearly crippled in reaching to collectively pat their own backs.

There should not be one iota of slippage from the heat that needs to be kept on this institution which has a huge sign out that it is a moral pillar of the plant.

This institution, the Roman Catholic Church, proclaims to be pro-life. Let it begin to show us how it will be pro-life in its protection of children from the horrors of sexual predators in its ranks.

Let it begin to show us how it will be the breakout counter cultural leader shunning against all odds, and at all personal costs, the protection of its own when its own commits criminal acts. Let it begin with Bishop Robert Finn in the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph.

Let it show us this by being the first to drop its opposition and lead the fight for the passage of the bills in the Pennsylvania General Assembly that would protect children and provide access to justice for survivors of sexual abuse.

The pressure must be kept on at Penn State and not be allowed to fade with the Summer's end and the desire to "put it behind us." Nothing gets puts behind a victim. We must all remember the life long damage that child sexual abuse produces. The pressure must be kept on by those who love this university the most. Those for whom the alma mater's phrase, "let no act of ours bring shame" must resonant with full throttle now.

Those who remain in the pews of the Roman Catholic Church, along with those who remain in the bleachers of Beaver Stadium must stand now with integrity or pull the mask of cowardice down across their faces.

Clay can be fired into a pottery of beauty.

Let that beauty be the protection of children.

If we are all not Freeh-ed, if we all do not stand and take collective responsibility for what has happened in our religious institutions and in our universities, then we are nothing but tinkling brass and clanging cymbals, out only for a pleasant community experience that's a prelude to Sunday morning breakfast or a shouting good time on an Autumn afternoon.

Surely we've been educated and catechized for higher things.