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Catholic official: Church aims to confront abuse, work with educators after Penn State scandal
Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says “education in this area is phenomenally efficacious.”
November 15th, 2011
03:07 PM ET

Catholic official: Church aims to confront abuse, work with educators after Penn State scandal

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – The Roman Catholic Church is willing to partner with American educational institutions  to educate the public about child sex abuse after the Penn State scandal, according to the head of the U.S. church.

"One of the good things God might bring out of this evil and this tragedy would be now some type of alliance between religion and the educational establishment in a major national campaign to see that this is faced head on," said Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the top Catholic official in the United States.

"That would be a partnership that the Catholic Church in the United States would be eager to be invested in generously," he said in a Monday news conference at a meeting of American bishops in Baltimore. "And we might be able to come with a little wisdom earned the tough way, the hard way, to that table when we have that discussion."

There are many parallels in the ways the decade-old international abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and the recent scandal at Penn State have unfolded, and Dolan spoke to some of them Monday.

"One of things we’ve learned [is] tragically, more often than not, it’s people who have positions of trust that very often have an entree into children that would shatter them not only physically and emotionally, but spiritually as well," said Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the case of Penn State, former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of using his position as the founder of a charity helping young children to perpetrate abuse.

Dolan, sometimes referred to as "America's pope," said that the church has launched a nationwide program to train children, parents and teachers to look for signs of abuse and how to respond if they witness it.

"One of the things that we’ve learned the hard way - and Lord knows we’ve earned our PhD. in the school of hard knocks on this one ... is that education in this area is phenomenally efficacious," he said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sex abuse

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.