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

soundoff (271 Responses)
  1. jayman419

    I can't say a single thing about this that the mods wouldn't just have to come in and remove. But honestly, the jokes write themselves, don't they?

    November 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  2. Theykidding

    The Catholic Church needs to go sit down, their creditability is shot to shyt, wouldn't call them to help fight a demon possessing my house.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  3. joey

    catholics teaching about molesters, priceless !!! lmfao

    November 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  4. cyberCMDR

    The church giving advice on stopping pedophiles makes as much sense as priests giving marriage counseling. Oh wait, they already do that!

    November 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  5. E.K

    What exactly is the Catholic Church going to tell Penn State? It is disturbing that the church who sent the cardinals (who oversaw priests who molested children) to a safe house in the Vatican instead of having them face the law here is now feeling so eager to lend a hand. Is it going to instruct the school how to cover it up or what? Well it is too late and the kids have been damaged and they need legal and psychological help not the catholic church!

    November 15, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  6. Cogito

    What an insult to the victims. The catholic church's PhD must stand for Pedophiliac-Harboring Diocese. The most important lesson that needs to taught is "Inform the Police Immediately!" And the church has failed that lesson time and again.

    November 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  7. Corvus1

    Fox guarding the hen-house anyone?

    November 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  8. Bob

    This is all a terribly unfunny joke, right?

    November 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  9. Holy Moly!

    Really! The Catholic Church wants to help out. That's like Satan covering for St. Peter at the pearly gate.

    November 15, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  10. The Dude

    They must want a piece of Sandusky's action...

    November 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Larry

      Yeah, they want to take over the program he was running.....

      November 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Rick

      ...giving the tight end a tryout as a wide receiver?

      November 16, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  11. Michele

    Catholic church leaders continue to live in an alternate reality. To believe your advice would be welcomed much less solicited is beyond the pale.

    November 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  12. totallyconfused

    Just when you thought that you have heard it all......................

    November 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  13. ja-coffalotte

    yeah, that's the first place Ped State turned to, the experts in child molestation, funny stuff, "education is phenomaly efficacious", translation: little boys are hot

    November 15, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  14. Canadain

    cause if there's one thing churches know its child-molestation!

    November 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  15. Sean

    At least they have experience in abusing children too...

    November 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Liondance

      Yes, even the American Pope admits to that much: "we’ve earned our PhD. [...] on this one"

      November 15, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  16. Larry

    Well, the church could have been involved earlier. Maybe they should offer "effective pedophelia" for guys like us? They could advise Penn State on how to cover up the scandal, still keep the people employed, and how to use the threat of eternal damnation to prevent witnesses or victims from speaking up.

    November 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Larry

      FYI – Guys like us means "Priests, Coaches, and other pedophiles..." not guys like you or me. just reread the comment and it didn't come out like I meant it.

      November 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  17. Glenn

    This is like Frank James giving Jessie James advice on how to avoid a life of crime.

    November 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  18. Jon Samuel

    ""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."
    What does education have to do with it? How about not covering up crimes?

    November 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Larry

      Right on. Maybe, if the church allowed the priests to marry – like they once were allowed to, there would be less problems of that nature. But no....the church stopped marriage when priests were willing their estates to their wives and children instead of God...or the church. That is why priests aren't allowed to marry.

      If anyone even thinks about quoting the bible and saying "the bible forbids it", they can also quote the bible and say that pedophiles are OK because the bible doesn't forbid it. It doesn't forbid lots of things, like a dirty sanchez, cleveland steamer or filthy carl, but that doesn't make them right, does it.

      Yuck. I can't wait until our race evolves to the point that we realize that religion is so wrong.

      November 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Regis990

      @Larry Kudos!

      November 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • JT

      You must really have your deluded flock completely at your whim if you can change such rules out from under them and not nary a loss in followers. It's amazing what effective brain washing can do.

      November 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm |


      November 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      How about turning off your CAPS?

      November 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  19. Colin Kerr

    The only head of the Catholic Church in the US or anywhere is the pope.

    November 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm |


      November 15, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Occupy Belief Blog


      November 16, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  20. Pam McDowell

    Stay out of it catholic church-you have zero credibility in protecting children

    November 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
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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.