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. William Demuth

    They will compare Little Black Buggery Books, sharing the master list of those children whose parents are stupid enough to let them be victimized.

    Bothe Penn State AND The Roman Catholic Church need to be sued out of exsistence, and those who were complicit need to be imprisoned to suffer the same fate as their victims.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Passive Aggressive

      You are blaming the parents?

      November 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Kay4Justice

      Very well said!

      November 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  2. DR

    What a sense of humor them Catholics have, no? I mean, I almost believed they were serious there for a moment. Because, I mean, they can't really be serious, right? I've heard of people lacking in self-awareness, but this would be way too far over the top, no? THEY ARE KIDDING, RIGHT????? RIGHT? right? (please say right?)

    November 16, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • jwas1914

      I'm afraid NOT!

      November 16, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  3. Reality

    For new members:

    Failures to follow two phrases of good human conduct, "Do No Harm" and "Call A Cop" define the current "vomit inducing" situation at Penn State, the Boy Scouts of America, the RCC, the Southern Baptist Convention, Seventh Day Adventists, Judaism, the Citadel et al.

    No Christian god or other god(s), or partnerships of the RCC with universities/colleges required, needed or desired !!!

    November 16, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • catholic engineer

      "No Christian god or other god(s), or partnerships of the RCC with universities/colleges required, needed or desired !!! "

      The RCC (that's Roman Catholic Church) established the greatest universities in European history.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      That's because, at the time, it was really the only thing around. States weren't going to establish schools – they were pretty much beholden to the RCC at that time anyway. At the same time, it was condemning witches and heretics to death...

      November 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • TR6

      @ catholic engineer: “The RCC (that's Roman Catholic Church) established the greatest universities in European history”

      Where they taught such important subjects as advanced witch burning, Jew hating and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin

      November 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  4. Occupy Belief Blog

    It has just been reported that NAMBLA has been brought in as a special consultant.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  5. Occupy Belief Blog

    Elvis is dead and don't feel that good myself.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  6. Colin

    Ten signs you are a Catholic.

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when he elects to speak “from the chair” on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. geocentricity, immaculate conception, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.

    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and heralding the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.

    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.

    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does if make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their life-after-death lands with magic-sacred powers of some kind.

    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your Bible.

    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.

    7. You criticize gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of the Egyptians to save his own skin.

    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.

    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).

    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.

    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.

    Heavens, I could not fit them into ten.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:32 am |
    • Occupy Belief Blog

      1 sign that you are Colin. You post the same sh it over and over and over and over and over and over....etc.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:50 am |
    • Reality

      Occupy Belief Blog

      As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as rational thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

      November 16, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • DonnieB

      A greata post!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Passive Aggressive

      I kinda dig Buddah. At least relative to interior design.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      1 sign that you are Reality. You post the same sh it over and over and over and over and over and over....etc.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Buddhism is technically a philosophy, not a religion, and promotes harmony between all peoples.

      The other four can go though.

      November 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  7. Formersheep

    The catholic church has the ability, through massive experience, to offer advice on this matter. They will advise on how to avoid, deceive, ignore and cover-up the instances reported. When you want the best advice on a matter, always go to the experts.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:24 am |
  8. Phyrro

    This is farce. The Catholic church instead of being humbled and kneeling down in forgiveness and admitting to their pedophilia related sins is trying divert attention from their horrendous child abusive past to other pedophiles of their ilk.
    Before you can comment on the sins of others you need to fully admit your own sins.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:21 am |
  9. ma & pa

    We knew of "men of the cloth" who burdened themselves with the task of "counciling" selfconfident girls. Thereafter they grew in odd directions and went on extended visits to relatives. The "Father" had been good at getting to the bottom of the problem. No need for alter girls.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:19 am |
    • AGuest9

      In my grandmothers' day, they had a "Father" who would "minister" to one of the wives on their block, before her husband came home after work. So much for celibacy.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  10. Phyrro

    The Catholic church which has never even joined the parade to eliminate pedophilia now wants to lead the parade? Sorry much much too little and too late. You still have a long long way to go to clean up your act and admit to your horrendous crimes. You can not cop out by now all of sudden seeming to care.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:10 am |
    • The Truth

      Hello Phyrro

      I agree with what you said. Don’t understand how they have no shame. As for it taking a long time to clean up I’m afraid it’s too late for that now. The Bible already prophesized false religion in our days and it made it clear when it said “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind” (Revelation 18:4, 5). All of her sins have caused many to see God as cruel and evil and that has no forgiveness. It’s why their judgment will come and why they are not receiving God’s blessings. For one to say that God is on their side does not know God yet. A true Christian reads the Bible daily and follows it. In the mean time it is our responsibility to find true worship; that can be accomplished with Bible reading and sincere prayers to God to help us find it.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  11. ROGER

    That is like hearing that Barney Frank wants to help. It is easy for a man who has no interest in women to take a vow not to be interested in women, but that doesn't mean he will not seek to gratify a biological urge that has become a deviant mental issue .

    November 16, 2011 at 3:52 am |
  12. Moob

    That looks like his "O" face....

    November 16, 2011 at 3:31 am |
  13. paganguy

    The Church is an expert in that sort of thing; they have been doing it for centuries.
    Maybe they told Paterno: lay low, sandbag, it will blow over.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:04 am |
  14. oscar r

    the fox telling the farmer how to build a chicken coop.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Formersheep

      Oscar, you have summed it up completely.

      November 16, 2011 at 4:34 am |
  15. ma & pa

    Control freaks appear in all varieties, dirtying everything they touch...religions, ideologies, businesses etc. When it is politically convenient for them to unite is when all believers in thuth and freedom will face the worst tribulation ever. Hold that off by working to prevent, stop and repair the damage done by evil any time you can. Naming the sin on a blog like this helps. The bad guys see the people staring them down......billy, about the little black book..FUHNEE.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  16. rec

    Is the pope going to tell Perv State how to cover up for a Pedifile........TOOO LATE.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  17. cloud91977

    For a good laugh try the Southpark episode 'Red Hot Catholic Love'. It's available online and can be viewed free of charge.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  18. CER1940

    The Catholic church is well versed in denial and in legal maneuvers. For Penn State to partner with them would be much the same as partnering with the devil. Before the Catholic church ever becomes a force for good, they must face up to their sordid past. So far they have shown no intention of doing so.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:55 am |
  19. cholby

    So what advice will the church give to Penn State? How to appoint a pedophile to investigate pedophilia, like they did? looooooooooooooooooooool

    November 16, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  20. WOT

    The end of day are here and so are you crazy people, who will not print truth: God help us all!

    November 16, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yes, the end of day is here... It's called night!

      November 16, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Occupy Belief Blog

      The end of day ARE here. Multiple nights.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • Passive Aggressive

      WOT, the beginning of Day is here...again. Hurray!

      November 16, 2011 at 12:23 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.