Unveiling at Penn State

Three decades ago a friend of mine who is a clinical social worker said to me, “Every society that has abandoned its children has failed to survive. We have a million runaways a year in this country. It’s not a good sign.”  Well, wasn’t she prescient? And wasn’t that a very slippery slope.

We have fallen so far down that slope that people in positions of authority and power have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to child predators and the sexual molestation of minors. To wit: the faculty and Administrators of Penn State University and Jerry Sandusky... not to mention Judge Leslie Dutchcot who let the alleged predator walk without posting bail and without ordering monitoring of his whereabouts pending trial.

What are we thinking? Who have we become?

This story out of State College, Pennsylvania may well travel the path of the sexual abuse revelations within the Catholic Church.  Sexual molestation of minors, and knowledge thereof by adult faculty and coaching staffs, may turn out to be a collegiate and professional sports team epidemic. Nor do I think its limited to those venues. Child molestation by a relative, a more disgusting manifestation of this particular deviant behavior, is likely a national problem as well.

Why? Because of what my friend said three decades ago.

In our quest for more and more instant gratification and personal aggrandizement, we lost sight of human decency, the laws of Nature, the laws of God, and as such abandoned the children. When you spend your time split between material gain and self-absorption, perspectives get warped and priorities get skewed. The children (and the elderly) become irrelevant as they do not enhance either of those self-indulgent past times.

So, the perversions of Jerry Sandusky, and the abdication of personal responsibility by the adults at Penn State who knew of his crimes, are the foreseeable end result. Only we, as a Nation, have been too self-absorbed to care.

The good news is that darkness cannot exist in the light of day. The revelations at Penn State now confront us as the undeniable error of our ways. It is too late for those innocent boys who suffered from Sandusky’s misuse of power as it is too late for the millions who have similarly suffered from similar abuse.

However, it is not too late for each of us to confront that capacity within ourselves, and openly confront that capacity when we witness in others, that would so violently violate the sacred space of another human being and misuse power to such a spectacular degree.

Jewish sages have said “To save one life is to save the world.”  How much more so if it is the saving of a Soul? Perhaps the saving of one soul, one child who will not have to suffer the terror, pain, and indignation of sexual abuse, will be the salvation of us all.

Saving a life is finite.  Saving a Soul is eternal.




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