Jesus was not talking about pedophilia, but the general principle — harm to children — applies to recent scandals at Penn State University and within the Roman Catholic Church. There is much sin connected to these scandals — but perhaps the greatest sin of them all, besides the rapes themselves, is the loss of faith in admired people and beloved institutions.
As the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson pointed out years ago in his seminal book, "Childhood and Society," if our earthly fathers abused us, how can we have faith in our heavenly Father? The loss of trust in the goodness of life and in the sanctity of our institutions and those who staff them is devastating to the soul. How can such wounds be healed? Perhaps only through the grace of God and the love from families and friends.
The chief lesson from these scandals for all of us to ponder is the realization that the preservation of the power and money of a football program and a Christian denomination was far more important than the rape of children.
Why aren't more priests and bishops in jail? Monsignor William Lynn is the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. to be convicted of concealing sexual abuse of children by priests. He was recently sentenced to 3-6 years in prison. Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said to the monsignor at his sentencing that he had allowed "monsters in clerical garb" to "destroy the souls of children, to whom you turned a hard heart."
Whether Jerry Sandusky will be the only Penn State official to end up in prison remains to be seen.
One of Freud's greatest discoveries is the power of denial. People can justify just about anything through the power of denial if unconscious or even conscious motivations are there in the psyche.
How could Coach Paterno, Penn State administrators, bishops and monsignors look the other way when evidence of pedophilia came into the midst? If a murder had been committed, I am sure that these men (interesting that they are all men) would have called the police. Why not in the case of child rape? To say that they failed in their duties and were incompetent understates the situation.
The desire to maintain or attain power is plaguing many of our institutions, such as our two major political parties. Truth seems to be a casualty in our political discourse, judging from the TV ads telling lies about both Mitt Romney and President Obama.
The lies here are not as destructive as those upheld by Penn State and the Roman Catholic Church, but the disease is the same — hiding the truth in order to preserve money and power, or to attain them.
The one thing institutions such as Penn State and the Roman Catholic Church fully understand is that people vote their pleasure or displeasure with their butts and checkbooks. To lose such support is the greatest fear of our institutions.
There is one thing we, the public, can all do to fight corruption and dishonesty and indeed horrific crimes in our institutions: Stop attending the sporting events and worship services of such institutions until they gain your trust, and give your money to causes you trust —and causes free of lawsuits and legal fees arising from crimes against humanity.
— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune community columnist