The Gospel Truth

The New Bishops of Blame

November 23, 2011

I have been wrestling  for a few weeks with the Joe Paterno controversy that has, not only destroyed a coaching legend, but quite possibly  a leading Eastern university.

The conventional wisdom has already lynched his former assistant Jerry Sandusky for his alleged role in one of the most scandalous acts of child abuse ever conceived at a major university.

Does the name Mary Surratt mean anything to you?

I am not wired to jump on the pile and shout his guilt from the highest vantage point in America, like so many of our sanctimonious sportswriters and columnists throughout America.

In an era that disavows the professional and dedicated religious clergy who had always considered moral behavior their area of competency, who appointed this class of mainly sportswriters, who have appointed themselves the moral judges and executioners of sports legends, coaches, players and ball boys?

What do they really know about morality or anything outside the lines of sport?

What are their credentials?

These bishops of blame act as if they had some special knowledge of morality that the rest of us lack.

They are America’s Neo-Gnostics!

They have no churches, seminaries, degrees, credentials, or certificates.

Think George Vecsey of the New York Times.

Why should his opinion matter?

Why should their opinions matter?

Most are not fit to carry Paterno’s ball bag to practice.

I have never met Joe Paterno, nor have I ever been a fan of Penn State’s football program.

But I will say that they did provide me  with one of my biggest thrills in my four years at Holy Cross.

At my 40th reunion  I ran into classmate Jim Gravel, who had provided that thrill on a sunny fall day in 1962.

It was late in the 4th quarter and State had just scored to make it 48-13–they had the 48.

In all of their greedy wisdom, they elected to go for the two-point conversion, adding insult to the 48-point injury.

The Crusaders stiffened on defense and denied them the magic 50-point plateau.

It was on the ensuing kickoff with a mere 13 seconds left in the game that the slender Gravel thrilled, not just me but the 6000 in attendance.

jon morris.jpg

HOFer Jon Morris played in that Nov. 17th game

He fielded the ball on the HC 13 and cut through their line of tacklers and took it to the end zone for our 20-48 moral victory.

We had a lot of those kinds of victories in those days.

I believe one of the coaches on the other side had to be Joe Paterno, who 49 years later is suffering through a dark night of the soul that has virtually wiped out the best efforts of a long career both on and off the football field.  (Now he has lung cancer to boot.)

He had just recorded his record 409th win as a Division I head coach, the most in history to date.

I wonder if the press will clamor for all those victories from 1998 to be rescinded.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Just what is the proper–the Christian way to judge this pernicious situation?

First of all, his former assistant, Jerry Sandusky is innocent…until proven guilty.

One of the great drawbacks to our suffocating democracy is that mob rule eventually replaces sound and logical reasoning.

We are quickly approaching that state of mindlessness.

The logical consequence of democracy

Should Paterno have rushed out and reported the accusations of a graduate student to the police?

Hadn’t this been the case in 1998 and the state failed to prosecute because of a lack of evidence?

Didn’t the University do everything in its limited powers, given Sandusky’s individual rights, that common sense dictated?

Is Sandusky a paedophile or maybe there’s another word for his behavior which seems to be exclusively with young boys?

This Dec. 28, 1999 photo shows Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on the sideline during the first quarter of the Alamo Bowl game against Texas A&M,  in  San Antonio, Texas.  Prosecutors say Sandusky used the charity he founded to find boys and sexually assault them. Now, some are wondering if The Second Mile can survive amid questions about its role in the alleged cover-up. Pennsylvania's governor says the charity should be investigated, and prominent backers don't want their names associated with the group.  (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

A paedophile or something else?

Has Penn State been too quick with its rush to judgement now?

Can anyone say, Duke Lacrosse team?

Since Paterno supposedly had never had any first-hand knowledge of these alleged crimes, what would have happened if he had tattled and been wrong?

Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s job is in jeopardy due to a sex-abuse scandal involving an ex-assistant. Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS, RALPH WILSON / SA

A rush to judge another Catholic?

Is there anyone out there, who knows of our climate for litigation what Sandusky would have done?

What is the usual fate of Good Samaritans or Whistle-blowers in this country?

Are they heroes or chumps?

Do we not regard them like squealers and vermin?

Now it is our sanctimonious sportswriters and columnists, who are demanding that Paterno take the heroic way, instead of the prudent way!

What would they have done in JoePa’s place?

I’ll bet they would have done nothing more than he did.

The absolute right thing is always easier from a distance.

He did what America’s secular culture taught him to do…go through the chain of command.

This is the very culture these writers have helped to contribute.

Welcome to their brave new world of MC—moral correctness.

Can we demand that an old man who sees a baby floating down the river dive in and save that great personal risk…and without a decent chance of success?

Is it not curious that given all of these moral suppositions in a culture that has sanctified a woman’s right to choose the death of her unborn baby that our society has this knee-jerk reaction to even the allegations of child sexual abuse?

Is it that we treasure sexual behavior, even among the consenting young so highly that we do not want our children twisted by thew same predators that our sexually charged society encourages?

Speaking of Alfred Kinsey, did he not believed that sex with children was good for…the children?  Did he not fosters studies where he and others sexually manipulated babies, all in the name of SCIENCE?

Sex was good for infants too.

Now there was a self-serving gourmet of adolescent pleasures.

Doesn’t our society base its sexual mores on his writing and later those of his kinsman, Hugh Hefner?

Or is it something deeper?

Has anyone read the story of Lady Macbeth lately?

Soap anyone?

Speaking of Freud and I was at least thinking of Freud, didn’t he believe that we must give into all of our sexual desires because repression caused neuroses?

Speaking of Catholics…

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t…at least subliminally connect the Italian Paterno with his Catholic faith?

And by that link him to its damaged priests and bureaucratic bishops who tried to protect their institution for the good of the whole?

Is Paterno just another Look Away Catholic?

Marie Farina, of Queens, holds a sign expressing her views about Penn State football coach Joe Paterno at the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011.

The real reason?

Is this just another example of the secular persecution of the Catholic Church by proxy?

I’ll leave it up to you to decide.  Send your comments to my comments page.


About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at