It was a different time
A Catholic Bishop gets jail time for not revealing that a priest under his leadership abused children. The infamous Penn State debacle, where decades of alleged child abuse went unreported brings down a famous football coach and college administrators, has people asking how this could ever happen.
When I was an altar boy and faithful parochial school lad, we had a priest who would select several boys to come spend the weekend with him at his secluded house. Things were okay until evening fell and the priest would have us sit in a circle by the fireplace, then begin attacking us one by one, wrestling and grabbing us in certain places until tears often flowed. He would then repeat the process with one boy after another.
Upon returning home from one of these ‘trips’ I recalled telling Mom how uncomfortable I was going with the priest. I was told it was my imagination.
Another one of my schoolmates, years later, after the priest had finally come to judgment, told me he had been sexually abused by the priest, after all the rest of us went asleep. He actually told his parents, but was refuted. They told him it was a priest and not ever to talk about it again. It was a different time, sex abuse never existed.
There was a time when a drunk driver was stopped, given a warning and told to go right home, or driven there by police. There were no real driving while intoxicated arrests. It was a different time and DWI never existed.
When Nazi Germany slaughtered millions in concentration camps, the world turned a blind eye and publicly never demonized the practice. When the war came to an end, troops liberated the camps and saw first hand what they had ‘heard’ for some time, but never really (wink, wink) believed. We blamed the German people for not knowing what their leaders were up to, but passing the blame is all too common. It was a different time and the concentration camps and mass killings never existed.
It used to be, until a short time ago, that when police were called to a domestic violence call, they left telling the involved parties to straighten things out on their own. It was a different time and spousal and child abuse was never talked about.
On the front page this week is a story about a man who was arrested for sexually abusing little girls, not once, not twice, but three times, always getting a slap on the hand. It was a different time, sex abuse never existed. It was a dirty little secret.
We can point fingers at those who seemed not to care about what we today consider serious crimes, but back then, would we have been any different? What was this segregation thing back a few decades all about?
Mass slaughters occurred in Rwanda, Serbia and the Sudan. They make great pictures and after thought videos on the nightly news, but it takes a great deal of blood to get our blood boiling. Are we any different from those who seemingly ignored crimes of the past?
Yes, Joe Paterno was wrong, along with college administrators, when the football was dropped in a number of reported child abuse cases. It was a different time and I suspect Joe would have been leading the charge today, now that things are different..