It will take untold years for the shame to subside and for the new order to rebuild this once-revered bastion of faith and pride. Services will be conducted, psalms will be sung, and one day it will all feel normal. Not jubilant, just normal.
The Church that Joe Built is forever gone. And the stench will fade, but it will forever linger.
Robyn S. Willner-Grossman, West Conshohocken
The choices people make
The jeering, cheering mob outside the Bellefonte courthouse leaves me feeling very unsettled. The whole situation is pathetic, a cause for relief, not celebration. There are no real winners here. It's pain and loss all the way around.
A once-idolized, emotionally sick and twisted old man being led away to a cell for the rest of his life is something to cheer about? The victims and parents of victims who "sobbed and gasped for air during their testimony," and upon hearing the verdict, is something to cheer about? A Sandusky family in denial because the truth is incomprehensible to them is a cause for celebration?
The word scapegoat comes from ancient times, when villagers would "transfer" all the evil in the world into a goat and then beat the animal to death with sticks. The evil never really left them, though. We all have a dark side. Witness the evils done throughout history and to this very day. It is the choices we make that make us better human beings.
Hal Freedman, Philadelphia
Shame on these two guilty men
We are frequently reminded that a person is innocent until proven guilty. That does a lot to support and protect an innocent man or woman. But what about the guilty? As Jerry Sandusky and Msgr. William J. Lynn spoke to their lawyers, they must have known that they were guilty of at least some of the charges against them.
Here you have two adult males, two college graduates, one a father and one a Catholic priest. What couldn't they see and understand about their own behavior? Yet they dragged us through these trials as though they might be innocent, causing more emotional distress to the victims; costing the system money, time, and labor; and further damaging the reputations of the Catholic Church and Penn State.
Shame on those two guilty men for still refusing to protect anyone but themselves. Double shame on them.
Patricia Snead, Bryn Mawr
Don't believe what church says
We should not fully believe the archdiocese when it says it will work to ensure the safety of children. The only reason it is doing anything is because it was caught by people outside the church. Inside the church, the power structure at the heart of this calamity is still in place. Obedience still rules. So does official ignorance.
Pope Benedict XVI told Irish bishops that sex abuse by priests is a mystery to him. No bishop replied, "It's no mystery; we're operating in a spiritually corrupt system." Benedict has personally apologized to victims, but he has been deadly silent about the system that produced the victims and the cover-up. Without papal instructions, the church is officially frozen in place.
Church officials such as Archbishop Charles J. Chaput are trapped. If they approve of what Msgr. William J. Lynn did, they are approving of the church's criminal system of obedience. If they condemn such behavior, they condemn themselves, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, and the pope, who are all part of the system.
So we cannot trust anything the church says. We can only be vigilant and wait for it to act.
Anthony T. Massimini, Woolwich
Work to prevent child abuse
The verdicts against Jerry Sandusky and Msgr. William J. Lynn ("Lynn convicted on one count," Saturday) will do little to discourage the despicable behavior behind them. All organizations, maybe our entire society, need to do more to prevent that behavior.
I offer the Boy Scouts of America as a good example of how to lessen the opportunity for abuse. I am aware of the organization's shortcomings, but its two-person leadership policy should be copied by all groups dealing with children. Simply put, the BSA policy is that no adult should be alone with a boy.
Had such a policy been used by Penn State or the Catholic Church, the abuse trials may not have happened.
Chris Bannan, Media
Turning point in power relationships
Decades from now, when historians, cultural anthropologists, sociologists, and anyone else interested in societal evolution consider what we are witnessing today, they may well acknowledge the tectonic shifts that took place.
Consider these recent stories:
(1) A Catholic priest is convicted for his part in a conspiracy that maintained pedophile priests in the clergy.
(2) From the altar of college football, there is the conviction of a heinous pedophile.
(3) There is a cascade of financial (more than half a million dollars) and emotional support for a 68-year-old school bus monitor who was bullied by seventh-grade boys ("The kindness of strangers," Saturday).
(4) There is community outrage over a billboard that tried to make wolf whistles by construction workers into a joke ("Attempt at wolf-whistle humor hits a flat note," Saturday).
(5) There is vocal outrage among members of the female Catholic laity and religious communities over the Vatican's dismissive hand-slapping and sexist power stance vis-a-vis the humanitarian efforts of nuns ("Church's nun attack is ahistorical," June 18).
We are at a powerful inflection point in America. But are we weary enough of hierarchical power and cultural habits that denigrate any among us to persist in efforts to not take it anymore?
Karol M. Wasylyshyn, Philadelphia
Justice is served
As an observer in the courtroom during the weeks of jury deliberations in the trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn and the Rev. James J. Brennan, I want to commend Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington, and the entire staff of the District Attorney's Office for their professionalism and persevering demeanor. Kudos also to Inquirer staff writers John P. Martin and Joseph A. Slobodzian for their excellent reporting during the trial.
While jurors painstakingly combed transcripts and kept to the task, their verdict showed that justice was served, in particular for the cover-up through the years of Msgr. Lynn's tenure as secretary for clergy under Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua.
Theresa M. Coleman, North Wales
Clearing the Record
An editorial in the Sunday Inquirer should have identified State Rep. Michael McGeehan (D., Phila.) as the sponsor of child-abuse legislation pending in the Pennsylvania House.