Paterno’s failing

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Regarding “Another Paterno Statue in the Works” and Maureen Dowd’s column “A Saint, He Ain’t,” both in the April 24 PG: As I read the story about a statue of Joe Paterno being considered and saw the artist’s sketch, I had very strong misgivings. Why would Joe Paterno deserve such an honor?

I turned several pages and came upon Ms. Dowd’s column (which I have read faithfully for many years). Her commentary that morning was in regard to the canonization of Pope John Paul II. She, an Irish Catholic gal, drew a distinction between the late pope’s “greatness” and his “great mistake.” I quote: “John Paul was a charmer and a great man in many ways.” However, “Sometimes leaders can be remarkable in certain ways then make a mistake so spectacular it overshadows other historical achievements.” The main point being that “John Paul may be a revolutionary figure in the history of the church, but a man who looked away in a moral crisis cannot be described as a saint.”

The ideas in Ms. Dowd’s column led me back to the news story about the Paterno statue. The timing and proximity was quite profound to me. Sure, JoePa was a great coach, even a great man in many ways, but, just as John Paul turned a “blind eye” to the pedophilia of so many priests over so many years, JoePa did the same thing by ignoring the sinful, despicable and harmful behavior of Jerry Sandusky. The similarity of the cases — Joe Paterno and Pope John Paul II — allows me to conclude: Great plus mistake equals Joe Paterno being no saint.




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