If the NCAA Penalized the Catholic Church…

Earlier today, the NCAA issued penalties against Penn State University… what caught my eye was this comment:

Instead, [NCAA president Mark] Emmert and NCAA executive committee chairman Dr. Edward J. Ray called for an immediate end to hero worship, the kind that led men in positions of authority to step out of Paterno’s way and comply to his wishes at the risk or innocent children.

Watching people complain about Joe Paterno‘s statue being taken down over the weekend, I was amazed at how anyone could defend him — but I guess people will defend their heroes at all costs. We know there’s a problem with blind faith — even moreso when it involves a human being and not an ideology. But maybe the severity of the penalties will open up some peoples’ eyes as to how terrible the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky actually were.

And, of course, it’s hard to ignore the parallels with the Catholic Church, where high-ranking officials have swept so many of the child-rape scandals under the rug hoping time would erase all wounds.

If only there was an NCAA-like body to penalize the Catholic Church for its crimes against humanity…

  • It would force a year-long ban on baptisms.
  • It would force the Church to vacate every Confirmation done over the past three decades.
  • It would hit the Church with a hundred-million-dollar fine.
  • It would allow all current Catholics to transfer out of the Church without any hassle.
  • It would place the Church on a five-year probation.

What other penalties would the Church get? If you’re on Twitter, feel free to chime in: #IfTheNCAARanTheCatholicChurch

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Onamission5

    The likeness of every clergy member who had comitted or enabled abuse would be permanantly removed from display, and any accolades given them publicly withdrawn.

    • Luther

       How about taking down all crosses and then forcing them to remove all graven images.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    When a bunch of morally bankrupt cretins at Penn State rioted to protest Paterno’s firing, I had an amusing thought: some of the bishops must be gnashing their teeth at the thought that their church wasn’t able to motivate a similar mindless mob to defend Bernard Law or William Lynn.  Football, as a religion, appears more conducive to fanaticism than the Roman Catholic Church these days.

  • BrentSTL

    Something to think about re: the NCAA itself. Here’s a take from Dave Zirin (in The Nation magazine), possibly the best sportswriter you’ve never heard of:

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/169002/why-ncaas-sanctions-penn-state-are-just-dead-wrong 

    If this is off-topic, my apologies.

    • Ken

      Reading the article, I have to admit the writer has a point.  Stipping Penn State of 111 victories is simply beyond NCAA’s authority in a civil/criminal court case.  The scapegoating of Paterno is becoming ludicrous, completely obscuring the cases that should be pursued against the school and government officials that did nothing after Paterno reported the crime to them.  Should Joe have done more?  A college is a closed society, with its own procedures.  Going outside the school rules, particularly when he reported the problem as was assured of action, may have simply never occurred to him.  Naive and stupid, yes, in retrospect.  And I don’t even lie football.  I’m just getting tired of seeing all this dumping on a coach when the school board and government officials get  lost in the furor.  This is not justice, and the NCAA has no more authority to erase history here than my dog.

      • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

        If that’s all you think Paterno did, maybe you should spend some more time on the internets.

      • amycas

         Those in authority (teachers, professors, coaches etc.) have a legal obligation to report suspected or known abuse to the police. Paterno did not do that. I don’t care that he went to his superiors and they ignored it, he should not have ignored it.

  • MKDAWUSS

    I guess the most the NCAA could do is punish Notre Dame and Boston College if you want to bring that topic up…

  • Rosie

    Only a hundred million?

  • Keulan

    I don’t think those penalties would be harsh enough for the Catholic Church. I suggest a five-year ban on baptisms, hit the Church with a billion-dollar fine (at least), and place the Church on a twenty-year probation.

    It’s appalling that some people care more about the reputation of their damn institution (whether it’s the Catholic Church or the Penn State football program) than about the many people who have been harmed by these attempts at covering for child-rapists.


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