By most accounts, Joe Paterno and Anthony Bevilacqua were intrinsically good and decent men, with good hearts, good intentions and good motives — for the most part.
By their own actions, or more precisely, their inactions, their legacies are eternally tainted.
Coach Paterno worked so hard for his Nittany Lions and for charitable endeavors. Penn State’s football team was his life. But when confronted with reports that his defensive coach had molested a child, Coach Paterno dropped the ball. He didn’t do the right thing. The human thing to do would have been to call the local police. He didn’t do it, and his name will forever be maligned.
Similarly, Cardinal Bevilacqua, who was laid to rest on Tuesday, will always be warmly remembered for his noble outreach not only to all of the parishes in the archdiocese but also to other faiths and to the underprivileged.
However, Cardinal Bevilacqua was no saint. Level-headed people will forever remember his place at the helm during the absolutely atrocious clergy-abuse scandal and the apparent attempts by top archdiocese officials to cover things up.
What did the cardinal know and when did he know it? Thanks to his sworn testimony that was videotaped (in private) in late November at his home, the public — most importantly, abuse victims and their loved ones — will find out soon enough. Though lawyers for suspected perverted priests don’t want the public to find out what Cardinal Bevilacqua said in his videotaped testimony, it will all come out at trial later this year.
The public rightfully will hear the truth.The reality for all of the sinners — dead and alive — is the truth will never set them free. ••
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