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Beating the Odds

Real Forgiveness

As a coach, I am more than acutely aware of our sacred duty to protect the lives under our care.

Joe Paterno, who died today of lung cancer, will forever carry his failure to do that.

However, just as surely as Paterno will remembered for his failure to act in the Penn State sexual abuse scandal, he deserves forgiveness.

Not a casual, convenient forgiveness, the kind summed up by this clueless post from yesterday: “Say what you want about JoePa. He built a great football program.”

No, this forgiveness isn’t about balancing Paterno’s football career with the scandal, although it’s clear that for decades, he tried to do the right thing.

Instead, this forgiveness is a deeply spiritual one, the kind described by my cousin, Sr. Margaret Lucille, a Dominican nun.

She says, “Forgiveness doesn’t deny that there was a wrong. Forgiveness doesn’t deny that there was hurt. Forgiveness is an acknowledgement that there is more to the offender than the offense.”

Paterno made a grave mistake, and Penn State was right to fire him. But for him and for all of us, there is more to the offender than the offense.

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2 comments for “Real Forgiveness”

  1. Hi Mike
    The Paterno saga is a tough one!

    I didnt know you had a cousin who’s a Dominican nun – I can top that I have two second cousins who were dominican nuns at Dominican College

    As far as forgiveness I always remememer the line “The closest we can be to be like God is when we forgive”

    Powerfu lwords to live by and definitely fitting for the Paterno

    Posted by kevin reilly | January 25, 2012, 1:22 am
  2. Love the quote about the closest we can get …

    Posted by Mike Tully | January 25, 2012, 3:23 am

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