Today (Wednesday, 19 September, 2018) is Yom Kippur and I am keeping to my secular Jewish tradition and am fasting, sundown to sundown—more or less—I forgot this morning and had a bowl of oatmeal. I’ve written here about the differences and similarities between Jewish atonement and Catholic penance, and have nothing other to say about that in this post, other than true forgiveness for sins and satisfaction is obtained through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).
However, one thought has occurred to me today, thinking about the recent scandals that have been well chronicled in this blog. To what end are the resignations of Cardinals McCarrick and (forthcoming) Cardinal Wuerl; the erasure of bishops’ names from schools, placques and memorials? It seems to me that these are intended, like the Yom Kippur scapegoat, to carry off the sins of those in high ecclesial places.
But that is mistaken. If you go to a description of practice in the old Temple for atonement at Yom Kippur, you’ll find that the high priest sacrificed a bull for the atonement of his own unintended sins. The scapegoat (pictured in the feature image) was to carry the intentional sins of the people away into the wilderness when the high priest symbolically tied those sins onto its horns with a red ribbon. Well, that wasn’t effective then for the people, and it won’t be effective now for those in high places in the Vatican and the Ecclesia. Which is to say, more is needed than one or two showcase resignations.
With respect to these scandals, it is not the uninvolved Catholic faithful who require confession, atonement and expiation, but those in high ecclesial places who have been involved in sins of commission and omission. And what might that expiation be? Certainly the resignations of everyone who has consistently maintained a coverup for sinners in high places.
And now, having vented my spleen (I hope it is not a sin), let me wish all you readers
“G’mar Hatima Tova”–may you be sealed in the Book of Life.