The Yom Kippur Scapegoat:
Who gets the blame for Catholic scandals?

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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.

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  1. for followers of christ,,,,,,aka,,,,,,,,,christians,,,,,,,,EVERYDAY OF THEIR LIFE IS ATONEMENT!… day???,,,,,,i can do that holding my breath.

  2. The First Sorrowful Mystery, The Agony in the Garden. Meditation: “Think of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane suffering a bitter agony for our sins.”

    The following are my opinions (not truth, see Plato) on atonement. I see atonement as beginning with penance. It doesn’t end at penance.

    Penance: After Confession I am told to say prayers. Easy enough. At my age and I am really/prayerfully trying, my sins are not too dangerous. Sadly, it was the reverse years ago. But, what is the Church, official penance for major sins, say aggravated murder and rape? I don’t think that would be satisfied by a week or even a life-time of daily Rosaries. My reading on the Inquisition tell me that major heretics (the relapsed were burned) were given penances of life imprisonment on bread and water, chained to a dungeon wall. Just saying.

    I opine that atonement doesn’t end with penance. Every day, we must amend our lives, avoid the near occasion, and through good works glorify God Almighty through Jesus Christ. Constant prayer (in truth and spirit), almsgiving, fasting, constant examination of conscience are starts.

    The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, The Crucifixion. Desire the grace of final perseverance. Meditation: Think of the love which filled our Lord’s Sacred Heart during the three hours of agony on the Holy Cross. And, ask Him to be with you at the hour of death.”

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