The Scapegoat’s Killer
By Fr. Frank Pavone
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"He is to lay both hands on the head of the
live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites
– all their sins – and put them on the goat’s head” (Leviticus 16:21a).
With these words the Bible explains the origin
of “Yom Kippur,” the “Day of Atonement.” It is also the origin of the term
“scapegoat.” The goat, who is innocent, carries away the sins of the guilty.
This ritual of the Israelites was commanded by God and quite legitimate. But the
human mind seeks to “scapegoat” in all kinds of illegitimate ways. We want to
innocent to take our guilt, because we are unwilling to take responsibility for
it and resolve the issues that lead us to sin in the first place.
The ideal scapegoat is as innocent as can be,
and yet defenseless. It is difficult to kill when the victim protests. In this
respect, we can understand abortion in our society as a collective act of
“scapegoating.” We place on the head of the unborn child all our unresolved
guilt. Whether it be our interpersonal conflicts, sexual sins, or immature
denials of responsibility, we use the unborn child as the scapegoat of our
The Book of Leviticus goes on to say that the
High Priest, after laying the people’s sins on the goat, “shall send the goat
away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task” (Lev. 16:21b).
If abortion in our day can be seen as scapegoating, then the “man appointed for
the task” is the abortionist.
Dr. Philip Ney, in his book The Centurion’s
Pathway, describes the thoughts and feelings of this appointed man: “I don’t know how I got picked, but I sure don’t like this job. Everybody thinks
I am doing a fine thing. This kid didn’t hurt anybody. Now I’m going to be
responsible for its miserable death. I deeply resent having to do the job that
nobody else wants” (p.1).
Abortionists resent their work and feel
trapped between the stigma of the activity and the thought that “somebody has to
In the book Second Trimester Abortion,
which is a compilation of papers written by abortionists and others in the
industry, we find a chapter called “Psychological Impact on Patients and Staff.”
We read, “Soon after voluntary abortion became a legal reality, some
authorities observed an unanticipated, strong emotional reaction by the
staff…One nurse said, ‘I dream about it…the abortions affect me personally. I
know some day I will deliver and think of that. It’s changed my ideas. I used to
be intellectually very positive about the subject of abortion, but the part of
me that has to do it feels really resentful’” (p.242, 245).
On March 10, the abortion movement observes
the “Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers.” The day before, please join
Priests for Life in a “Day of
Invitation to Abortion Providers” by praying for the conversion of these
poor, tormented people, and inviting them to freedom!