Tragic Triangle

Triángulo Trágico

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life
May 08, 2006

Violence done against human beings involves three types of people: the Perpetrator, the Victim, and the Observer. This is known as the “Tragic Triangle."  In child abuse, the child is the victim, the abuser is the perpetrator, and those who come to know of the abuse as it is going on are the observers. Abortion also is a tragic triangle. The abortionist, in collusion with the parent(s), is the perpetrator, the child is the victim, and the observers are all the rest of us.

Many may conclude that the perpetrator is the most guilty of the three. Yet in most tragic triangles, the observers carry the greatest guilt. They are more detached from the tragedy and usually have more objectivity to assess the evil and the opportunities for stopping it. Psychiatrist Philip Ney points out, “The Observers in tragic triangles have a greater responsibility, primarily because they can be more objective, but also because they often gain by allowing the tragedy to start and to continue(The Centurions’ Pathway, p.25). Regarding abortion, he further notes, “The Observers are just as guilty, [and their] self-justification is more deeply entrenched and their rationalization more difficult to undo. ‘I personally don’t approve, but clean, clinical terminations are much better than back street abortions’” (p.44).

One of the key responsibilities of the observer in the abortion tragic triangle, is to reach out to the abortionist. Dr. Ney, who has worked with many abortionists to lead them out of the abortion industry, comments, “The abortionist in one way or another is often appealing to the observers. ‘Surely somehow, some way you could stop this. If you really persisted you could have stopped me from doing abortions. I may have resisted you, but I would have listened. At least, I think I could have been influenced’” (p.25).

Testimony of former abortionists confirm this. Former abortion clinic operator Carol Everett relates the story of a preacher who came to visit her at her clinic. “Through a long period of discussions, he told me that God had asked him to come into this situation for 30 days, and that there was indeed someone in there that the Lord wanted out. And we left in 27 days” (Testimony at Meet the Abortion Providers Conference, Chicago).

Former abortionist Tony Levatino had a patient who witnessed to him regularly before he stopped doing abortions. He relates, “I can tell you that if enough women come to you and say, "I think you are a great doctor. We have gotten along very well, but I can't go to you anymore because you perform abortions." This can have a real effect. As I said, to most of the average gynecologists in their offices, abortion is not a big part of their business. If they see another part of their business going out the door because of it, it will make it cost them more than it's worth” (Testimony at Meet the Abortion Providers Conference, Chicago).

Observers have the power to stop the perpetrators.

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