A writer friend wrote me: “Never have I had such a compulsion to speak—shout, even. Yet, never have I been so utterly mute, prostrate with grief. I want to scream, but there is nothing I can say.”
Though I’m not a blogger, as she is, burdened by an expectation from her readers to say something in the face of this most horrific scandal, I do know how she feels. I think her muteness is due to her very real faith. She has devoted her life and her considerable talent to Holy Mother Church. Yet, now it seems she is silenced. Not the silence of Pope Francis, who says he will be silent in the face of “… those who lack good will…with those who seek division…who seek destruction….” That isn’t silence. That is accusation. And not the silence of the many bishops and those in the Vatican; that’s the tiresome stone-walling we’ve come to know and not love.
Catholics who love the Church have an instinct to rise up and defend her when she is under attack. Alas, the attackers are in the Church. This is not an enemy outside the gates, but within.
And so, perhaps it is a time not for defense, but for stillness, and for silence. When I was a child, I lived with my faith-filled Primitive Baptist grandmother and her youngest children, Edna and Glenys. Whenever we children might be noisy, playing, squabbling, and a thunderstorm would come up, she would make us stop, sit still and be silent. I can’t name it, but I know it. It’s that kind of silence I’m talking about.