The Consequences of Silence in The Public Square
Let us fall in love with the fullness of truth; then, let us live and speak what we love.
Our nation and the world is in desperate need of an infusion of Catholic principles and values. It is time to learn our Faith, live it and speak it in our daily lives without compromise. Only then will we begin to turn back the unrelenting tide of relativism which continues to erode the shores of America.
However, the above quote is often used in another way: that is, to imply that silence in the public square, in the workplace and at social gatherings is entirely appropriate -- so long as one is living rightly. One wonders which came first: did Christians simply begin to lean toward silence of their own accord, or, on the other hand, was this notion imposed on the faithful by the unrelenting drumbeat of secularization which is so common today? I cast my vote for the latter.
Further, religious demographic surveys show that, presently, Americans are broadly Christian. So, with that in mind, promoting the Gospel often involves engaging others in such "forbidden" subjects as living the Gospel life in its entirety, the authority of the Catholic Church, the moral law, the necessity of the sacraments, the importance of sincere and active repentance, the attacks on the institution of marriage, and so forth. Of course, these subjects often arouse negative reactions: many refuse to listen, others resent the notion that they ought to examine their own idea of religion or lifestyle or morals.
Consequently, it is often thought that mere words are rather powerless in combating the many troubling and serious issues of our age: they cannot, so it goes, persuade magisterial dissidents toward loving obedience; nor are they an effective agent against the evils of abortion, contraceptives, same-sex "marriage," embryo harvesting, et cetera. Thus the unspoken contemporary code is: remain silent. Those who do speak are labeled negative. "First remove the speck from your eye," they say. In a word, labor quietly.
There is also another dimension to this silence: the notion that if one should speak the truth, it must be liberally couched in euphemism so as to avoid conflict. Simply, it is unloving, judgmental, intolerant and inflammatory to speak plainly. For instance, sin is no longer sin but only a "mistaken good intention"; and human beings are incapable of committing evil, rather they "only fail to choose wisely." If this is taken far enough, the important distinctions evaporate in a haze of relativism: there is no longer good and evil, but only good and less good.
It goes without saying that rashness, anger, hatred -- all of these -- are to be avoided. The governance of charity, prayer and humility is to always be employed. However, this is not to say that the truth should be watered down or left unspoken. Is it charitable to remain silent while our society continues to wire itself for self-destruction through its numerous immoral addictions? Are we loving our neighbor if we offer no opposition to relativized notions of truth or, as another example, an impoverished understanding of the inviolable dignity of the human person?
In September of 2010, Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke about "Catholics and the Next America." He observed that "traditionally, religious faith has provided the basis for Americans' moral consensus. And that moral consensus has informed American social policy and law. What people believe -- or don't believe -- about God, helps to shape what they believe about men and women. And what they believe about men and women creates the framework for a nation's public life."
The health of our nation, or rather the healing of its present malady, hinges on infusing Catholic principles and values into the public square. This means we live the Catholic life always and everywhere. We breathe it. We labor for it. We speak it.
But let us return to St. Francis for a moment. Was he advocating silence? Better yet, let us ask: Did Jesus Christ teach his disciples to refrain from actively speaking the truth? Perhaps we should first look to Jesus' own example: after his temptation in the desert, Jesus withdrew to Galilee, and "from that time on," he began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17).
We cannot for a moment suggest that Jesus advocated silence: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15); and, "Go and make disciples of all nations, . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20). So seriously did the Twelve take Jesus' command to go forth and teach that all of them, save St. John, soon won the martyr's crown.
Next, we should look to the ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Living Faith News
- Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!
- According to map, China leads world in atheism
- Receiving the Eucharist: I Have Decided to Kneel For Jesus
- Exorcism or not, it's still a miracle
- The Holy Spirit: Sanctifier and Giver of Life, Love and Truth
- Pope Francis tweets his prayers following devastation in Moore
- The Paraclete: The Counselor Who Helps Us Fulfill Our Calling
- Pope Francis calls for change within the Church
- Atheists to have their books placed atop Gideon Bibles
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?