Pope Francis recommends silence before forces of scandal and division

Pope Francis arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square on Aug. 29 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters) Pope Francis arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square on Aug. 29 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters) 

During his homily at his first morning Mass at Santa Marta since the summer break, Pope Francis recommended “silence and prayer” when one is confronted “with people lacking good will, with people who only seek scandal, who seek only division, who seek only destruction, even within the family: silence, prayer.”

His remarks on Sept. 3 are being viewed as his first public response to the 11-page letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former nuncio to the United States. Many have sought to get Francis or the Vatican to respond to Archbishop Viganò’s serious allegations that as pope he covered up the multiple abuses of the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after the former-nuncio said he told Pope Francis about these offenses in a private audience on June 23, 2013.

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“The truth is meek. The truth is silent. The truth is not noisy," Pope Francis said in his homily.

The archbishop also alleged that Francis had lifted what are now being described as “private” sanctions alleged to have been imposed on Archbishop McCarrick by Benedict XVI in 2009 or 2010. Without providing evidence for these charges, Archbishop Viganò called for the pope’s resignation.

But the pope only urged journalists to look into the archbishop’s allegations and has so far refused to comment further.

“The truth is meek. The truth is silent. The truth is not noisy," Pope Francis said in his homily. He was commenting on the Gospel story of the day from Luke that describes how Jesus reacted when he returned to Nazareth and met with opposition from his former neighbors after commenting on a passage from the prophet Isaiah.

Even in a family, Pope Francis said, there are times when a discussion of politics or sports or money escalates into a truly destructive argument; "in these discussions in which you see the devil is there and wants to destroy—silence. Have your say, then keep quiet.”

“With his silence,” he said, Jesus wins against “the wild dogs”; he wins against “the devil” that “sowed lies in the heart.”

He said the Gospel story helps us “to reflect how to act in daily life, when there are misunderstandings” and “to understand how the father of lies, the accuser, the devil, acts to destroy the unity of a family, of a people.”

He recalled Jesus’ silent composure on that occasion, when people wanted him to do miracles as he had done elsewhere, but when he chose instead to comment on the prophet’s words and they got furious and the atmosphere quickly changed “from peace to war.” Jesus adopted “silence” when confronted with the devil.

Pope Francis said that those who attacked Jesus “were not persons, they were a pack of wild dogs that threw him out of the city. They did not reason. They shouted. Jesus stayed silent. They took him to the top of the mountain to throw him down, but he passed through their midst and went away.”

“With his silence,” he said, Jesus wins against “the wild dogs”; he wins against “the devil” that “sowed lies in the heart.”

Pope Francis said that Jesus’ dignity shines through “this silence that triumphs” over his attackers, as it would also on Good Friday when they shouted “crucify him!” after praising him on Palm Sunday.

He acknowledged that what Jesus did is not easy, but “silence wins, through the Cross.” He emphasized that “the dignity of the Christian is anchored in the power of God.”

Pope Francis concluded by praying,“May the Lord give us the grace to discern when we should speak and when we should stay silent. This applies to every part of life: to work, at home, in society.”

In this way, he said, “we will be closer imitators of Jesus.”

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John Chuchman
2 weeks 1 day ago

The mouse being stepped on by the elephant does not appreciate your neutrality.

Daniel Montiel
2 weeks 1 day ago

I'm curious why you're pretending those who might follow (or scorn) Francis' advice are "neutral".
Why play into the fancy that just because someone bites their lip and keeps opinions private that they suddenly now *have* no opinions, positions, or preferred victors?

Paula Swain
2 weeks 1 day ago

It has nothing to do with victory. It is about doing the right thing. For over seven decades the men who run our Church hierarchy have preached to us to pray for healing, pray for the abusers, pray for the hierarchy. Where has that gotten us? More and more abuse, more and more abuse covered up. And now this pope, this pope in whom we placed our hopes and dreams for honesty, openness and reform has betrayed us. Even Pope Francis is preaching for us to "pray and be silent". The cardinals and bishops who covered up the abuse are still on the pulpit, the Church coffers that the faithful filled with great sacrifice are being used to pay for the abuse while the abusers are moved around to continue abusing. THAT is the Devil at
work and the Devil is using Pope Francis.

Carlos Poblet
2 weeks 1 day ago

Thank you for sharing what is so self-evident that only wifull ignorance can argue against. Francis has to resign. He is an imposter

Jong Ricafort
2 weeks 1 day ago

Carlos Poblet
Better read Matthew12:37
and ponder 8th commandments.
An attack on Pope Francis the Vicar of Christ is a direct attack on Jesus Himself.
(Acts9:4)
"Carlos,carlos why are you persecuting me?"
VRS!3x

Stan Zorin
1 week 3 days ago

@ Jong Ricafort
A - A Pope can be rebuked and corrected. See the Gospels.
B - A Pope who dismantles the deposit of Faith is NOT a Pope and can be deposed.

Hilde W
2 weeks ago

I wonder whether those shouting for the Pope’s resignation have bothered to carefully read Vigano’s accusations?
Vigano wrote that, when he was asked by the newly elected Pope Francis on 23 June 2013 what Cardinal McCarrick was like, he told the Pope that McCarrick “corrupted generations of seminarians and priests”. This wording is often used in Catholic circles to refer to unorthodox doctrinal teaching. By his own account, Vigano's words to Pope Francis made no mention of sexual abuse. And by his own account, Vigano did not clarify his misleading statement to the Pope. And yet Vigano goes on to claim that Pope Francis knew from that conversation on 23 June 2013 that “McCarrick was a serial predator”!? How does the latter logically follow from what Vigano says he told the Pope?
Pope Francis has said that Vigano’s letter speaks for itself. Indeed, Vigano’s own words prove that he failed in his duty as Nuncio to properly inform the newly elected Pope, in unambiguous terms, of the very grave allegations against McCarrick. In addition, the many speculations in Vigano’s letter regarding the Pope’s motives and intentions demonstrate that Vigano somehow believes himself to be able to read another person’s mind. The nature of these speculations exposes Vigano as a complex person full of suspicion and intrigue, consumed by hostility against our (and his) Holy Father.

gerald nichols
1 week ago

The Pope hasn't been attacked as some assert; he has been accused. For the Pope, and some following him, to appropriate scripture verses and misuse them to infer Jesus would approve the Pope's silence now seems blasphemous to me, and maybe worse.

Tim O'Leary
2 weeks 1 day ago

Pope Francis talks off-the-cuff all the time about everything. So, now is not the time to go silent. Pope Benedict XVI had to retire to get that option. "Cardinal Joseph Tobin told a journalist on Friday that he heard rumors shortly after his 2017 arrival in the Archdiocese of Newark about the sexual misconduct of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. He said he did not investigate those rumours because he found them unbelievable." So, he stayed silent. Yet, he is seen as a protege of McCarrick and has said recently he never heard about a gay lobby, after six priests in his diocese described how active it was there. Mike Kelly of the North Jersey Record reported: “Tobin told me that soon after arriving in Newark, he heard ‘rumours’ about McCarrick’s beach house. But he never bothered to check them out. He says he thought the story was too ‘incredulous’ to believe.” “Shame on me that I didn’t ask sooner,” Tobin reportedly told Kelly.
https://cruxnow.com/cardinals/2018/09/02/cardinal-tobin-reportedly-decl…

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
2 weeks 1 day ago

“ So, now is not the time to go silent”

If only Tim, if only, you would do as Pope Francis does....be silent

Henry Brown
2 weeks 1 day ago

Guillermo,

You comment more than anyone else.

If Bishop Tobin heard the rumours and did not investigate then he needs to resign.

Why did it take so long for Mccarrick to be disciplined, if what he was doing was so well known ?

Harvey Milk, MD
2 weeks 1 day ago

"Henry" how many accounts do you use to comment on America Magazine?

You'll have to ask Pope John Paul in prayer why he did nothing about the "lavender mafia" as you often call them since all he did when he called the US Cardinals to Rome after the Cardinal Law mess was have lunch with them.

Elaine Boyle
2 weeks 1 day ago

Francis, a constant-talker who speaks heresy off-the-cuff as a way to change Jesus’ teaching, now asks others to stop talking? Lol!! Resign Francis. He is the anti-thesis of St. Ignatius and what the former soldier wanted. Would St. Ignatius promote or normalize man-on-man lust in his ranks? A: no

Harvey Milk, MD
2 weeks 1 day ago

Elaine, did anyone ever tell you that you remind them of the Blessed Virgin Mary?
Nah, we didn't think so either.

Elaine Boyle
2 weeks ago

I am just like Stabat Mater Dolorosa, weeping at the crimes committed against Christ that Vigano is heroically exposing. Francis’ stubborn and deceitful Omertà is totally Pharisaical.

Stan Zorin
1 week 3 days ago

@ Guillermo Luaces - What is your agenda ? Why are you so desperate to cover up, with silence, sins and evil within the clergy ?

Stan Zorin
1 week 3 days ago

Erased - double post.

John Chuchman
2 weeks 1 day ago

Silence in the face of abuse is Complicity.

Danny Collins
1 week 5 days ago

Well said.

Arthur Sullivan
2 weeks 1 day ago

Staggered that he would say this. Suddenly I feel it just will never get better.

Will Niermeyer
2 weeks 1 day ago

When a married couple is having difficulties communication is of utmost importance. Silence can and often dooms the marriage. The Church is the bride of Christ. Silence will only cause more harm and even doom.

Carlos Poblet
2 weeks 1 day ago

Very good analogy. "Silence at any price" speaks clearly about a serious lack of moral and manly leadership and fortitude...The feminized Church of Nice and gay

Daniel Montiel
2 weeks 1 day ago

Interesting! The above comments are so, so furious that Francis recommends *not* playing into either a media firestorm or a stacked deck/public jury.
Man, they are *PO'ed*, aren't they, that Francis recommends not launching pitched battles with people who buy ink by the barrel. 😆

Sarah Dolski
2 weeks 1 day ago

Daniel, I’m not entirely sure what is going on internally with those who commented above and are upset with Pope Francis’ silence. It’s hard to discern others motivations and emotions. I can only speak for myself in saying that my heart is broken by our father who is for whatever his reasons may be, unwilling to speak truth into a serious situation which is directly leading to the division of the church, against which he mentioned in his homely. A father speaks truth. A father reassures his frightened children. A father apologizes if it is necessary. A father does not remain silent when his strength is needed. It was God in the genesis account who spoke into existence truth, Which brought about order from chaos. Our church is in a chaotic and divided place and desperately in need unity which is order. We are in need of a leader who will use his words to heal. Instead I’m afraid we may be seeing a situation not unlike the shortcomings of our first father, Adam, who remained silent when his strength was imperative.

Jong Ricafort
2 weeks 1 day ago

Sarah Dolski
Pope Francis Wisdom is so great, he said 'fake news" is satan snake tactics back in the garden of eden.
So, before we believe evrything satan presented to us as truth...we discern first first as satan can deceived us like Eve.
The fruit of SILENCE is prayer...and satan cannot beguile nor deceive a prayerful soul.
Gobless

Elaine Boyle
2 weeks ago

I guess you are saying Francis’ free-wheeling pressers lack wisdom of God because Bergolio didn’t discern first using silence and thought? Probably right.

Jong Ricafort
2 weeks ago

Elaine Boyle
Proverbs18:2
and
Matthew12:37
is for you to ponder.
Godbless

Elaine Boyle
2 weeks ago

LOL, Jong. Who are you to judge? Ponder that, PervChurch enabler.

Jong Ricafort
1 week 6 days ago

Elaine Boyle
you can look at the mirror.
try copying all your post and let's see
how many stones have you thrown,
Anyone who have not sinned cast the first stones.
I think your confidence is too high that even the Vicar of Christ is not
subject to your respect.
What a pity...
Proverbs18:2
VRS!3x

gerald nichols
1 week ago

A straight answer from Pontifex Pope Francis would get him some respect I assume.

gerald nichols
1 week ago

Well worded! Either PF cannot respond because the accusations are true, or he is depending on the incredulity of the main part of the Church, and hopes to "ride it out."

john collins
2 weeks 1 day ago

Silence is golden. It has the result—in the present case of Francis’ detractors, the most immediate of whom is Vigano—to ferret out PRECISELY one’s detractors. Silence in this case is laudable because it imitates Jesus by revealing not evading the truth (that there are detractors whose intentions are pernicious and whose words are poison).

John Collins

Francis Gentry
2 weeks 1 day ago

Thank you Daniel Montiel and John Collins! I despair of the Church many times while reading comments by "professed" Catholics. Where has the humility gone, I wonder?

Paula Swain
2 weeks 1 day ago

I assure you, Mr. Gentry, I am as much of a faithful Catholic as you are. I love my faith, my Church and my God. I will continue to demand truth, honesty, transparency.

Elaine Boyle
2 weeks 1 day ago

Ok then Paula, zero tolerance applies to ALL, and Francis must resign. For the good of all, to set an example for youth.

Paula Swain
2 weeks ago

So far, Vigano's allegations against Pope Francis have not proven to be correct. If proven correct then, yes, Pope Francis probably should resign. But, I think Vigano's motives are purely political. He wants the most conservative Pope and cardinals and as soon as that happens the Vatican will close ranks and shut out the laity. So, I don't put much stock in Vigano and his ilk. The stunt he pulled in the US while the Pope was visiting was not appreciated.

Sarah Dolski
2 weeks 1 day ago

Could it be possible that the questioning is not motivated by the professed Catholics lack of humility? Perhaps for some, but I am willing to give many the benefit of the doubt and believe them when they say that the questioning is grounded in a search for truth because of their profound love of the Church. Dialogue brings order out of chaos. God SAID to the darkness let there be light and it was created and it was good. Therefore our words, since we are co-creators with the divine, bring about goodness- life, unity, order and truth. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for this reply to sound like I’m getting on a soap box of anything, and I’m sorry if it came across that way. I just wanted to offer another perspective.

Elaine Boyle
2 weeks ago

Catholics have been humble for 50 years. No longer can Catholics take this gay assault and perversion. The archdioceses have been bankrupted by these pervs. Time for modernists and pervs to show humility.

sheila gray
2 weeks ago

It seems to me that many people on this forum, and others, are so eager to “blame the gays”, whereas I think the major problem is often the laity’s failure to face the truth, to actually take in and process the reality of what has been done to generations of innocent Catholic children. I believe the major problem is the Laity’s failure to stand by innocent children out of fear, to believe the victims coming forward. I’ve heard a 75 year-old dying recovering alcoholic say his father beat him viciously when he told him as a young altar boy of his rape by a priest in Pittsburg. . . Stand up and be counted for victims and survivors. Help us help ourselves and each other, by at least having the courage to believe the truth, for God’s sake!!! Grow a backbone. At least you can do that after generations of disbelieving us and betraying us, and selling us down the river because you lacked the moral courage to believe your own, precious children.

Chris Puckett
2 weeks 1 day ago

it's a brilliant strategy considering his position.

rose-ellen caminer
2 weeks 1 day ago

Pope Francis gets it; ""when I think of McCain my emotional response is; bitter!; in case the animus was water off this ducks back, the bullying piled on and escalated [take note sociologists of the internet,out there.lol]; "McCain seethed bitterness in his every pore".Anyone can say anything about anyone.Such Emotional outbursts, accusations uncorroborated by evidence, is devilish work. Whether emotional, or biased no unsubstantiated attack needs to be answered. If a homophobic or right wing Vigano is after the Pope because of the Pope's[left leaning] political beliefs, Francis is right to not address unsubstantiated charges against him regarding sexual abuse scandal.This scandal [ first it was the abuse itself by predator priests, now finally we are getting comments that recognizing the humanity of the abusive priests in the institutionalized asexual church setting they were immersed in, which mitigates their crimes, and so the goal post has shifted and its now the cover up by the powerful bishops who are most to blame] is now being used as a weapon by right wingers and left wingers.each with their own agenda.; ban gays from the priesthood, ordain women , abolish the celibate, clergy , abolish the clergy itself, abolish the hierarchy, the pope!Pope Francis does not need to take the bait of mere unsubstantiated accusations, in the name of transparency.A lesson for all?Certainly for me as a predictable bait taking online "commenter" .[ i got ptsd; thought i was back on that other catholic blog].God bless you Pope Francis.

Jim Lein
2 weeks 1 day ago

Vigano is certainly Trump-like in tone but with more words. He may have some valid points but he is overplaying his hand with his shrillness. He is definitely not Christ-like.

rose-ellen caminer
2 weeks 1 day ago

Yes.Thanks.

Elaine Boyle
2 weeks 1 day ago

Shrill? He, like Cardinal Burke, have kept quiet and genteel this whole time under PervChurch. At some point, righteous anger has to surface to lance this boil. Like Jesus cleansing the Temple, or Trump/Bernie wanting to Drain the Swamp. Vigano is a gift from Jesus. Francis, who is enabling man-on-man lust? Wow, not God-like.

Reyanna Rice
2 weeks 1 day ago

There you go again.... committing the mortal sin of calumny! Do you understand that you cannot receive Communion until you go to Confession? You are making unsubstantiated statements about the pope to deliberately try to destroy his reputation! Elaine, Elaine, Elaine...your unhinged ravings are going to take you to hell in a bad basket!!

lynne miller
2 weeks ago

Thanks, Reyanna!

lynne miller
2 weeks ago

Thanks, Reyanna!

lynne miller
2 weeks ago

Thanks, Reyanna!

Elaine Boyle
2 weeks ago

Ha liar. Nothing I say is unsubstantiated or calumny. Francis rehabilitated a pervert (McCarrick) and supports Fr. James Martin’s crusade to normalize man-on-man sex/lust. Francis is creating/destroying his own reputation. I don’t force him to make these non-Jesus choices. Worry about Francis’ soul. They don’t have any Fear of the Lord.

Jong Ricafort
2 weeks ago

Reyenna Rice
Very well said...but Proverbs18:2 teaches us there are certain type of people
that are really not open to understanding.
Gobless

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