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.

Advertisement

“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.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
lynne miller
1 year 3 months ago

It seems to me that what the Holy Father is doing is to allow time for people to think about what Vigano said - saying that it speaks for itself. Then, later, not in the heat of the moment, he will make a statement about it. This Twittering world we live in encourages people's worst instinct, to speak before giving adequate thought to what they want to say. We have a perfect example in the White House. If Pope Francis wants, for us, and for himself, time to take a deep breath and prepare his thoughts and words, it is certainly a good example to all of us.

lynne miller
1 year 3 months ago

So sorry for all the repeats. If I knew how to delete them, I'd do it!

Vincent Couling
1 year 3 months ago

Not to worry, Lynne ... I think that your message was worth repeating a hundredfold! Thank you.

J Rabaza
1 year 3 months ago

Lynne, reading your repeats was a breath of fresh air....given that Tim O’Dreary is polluting these boards with his echo chamber dribble. Do it more often!

Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago

Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..
Guillte Luaces likes to repeat himself like a noisy gong..

Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago

Hilarious Lynne. Maybe, the editors can help.

Patty Bennett
1 year 2 months ago

:) I understand. Mine repeats too sometimes. I don't know why. Once I just hit "edit" and removed most of it--except for a period. At least it takes up less "room".

Gerald Nichols
1 year 3 months ago

OMG! If Catholics accept that talk, they are more willfully blind than I thought.

JOHN GRONDELSKI
1 year 3 months ago

I think we've had enough of this semantic shell game. Catholics have had enough of "silence" and the perpetrators of "scandal" and "division" are not Catholics demanding bishops to come clean but the bishops themselves, who have shown themselves exquisitely practiced in the art of sweeping under the rug with a vow of omerta.

Crystal Watson
1 year 3 months ago

The only reason the pope can get away with remaining silent about allegations of a cover-up is that he's basically the dictator of his won country (and denomination). If he did nothing wrong, he should simply say that. Staying silent isn't being spiritually superior, it's being arrogant.

Hilde W
1 year 3 months 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 committed by McCarrick. 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 exactly 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 (for example, his speculations why the Pope asked him about McCarrick) demonstrate that Vigano somehow believes himself to be able to read another person’s mind and intentions. 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.

Patty Bennett
1 year 2 months ago

I DID read Vigano's entire letter. Did you? What he says seems credible. The only way to know for sure is for the Vatican to produce those documents Vigano referred to. Good luck with THAT! Journalists are running into the stonewall/excuse of the "pontifical secret". Those who know Vigano personally say he is an honest man of integrity.
.
There MUST be an investigation. Only the Truth matters!

Patty Bennett
1 year 2 months ago

.

Patty Bennett
1 year 2 months ago

.

John Mack
1 year 3 months ago

Isn't that what the bishops were all about, silence?

Dr.Cajetan Coelho
1 year 3 months ago

Thus wrote Mahatma Gandhi: "Modern civilization has taught us to convert night into day and golden silence into brazen din and noise. When I don't understand something, I reach up and hold God's hand. And we walk together in silence".

Edwin Hess
1 year 3 months ago

Why is there no mention of the rest of Pope Francis' statement? I agree that he was wise not to attack Vigano with a brief spur of the moment comment. But he also told the Press to do their job. I think he is confident that reporters can easily reveal fallacies in the Vigano remarks. Several have already been pointed out.

It is frustrating to have this whole situation move at such a slow pace, but I still believe that Francis is doing his best under the current circumstances. I certainly pray that he is.

Jose A
1 year 2 months ago

May God Bless our Pope.

Dr Robert Dyson
1 year 2 months ago

“The truth is meek. The truth is silent. The truth is not noisy,"

Isn't this just about the worst possible signal HH could send at this time?

"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."

But we're not talking about politics or sports or money, are we? We're talking about the abuse of children and the concealment of that abuse by people who were either complicit in it or more concerned with possible reputational d amage to the Church than with thr welfare of victims? Sorry, but that truth should be damn good and noisy, in my view.

Patty Bennett
1 year 2 months ago

Dear Holy Father,
It is your God-given responsibility to "confirm the brethren in the faith".
There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. Speak. Tell the truth. Otherwise, it just looks as if you're hiding something.
Answer the questions. Please. Did you KNOW that your "trusted adviser" thought it perfectly acceptable to groom, corrupt, and devour young men? How is it possible to TRUST the advice of someone like that?
We want--we NEED the TRUTH--not insults. A leader who refuses to lead is NOT imitating Christ.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Theater critic Jose Solís surveys several productions of the holiday classic
Jose SolísDecember 06, 2019
Adrienne Warren and the cast of “Tina” (photo: Manuel Harlan)
The fall season has given us three wildly different case studies in Broadway’s pop/rock hybrids.
Rob Weinert-KendtDecember 06, 2019
The story of Catholics and the AIDS epidemic in the United States is often told as one of “gays versus the church.” But the reality was much more complicated.
JesuiticalDecember 06, 2019
Join us as we offer daily scripture reflections for the entire Advent season.
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 06, 2019