The Last Word on Silence

…comes from my dear brother, and can be found over at Artefact.


  1. Well, since it’s the last word,

  2. This is excellent–the best thing I have read on it. Kudos.

  3. Love the pun at the end and I second IC – and have many a folk to send this to!


  4. Rufus McCain says

    I don’t know. I’m inclined to go with Fr. James Martin on this one. Cf.

    • Broderick Barker says

      I’m not quite sure what “going with Martin” means here. Which statement?

      I chuckled at this one:

      “There’s a tradition in Jesuit spirituality called the third degree of humility,” Martin says. “It’s when you do something that will seem ridiculous to everyone but it’s the right thing to do. The comparison is to Jesus accepting his crucifixion, even though all of his disciples were horrified. Rodrigues’s apostasy makes no sense to the world, but God is asking him to do it.”

      Strongly disagree. Rodrigues’s apostasy makes perfect sense to the world. He is being asked to do it to alleviate the suffering of his flock. It is the obvious, sensible choice – the Japanese Inquisitor is explicit on this point. What would seem ridiculous to everyone is to refuse to apostasize, to choose fidelity to the unseen, seemingly absent God, even though it meant the suffering of those you love.

      • Rufus McCain says

        Replace “the world” with “his world”; i.e. the world as informed by a narrowly dogmatic understanding of reality.

        • Broderick Barker says

          Dogma does have a way of narrowing things, insofar as it declares some things to be incontrovertibly true. But – and I’m asking this without a hint of snark – what do you mean by “narrowly dogmatic”?

          • Rufus McCain says

            I mean dogma that takes itself too seriously and fails to see that, in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, it is all straw. Or dogma that results in the insane calculus whereby well-intentioned but narrowly and rigidly dogmatic Catholics end up voting for a racist rapist conman because, in the words of Mark Shea, he has promised to “magic abortion away.” See also, Avery Dulles, SJ: Dogma as an Ecumenical Problem.

            • Broderick Barker says

              Are you arguing that Rodrigues’s hesitancy to apostasize resulted from his taking dogma too seriously? If so, which dogma?

              I would think his hesitancy was based more on the words of Christ: “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him also will I deny before my father.” On his sense of betraying the person of Jesus, as opposed to denying some dogmatic teaching about him. On his sense of lost self should he break his vows as a priest cf. Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons: “When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.” And more pertinently: “Finally, it’s a matter of love.”

              I also think it’s worth noting that St. Thomas was speaking of his own writing when he said it was all straw, and not of Church teaching, even teaching based on that writing.

Speak Your Mind