Friday, March 12, 2010
The Silence of the Lambs
Anyone with even a modicum of interest in the fate of the Catholic Church in England, even if in exile across the water, cannot fail to have been gravely concerned about the events of recent weeks. The blogosphere has been alive with some excellent pieces by, among others, Father Ray Blake and Father John Boyle. Without recounting what has happened with the legislation introduced by the Labour government to force Catholic schools to teach abortion, contraception and homosexuality, the real cause of scandal has been the deafening silence of the bishops. One writer on the web referred to this moment as the "crossing of the Rubicon." That is, I think, not too extreme. The Catholic population of England and Wales is facing its gravest crisis since another group of episcopal pygmies decided that, rather than defend the successor of St. Peter, they would prefer the "establishment" of an English national Church. Just one, as we know, demurred - St. John Fisher. Many speak of the bishops keeping silent because they are "working behind the scenes...... waiting until after the election...etc, etc." In this instance, silence, if not signalling consent, at least signifies a stultifying lack of leadership and intestinal fortitude, or what, here in the United States they call "guts!" When the sheep need shepherds, all they get is the silence of the lambs.