Pope Francis says response to division should be silence, prayer

Vatican City, Sep 3, 2018 / 05:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis said Monday that to division and scandal the answer should be silence and prayer; and asked the Lord for the grace to discern when it is better to speak or to remain quiet.

“With people who do not have good will, with people who seek only scandal, who seek only division, who seek only destruction, even within families,” the answer is “silence. And prayer.”

“May the Lord give us the grace to discern when we must speak and when we must be silent. And [to do] in all of life: in work, at home, in society…” to become more closely imitators of Jesus Christ, he said during Mass at the Vatican’s Santa Marta guest house Sept. 3.

In his homily, Francis reflected on Jesus’ response to the people who, St. Luke recounts, were “filled with fury” at Jesus’ words in the synagogue.

As it says in the day’s Gospel, the people “rose up, drove [Jesus] out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill… to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.”

Those who drove Jesus out of the city were not people, but “a pack of wild dogs,” Pope Francis said. They shouted instead of using reason, and the face of this, Jesus’ response was to remain silent.

The pope likened this episode to Christ’s response on Good Friday, when the people shouted for him to be crucified, because the devil had sown lies in their hearts.

Jesus’ response in the face of the people’s anger was not easy, but it was the dignified silence of a Christian anchored in the power of God, the pope said, explaining that Jesus’ answer teaches Christians they should respond to a refusal to see the truth with quiet.

Francis noted that when families have disagreements, often about things like politics, sports or money, division is the devil’s goal. “As the father of lies, the accuser, the devil, acts to destroy the unity of a family, of a people,” he said.

The response should be to say your piece and then to keep quiet, he said, because “the truth is mild, the truth is silent, the truth is not noisy.”


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  1. Did you know that McCarrick had a thick dossier on him and you then appointed him to power? Answering no…would protect the flock from the feeling that you can dish out resignations but can’t take one for yourself nor can you let go of the attachment to the papacy and its ego thrills. So what is stopping you from answering…no. Has nothing to do with Christ’s use of silence.

  2. Lk 4:16-30. Our Lord says quite a few things (understatement) in this Gospel before “he passed through the midst of them and went away.”

    Is there no end to the manipulation of even the words of the Holy Gospel by Bergoglio (on the Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church) for the sake of himself and the “pack” he so readily defends?

    So we should speak out against injustice, but not at this time, not regarding the scandal in the Church? Is the current “division” in the Church the actual scandal and not the history of sexual abuse, exploitation and cover up that may go “straight to the top?” Is the real or even worse “scandal” our speaking about it and wanting answers? Did the fact that many did not accept Bergoglio’s profound “silence”(not really “silence”)in response to Vigano’s letter/accusations demonstrate who was a member of “a pack of wild dogs,” not like Our Lord Himself and not “using reason?” Were these Catholics (who did not accept Bergoglio’s “answer” regarding Vigano) being led by the Devil and not Christ who expressed views on “scandal” Himself? Were they not being taught by St. Paul or the Saints? Not following the teachings of the Church? Not being led by reason?

    His attempt to connect this Gospel with “disagreements” regarding “politics, sports or money” is also manipulative (an attempt at attenuation of the current “disagreement” in the Church) but somewhat laughable. He is though, getting warmer, as they say, with his reference to “the father of lies, the accuser, the devil.” But is all “unity” a good thing? Socrates would ask: is the “unity” of criminals a good thing or only a unity of those who seek the good and justice?

    At what point does Bergoglio realize that Christ was being “led to the brow of hill” for stating the Truth and not because of an evasive, manipulative “silence” he imagines is like his own?

  3. The Holy Father raises an important point with respect to silence and prayer, albeit one could argue that he uses it in the wrong context with respect to the current sexual crisis facing the Church. The report states that Pope Francis’ homily stated that ‘the people “rose up, drove [Jesus] out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill… to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.”’ These verses (referenced in the article by the Pope it appears) are found in Lk 4:29-30).

    It is important to note that one cannot read scripture in isolation as the previous verses Lk 4:23-27, (apparently not cited in the report or the homily) speak to the reasons why they “rose up” to drive Jesus out of town. Jesus told the Jews that God’s salvation was not limited to them alone, but that Gentiles too would be saved (see Lk 4:23-27). Our Lord goes on to cite the death that ravaged the land during the drought prophesized by Elijah, (1 Kings 17), which killed Jew and Gentile alike. Christ further states that Elijah had been sent to the aid of a Gentile woman (see 1 Kings 17:9-24) and not a Jew when he says “It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon” (Lk 4:26). Similarly, Christ states that Elisha the prophet did not cleanse the Jewish lepers, “but only Naaman the Syrian” (Lk 4:27). The footnotes of the USCCB New American Bible state the following regarding these verses: A widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon: like Naaman the Syrian in Lk 4:27, a non-Israelite becomes the object of the prophet’s ministry.

    Thus, Christ was targeted by the mob not because he spoke falsehoods or refused to acknowledge the truth, but precisely because He was speaking the truth and the truth made high-minded Jews most uncomfortable, just as now those voices speaking for truth in the Church are making high-minded members of the hierarchy most uncomfortable.

    By all means, prayer and silence are important and there is a time for such things. Equally, however, prayer must be accompanied with action or it is of little service to the Kingdom of God. Consider St. James who wrote that:
    “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
    If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day,
    and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?
    So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).

    Similarly, one cannot remain silent and simply pray that the evil in the Church will be routed out. Without concrete steps taken to feed, clothe, and care for the body of Christ by way of demanding a full, transparent, comprehensive, and independent investigation into the evil that has found its way to high-placed positions (McCarrick, etc.) within the Church, then the Church will further become a place for resident evil. We must remember the words of Christ “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40), and, “what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me” (Mt 25:45). To stand by and simply pray and be silent is to stand by and watch the “least of these brothers of [Christ]” to be sexually, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually abused and those of us who stand by “will go off to eternal punishment” (Mt. 25:46).

    Consider as well the parable of the Good Samaritan:

    Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
    A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
    Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
    But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.
    He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.
    The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’
    Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
    He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Lk 10:30-37).

    To simply pray and be silent, is simply to cross the road on the opposite side and that is not what Christ asks of His people.

    Write letters to your Bishops, start signature campaigns within your parish, participate in the “white ribbon campaign” wearing a white ribbon to demonstrate your support of those abused by clergy and let your voice be heard for a full, comprehensive, transparent, and independent investigation. Find out what programs and measures are in place in your parish, hold a group meeting to discuss these measures with your pastor and let it be known that you care about the safety of every single child in your parish, whether you have children or not.

    Christ is asking each of us right now, “who do you say that I am” (Mt. 16:15), and if we truly believe and answer that “[He] is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” (Mt. 16:16), then we have no choice but to help save His Church.

    • Thank you for your reasoned fast ball. If only he had ears to hear. Since he does not, it is up to us. This is the time for great saints. Let us not be afraid.

  4. Excuse me? Did my Pope, in response to credible allegations of multiple incidents of criminal behavior, and moral turpitude of Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals, actually tell me, and the rest of the faithful, to sit down and shut up? Is that what has just happened? NO sir! That ship sailed 16 years ago! Here’s what I’m going to do my Dear Pope Francis. Since you refuse to hear the tortured voices of the faithful crying out for justice and a full accounting of the obvious cancer in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, perhaps you’ll hear this…( ). That’s the sound of not one more penny of donation. I don’t know how long it will take for you, and the miscreants you’re protecting, to feel the financial pain, but when you do, perhaps then you can tell us in our prayerful silence what you are going to do about the aforementioned criminal behavior, and moral decay in the shepherds of the Catholic Church. I know that my paltry $20.00+ per day doesn’t mean much to royalty, but I do hope, that if there are enough like minded faithful who are as angry as I am, maybe the sum will be great enough to get your attention. By the by, I’m withholding my donations to the Church because the scope of sinful behavior which has been revealed has convinced me that, at least, some of my donations have been used for the commission of grave sin and if I continue to fund that sin, then I become accessory to that sin.

    • Shine SWF,
      That is EXACTLY what I am going to do. I have supported seminarians, helped put a roof on my parish church, put a bucket into Catholic Charities, and steward my parish above 5%. Then there are all sorts of incidental expenses here and there which I erase, expel, repel, and pay. Absolutely no more. I informed my Archbishop and my parish priest. Until they write to PF, demanding answers and asking for reversals of his unjust tinkering with doctrine and resultant confusion, until then I give nothing. My church does not consist of my bishop and my priest. It does consist of the sacraments, and those can be provided through itinerants clothed in sack-cloth and knocking on doors for a cup of water. To such as those I shall give of my munificence.

  5. “Pope Francis said Monday that to division and scandal the answer should be silence and prayer.”

    Seems to me that was the protocol for decades when dealing with the wayward clergy. How did that work out?

  6. Excuse me your Holiness, but we just want the TRUTH, we are already humiliated enough and don’t want to spread gossip …. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!

  7. Would that the Pope followed his own advice and remained silent when he spoke. Now is the time for speaking and he chooses silence.

    This tells us how upside down his idea of spirituality and right conduct is.

  8. Wherever pervs and coverups throb, the spirit (& tactics) of Marcial Maciel continues to animate them.
    Likely into the corners of eternity itself.

  9. So the Pope is comparing his silence to that of Christ???

    Does this confirm working as an anti-Christ? Christ spoke out against those who abused his sheep. Pope Francis sits in silence and protects those who abuse Christ’s sheep. Christ spoke plainly. Pope Francis speaks in ambiguities. Yet he compares his response with being Christlike? Please…not even close.

    I pray for your soul that you will have a conversion so your final judgement may be merciful.

  10. The Pope cannot compare himself to Jesus or Padre Pio on remaining silence as he is not subordonate to anybody who could inflict a penalty on him. It comes like Jesus being in the court and Pontius Pirate is not there to place any sentence on Him and Jesus stating what His sentence on himself will be. Secondly when somebody have true silence they do not accuse the one who is accusing them of wantingredients to commit scandal and decision. If Pope Francis said that people are trying to commit scandal then he should show the evidence, how they are trying to. He cannot have it both ways staying silence and hinting insults at the person

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