Why are our bishops silent?

/ 3 February 2009

The NYTimes asks a very pertinent question concerning the Pope’s recent lifting of the order of excommunication on the Lefebrvist bishops:

Surely Catholic bishops are aware of the corrosive effect that these kinds of nagging questions can have on the faith of their people. A few such questions have quite likely nagged at some bishops themselves. But so far none of them have chosen to discuss the matter out loud.

This silence would be understandable if the bishops’ only option were to engage in harsh criticism. But they have plenty of respectful, charitable alternatives, from merely acknowledging that the papal action was troubling or perplexing to indicating that they are requesting clarification of Rome’s procedures and the pope’s intentions.

It’s a safe bet that during the last week, private expressions of dismay or bewilderment have been flying from bishop to bishop and from bishops to Rome.

Still, that does not satisfy Jews. Nor does it assure millions of concerned Catholics that their questions and anxieties are shared by leaders determined to discuss them charitably, candidly, maturely, in a way suited to what the bishops themselves teach about the church and the papacy.

Who will speak up first?