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Why Is the Silent Majority Silent?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 4, 2018

As the debacle of this pontificate continues, it has become commonplace even in the “mainstream” Catholic press to recognize that Pope Francis is a major problem for the Faith about which something must be done.

Thus, as two Archbishops join the three bishops of Kazakhstan in declaring that Francis’ attempt to authorize Holy Communion for public adulterers is “illicit” and “alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith,” even Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, writing in the middle-of-the-road Catholic Herald, writes that “the news that five bishops have made a declaration upholding the Church’s teaching about marriage and its teaching about divorce is cheering news.”

Consider the implications: We should regard as “cheering news” the intervention of a mere five bishops against the Pope’s attempt to give the false impression that his position allows him to overturn the constant teaching and discipline of the Church rooted in divine law itself.

Father Lucie-Smith notes that “it is depressing that only five (so far) have signed up to [the statement],” seeing that “[t]he Bishops are not saying anything new, but merely restating what has been always and everywhere believed.” But Francis is not restating what the Church has always and everywhere believed, which is why he is wrong and must be opposed by every successor of the Apostles. Yet only five have taken up the challenge. “Depressing” is putting it mildly.

So where are the rest of the world’s approximately 5,100 bishops? Fr. Lucie-Smith writes:

“there will be many who do not sign but who will heartily endorse what is said, and I can think of several. One only needs to remember how few have endorsed the guidelines of the Maltese Bishops, for example, and how the vast majority of Bishops in the world have said nothing at all on the subject. ‘But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent?’ as Fr Thomas Weinandy asked. These bishops constitute the silent majority: it would be great if they all spoke, but one can perhaps appreciate their reasons for keeping shtum [mum].”

Really? Why should one “appreciate” the reasons the silent majority of bishops remain silent about a direct attack on the foundations of the Church’s moral edifice and her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the infinite dignity of the Blessed Sacrament? I can think of only one reason: fear of reprisal from “the Dictator Pope.”

Fr. Lucie-Smith, however, notes that he had no fear of signing “the letter of the five hundred or so priests” in England during the Phony Synod, who declared their “unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia.”

So what is the bishops’ excuse? And, again, where are Cardinals Burke and Brandmuller, who long ago promised a formal correction of the error Pope Francis is now trying to impose as “authentic Magisterium”? It seems that fear of a man is being allowed to trump the fear of God and His judgment, leaving five bishops, a few courageous priests, and laity around the world to stand up in defense of the truth of Christ.

Something like the situation that obtained in King Henry’s England, in which only one bishop, Saint John Fisher, stood up to his demand for divorce, is now, incredibly enough, being replicated throughout the entire human element of the Church. Yet another sign that a divine intervention like no other in Church history will be necessary to set things right.