modern-day martyrdom (with a light chablis, please)

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Apr 13, 2005

Remember the "Church of Silence"-- the countless thousands of Christians who suffered deprivation, exile, torture, and death in the concentration camps of the Soviet empire?

When he was elected to the papacy, John Paul II announced that there would no longer be a "Church of Silence," because he-- the successor to St. Peter-- would be their voice. And a decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed.

But now get ready for a nasty surprise:

John Paul II created a new 'church of silence": the bishops, theologians, and Catholics he discredited for disagreeing with his views. They sought dialogue before more dogma, discussion before decision. He silenced them vigorously.

This courageous statement was made by one of those outcast priests. Forcibly silenced, he wrote this testimony on sheets of toilet paper, and had it smuggled by confederates out of the dungeon where he is being held…

Oh, wait; that's not quite right. The author, Father James Weiss, is director of the Senior Capstone Seminar Program at Boston College: an institution so lavishly funded that it recently bought the chancery grounds from the financially strapped Archdiocese of Boston. His essay appeared not in samizdat format, but in one of America's most influential secular newspapers, the Boston Globe.

Alongside the op-ed column by Father Weiss, the Globe published another, by Father James Keenan, his colleague on the faculty of Jesuit-run Boston College. A contrasting opinion? Nope! Keenan said pretty much exactly the same thing.

Don't you find yourself wishing, sometimes, that this new "church of silence" would shut up?

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