Dear bishops: please spare us waffling statements

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 31, 2018

Here’s a hot tip for any bishop considering a public statement on the current mess: Put some teeth in it.

If you issue a mild, dispassionate statement—hoping to keep out of controversy—you won’t just sound wimpy. You’ll sound dishonest as well. Given the facts of the matter, you shouldn’t be dispassionate. You should be mad as hell.

Regarding the Vigano testimony in particular, maybe you’re tempted to say that you just don’t know the facts. Fair enough. But you do know that some very serious charges have been made, and one way or another there’s plenty of cause for a passionate response. Deconstructing a vapid statement by Cardinal Cupich, John O’Sullivan writes for National Review:

Suppose that Vigano’s charges are false, where is the righteous anger of those unjustly accused that should animate Cupich’s words? Suppose the charges are true, on the other hand, where is the bitter shame and determination to cleanse the Augean stables?

And so, dear bishop, if you can read the Vigano statement without any emotional response, maybe it would be wiser to keep your thoughts to yourself. Otherwise we’ll know that you’re part of the problem.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Sep. 03, 2018 7:00 PM ET USA

    Pope says silence is golden. Christ was right to be silent but the Pope is wrong in his silence. Pope should say we will dig out the truth with God's help. But I'm afraid we will see the Pope's Jesuit training. I hope I'm wrong.

  • Posted by: gcreel8889204 - Aug. 31, 2018 5:10 PM ET USA

    When I first read Cdl Cupich's comments I thought he was quoting a Babylon Bee satire that said almost the same thing.

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Aug. 31, 2018 5:06 PM ET USA

    Lack of courage is extremely unbefitting any man who accepts the red piping denoting his office. The red symbolizes the man's willingness to die for the Church and his flock, and he will be held responsible by the Judge of all for any failures in this regard.