Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
One of the most frustrating aspects of covering the Church today is the unwillingness of trusted and reliable sources to go on the record. Strangely, this seems most common when it comes to defending doctrine, and the Church generally, in the face of attack.
Whether it’s Church teaching coming under fire at the Synod on the Family, Vatican officials with vitally important and helpful information to share, or German bishops outnumbered by their dissenting brother bishops, few appear willing to go public and speak up for Christ and the truth (it should be said the situation is arguably better in the United States than elsewhere).
And yet many Catholics would say that now is the time when they should do so. The Church is perennially under attack from all sides, but especially so today, and perhaps most severely from within. If, as critics say, the synod is debating certain issues which, if adopted, could seriously undermine Church doctrine, apart from Cardinal Raymond Burke and a seeming handful of others, why is it so hard to find voices willing to go on the record to take a public stand in the Church’s defense?
There could be a number of reasons for their reticence: they trust in the Holy Spirit that all will be well and so feel they need not do or say anything in the Church’s defense; they simply lack spine to speak up, and recoil at confrontation; they are just indifferent, and don’t care enough because they don’t really believe in the truths of the Gospel anymore; they feel they must be silent in obedience to their superiors; or they refuse to speak up for fear it might jeopardize their ecclesiastical “career.” In the case of the synod, many are being cowed into silence because of what some have described as a "reign of terror" being wielded by synod managers.
Circumstances obviously demand prudence, but few serious Catholics would consider any of the above reasons as worthy excuses for not speaking up and going on record. Doesn't silence in these instances imply consent? And isn't that what the Church's enemies want, allowing them to further their agendas unimpeded?