17 April 2018

SILENCE and NOISE: PF, Sarah, and Screwtape

"It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others." (PF, Gaudete et Exsultate, 26.)

The Scholiasts seem to be deeply divided about the interpretation of this. There are those who explain it as a rare piece of self-criticism on the part of PF. They think that, at long last, he is repenting for having vouchsafed the Dubia Cardinals, and the Correcting Filii, not a single word of reply. On the other hand, some scholars take it as a snide and cheap sneer at Cardinal Sarah, who enjoys writing about Silence. Moi, I haven't the faintest idea. One of the greatest strengths of PF is that his writings always leave me totally baffled. The day I try to persuade you that I am a sensitive interpreter of PF's most nuanced subtleties is probably the day you should stop looking at this blog.

I can, however, offer you some light from the Anglican Patrimony. Not quite from the Ordinariate itself, because Benedict XVI carelessly forgot to provide it with a category which would have enabled a certain famous belle-lettriste to seek full membership. I refer, of course, to His Abysmal Sublimity Mr Under Secretary Screwtape.

"Music and silence - how I detest them both! How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell ... no square inch of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise - Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression  of all that is exultant, ruthless and virile - Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it. Research is in progress ..."


Ivanmijeime said...

"It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others." (PF, Gaudete et Exsultate, 26.)
This is simply wrong as usual.
Let's see this.
What else can be that "interaction with others" than again the same call for the 'dialog' which have no other purpose than, - the dialog itself! Namely, as we Catholics should and must know, the proclamation, declaration, enunciation, announcement, promulgation, outgiving of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is The Truth, can never be accomplished per dialogue. The dialog is the main tool of the deceivers, and certainly not of Christians.
"Interaction with (which) others"?
Of course, with the wrong-believers, non-believers, heretics, Christian-haters, & Co.
And, of course, we already know why to 'interact' with them? To give them right to have and keep their own truth, which is untruth, the perverted truth.

While the silence of the faithful ones, like monks, friars, and all other faithful and religious man and women of Catholic Church means nothing less than prayer to our Lord. The prayer and contemplatie where our Lord the God through that silence is speaking to them (and us too, when we are doing the same in the proper way).

uncle remus said...

PF should be reminded not only of Screwtape, but of the eremitical and coenobitic counsels
of the monks both East and West, whose counsels of silence are fundamental to the life of
spiritual growth.

Pontiacprince said...

If only we could have just a moment of silence at Mass where I attend.Whether it's a lone singer warbling at her highest tone or the choir in full throat so that even the candles must shake.We can nerve have a moment of silence.Ever.During Communion it is necessary that the "warbler" receive first so she can get back to her piano and make her throaty noise during the entire time the congregation is lined hp to receive.At other times there may be about a dozen at the fron who sing forever and are accompanied by the loudest guitar sounds ever.Silence is not available at this parish.

E sapelion said...

26. It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service. ...
29. This does not mean ignoring the need for moments of quiet, solitude and silence before God. Quite the contrary. ...

I do not see a call for a balance as being problematic. Yesterday I spent three and half hours as a volunteer in my local hospital. Today I spent two and a half hours in church with the Blessed Sacrament (9 hours of Exposition). I cannot see this Exhortation as being critical of either.

Anna said...

Thank you Father - what a knee slapper when it finally clicked! PF hung by his own petard. Oh, what an example he'd give by stopping his silence and interacting while the other 2 are still able to be accompanied with joy!

Michael Leahy said...

"Healthy" is a peculiar word to use in the context of Salvation. It is a word one more usually associates with 'psychological' issues, something the Pope, of course, has admitted to having had in the past. It's usage further confuses me-one certainly could not argue that being a martyr is 'healthy'. Is it, therefore, a choice to be discouraged?

E sapelion said...

Pope Francis to Fr Anthony Spadaro Sep. 2013 - "I pray the breviary every morning. I like to pray with the psalms. Then, later, I celebrate Mass. I pray the Rosary. What I really prefer is adoration in the evening, even when I get distracted and think of other things, or even fall asleep praying. In the evening then, between seven and eight o’clock, I stay in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour in adoration. But I pray mentally even when I am waiting at the dentist or at other times of the day."

Michael Ortiz said...

I think I found Screwtape’s earthly laboratory in Tokyo—the video/slot machine stores where mostly men go to play and gamble away their woes. Not kidding: decibel levels of ear-splitting intensity, sounds like trains derailing. The men seem indifferent. I fled in horror.

Unknown said...

I just found out about this story:


namely, that the Vatican recruits a variety of people to read papal pronouncements before they're released. I suppose some good could come from this--and I like the idea of a Princeton-trained physicist Jesuit, like Fr. Deacon Adam Hincks--but the very concept seems pretty weird. What will the Afghan refugee say about the pope's exegesis? It's hard to imagine a Pius XIII wasting resources on a lark like this.