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May 4, 2023 2 min read

“Without silence,” Robert Cardinal Sarah writes, “God disappears into the noise.”

Prior to the mechanization of sound, much of human life was associated with silence. Music, on the other hand, was associated with various events of life: there were songs for work, songs for mourning, songs for worship, songs for celebration, songs for pilgrimage, and so on.

Today, there is a tendency toward constant noise, as even elevators and lobbies and restaurants often use some disassociated noise or soundtrack to cover the silence. The advent of earphones (and AirPods in particular) have made it possible to completely isolate oneself in an emotionally self-medicating flight from silence in every moment.

Silence is the precondition of thought. Even listening to classical music has a different telos than simply being as is, or thinking as is. In many cases, we find that even the Mass becomes cluttered with sounds as we attempt to avoid the cardinal sin of awkward silence at all costs.

“Without silence, God disappears into the noise.”

On St. Anselm’s feast day, Bishop Robert Barron reflected on the medieval theologian’s writings on sin and salvation: We are diamonds who have soiled ourselves, and God himself entered into the muck of sin through the Incarnation to restore us to our original brilliance.

An earlier saint – St. Athanasius of Alexandria – also shows us the importance of theology, as he fought (and shouted) intensely to uphold the Church’s teachings on the divinity of Christ.

A seminary formator reflects on the clerical sexual abuse crisis, the wounds it has caused, and what Catholics can do.

Much has been made of Pope Francis’ visit to Hungary, with political narratives picking which aspects of the visit to highlight. But National Catholic Register’s Jonathan Liedl argues that the true story of the visit is that “Pope Francis celebrated the good he saw and also challenged what he sees as inconsistencies with the Gospel” – for it “was not a campaign stop, but a pastoral visit.”

Recent editions of this Weekly Update have commented on growing rifts within the Anglican Church and how they are emblematic of problems faced by a large number of Christian communions. Recently, the head of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – a body within the Catholic Church for former Anglicans to retain their patrimony – reflected on the unique body’s past, present, and future.

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