Apathy or when is it imperative to speak up?


Faile47 asked this question on 8/22/2000:

I have been thinking about mwheats posting on apathy. My question is: When you know that something vital to your beliefs is under attack and you do nothing to try and rectify or defend the matter, isn't this inherently sinful? A sin of omission? I am very concerned about this issue. And would appreciate an in depth answer. What about Jack Chick? Is our silence appropriate? Thank you.




mscperu gave this response on 8/22/2000:


The joy of the risen Lord be in your heart.

In order to answer let's look at the NT.

The obligation of Jesus' disciple seems quite clear. It can even be considered a sign of vibrant faith if a Christian suffers persecution, ridicule or opposition because of her-his faith. If there is no opposition it invites to look at our ways to live our faith. Perhaps we are lukewarm. The saints in all times have been persecuted because the lived their faith to the utmost.

I remember our Founder of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart, Julius Chevalier, who was carried on a chair out of the rectory because he refused to budge before the police of an anti-religious regime. He was thrown into the street.

In this direction points Matthew. Being persecuted is to follow the Master. Forgive the long passage but it seems entirely relevant.

Mt. 10:24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.

25 "It is enough for the disciple that he become as his teacher, and the slave as his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!

26 "Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

27 "What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

28 "And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 "Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35 "For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 "He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it".

Saint Paul talks about announcing timely and untimely.

So it seems that our mission is to speak up.


Let us look at phrases that might suggest prudent silence.

There is a phrase about being careful. Perhaps we should not talk sometimes?

Mt. 10:16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves."

It does not mean that we shut up. Christians are defenseless. No bombs for abortion clinics! We may be innocent, we may even be candid but we are neither silly nor stupid. We stand up and we argue. But we should not be devious.

Perhaps the next phrase teaches not to speak.

Mt. 7:6 "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

This passage is difficult. But the first post-apostolic communities (Didache) interpreted the holy as the Eucharist.

It seems there is an urgency to announce, to argue, to convince, to rebut.

1 Cor 9:16 "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel."

So no silence when faith and morals are at stake!

Who, when, how?

I think this board is a wonderful example how and when. When there is an attack everybody jumps into the fray. When there is a problem those answer who have the information. And everybody according to the gift she-he received from God:

Some in a pedagogic vein

Some with verve and enthusiasm}

Some with irony

Some with forceful arguments

Some in counterattack

Some with reasoning and theology

Hopefully all with the highest of charismas, charity. (Mea culpa for failing here!)

And surely all are praying to be under the Holy Ghost's guidance.

Thank you dear experts. I’m learning...



PS. I'm sorry. Who is Jack Chick?



Faile47 rated this answer:   


God spoke through you just now, and gave me the message I needed to hear. Deo gratias! Jack Chick has a website devoted to the destruction of our Church. You are right, we must speak up, when called. To do any less is to abrogate trust and deny our own truest selves. God bless you. You are cherished.