I recently read Cardinal Sarah's book, The Power of Silence. I took it with me on my annual 5-day silent retreat where it became my go-to spiritual reading between meditations on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. What a powerful companion on the journey! Silence with the Lord nurtures rich spiritual fruit.
But there's another side to silence.
Today, I read an article about that flip side. Think of St. Thomas More and his silence about Henry's "marriage" to Ann Boleyn. In A Man for All Seasons, Cranmer accuses More of a silence that speaks treason against the king. The saint responds vigorously with the legal principle that silence implies consent. On the other hand, some legal scholars say that silence means consent only when the person involved has an obligation to speak. Since More had relinquished his role as chancellor, he had no obligation to embrace martyrdom by publicly denouncing the king's marriage. Only when circumstances forced him (the devil always demands approval for evil) did More speak.