Given my day job, I often find myself being asked to unofficially answer for the entire Roman Catholic Church to extended family members, neighbors, and even the occasional airline passenger. I typically rise to the occasion, but in a challenging discussion amidst the new revelations of abuse at the hands of church leaders, I just didn’t. The predominant tone in the dialogue was so angry, so exasperated, that all of my words seemed empty or inappropriate. “Don’t you want to play devil’s advocate?” someone asked. I shook my head no and thought to myself, “he’s got enough help.”
My silence bothered me. I would never defend evil, nor would I ever lump the incredible bishops and priests that I know so well, under one cloud of blame. Yet, in my silence, I somewhat did both. As I reflected about it more, I realized while nothing I could have said would have dissolved the darkness, I still could have brought some light. I didn’t have to prove a point or convince anyone of something. I could have offered an apology for the distrust or disillusionment. I could have offered to pray. I could have done something that reminded us of God’s presence. Instead, I was the devil’s advocate. In my silence, I let the darkness spread. As we seek to lead through this difficult chapter, let us remember we can always illuminate the darkness with His light.