At Catholic Culture, Philip Lawler returned to a book by the economist Albert O Hirchman, called Exit, Voice and Loyalty. The title referred to three ways of dealing with dissatisfaction with an institution. “You can exit – that is, walk away from the institution. You can raise your voice and work to change whatever it is that has caused your dissatisfaction. Or you can show your loyalty by accepting the situation without complaint.”
The right response depends on the situation. Sometimes it’s best just to exit, sometimes to show loyalty and not say anything.
On the other hand, there are times when you should raise your voice – especially when you see the opportunity to change the things that bother you. “You love your family, but someone in the family is doing something that harms everyone else. You can’t leave your family – exit is not an option – but you can’t simply accept a toxic situation. You have a chance to change things. More than that you have a duty to change things.”
There’s a parallel with the Church. Sadly, some exit; and many keep quiet about problems in the Church, demonstrating loyalty above all. Now, “Pure loyalty may be required of consecrated religious, who have taken vows of obedience.” But for lay Catholics who are really loyal, speaking up may be an obligation.
A bishop who is standing by his priests
Asia News reported on Bishop Vincenzo Guo Xijin, auxiliary bishop of Mindong, who faces persecution from the Chinese government. According to reports, government officials “made him sign a paper in which he would pledge obedience to the new bishop, but above all submission to the laws of the country” and adherence to the state-run Patriotic Association (PA).
But Bishop Guo believes that, as Benedict XVI taught in 2007, the PA’s principles are “irreconcilable with the Catholic faith”. So he “signed a document in which he accepted obedience to the bishop, to the laws of the country” – but not to the PA.
Now, the government is putting pressure on other priests of the diocese to sign up to the PA. Bishop Guo has reportedly written to the authorities saying: “The government has already decided to persecute priests who refuse to sign the request [for membership in the PA]. If I am unable to protect them, it is not worth my time to be recognized as an auxiliary bishop. I am willing to face persecution together with other priests.”
Magic tricks, faith and reason
A hit show about magic may seem an unlikely venue for discussing faith and reason. But as ChurchPop reported, magician Giancarlo Bernini gave a Catholic slant to his work when he appeared on the Penn and Teller: Fool Us. Bernini, a Catholic, said: “I don’t see a conflict between my faith and my magic, because illusions are all about discerning what’s true and what’s good.”
The trick he performed was meant to show that “faith and reason kind of go together,” he said, adding: “Hopefully my magic can inspire people to see the true, beautiful and good in their own lives.”