When prophets fall silent

And so, is it prudence that silences prophecy? But that has never been the order of things.  When saving one’s hide is first in the order of business, then, of course, prudence of this kind – better, reticence – is the primordial virtue. 

But the story of prophets has always been the story of salutary imprudence: speaking out of turn, in the wrong tone of voice at those who were in the habit of barking orders and not being dressed down!  And if the bishops fear that their sins and failings should be bared, to their shame, then they should be thankful to be in good company because the prophets who showed God’s people the way through treacherous times were shamed, humiliated and derided in their days. To be persecuted enters into the definition of being a prophet, because if one utters only praise and acclaim, one is really a charlatan and a bootlicker, no matter one’s habiliments.

It is in times of adversity that hardly anything is more helpful than the counsel and yes, even reproof of men who do not pander to popular appeal nor seek the applause of fools and say what must be said even it does not seem prudent to do so. 

No, I am not asking of the bishops that they make of themselves adversaries of government.  I ask that they do not abdicate their role as prophets in our “interesting times” and I ask that they do not subordinate faith, hope and charity to that kind of prudence that calculates the odds of gain and loss. 

One’s best friends are still those who can tell you to your face that you are wrong! – Rappler.com


The author is Dean, Graduate School of Law, San Beda College and professor at the Cagayan State University.