Question and Answer in the comment section of the "Silence Runs Deep" post below:
Question from a reader in New York, a young woman who will celebrate her first anniversary as a Catholic at Easter:
"How about, I deeply desire to share Christ with the world, but I am afraid of the reactions of other lay Catholics?
I know Catholics with hidden spiritual lives. Some of them I knew for 5 or 10 years and it wasn't until after I converted that I found out they had any personal spiritual lives.
When I ask, why don't you talk about this with anyone, they don't say anything about priests shutting them down.
They say they are worried about looking weird in front of Catholic family and friends, or worried about bad reactions from other lay people who are involved in parish ministries. Adults in their early 30s, raised Catholic, tell me that their parents would not understand. I think their fears are well founded in some cases."
Fascinating. They are worried, not so much about what non-believers think but what other Catholics will think if they talk about their faith?
So, through our spontaneous communal discomfort about speaking of our experience of God, we are "policing" our own, so to speak. There is real, if seldom acknowledged, Catholic pressure on one another to stay silent.
Imagine what would happen if Catholics experienced the same kind of "soft" pressure in favor of sharing their faith? As happens in the evangelical world.
Is that why so many Catholics who become evangelical are suddenly willing and able to talk about faith issues at great length - because the "soft power", the wind of lived ecclesial culture has shifted dramatically, and the wind is now behind the back of the one who wants to evangelize?