More Arrupe, another trilogy of ideas. Silence in the sense we’re suggesting with this action is the clarification of respect (abstinence as compassion), a stand against suborning, a dismantling of structures of authority (in language, e.g.) that are accepted as given, but may be revealed as less than absolute.
Just as love of God, in the Christian view, fuses with love of neighbor, to the point that they cannot possibly be separated, so, too, charity and justice meet together and in practice are identical. How can you love someone and treat him or her unjustly? Take justice away from love and you destroy love. You do not have love if the beloved is not seen as a person whose dignity must be respected, with all that that implies. And even if you take the Roman notion of justice as giving to each his due, what is owing to him, Christians must say that we owe love to all people, enemies not excepted.
Just as we are never sure that we love God unless we love others, so we are never sure that we have love at all unless our love issues in works of justice. And I do not mean works of justice in a merely individualistic sense. I mean three things:
First, a basic attitude of respect for all people which forbids us ever to use them as instruments for our own profit.
Second, a firm resolve never to profit from, or allow ourselves to be suborned by, positions of power deriving from privilege, for to do so, even passively, is equivalent to active oppression. To be drugged by the comforts of privilege is to become contributors to injustice as silent beneficiaries of the fruits of injustice.
Third, an attitude not simply of refusal but of counterattack against injustice; a decision to work with others toward the dismantling of unjust social structures so that the weak, the oppressed, the marginalized of this world may be set free.