SILENCE can build walls, not to protect but exclude. It is not always golden or calming – silence has the capacity to shatter peace and cause pain.
The four congregations who owned the Magdalene Laundries have declined either to contribute to a redress fund for survivors, or to explain why they won't. Their silence injures the mainly elderly victims of laundries, but it is also damaging to the nuns.
In this case, silence creates a vacuum – and a potential for demonisation to take shape inside it.
The sisters, with virtues such as charity and mercy name-checked in the official titles of their orders, have an ethical responsibility...