This information may explain their decision not to contribute to the costs of compensation for women who spent time in the Magdalene Laundries. The silence of the remaining three congregations — and of the Mercy Sisters up to Jul 20 — has damaged the good name of these congregations and of women religious in this country. Many people, including those of us who care about the state of our Church, are puzzled and dismayed to hear no direct word of explanation from these congregations. While we want to believe that there are good reasons for this lack of explanation, we have no answer to give those who ask us: ‘Why are the Sisters refusing to explain why they are now silent? The ongoing general and media speculation about the reasons for this silence will continue until the congregations concerned tell us the reasons for their decision.