By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Habitual Cluelessness, Courtesy of Ideological Agendas

Yesterday, Pope Francis "revolutionized" (using the words of Reuters News--see the embedded Twitter feed to the right) the Vatican by establishing a Secretariat for the Economy, under Cardinal Pell, to take control of the Vatican's assets for the greater glory of God (A.M.D.G., the Jesuit motto). When I first saw the headline, I immediately knew by intuition that this move was another major stroke of genius by a pope who is not only (and most importantly) compassionate, open, warm, theologically profound, and very human but who is also immensely astute, shrewd, efficient, and energetic.

But the clueless on the internet just never get it. The ideological agendas of some, especially in the so-called traditionalist faction, create what I call "habitual cluelessness," a habit of looking without seeing, of reading without understanding, of hearing without listening: "Oh, what is a secretariat?" (There is already one in the Vatican called the Secretariat of State.) "What does he/the Pope mean by that in his remarks?" (What Scripture and Christian tradition have always meant by that.)

I am often astounded by the cluelessness of people who engage in so many devout practices. Is it possible to lack a Christian intuition and yet be immersed in devotional practices? Based on what I have observed, surprisingly, it is possible. I do not think this cluelessness is necessarily a matter of intelligence. Ideological agendas have a way of perniciously blinding us to what should be second nature for a Christian. And I remind my Protestant friends, as they well know, that this ideological blindness is not just a Catholic problem but a very ecumenical problem.

(Image in public domain)