Sunday, May 15, 2011

On Ignorance

If you have accompanied me over the years of my "Jesuit's Journey" you know that my comment boxes are frequently left empty. I reckon this is a consequence of a deliberate effort to shy away from controversial topics. Hence I seldom write anything about sexuality, abortion, health care, economics, marriage: I have to take responsibility for the content I post here and, in order to be responsible, I often have to remain silent about issues I'd very much like to engage. I cannot engage in controversy, though, as the demands of my primary work - teaching in the high school - must come first. Thus it is that I have to avoid head-on confrontations.

A blog, by its nature something of a public journal, records the life of the author and the way s/he sees the world. I have often tried to give insight into my journey, my life, so that others may come to know how this particular Jesuit thinks. I share, as often as I post, something of my story. My old friend Joseph Fromm, the "author" of Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit would as well take on the mantle of blogger. Yet, as I read Joseph's posts and try to understand the story that his blogging life tells, I recall a portion of  Macbeth's famous soliloquy: is a tale,
 told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
signifying nothing. 
 Over the past few years, I have frequently called Joseph out for what I regard as his appalling ignorance. Just today, I read a post about the Jesuit Father Saju George who is an Indian dancer. You can read it for yourself, of course, but what I love is that Joseph labels it "Liberation Theology." Can someone explain how "A Jesuit Priest who performs Bharatnatym" is a liberation theologian?

Does Joseph really think that Father Saju's dancing is so influenced by Marxist ideology that it "adopts the primacy of politics and economics, which now become the real power that can bring about salvation"? Does Father Saju believe that "the redemption of mankind...occurs through politics and economics, in which the form of the future is determined"? Does Father Saju jettison God, replacing God with the Economy? You don't see that either?? Jeez, I guess neither would Pope Benedict XVI who, in 2008, described liberation theology in the preface to his earlier Introduction to Christianity (you can read the preface by following the link - you can search for 'liberation'). 

Oh! I get it: when Joseph doesn't like something, he labels it. If you don't like the idea of 'social justice' (which has been a part of Catholic social teaching for quite some time), label it liberation theology. Don't like something a Jesuit says? Heck, label it 'liberation theology' because the label-and-dismiss tactic works really well...if you want to display your ignorance.

I use Joseph as an example because he is a prime example of what I see as one of the great malignancies in the Roman Catholic Church. This guy trolls the internet and picks out little articles and gives them titles of his own devising. He gives no criteria for his judgments, he gives no standard by which to measure. We are left to assume that Joseph is himself the measure Jesuit rectitude.

Having taught a number of sophomores these last two years, I can only say that "blogger developmentally" Joseph Fromm is a sophomore. These are the students who generally think they stand at the center of the universe and that things are "good" or "bad" based on personal preference, rather than on any informed or discerned judgment. The only remedy: time, patience, and grinding them down by showing how wrong they are, exposing ignorance, and showing by word and deed better ways to think.

Not bad advice for some of our blogging brethren, eh?
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