The Conclave’s Blind Spots

Mar 12 2013 @ 2:42pm

Anthony Judge examines the cardinals’ educational backgrounds. Tom Jacobs wishes for more diversity:

Theology is the most popular subject by some distance, with philosophy taking a solid second place. Of the handful of other disciplines, only four of the cardinals have studied psychology, and only one economics.

While on one level, this isn’t at all surprising, it’s worth contemplating. These men—and one of them in particular—will be handing down decisions that spell out ethical rules impacting a variety of fields, including medicine. Wouldn’t it be nice if the group included some voices that could explain the latest scientific understanding of the workings of mind and body?

It would indeed. But the kind of priesthood that would include that kind of experience would not insist on celibacy. If women and married priests were admitted, the range of skills, backgrounds and experience would definitely help the church convey its message more effectively. A reclusive, effeminate theologian like Benedict XVI is almost guaranteed to lack the worldly skills needed – just in rooting out corruption in the Vatican. But this self-selected group – almost all appointed by Wojtila and Ratzinger – are unlikely to see that. It’s the blind leading the blind.