The response by Virginia Seuffert in to Ken Trainor’s column is perplexing. [Trainor’s Catholic rant can’t go unchecked, Viewpoints, May 19] Seuffert is obviously an intelligent woman with deeply held beliefs, and she is entitled to all of them. However, she seems to believe that Trainor is not allowed to have his, particularly if they do not gibe with hers. When I read the column, I was astonished at how her complaint about Catholic bashing devolved into a personal attack on Trainor’s moral character.
Trainor’s original column was not a personal attack on anyone, but rather a statement of why he believed Catholics need to make their church more accountable. [It’s critical that Catholics find their voice, Viewpoints, April 28] Sadly, the clergy and hierarchy of the church have not been holding themselves accountable enough, and worldwide children have suffered grievously for it. Seuffert declares that Trainor’s “liberal wish list” is at odds with church teaching, particularly “traditions that have existed since the church’s founding.” Hmm. Let’s look at her arguments.
She says that the church cannot ordain women because “They have never been ordained in any place at any time.” OK. The same holds true for the election of a Pole to the papacy. It had never happened before anywhere, yet there was no outcry when it happened. It would have been ludicrous if there had been. She also states that female ordination cannot happen because Christ did not do it. Given the historical times in which he lived and the status of women at that point in history, that is no surprise. However, he only ordained Jewish men who spoke Aramaic. Should all future priests be limited to this ethnic and cultural group? Obviously, not despite the fact that there were Moors, Romans, Samaritans, Greeks, etc., living around Jesus at the time of his ministry, whom he did not choose to ordain.
She also states that birth control is responsible for the lowering of moral standards, and a lessening respect for women by men. By her own admission, women were treated like cattle during the Middle Ages, so maltreatment of women because of their sex is nothing new. Birth control did not cause it, and has not cured it. That does not mean that because it is traditional that it should continue. By the same token, just because a male priesthood is traditional does not mean that it should continue, either. There is nothing in Jesus’ teachings that prohibits female priests. It is a holdover from sexist beliefs about women’s spirituality that keeps it entrenched within the church.
Lastly, I’m puzzled as to why Trainor’s pastor and retreat master have a responsibility for what Seuffert sees as his “obstinate ignorance.” The concept of free will means that he and he alone is responsible for his actions, just as she alone is responsible for her uncharitable attack.
Helen Kossler is an Oak Park resident.