To the Editor:

As an individual who was only baptized as a Catholic, I was very disappointed to read Jacqueline Costrini’s opinion piece from Thursday (“Modern’ pope antithetical to Church’s identity,” 4/21). It is exactly her sort of intolerance that pushes moderate, marginal Catholics away from the Church in the first place.

Perhaps Costrini should be excused; after all, she did take on the rather Herculean task of giving rational expression to her blind faith in the Vatican. However, the ultimatum she gives between either accepting the Pope’s authority or renouncing Catholicism is entirely unacceptable. Wasn’t Christianity founded on tolerance? Although I, like most people, do believe in absolute morality, I refuse to accept a parallel between “terrorism” and homosexuality as two forms of absolute wrong. I prefer to leave those questions to God.

Costrini should think twice before presuming to tell us who does and does not want to be a Catholic. For many, Catholicism is about the ideals expressed in the divine person of Jesus, not Benedict XVI. Those people who subscribe to this notion are just as Catholic as any other. I personally may not be a practicing Catholic, but it is views like those expressed by Costrini that make becoming one look wholly unpleasant.

Jake Velker ’07

April 21, 2005

To the Editor:

I am one of the students whom Jacqui Costrini describes as being disappointed about the choice of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope. As a Catholic, I disagree fervently with her implication that there is no room for the Church’s teachings to evolve as we grow into a more mature understanding of God’s plan for us.

I am not looking for the Church to change its teachings merely to align with “modern societal views.” However, I am disturbed by the way that some Catholics, including Benedict XVI, seem to believe that people seeking reform “don’t want to be Catholic.” Reform is a process that has occurred in the Church over the past 2,000 years, and that should continue. The increased participation of the congregation in the mass, the church’s renewed emphasis on social justice and the introduction of female altar servers are only a few examples of how the Church hierarchy has acknowledged the continuing revelation of Christ and the changing needs of the Church’s members. I particularly question whether the Church’s present views on the role of women are divinely derived or rather the product of human imperfection.

As individuals, we do not remain static in our quest to live as believers. Instead, we constantly acknowledge our shortcomings and work to better express the love of Christ in our words and actions. Shouldn’t the Church as an institution do the same?

Bridget Kelly ’05