Philosophy professor Greg Coulter and The Rev. Andrew Cozzens of the St. Paul Seminary debated Thursday night at St. Thomas’ 3M Auditorium about whether the vocation to consecrated life is superior to other vocations.
Coulter argued that consecrated life is not superior to other vocations, such as marriage, because the two are so different that they cannot even be compared. Cozzens, however, argued that the consecrated life is superior because a person living that way has a direct relationship with God.
Each presenter was given 15 to 20 minutes to make their arguments with an opportunity to give a rebuttal afterward.
Freshman Julia Lerner said she was impressed with Coulter and Cozzens.
“It was very well set up and very civilized,” Lerner said. “It was very cool to see that debates don’t have to be debates and be argumentative.”
Coulter argued how important marriage is to everyone, including people who are leading a consecrated life.
“The marriage state is the source of all vocations in some way. None of us would be here without it,” Coulter said.
Junior Anna DeMarais found herself agreeing with Coulter.
“It makes more sense to me because in the long run it is what God calls you to. If he doesn’t call you to a consecrated life, it seems a little pointless to say it is superior,” DeMarais said.
Cozzens said that marriage is something that should be valued and appreciated but stood firm in his belief that a consecrated life is superior.
“It doesn’t mean of course that a married person is automatically going to have a less relationship with Christ than a consecrated person, but the relationship is going to be different because of the necessity to give my heart to another person in marriage,” Cozzens said.
Senior seminarian Garrett Ahlers said he thought both arguments were thought provoking but said that he agreed with Cozzens more.
“I think the arguments in the tradition of the Church are in favor that the consecrated vocation is of the superior sort,” Alhers said.
Alhers pointed out that not all seminarians would agree with this, however.
“I think you might be surprised. I found just talking to some of my peers… there is a surprising variety of stances on this,” Alhers said.
Olivia Detweiler can be reached at email@example.com.