Christian Tetzlaff, superstar young violinist, charmed our town last month by playing Bach’s six works for solo violin. Critic Ted Shen came up with a stereotype when he described Tetzlaff as looking like “a graduate seminarian in his rapt intensity. . . . With his eyes closed . . . he seemed in the flow, in communion with the music.”
Whoa! What does a graduate seminarian look like? The picture of Tetzlaff shows him bespectacled, short-haired, bent over his violin and, yes, intense. I tried to match his image with the reality of students at the seminaries I have visited for decades. If Shen traveled with me, I’d show him that half the seminarians are women—even in the largest Catholic “seminary” in the country, our neighbor, the Catholic Theological Union. The fact that they do not look like Tetzlaff keeps these Catholic seminarians from ordination. Pope Paul VI declared that priests had to have a physical likeness to Christ.