California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Angie, who is studying psychology, outside the Mountie Café at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California on August 28, 2019.

Do you consider yourself religious? 

Angie: Yes, I’m actually very active. I’m Catholic. I help with youth ministry at my church, St Margaret Mary in Chino. I help with the confirmation classes and I’m there maybe three or four times out of the week.

If someone asked you “Who is Jesus?” what would you say?

Angie: I feel like everyone would say Jesus is our Savior, but I don’t think I would want to say that because – I do believe in Jesus, I believe in my religion – but I still have a lot to learn myself and I haven’t experienced a complete transformation or anything yet. I would just say “Someone who I have trusted and go to when I’m looking for guidance or just with good things, too.”

What do you think about the scandal of priests sexually abusing children?

Angie: Of course it’s very bad. Even with our ministry, when that was going on, they had us do a whole training and we had to watch videos on sexual harassment and all these things before the classes would start. But I don’t know what to believe because, if I don’t witness it, it’s something hard for me to really attest to, but at least in my church I know everyone there, what our purpose is there, so I feel comfortable there and I know our students feel comfortable there, too.

Do you agree with the Church’s teaching that abortion is always wrong?

Angie: It’s funny you ask me that because we literally just had a meeting two days ago and that was one of the topics. Before I knew what the Church’s view on it was, I would always say, “It’s the person’s choice.” If it was me, it would be a different story. I don’t completely agree with the Church’s teaching on it. I think when it comes to people who unfortunately go through rape and things like that, that’s when it’s acceptable but to the Church of course it’s not.

The church teaches that abortion is wrong because it kills a human being. How do you reconcile allowing exceptions for certain circumstances with the fact that abortion kills a human being?

Angie: Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like it’s a really important topic that everyone is kind of stuck on in this generation, but I try not to get near those things. But since we just barely talked about it, it kind of has been something I thought about. And it’s hard to think about.

Do you agree with the church’s teaching that marriage is only between one man and one woman?

Angie: We also talked about that. I think I don’t, but I’ve been learning a lot more of what they say about it and it makes me a little upset because I know that, at least in my church, there’s a lot of gay people who work with the kids and in the youth ministry and our youth minister’s okay with them being there and the priest is okay with them being there. So it just kind of confuses me. If it’s against the religion then why do they let these people do this? I feel like they think they’re going to change and that’s what they hope but really it’s not up to them, it’s up to the person. So it’s hard.

How did you develop your moral code?

Angie: I think just my personality. I’m very accepting and understanding of everyone and I feel like everyone should have their own opinions. That’s just me as a person. But then when it comes to thinking about what the Church thinks, I don’t let it affect my opinion or the way I look at things, but it is something that I’m thinking, especially when I feel like I’m not being a good Catholic, it does mess with my actions and stuff. But other than that, I think it’s just me, how I look at people. I don’t judge anything or anyone.

Do you agree with the church’s teaching on contraception and sex outside of marriage?

Angie: We also talked about this too. We talked about contraception and sex outside of marriage – we’re starting confirmation soon so they wanted to talk about all these things. We talked about that and of course the Church is against it but our priest was there, and he was telling me people who are engaged go to him for counseling and tell him that they engage in sex outside of marriage and things like that. He’s going to tell them, “Well that’s not okay, I’m not going to marry you guys until you are like chaste.” But since people, especially Catholics, think that if you go to confession you will be relieved of your sins, it’s harder for them to think all of this is wrong because they’re going to think, “Oh, I’m just going to do it now and I’ll confess it later and it will be gone.” They think that they can erase it and go back and do whatever.

Before that meeting contraception wasn’t something I even thought about because I didn’t know how the Church viewed it. It kind of wowed me because I didn’t know being on birth control was basically the same thing as preventing a child. Not the same thing as abortion, of course, but it’s preventing a life, preventing a child. That kind of was like, whoa, it made me think about it. As far as whether I agree with that or not, I don’t know, because it was a whole new thing to me.

California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.

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