Interviews with Maria Urbina and with Gildra, who is studying anthropology, took place in the Upper Quad and Lower Quads, respectively, at Rio Hondo College in Whittier on March 18, 2019.


California Catholic Daily: Do you consider yourself religious?

Maria: Yeah. I consider myself Catholic. I go to church every Sunday.

What do you think about the Church’s moral teachings? Do you think abortion is wrong?

Maria: Yes. It’s wrong, but also if it was a result of a trauma like a rape or something and the woman doesn’t want to keep it, they should have the choice of, I don’t want it, right? But then also it’s wrong if you just don’t want it. It was your choice, you got pregnant, so it’s not the baby’s fault.

What would you say to the argument that it’s never the baby’s fault, even in the case of rape?

Maria: I don’t know. It’s hard, because it’s true that it’s not the baby’s fault either way. If either it was something that happened to the woman or if it was just being pregnant, the baby still has no fault.

What about the Church’s teaching that marriage is for one man and one woman?

Maria: I think love Is love and it could be a man and a man or woman and a woman. I see no problem with it, personally. Most Catholics are starting to accept it a little bit more than other people, but it’s still an issue.

What about the Church’s teaching that sex is reserved for marriage?

Maria: Yeah, I do agree with that.

Have you always been Catholic?

Maria:  Yes. My dad, my mom, and my sister, we’re all just Catholic but my dad’s sister turned Christian. She was Catholic but then turned Christian and then my cousins, her kids, turned Christian but the rest of my family’s Catholic. I think they turned Christian because of their dad. He’s a Christian pastor, so I’m pretty sure he changed them and took them to his religion.

You agree with some of the Church’s teachings, but not all. How do you decide what’s right and wrong?

Maria: If it’s morally right, then for me it’s right, but then if I see it’s wrong, I see it wrong, I guess.

How do you decide what’s morally right and morally wrong?

Maria: I never thought about it that way, how I know what’s right and what’s wrong. Man, I don’t know how to answer. I’m blanking. Would it be from the morals my parents taught me? What’s right to do and what’s something wrong?

But what if someone else’s parents taught them something else?

Maria: So I guess right would be right for –  in my case it’s just what my parents taught me. But what’s morally right for – like respect – no, it’s not like respect, is it? Like having respect for people? It’s not morals, is it? Like when someone’s talking, you wait until they’re done talking to ask a question or something. Not interrupting.

The respect you’re talking about could be similar to the Biblical understanding of loving your neighbor. But how do you decide what’s good for your neighbor and be sure it doesn’t hurt other people at the same time?

Maria: Consider both sides of what’s gonna happen, maybe, and see what’s better for both of them, because there’s going to be more than just one person involved. So I would say consider both sides and see where they can both meet in the middle, maybe?

If you were explaining your belief in God to an atheist, what would you say?

Maria: Miracles do happen. That’s an act of God. I’ve heard some people actually see Him in a form in the dirt or something. I guess in other countries they’ve seen God. You don’t have to physically see him to believe in Him. He’s God, He created everything. The Earth, people, everything. So, you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Him.

Do you know anything about Pope Francis?

Maria: He was the pope before the one we have now, right? I’ve heard about him, like when he goes to the Mass on TV. I watch it in Spanish with my mom. I’ve heard of him.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Maria: I believe in heaven. I believe we go somewhere. Where, I don’t know, but I believe we go somewhere.

Do you believe everyone goes to heaven?

Maria: No. I believe in down there. I don’t like to say the word, but I believe there’s a down there.



California Catholic Daily: Do you consider yourself religious?

Gildra: Not really. I don’t go to church or anything. I believe in God. Miracles happen and I look at everything and know God made it. When something’s wrong, you pray and it gets better.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Gildra: Yeah, I believe in heaven and hell. You get to heaven by just following what God says. Don’t do anything evil or break the laws. Just live a peaceful life.

How do you determine what God says?

Gildra: The Commandments, I’d say.

What about things that Christians disagree on, like abortion?

Gildra: No, I don’t think that’s right. It’s still a child. I don’t know, maybe if you get an abortion that’s not a path to hell. I think it’s more for if you were raped and can’t take care of the child. Personally, I wouldn’t get an abortion, I’d probably give it away for adoption. If you had to get an abortion or if it wasn’t your choice, I don’t think that’s going to send you to hell.

What about the traditional Christian understanding that marriage is between one man and one woman?

Gildra: Personally, I don’t have a problem with gay people getting married, as long as they’re in love and they want to get married, that’s fine. I do think marriage should be between a man and a woman, but if they want to get married, that’s their choice. They have a right.

Do you know anything about Pope Francis?

Gildra: No, I don’t follow any of that stuff. I don’t believe in popes or anything.

A California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.