Dear Reader,

California colleges are battlefields for student minds.

Students’ hearts yearn for the truth, but where will they find it?

Our reporter, Mary Rose, will chronicle this battle.

She will visit a California college each week and ask students about God, good, and evil.

Below is the second installment of California Catholic Daily’s new feature, “Inquiring Minds.”

Mary Rose: Do you consider yourself religious?

Jair: Once upon a time. Not anymore. The religious members of my family moved to different cities so that Sunday church became less and less me being involved. And eventually, I just didn’t have time. [My faith consisted of] going to church with my family.

Syndi: Yeah, I feel like there’s a greater being that oversees everything.

Elizabeth: To a certain extent, yeah. I think that there’s a higher being, I’m just not so sure it’s what everyone else thinks it is. So I just know there is something out there but I don’t know what it is. Looking at all the different religions and stuff, everyone has a different person that’s above or a higher being and they’re all different but very similar so I think you can’t really say that one is superior to another if they’re all on the same level.

Does your faith affect how you live your life?

Jair: I suppose that a lot of morals and principles that I still follow were planted in me by those family members who believed that those were the right way to live life. And I still hold them today, even if I might not know their biblical reference.  I suppose [I consider myself a Christian]. I mean, that was the faith I grew up in and it’s what is most known.

Syndi: Yeah. I think it definitely influences the morals I hold and what I perceive as wrong or right.

Elizabeth: It doesn’t really. I’m not that active in the whole religious thing. I’m not really too involved or pay that much attention, just the general aspect of it is a very small part of my life.

Have you heard about the scandals in the Catholic Church?

Jair: Yes, I enjoy movies a lot, so “Spotlight” was one that I found quite interesting. My mother’s side of the family, being Spaniard, are very heavily Catholic. Even my father’s side are Christian, more traditional Christian, so that was a very heated conversation one Thanksgiving. My father’s side of the family found it very interesting that the Catholic priests had become so repressed that they stoop toward those that could not defend themselves, such as children. I don’t condone their actions, but I believe human beings are very complicated so I’d like to believe it was more than just a matter of being repressed for a period of time. It was their choice to be priests, so obviously as the years progressed and they went through the process to be a priest, they had every option to leave. So, if by the end of it, they were still there and that urge to do their horrible actions were there, it must be more psychological than just repression. So I don’t completely agree [with my father’s side of the family].

Syndi: I have heard about it, but not through reading articles, just through people.

Elizabeth: No. Oh, that. Yeah, it’s kind of manipulative, the way that they say like, “Oh yeah, I’m here to help you. I’m there for you,” but then tricking people, or these children, into doing things they think is right or that is going to make them right with God or whoever. It’s messed up.

What do you think about Pope Francis?

Jair: I don’t know much about Pope Francis. What I know about him is that he’s trying to make it more accessible to my generation, which seems to question a lot of the church’s ideals. So it seems like Pope Francis is trying to adjust to that, but what he’s specifically doing I couldn’t tell you. I hear, “Pope Francis is trying to do this, it’s for your generation, the people who don’t believe in Catholicism,” and I’m just like, “Oh, interesting, I hope it works for whoever chooses that faith.”

Syndi: I don’t know much, but from what I’ve seen online, people seem positive, so I think he’s a decent guy. I don’t know anything bad about him. I haven’t seen any articles, like: “Scandals about Pope Francis.”

Elizabeth: Nothing.

Do you think you might ever practice your faith again?

Jair: I believe I might, but what would cause me to, I’m not quite sure. I’m quite content in life, so there isn’t that necessity for a higher power. If there is a higher power, I’m very grateful that He’s still taking care of me and given me much fortune, even if I may not be devoted to Him as much as I may have been when I was younger. I’m fine at the moment.

“Inquiring Minds” is a California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.