Santa Barbara City College part 1: “Society has changed”

"I wanted to poke Father’s eyes out"
Beside Luria Library at Santa Barbara City College (Mary Rose/California Catholic Daily)

California Catholic reporter Mary Rose visits a California college each week and ask students about God, good, and evil. 

  • Berenice Ramirez, studying kinesiology
  • Outside Luria Library at Santa Barbara City College
  • December 3, 2018
  • Do you consider yourself religious?
  • Berenice: Yes.
  • How does that affect your life?
  • Berenice:  I guess I always have – faith. I always say, “It’s going to be okay because -” I’m Catholic, so – “because God is by my side, and He’s here.” And if it doesn’t go okay, then I just say He did it because He wanted me to learn from this.
  • What would you say to a student who had left the Catholic Church because he had questions about it that he felt weren’t answered?
  • Berenice: I feel like in every religion there is stuff where you can question and then you never get an answer, or it’s just unclear. So, I don’t know, I always question and then, I don’t know, I just, I don’t know.
  • Maybe you’re saying you have the gift of faith?
  • Berenice: Yes, you just believe. Two years ago I had a brain aneurysm and I was not – I hated going to church. My mom would force me to go and I wanted to poke the preacher’s eyes out when he was talking because I didn’t believe anything that he was saying. And then I had my brain aneurysm and when the doctor walked in he told me what was going on. He told me that I couldn’t cry. And I just felt such peace and I immediately I thought of God when I wasn’t even religious.
  • What brought you back to the Church?
  • Berenice: Just that feeling. That feeling that – I just knew that it was Him. It was Him that gave me that peace.
  • Do you agree with the Catholic moral teachings?
  • Berenice: Yes. Yes, because, where I go to church [at St. Joseph’s in Carpinteria], the father always tells us that he understands that society is changing and he understands that everything is not like how it used to be where you can’t have sex ‘til you’re married or you can’t – he understands today’s society. So I think that, yeah, I do agree with his teachings. Because, like I said, he understands that society has changed.
  • What do you think about the current scandal in the Church?
  • Berenice: You mean like the priests -? Well, I feel like it’s like everything: there’s always good and there’s always bad. I feel like right now people are just focusing on the bad. I feel like it shouldn’t be seen as “Catholics.” Right now people are always questioning us. I always get my friends who aren’t Catholic, they always tell me, “Oh, it’s just – that religion is just – they’re just asking you for money.” And no, I feel like people – like many things right now – like us immigrants – they always say, “Oh, you guys are just after money.” Or, “You guys are taking our jobs.” Or, “Oh, you’re selling drugs,” and that’s not everyone so that shouldn’t be how you see immigrants so that shouldn’t be how you see Catholic people.
  • What do you think about Pope Francis?
  • Berenice: I don’t know. I haven’t really looked into that.
  • How would you defend the existence of God if you were talking to an atheist?
  • Berenice: I think I would just give them the example that I just gave you about me when I wasn’t religious. I hated anything that had to do with religion. And then that day – that moment – I just felt that peace and then I just – now I love going to church and I believe in God and I pray every night with my mom and my little brother. I would just give them that example because if I didn’t believe in it – like I said, I wanted to poke Father’s eyes out, but now I go and I actually listen and I understand what they’re saying and it makes sense.

Comments

  1. Society has changed… for the worse. So has edumacation. So has catechesis-shmesis. So has litter-gee. And civilization’s collapse isn’t far off.

  2. That there are even people like Berenice is an absolute miracle…she’s not much different than the first century saints…what the heck to you holier than thou men and women of God want in this day and age? She has more faith than a lot of our ordained clergy and professed religious these days….God have mercy on you!

  3. Is the name of the young women being interviewed “Berenice” or “Bernice”? The writer used the former spelling throughout her writing until the very last question. The latter spelling is more common — “Bernice”.

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