continued Kelly Welsh, 41, lives in Bay Park. "I'm a born-again Christian. Catholic people do not believe the same things that I do. I'm not anti-Catholic, but I'm not pro-Catholic either. I have Catholic friends, and I'm not uncomfortable at all talking about this with them. When I see a priest, I know they are Catholic, but I don't believe that they're saved, I don't believe that they're going to heaven, and I don't believe they can forgive people's sins. They're just regular men who are putting themselves in that place. The stuff in the news is not surprising, because God did not call us to be out of marriage. It should always be against the law for adult men to have sex with teenagers, and their bishops should turn them in, and that goes for child pornography too. I think Catholic priests are more likely to do these things because they are told to abstain from sexual activity according to their faith, where a Protestant minister can have a sexual relationship with his wife in a proper Christian marriage. Sex outside of marriage is a mortal sin, no matter what faith it is. But I think priests counseling married couples about sex is absolutely stupid."
Miguel, 39, lives in Pacific Beach. "I'm anti-Catholic, and I have no Catholic friends that I know of. I've heard homosexual stories about priests and nuns. Whenever I've looked at a Catholic priest, the first thing that comes to mind is that they pray to idols -- dead people. Nothing has changed since then. It should definitely be illegal for these guys to have sex with boys, and they should be prosecuted. I know for a fact that the bishops quieted it down and transferred them to other congregations -- like maybe from the East Coast to here and vice versa. But they always take them away and hide them somewhere else. Child pornography is the same thing. It's illegal all the way around. I don't think that being a Catholic priest makes them more likely to do illicit sex than a Protestant minister. What I think affects them is that they are isolated in monasteries and nunneries; it brings on the fact that the homosexual thing will be more pervasive. I didn't know premarital sex was a mortal sin for Catholics. It's fornication but it happens. Priests have no business counseling married couples about sex. You have to experience it before you can counsel it. I think this is one of the clearest signs of the end times."
Tiffany Hawkins, 30, lives in Bird Rock. Hawkins's philosophy about Catholic priests and abuse is more relativistic than Miguel's. "I'm pretty indifferent about the Catholic Church. I have Catholic friends, and we're comfortable discussing this, because I don't think it's necessarily just about Catholics or priests. I think it's about molestation, and I think everyone, Catholic or not, will agree that that's a bad thing. Religion isn't really a huge topic with my friends. I know people who are very happy Catholics, still go to church, and have had wonderful influences from priests and nuns in their lives. Whenever I've looked at Catholic priests, all I've thought is, 'There's a Catholic priest.' I'm not a very judgmental person. Now I think about it more, especially being a parent. It's a very scary thing to think that someone could have your child's trust -- your own trust -- and abuse it that way. I think adults having sex with teenage boys is a private issue. I mean, young boys, yeah, that's terribly wrong. But 18 and up, they can make their own decisions. The bishops should report the priests. If they have child pornography, their supervisors should know about it and so should the community. I don't think it's more of a Catholic or Protestant problem. I don't distinguish. I disagree about premarital sex being a mortal sin. I don't think sex is a sin. I'm sure these priests have a lot of training and...I'm not a Catholic, so I don't know what they tell their parishioners."
Bob Feier, 48, is a La Jolla resident whose feelings toward the Catholic Church appear indifferent. "I have friends who are Catholic. It's not embarrassing for us to discuss these problems, because...it's just not embarrassing. They haven't told me anything about priests and nuns, except the anecdotes that the nuns were harsh in school and hit their hands with rulers, but those are my older friends. When I look at a priest, I've always seen a man of the cloth, but now I'm a little jaundiced about it. But adult men and teenage boys? It should absolutely be illegal. The bishops should report them to the authorities and let the authorities take care of it. If they own child pornography, they should not be in the priesthood. I'm not sure about a greater likelihood of illicit sexual activity than Protestant ministers. I think that because of celibacy...naw! Not really. I know that the Catholic Church teaches sex before marriage is a mortal sin, but nowadays, that's kind of an old-fashioned way of thinking. I think it's all right for priests to counsel people about sex, from a strictly academic point of view. I think there's no problem with it."
Steve Elkins, 57, is a Pacific Beach resident who also seems to feel indifferent about Catholicism. "The only priests that I've really known were Franciscan friars. I have friends who are Catholic. It's not at all uncomfortable to talk about this with them. We rise to adversities, and discussion brings everything out in the open. It's necessary. They haven't told me too much about priests and nuns -- at least nothing local. Just the discipline stories, but that happens at rabbinical school and Hebrew school too. Whenever I've looked at a Catholic priest, I've always thought, 'What a waste of manhood.' Look at all that productive sperm going to waste! The Eastern Orthodox allow marriage, and I think that's more of what should be happening. If the Pope wants to just push this away and not confront the priests and keep it all overshadowed... Gay should also mean 'joyous, happy,' but now it's a social taboo to say 'gay' about anything. I don't think sex between men and boys is right. Instead of covering this up, the bishops should report it. But if they have child pornography, isn't that their right of privacy? How many heterosexual lay people have pornographic videotapes and things? What's wrong with that? I mean, I don't. I don't think it's just a Catholic-priest problem. I think the idea that premarital sex is a mortal sin is pretty archaic. Isn't it kind of hard for a priest to counsel about sex? How can you counsel someone when you have no knowledge?"