"It's hard to be a public professional of the church and have integrity and be understanding of . . . and faithful to the church when the church is so sexist and biased against women. . . . . This is painful."
-- A 55-year-old nun from the North
"Church leadership is too concerned with preserving an all-male priesthood, too preoccupied with sex and sexual morality, too conservative in its views, to provide the needed spiritual and moral leadership. I view the lack of ordained priests as a blessing--one which will eventually call for a renewed examination of pastoral leadership."
-- A 48-year-old nun from the South
"I do not like to see sisters on the altar during Mass at any time. (That) privilege belongs exclusively to ordained priests. Also, I am disturbed by the modern clothes, etc., the sisters are now wearing. I'm old-fashioned. I put my veil on in 1934 and would never go without it. . . ."
-- A 77-year-old nun from the Midwest
"I think religious women today have allowed too much of the secular to enter into their lives. . . . We do not witness as living a vowed life of poverty, chastity and obedience. We appear a contradiction to the public."
-- A 58-year-old nun from the Midwest
"If sexism is declared sinful, so should feminism."
-- A 35-year-old priest from the Midwest
"I believe Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. are happy and fulfilled persons who work hard to serve the people. At the same time, I think we have a democracy that we hold to be very valuable and should be more in evidence in the church."
-- A 57-year-old priest from the South
"I am very positive that God is in control and renewal of the church is ongoing. I don't think I would ever want to not be a priest or to do anything other than what I have done with my life."
-- A 61-year-old priest from the Midwest
"I am very happy as a priest and don't regret it at all. Most of the priests I know feel the same--the vast majority of them, in fact."
-- A 41-year-old priest from the South
"One case of pedophilia gets headlines all over, and we are all tarnished by the press. Bad news is big news, good news is no news."
-- A 67-year-old priest from the North
"It is a very, very small number of all the priests I know (who are sexual abusers of children). . . . The problem itself is terribly serious--tragic for victims and extremely damaging . . . to the priesthood. Nothing in my memory has ever so damaged the priestly image."
-- A 58-year-old priest from the West
"The Catholic Church I grew up in no longer exists. Vatican II changed this--a good thing."
--A 61-year-old priest from the South
"This Pope is very educated and smart but overconservative. He doesn't know the real world. He is too angelic and not down on Earth."
--A priest from the South (refused to give age)
"I am a young priest and I'm concerned. I travel to many different parishes. I see many elder people and many children, but I see very few people my own age. Where are they? What isn't the church doing to attract them? I'm concerned that in 30 years there will be nobody in the church besides a few die-hards. I hope this changes."
-- A 27-year-old priest from the West