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7 reasons Catholics leave church (in Trenton, #1 is sex abuse crisis)
One in 10 Americans is a former Catholic.
March 30th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

7 reasons Catholics leave church (in Trenton, #1 is sex abuse crisis)

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Even though Roman Catholics are the second-largest religious group in the United States, the tradition has seen an exodus of members in recent decades. One in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic.

If ex-Catholics were counted as their own religious group, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

If it weren’t for the infusion of Catholic immigrants, especially from Latin American, the American Catholic Church would be shrinking pretty fast.

A recent study by two college professor tries to get at a simple question: Why are they leaving?

Conducted William J. Byron, a professor of business at St. Joseph’s University and Charles Zech, founder of the Center for the Study of Church Management of Villanova’s School of Business, the anecdotal study conducted in late fall of 2011 processes the opinions of 300 non-churchgoing Catholics in Trenton, New Jersey.

The scholars, working at the request of Trenton’s Catholic bishop, asked parishioners who have drifted away not just why the left, but what church teachings they disagree with and whether they ever truly considered themselves part of the Catholic community.

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Though the study paints a picture of a church with some characteristics that rub people the wrong way, the researchers – both at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania – argue that the study presents new ways in which church leadership can reconcile with ex-Catholics.

"We need a more pastoral approach to people," Zech says. "There are two types of issues that appear. One revolves around church beliefs and frankly those won’t change. But we have to do a better job explaining some of the issue that the church might not change and why that is."

The report is based on one particular diocese, but its authors say it gives a good picture of challenges facing the broader church. "I think the same seven items would show up for the most part," in other areas of the country, Zech says.

The 7 biggest reasons Catholics from Trenton are leaving the church, according to the study:

1. The sex abuse crisis

Byron and Zech asked ex-Catholics to cite their main reason for leaving: “If you could communicate directly with the bishop, what would you say?”

The most common answer: the church’s inadequate response to clergy sex abuse. “The bishop’s refusal to list pedophile priests on the diocesan Web site and his non-support of the effort to lift the statute of limitations for bringing sexual abuses cases forward in the courts” did it for me, one man said, according to the report.

Several respondents said they had been victims of sexual abuse by church leadership.

2. The church’s stance on homosexuality

The second most cited reason for leaving the church was that former worshipers felt homosexuals were unwelcome in the church.

As recently as March 9, Pope Benedict XVI denounced what he categorized as the “powerful” gay marriage lobby in the United States. In the same speech he noted these views would be seen as “countercultural” to young people, but told bishops to not back down to “powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage."

When those surveyed were asked if there were any religious beliefs in the Catholic Church that troubled them, a number cited views on same-sex marriage. “The church’s view on gays, same-sex marriage, women as priests and priests not marrying, to name a few,” said one respondent, explaining her departure from the church.

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“Hypocrisy,” said one person. “History of discrimination against women, anti-gay stance, unwelcoming attitude.”

William D’Antonio of the Catholic University of America recently published a study called “Catholics in America: Persistence and change in the Catholic landscape.” found that even though the church and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has come out against homosexual relationships, only 35% of Catholics surveyed said the church’s opinion on homosexuality is “very important.”

The same survey found that 86% of respondents believe a Catholic “can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church."

3. Dissatisfaction with the priest

About half of those surveyed in the Trenton report were not supportive of the pastor they had left behind.

According to Byron and Zech, words like “arrogant,” “distant,” “aloof” and “insensitive” were all used by respondents to describe their priest.

4. Uninspiring homilies on Sundays

A number of people responded that homilies, weekly Sunday messages from the priest, did not relate or “speak to” them.

“I stopped going regularly because the homilies were so empty,” one respondent said. “And whenever the church wanted to raise money, they dropped the homily and talked money.”

“I would advise the bishop to make training in public speaking mandatory for every priest,” said another. “They should also be trained in how to relate their homilies to the people and inspire them.”

“As much as I wanted to get involved and expand my faith, there were no clear avenues to do that,” replied one person. “So it was just a place to attend Mass. And because attending Mass was a guilt-ridden obligation, I was always alone in a crowd where I knew no one and no one knew me.”

5. Perception that church hierarchy is too closely tied to conservative politics

Politics was a mixed bag, according to the survey.

Though some people wanted the church to become more conservative – “change the liberal-progressive political slant to a more conservative,” said one person – others responded differently.

“Eliminate the extreme conservative haranguing,” said one person. Another respondent said politics and the church shouldn’t mix: “I feel the church should stay out of politics; it should certainly not threaten politicians.”

6. Church’s stance toward divorced and remarried Catholics

Catholicism’s stance on divorce and remarriage were also highlighted, especially by divorced females.

The churches stance on divorce is closely tied to their stance on adultery. Without getting a marriage annulled, any marriage after a divorce is considered adulterous. Therefore, divorced people who have not had their marriage annulled or remarried are not able to receive Holy Communion.

“Please find a way not to exclude me from the Catholic community,” said one 56-year old divorced female. A 59-year old divorced female said she would tell her bishop to “petition the church to expand its view on divorce.”

In November of last year, Pope Benedict XVI responded to a German bishop who questioned the Church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage. “A pastoral approach which truly wants to help the people concerned must always be grounded in the truth… in the end, only the truth can be pastoral,” the Pope wrote, signaling a reluctance to change church teachings on divorce and remarriage policy.

“Instead of making every Mass a form of humiliation for Catholics who cannot receive communion,” one respondent to the Trenton survey said, “do something like a private blessing at communion time, to include everyone.”

7. The status of women

With the political debate over religious conscience and contraceptive coverage, women’s rights and the church have come to the forefront of debate in American politics. According to the Trenton study, a number of people who have left the church cite a “history of discrimination against women,” as one reason for leaving.

Respondents also took issue with the fact that while other churches allow women to become ordained priests, the Catholic Church does not.

“If the Catholic Church does not change its archaic views on women, it is going to become a religion that survives on the fringe of an open-minded, progressive society,” one person who was surveyed said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sex abuse

soundoff (1,757 Responses)
  1. Dawn

    I was raised a Catholic but am no longer a practicing catholic. The church prefers to remain in the dark ages. They have allowed the abuse of children to happen. They don't allow priests to marry so they eliminate many wonderful men from joining the priesthood. They don't want women to use contraception. When my husband and I had our son, I almost died. My doctor told me I could never have any other children or risk death. My priest told me that birth control was against God. I don't think God wants me to have children I can't take care of. The church will continue to see a mass exodus of educated catholics who are no longer willing to accept orders from men with so much sin hiding in their closets.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • emma

      Amen.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • moco loco

      @Dawn... the litmus test... where does it say in the bible that contraception is disallowed by God... I am a married christian... and I am the Catholics Church worst nighmare... 'cause I can READ! it worked well 500 years ago when the masses had to rely on the priest telling them what is in the bible.. I guess the part where each christian can get the knowledge first hand by reading it for themselves put a dent in the churches paln for oppression

      Good for you, our Lord is more about mecy and forgiveness than it is about the legalistic misinterpreted scriptures by those who seek to take our Lords place...

      March 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • RZ70

      @moco loco... There are two passages that frequently used by the church (and completely out of context) to justify the position. First was the blessing after the floods "Be fruitful and multiply" (depending on your translation). They take this to mean have as many kids as you can. The other is a passage about (and I forget all of the names) some woman whose husband had died and so her husbands brother was allowed to have s e x with her to provide here with a child and stay tied to the family. However, he pulled out and 'spilled his seed upon the ground'. Now, ignoring for a second the whole adultery aspect (which every church does every time they throw this one out there), they seem to be missing the context that the ONLY reason these two were doing it was to create a child.

      there are one or two others, but these are the ones I hear being brought up. So remember, not only do you have to read, but you have to read more than the cliff notes. the good news for the Catholic church is that they'll pick up all the lazy students who can still read.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  2. Brad

    Several members of my congregation (Lutheran) were Catholic and left because of issues surrounding divorce and remarriage. I would have guessed that that would have been higher on the list. I wonder if the reasons for leaving Catholicism for another denomination differ from those that lead someone to leave religion altogether.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  3. Trish

    Am divorced/remarried catholic. I would have gotten an annullment, but the business known as the Catholic Church charges about $1800 (in my area) for an annullment. Isn't that something a priest should just be able to do? Why do I have to pay? Did John the Baptist charge Jesus for his baptism? The $$$ part of the church is bull..............

    March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I hear they charge 250 bucks for a turn at an altar boy.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Observer

      William, the things you hear and know astonish me. You are truly a Renaissance man.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Observer

      Thank ya! I am here all week. Try the veal.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Bruce

      I've known many who have had an annulment and there was no charge. Do you know why there was a charge? Sounds to me like you've been had by a bad priest, just like those gay pedophile priests who acted on their own against Church teachings.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  4. moco loco

    Think about this catholics... during the middle ages the church sanctioned knowlege, e.g it was heresy to say the world revolves around the sun, the pope sentenced Galileo to house arrest.... well... if the pope was so close to God... how come God did not tell the pope that indeed He designed the Universe that way, that he made the solar system where planets revolve around the sun... If the pope got that one wrong... hmm, what else....

    March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  5. pccoder

    and the #1 reason? they woke up and realized it doesn't help them to pretend in make believe.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  6. lung butter

    Mormon folks, the answer is to become a Mormon.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Like evolving?

      Mormons are a higher order of life!!!

      Make me an offer!

      March 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Why settle for second class status in one heaven; as a mormon you can have your own heaven and BE god.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  7. Upset Voter

    You missed the big 1.... The current leadership of the Catholic Church appears to be more interested in money than God.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • RZ70

      Current leadership is once again interested in money. This a return to the old ways. Of course, in defense of the Catholic church, not the original ways. The apostles, the first Pope... they were real stand up guys. Kind of went downhill after that.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • relmfoxdale

      Um, a large part of why people broke from the church in the first place was because they put money before God. If you think they're bad about it now, go back in time a ways and see how things were. The Catholic church's greed is as old as the Catholic church. I would suggest, though, that people look into the Orthodox church if they like that sort of thing. That's as original a church as you're going to get. Of course, a lot of them are Greek or Russian, but there are American ones that are entirely in English.

      March 30, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  8. Will

    My former Catholic curch fired the music director for marrying his partner in NY. This firing is so hypocritical and in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus. I can't sit through some boring homily knowing that the church I sit in doesn't accept and regularly condemns so many in the congregation. It drives me to drink. No wonder so many Catholics are alcoholics.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Your music director freind paid the price for working with bigots.

      Perhaps he has learned to reserve his efforts for those who respect him, rather than those who given the chance might burn him at the stake.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Allison

      christ would of cured the music director.

      March 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  9. MyTrueView

    The truth is they are not actualy leaving the faith but trying to show off as they are
    It's coz most of the people are ashamed to say that they practice religion... they feel it is an disadvantage to mix with people..
    But they WILL soon regert.... Also though even around the worl this is the unfortunate story... But if you see the reality which the media never let out coz of their own benifi, the conversions to Christianity is huge... especially in China, apparently there seemed to be over 250000 convertions to Christianity on an annual avarage now even with all the controls..
    One should remeber well that in the scriptures it very clearly states that whoever will deny God, God will deny on the last day..... The huge convertions all over the world as I indicated (even in Korea) indicates to one thing and one thing only...i.e. the time for the judgement is close at hand... repent if you want to be saved ... or else God has given you a free will to walk to HELL aswell... It's your choice..

    March 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • William Demuth

      So I guess you're still in the cult?

      Well if you are the last one in the church, would you please be a love and blow out the candles, and mop the priest semen off the altar before leaving?

      Thanks, we will send in a team to sterilize it once its empty.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Dawn

      I believe in God, but I have some serious doubts about man. Look at how sinful the clergy of the church have been. I think they should be worried about hell.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • MyTrueView

      Dawn I share yr feeling... But if you expect when all the people (other than cleergy) in the world are becoming more and more sinful the cleargy to be the same it is not a practical thing I guess.. Cleargy are also human and it is a human nature to commit sin.. If we point out to others sin and use that as a reason to walk away from God would it be correct? Would'nt it be coz we wanted to walk away we find these type of stories to justyfy our leaving faith or the church?... We are all humans even the cleargy and we toegether trying to do what God has comanded which could be done only with God's help... Therefore we should not worry or try to put to right what others do... We have to do our part only being faithful to God and if everyone else do the same this world will be a better place... The sinfull will have to pay the price for their si... but if we are NOT sinful as them....why should we fall to the sin of judging them and fall to even more sin by accusing the church.... Remeber even the desiples Jesus chose had people who denied him and betrayed him.... but church exsisted for 2000 years what Jesus established through Peter who denied him... and the is only the Catholic church which has this tradition.. therefore we are only wasting our time of accusing the cleargy... we have all what we need in the scriptures and even if a sinful priest hold the mass it does not matter coz when the priest WILL have to answer God of his actions we only have to answer God ONLY for our actions...

      March 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  10. Marnie Brown

    Surprised not to see the church not allowing clergy to marry on this list.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Robinho70

      Most people who have left the church, including myself, have moved to the evangelical community which has a closer adherence to scripture and believes in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Upset Voter

      True ... How many people know that priests were allowed to marry until 1100 AD. They changed the rule at that time. It is not part of the basic religion.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • jack johnson

      That was #2 on the list

      March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • RZ70

      @upset voter... Awwwww... you didn't finish the story... that rule was changed because being pope basically became an inheritted position (or at least ascending to power in the Catholic church did, and they got tired of seeing it bounce back and forth between a couple of countries).

      Hey... how many people here would be surprised to learn that the decree of 'no meat on Friday during lent' came about during a time when the fishing industry was struggling where the Pope was?

      March 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • john gibson

      @RZ70 The inheritance aspect is one I hadn't heard (but it makes sense). I heard "priests couldn't marry" was a "land issue". A father passed down his land to his sons – if the father was a priest and his sons did not want to also be priests, the church lost land. So the church stepped in and said no priests could marry, therefore they had no legitimate heirs (and lost no land).

      If you look at the Greek Orthodox mass, it's almost identical to the Catholic's – but their priests can be married. The story here is "way back when" the church had two HQs (one in Rome, one in Constantinople). After a period of time, each said they were in charge, which caused the Constantinople HQ to split and form their own "sect".

      March 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Scully

      Robinho,
      I grew up in a evangelical church and left because child abuse was rampant, the associate pastor was having an affair, females like myself were told higher education was a sin for them, and the pastor only rotated 3 sermons: the evils of the public school, females should be subservient, and poor people are lazy.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  11. Jim Brody

    "The scholars, working at the request of Trenton’s Catholic bishop, asked parishioners who have drifted away not just why the left, but what church teachings they disagree with and whether they ever truly considered themselves part of the Catholic community. So here you Have it, Bishop. What say you?

    March 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Anyone who ever went to Trenton know there is no God, at least not for them.

      It is the armpit of NJ.

      Crack heads, junkies, hoes, welfare queens and white trash.

      But the parties are KICKIN!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  12. chris

    Well, i think this is far from the whole story. I mean, lets be honest. People only leave the Church, because of the sinfulness of those in it. I guess I need to pray more and try to be a saint.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  13. Jeff Koetting

    Born and raised a Catholic, I believe in none of it. It is a religion of convenience. How can a religion practice such hate and discrimination? Was God really that much of a judgemental ass he wouldn't speak to a divorced woman? I thought he was all loving and forgiving, without condition... Those child molesting priests are raping boys, not girls, one had his way with me over and over and over again. How are they any better than the average man? Aren't they going to hell too? They should.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jeff

      Don't open your personal life in this forum.

      The God Nazi's will blame you for his sins. Seek counsel elsewhere.

      This is NOT a safe place.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  14. Anon

    I have "faith" that this will continue for all religions. 😀
    The sooner, the better.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  15. William Demuth

    DIE WITCH DIE.

    These madmen screamed that over the innocents they killed.

    I now scream it over the rotting and bloated corpse of this cult.

    It belongs dead and buried along with all the previous forms of incorporated bigotry.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • fritz

      Long live King Victor!

      March 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Ever read the Malleus Maleficarum? Very interresting read. There is a lot more in there than most people would realize. How to recognize a witch and all about the trial and what kind of witnesses and evidence is accepted. Check it out sometime. Very good stuff.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Howdy Jim.

      I thought a poggrom must have gotten you, ain't seen you in a while.

      My mother of all people found that tomb fascinating.

      She said it clearly showed Nixon was a witch!!

      March 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • jimtanker

      No WD. Thanks for the kind feelings though. LOL

      I got a job back in the states now. Working near St Louis now.

      Good to be back to the land of the big PX.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • William Demuth

      jimtanker

      Saint Looey in spring?

      Beats the hell out of Kabul in summer!

      March 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  16. DPierre

    It should be noted that the National Catholic Reporter is a dissident publication. There is barely anything "Catholic about it at all.

    In addition, the *real* reason that Catholics leave the faith is because they are so ignorant of it. Catholics don't know what they have!

    The dismantling of solid catechesis by "Vatican II" liberals has had a disastrous effect on the Church.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Dpierre
      Because the old Catholic church has such a delightful history?
      Perhaps it's time for a new inquisition.
      How much do you think an indulgence would go for these days?

      March 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • William Demuth

      DPierre

      Funny, you believe they leave out of ignorance.

      I believe they stay out of it.

      Many who leave it do NOT join another cult.

      The word is out, its ok to admit you don't believe.

      The church's power is waning, and soon it shall turn on it's self.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Alwaysbrushyourteeth

      Great response DPierre – You nailed it right on the head. This CNN audience has already been pre-programmed to reject truth – spiritual or otherwise. I wouldn't waste my time 'tossing pearls before swine.'

      Pax Christi

      March 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • RZ70

      All that ever needed to be said was said decades ago “Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.” – Lenny Bruce

      March 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Rinsewind

      No, DPierre, the real reason that so many people are leaving the Catholic Church is because it has been taken over by people like you. Believe me, I know plenty about Catholic doctrine and theology, both pre- and post-Vatican II. Got a Ph.D. to prove it. I have essentially stopped going because of right-wing reactionaries like yourself who have made it abundantly clear that people like me are no longer welcome.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  17. captain america

    Sounds like you are describing canada, but then you' re not one to mind your own F'n business. What part of canada is New Jersey in? There's your sign

    March 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Primewonk

      You seem a bit xenophobic.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Bruce

      Wow, you are angry. Chill out befor you have a spell!

      March 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  18. Prayer is not healthy for children and other thinking beings

    Evolution changes things.
    Gradually.
    Powerful.
    Proven.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • just sayin

      evolution = unproven theory

      March 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      just sayin=uneducated dolt

      March 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • William Demuth

      just sayin

      Just because you have escaped it, do not think evolution hasn't worked its magic on others.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      Evolution remains an unproven theory

      March 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • sam

      just sayin remains an unevolved nutcase.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Cap'n Sayin Atheism isn't an Angry Pervert
      Unproven, except for the daily application of its principles in the fields of medicine, geology, mathematics, molecular biology, robotics, chemistry, astrophysics, agriculture, epidemiology, aerospace engineering, architecture, data mining, drug discovery and design, electrical engineering, finance, geophysics, materials engineering, military strategy, pattern recognition, robotics, scheduling, systems engineering etc.
      The 5 laws of the Theory of Evolution have proven their validity thousands of times by millions of people.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Doc Vestibule

      Dude, there you go again.

      Minny Pearl (from He Haw) used to say

      Never try and teach pigs to sing, cause it's a waste of time, and it really annoys the pigs!

      March 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Palette

      What particular part of evolution do you disputer? I'm being serious, not snarky. Please respond with detail...

      March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Palette

      My mistake, but I meant to reply to "just sayin'.." But he / she can still reply to me.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Mythology is not healthy for children or other living things

      @ just sayin – please look up the difference between a scientific theory and the common lay use of the word theory as you obviously don't understand the difference. Just Google it, once you understand the difference you'll see what is wrong with your statement.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • captain america

      We just call doc ass hole , it seems to fit. There's your sign

      March 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Children are not healthy for prayer and other things

      They carry germs.

      Proven.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Mary

      All girls Catholic grammar and H.S, named after saints all 8 of us, church every sunday or physical punishment; until dad met someone 25 years his junior. Catholicism went out the window that moment. Myths and old stories to help people centuries ago cope. THE CATHOLIC RELIGION AND IT'S VIEWS ON WOMEN, BIRTH CONTROL AND PATRIARCY IS WHY SOUTH AMERICA IS SO POOR AND BACKWORD. I gave it so much thought and then gave it up, all of it. And my son has never seen the inside of a church at 19. WE ARE BLESSED, GOOD, CARING, HONORABLE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE. NOR DO 5 OF MY SIBLINGS.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Jesus

      You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, y

      March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven

      March 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Snow

      prove it

      March 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things
      Proven"

      You've been proven wrong by all the dead children Christians prayed for and now they're in jail.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Tr1Xen

      I pray to Joe Pesci! ;D

      March 30, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  20. Doc Vestibule

    Good to see more and more folk recognizing that the Catholic hierarchy is full of boring, bigoted, hypocritical blowhards.
    Never give a shaman the benefit of the doubt.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • captain america

      What part of canada is New jersey in? There's your sign

      March 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • sam

      Hey, cap! What part of your ass is your head in? There's your sign.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Plus didn't Cap use a shield and not a sign?

      I have visions of this guy running around in leotards with a STOP sign!

      March 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Now there's an image that needs brain bleach.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Mary

      What is that saying of the catholic priest ?" Just let me have the children til 7, the age of reason"? I am with Bill Mahr.
      Old virgin men in dresses telling us how to live. Really????? Not.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.