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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. Ay Caramba

    The Church exists to serve the People not the people to serve the Church. The Catholic Church has lost this truth a long time ago. Jesus did not deny anyone that came to him access for petty reasons. The Church should follow that most basic example. I do think its too little too late. The Church is about to be destroyed or drastically changed. It can't stay the same.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Mary

      The Catholic church does not deny anyone access. Only those who do not pray regularly and excerise the use of the seven deadly sins deny themselves. The Catholic church is the ONLY church that offers a place to reconcile with yourself and Christ. Only your sin(admit it we are ALL SINNERS) keeps you from church and the comfort of our Lord. Bless you.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • gerald

      2000 years and counting the gates of hell have not prevailed (matt 16:18) and you say it is about to happen? Not a chance. I believe Jesus and take him at his word. The Church is being renewed and purified. The sheep will be separated from the goats. The tares from the wheat, but the gates of hell will not prevail.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • The Dust on That Olive Branch is Anthrax

      The Catholic Church does not "deny access" to anyone for petty reasons or any other reasons. Your implication that the Church does not serve the people reflects your lack of authentic knowledge about the Church and what it does.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  2. heretic(greek for free thinker)

    The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history."

    March 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • JOE

      YOU COULD SMELL THE SKID MARK IN HER PANTYS

      March 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  3. itylhive

    Catholicks, schmatholics. All organised religion is a bunch of cults.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bill

      Amen to that.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  4. Harry

    The concept of original sin is probably one of the many reasons I dislike the Catholic creed. My view is that everyone is born an empty vessel and that over time our experiences and choices determine our path not because some guy in book took a bite from the tree of knowledge. If knowledge is a sin then you can count me the devil.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Original Sin

      Unfortunately, your belief doesn't match up with reality. Original sin is necessary dogmatically. Plus, it makes perfect sense. The sins of the father are visited upon the son–and you can see the real results of this every day. Our bodies have memory at the cellular level–it's called DNA. So the actions we perform every day, good and bad, are passed down in our very genetics.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  5. alateos

    I'll spell out my reason right here: Because religion is politicized

    March 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  6. Travis

    REASON 8:

    The extreme ego that must go with thinking that your FAITH is the TRUTH.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • The Dust on That Olive Branch is Anthrax

      OK, here we go again. Suppose God and the devil both want you to believe something. One wants you to believe that there is indeed truth. The other wants you to believe that there is no truth? Who's who? OK, let's go to the next level. One of them wants you to believe that they both exist. The other wants you to believe that neither of them exists. Who's who? Think, folks.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Mary

      Catholic teachings are that we are born with the sense or knowledge of right and wrong. Natural and Unnatural.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • gerald

      Those who say there is no truth are proclaiming a truth. Think folks.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Travis

      Once again, you guys use theology like I care. Neiter God nor the Devil are right or are the truth. For me, the "truth" is that we were all born of years of biolgical evolution and that the only certainty we have in life, is death. I don't need your scripture to teach me that I should follow the golden rule and treat others with respect. In fact, I would argue that since I can't 'confess' to a higher power and be forgiven, that I am more morally sound. This is because when I do something bad, I feel only guilt and I learn from it as opposed to feeling a sigh of relief because I have a 'get out of jail free' card I can use next Sunday.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  7. A non-worried Catholic... some leave, some come back, some stay

    Membership statisticsFurther information: Catholicism by country
    Total church membership (both lay and clerical) in 2007 was 1.147 billion people,[41] increasing from the 1950 figure of 437 million[42] and the 1970 figure of 654 million.[43] On 31 December 2008, membership was 1.166 billion, an increase of 11.54% over the same date in 2000, only slightly greater than the rate of increase of the world population (10.77%). The increase was 33.02% in Africa, but only 1.17% in Europe. It was 15.91% in Asia, 11.39% in Oceania, and 10.93% in the Americas. As a result, Catholics were 17.77% of the total population in Africa, 63.10% in the Americas, 3.05% in Asia, 39.97% in Europe, 26.21% in Oceania, and 17.40% of the world population.

    Of the world's Catholics, the proportion living in Africa grew from 12.44% in 2000 to 14.84% in 2008, while those living in Europe fell from 26.81% to 24.31%.[44] Membership in the Catholic Church is attained through baptism or reception into the Church (for individuals previously baptised in non-Catholic Christian churches).[45] For some years until 2009, if someone formally left the Church, that fact was noted in the register of the person's baptism.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Hopper

      So many numbers and all based on a LIE!!

      March 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  8. John the Guy

    For all those that are fed up, we Pastafarians will welcome you with open arms and we have no dogma or strictures that you must follow. Pasta and beer, try us for thirty days, you can always go back to mumbling over your beads and throwing your hard earned money on the plate. RAmen the FSM.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Bill

      Well said John – I am happy to have left the Catholic Church and all it's ills.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  9. Jesuswillcomeasecndtime

    The Pope calls himself the Vicar of Christ.... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? they slaughtered millions of innocent lives for what... BLASPHEMY/HERESY and he has gotten away with calling himself the Vicar of Christ. THE PAPALCY IS THE ANTICHRIST. I know this is sooo incredibly offensive to some, but please have an openmind and read for yourself. STUDY GOD'S WORD FOR YOURSELF. Ask him for guidance as you do study and the veil of deception will be lifted and you will forever be enlightened. The Bible says that God wants his children to come up out of Babylon. COME OUT!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • gerald

      I challenge you to read "Jesus of Nazareth" B16's book and then tell me he is the anti-christ. He knows Christ on a far deeper level than you. Slaughtered millions? The pope did? really? Catholic kings did some of that. But then we let God judge that because in Rom 13 it says governments have the power to use the sword to keep order. Protestants did it too. And you are a protestant.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Ay Caramba

      Don't go too far. The inquisition. And the present Pope headed the group responsible for the Inquisition. Aside from being a Hitler's Youth member and all... just saying.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • gerald

      All German boys of 14 were automatically in Hitler's youth. You would have been too if you were 14 in Germany in 1942. The Pope deserted the group. The claim is nonsense. As for the inquisition the history is far more complex than I can do justice to here. Alot of it has to do with Rom 13 and the right of Governmts to keep order.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • The Dust on That Olive Branch is Anthrax

      The Pope doesn't call himself the Vicar of Christ. The Church calls him (or more properly, his office) the Vicar of Christ. Vicar, in this instance, essentially means representative or a person made responsible for the Church here on Earth. Christ founded the Catholic Church and left Peter and his successors the charge of leading and caring for the Church. If you knew more about the AntiChrist, you would see the foolishness of your suggestion that the Papacy is the AntiChrist. I wish you'd consider engaging face to face in some real dialog with a knowledgeable Catholic so some of your misconceptions can be addressed directly.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  10. David

    We can only live max 150 but what gain?

    March 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  11. David

    Why the Church of God still exist for ove 2000 years?

    March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      because of threats, fear and childhood psychological abuse .. that should answer your question.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bill

      Thorugh fear and force – the papacy has been tied to Europes ruling class in the past and it is now so large and powerful and corrupt it can survive on it's own.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • gerald

      Funny, all this fear you guys talk about and I don't feel any of it as a Catholic. Not from the Pope. A little fear of the Lord is a healthy thing and the beginning of wisdom according to the Bible and I have experienced that in my life. It is only from prejudice and not reality that you speak.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      That is delusional. The Roman Church of 2012 bears absolutely NO resemblance to the early Christian communites. They *claim* they are the same. In fact they are SO different, they would be unrecognizable, one to the other. They *say* they are built on scripture and tradition. In fact they jettison any tradition that becomes inconvenient.

      60-70% of Anglican communities in the US are made of ex-Catholics, and ex-Lutherans. Thank goodness for all these ex-Catholics.

      As for the preaching..it's downright embarrasing. Don't they teach anything in their seminaries ? I went to a wedding once, and the jerk priest went on and on about child abuse. ALL the guests were looking at each other .."what is WRONG with this fool" ?

      March 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Dood

      That's a great question.

      It's probably been around for 2000 years because it's foundation is true, right and good, even if some of the people running it aren't. And it will be here long after the naysayers bashing it are gone because it's message is sound.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      gerald .. you're in too deep to realize you're afraid to leave the church. If you say a "bad" word or think the "wrong" thing or miss church you feel a tinge of anxiousness (don't lie to yourself, you know you do). Once you get past that & your eyes open & you realize how foolish it's been. It's fear that controls you.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • gerald

      Four Jumps,

      Have you read the Early Church Fathers? You might want to before you display such ignorance. The Church of the first four centuries was VERY Catholic. Many protestants who read the ECF become Catholic. Look up Alex Jones on youtube for instance.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  12. evilroyslade

    Religion was necessary as a guide for civilization to live by, civilization changes to adapt to new world realities, Religion remains frozen in the past.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Jesuswillcomeasecndtime

      OH MY.... you're playing with fire dude. Open your heart a bit.. at least to the idea of saying al ittle prayer to God..?

      March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Ay Caramba

      Religion was invented by the Romans to control the Empire. Jesus was a construct in the religion. That does not mean there wasn't a guy that was nailed to the cross. But see, the Catholic Church really is terrified of that person and why it was all changed by Constantine and his gang of manipulators.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  13. Richard

    1. They don't like the strictures Catholicism puts on their libertine lifesyle.
    2. They want to become Islamic so the can blow things up with God's blessing.
    3. The religion isn't charismatic enough so they want to become brainless Baptists who think the world is 6000 years old.
    4. They've convinced themselves they are atheist, until they are on their death beds, then they beg God to let them back in.
    5. They are married and want out easily.
    6. There's no money in it for them.
    7. The amount of sin they carry is too much to be and they've used up their indulgences.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Marilynn Heilman

      Or they become Buddhists and enjoy the heck out of the rest of their lives.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • mrTestosteroni

      Go Buddha!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  14. Brother Maynard

    I went to Catholic school from 1-12 grades; was an alter boy; seriously considered being a priest in 7th 8th grades.
    But honestly in the 2nd when they told me that I was a sinner because of "original" sin, I really felt betrayed. I'm mean ... really I'm an 7-8 year old kid and because some dude named Adam took a bite out of the apple of knowledge ... this is now MY FAULT? I think it was my experience of rational thought.
    That being said it took me almost 40 years to fully come to the realization that there is no evidence of god

    March 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Brian

      This is the belief blog, not the non-belief blog. Get a life.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Brian .. it's an open forum & we ARE talking about peoples beliefs, you just don't like what we're saying.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • A known Filipino

      @Brian atheists believe in the notion of there is no god.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • gerald

      Sad you don't believe in God. He believes in you. So you are 100% sure there is no God? You possess a significant amount of the knowledge in the world and have enough knledge and understanding of it that you can be sure there is no God? My guess is that you would have to admit that you possess less than 1% of such knowledge and understanding. If you can't see sin in the world you are truly blind even if your eyes are 20/20.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Gerald sez:
      Sad you don't believe in God.

      Maynard sez:
      Don't be ... I am more at peace with myself now then when I was a believer

      Gerald sez:
      He believes in you.

      Maynard sez:
      Please provide at minimum empirical evidence of that statement

      Gerald sez:
      So you are 100% sure there is no God?

      Maynard sez:
      I never claimed there was no god I claimed there is no eveidence of god. However that being said I am as sure that there is no god as you are sure there is no Santa Clause

      Gerald sez:
      You possess a significant amount of the knowledge in the world and have enough knledge and understanding of it that you can be sure there is no God?
      My guess is that you would have to admit that you possess less than 1% of such knowledge and understanding.

      Maynard sez:
      See Santa example

      Gerald sez
      If you can't see sin in the world you are truly blind even if your eyes are 20/20.

      Maynard sez:
      Hmm. not sure where that came from but sin is religion based.
      I do see man's inhumanity to man, but that supports my stance that there is no god. What god would allow this to happen? And please don't answer "God gave us free will". That is a weak arguement because if it is true that an all knowing god gave man free will, then god new before he did this that man would do evil. That is like a parent giving a two year old a loaded gun knowing that he can point it at the dog and kill it.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • gerald

      God bless ya maynard. Eat yer veggies and when the lightes don't just go out at the end of your life oh she it is gonna be the first thing on your lips.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  15. i'm happy the church is dying

    it's awesome.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Brian

      Your happy the church is dying. Good for you. HATER.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • The Dust on That Olive Branch is Anthrax

      It isn't dying. CNN would like you to believe that it's dying, but it isn't. If you knew the Church, you'd be happy that it isn't dying. My guess is it just more fun from your perspective to jump on the CNN anti-Catholic bandwagon than it is to really go look for yourself at the Catholic Church.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • i'm happy the church is dying

      wrong on every count, but nice try.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • gerald

      2000 years and counting and you people still don't understand Christ's words "the gates of hell shall not prevail". But keep trying

      March 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Dood

      Why is it "awesome"? It's in crisis for sure, but it's not dying.

      It survived this long by not adapting to the whims of society. Ironic, isn't it? No, not really at all. 1 Corinthians 1 "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

      March 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  16. Ray

    t surprises me that the belief in the Christian concept of "hell" is not mentioned.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Adam

      The ultimate revenge fantasy for the impotent? Nah, dude. That's the best part!!! If we weren't separated after our deaths by what we professed to believe during our lives, then what is the point of pretending to know things we do not know–i.e. RELIGION–at all!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • evilroyslade

      My Catholic Nuns reminded me everytime I screwed up, Roy your going to go to Hell and burn for eternity.Now my new God only reminds me that I should be a good person and when I'm not good God takes away my peace of mind and I suffer here and now for my wrong doings.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  17. mrTestosteroni

    I hated going to the Saturday morning classes. One morning I defied my father and refused to go. He beat the crap out of me. I never went back to church.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Dood

      I hated going to Mass as a kid, too. But, after I matured I realized that it was good for me and that Mass was a spiritual tool to get to know God who in turn, made me a better person. Pray for truth and follow it when it's revealed to you.

      As one human to another, for your own sake, give it another try.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  18. Rebecca

    Top 7 Reasons to Remain (or Become) Catholic:
    1. The Eucharist
    2. The other 6 sacraments
    3. History–the Church's teachings can be traced historically back to the Apostles and are consistent with the writings of the Church Fathers
    4. The Church's teaching on contraception, which respects the dignity of all human life
    5. Beautiful liturgy, and the universality of the Catholic liturgy
    6. The hierarchy of the Church, and the protection that Jesus provides–"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build by church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it"–Matthew 16:18
    7. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."–John 6:68

    March 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • cathos

      like!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Julie Anne

      Beautifully said!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Travis

      Those might be reasons to remain a catholic but you certainly wont convince anyone to join by blindly restating theology that the person already doesn't believe.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • donna

      YES!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Mary

      LIKE LIKE.... To many Catholics were not taught correctly in the 60's and 70's the richness of the faith and the truth.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Ricky Stevens

      I hate to be the one who says it, but none of these reasons are particularly good or inspiring for non Catholics. It seems like you're trying to sell me a used car by really emphasizing the fact that it has a tape deck. And this is coming from a Catholic.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • The Dust on That Olive Branch is Anthrax

      Thanks, Rene!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • pt

      Sorry, These are some of the worst reasons to be a catholic
      1 the Eucharist – this is where you believe that the bread and wine actually become Jesus flesh and blood. Thats cannibalism!! This was never taught by early Christians.
      2. the sacraments – (see #1 for example) in among these is the a religious symbols that are revered. The Bible condemns idol worship!!! Plus many more examples
      3. You claim your history can be traced back to Jesus. First, this means nothing. Jews have thought this was their claim to fame as well (tracing back o Abramham). If you are not obedient to Jesus, it does not matter how "related" you are. Your history includes killing fellow christians in war, taking political sides in conficts (including Hiltler in Germany) many other atrocities.
      4. Contraception – seriously?
      5. liturgy – there is no redeeming value in your form of worship. Catholics don't have a clue about the Bible. They are not taught it. If they did they would be obedient to Jesus' commands such as love thy enemy (not killing), staying separate from the world (not involved politically), etc.
      6. (see #3)
      7. The Catholic Church does not have the sayings of eternal life. If they did, they would not be teaching lies about God (trinity), Hellfire (God does not burn people forever), Immoral soul (yes, when we die, we are dead), etc.....

      People, stop being fooled. READ your Bibles. ASK questions. There is so much hypocrisy in this religion. People are leaving for a reason!!!!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Erin Curry

      Thank you! This was beautifully said.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Rebecca

      to Travis and Ricky:
      The reasons listed above (with the exception of the church's teaching on contraception, which I did not learn about until going through marriage prep three years after converting) are precisely the reasons why I joined the Catholic Church.

      March 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  19. Rene

    WOW, Another bigot commentary narrowly stuck on faithless Catholics...Would CNN like to focus on the increasing number of Catholics of needy countries like Africa, Asia, and the persecuted Middle East or just the confort zone of the 50 States!? How about another organized/dioragnized religion like....fill in the blank......

    March 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Umm...you do realize that one of the largest reasons for the increase in Africa is that the missionaries tell the populace that they need to convert to get aid right?

      March 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Trainwreck

      Took the words right out of my mouth HawaiiGuest, taking advantage of the weak because the strong are not that desperate.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Bhicks

      You mean ignorance spreads in poor foreign countries in order to get medical aid and food? That was sarcasm right there in case you were wondering...if you know what that is. Double hit combo.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • The Dust on That Olive Branch is Anthrax

      Thanks, Rene. Hey HawaiiGuest and Trainwreck, has it occurred to you that perhaps so many convert to Catholicism in Africa because Catholics are living their faith by being there helping them? How is providing people with food, water, shelter, and medical care taking advantage of them? Who else would you help, if not "the weak?"

      March 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      It's not about being there just to help the week. They literally tell these people that they must first convert and then they will get the aid they want. When they pick up food they tell them that they must pray first.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Travis

      "How is providing people with food, water, shelter, and medical care taking advantage of them?"

      I invite you to pick up a dictionary and look up the word "coercion".

      March 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Commenter

      Hawaii Guest: – "They literally tell these people that they must first convert and then they will get the aid they want. When they pick up food they tell them that they must pray first."

      I'm not sure if they actually do that or not, but they do take advantage of these uneducated and superst'itious people by leading them to believe that all of the whiz-bang agricultural, technological and scientific wonders that they bring with them are due to their own particular flavor of a magical god and its 'blessings'.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • The Dust on That Olive Branch is Anthrax

      I really don't feel the need to argue with you. It would be pointless. My posts are really intended people who haven't already closed their minds and hearts. I will pray for you, though.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  20. Cabbage

    it's also a fact that recent immigrants are also leaving the Catholic Church. There is one Catholic Church in my Latino/Carribbean neighborhood, but at least a half a dozen Pentacostalist churches. Literally one on every block.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Mary

      Everyone likes to push the Easy Button! Too many people want INSTA FAITH. Just on Sunday, some fun entertaintment and only talk about being "saved."

      March 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • gerald

      Lot's of Pentacostals each teaching different things. Isn't that nice. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free but how can one know the truth when there are so many denominations thing different things. Protestantism is not the truth. It can't be. There are 30,000 denominations teaching different things. Think about it.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:17 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.