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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. Kcfq58

    The first and foremost reason that women will never be priests in the Catholic Church is simple.
    Jesus was a "radical" in His teachings. He would have had the best priestess if He had so desired.
    She has a very important place in the Church. She was and is still a disciple. Jesus would have picked His Mother Mary but He did not. There fore this is dogma and cannot and will not be changed.

    Women do and have important roles in the Church. Many women administer Churches better than many men.
    Many women instruct the young on teachings of the Church in Sunday school where religion is forbidden in public schools.
    We all have to realize that the Church is based on dogma and not fashion. Fashion is what many would like the Church to become but this will never happen.

    We all have our place in the Church.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Otto

      "The first and foremost reason that women will never be priests in the Catholic Church is simple."

      I can sum it up in one word.....money.

      April 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Kcfq58

      Otto money has nothing to do with it it is dogmatic period.

      April 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Otto

      Women of biblical times were looked at like property, now they can own property and with womens ability to procreate that would be bad for the church cofers. Saying it is dogma is an excuse, Catholic dogma has changed many times in its history so saying "this is the way it has always been" is garbage.

      April 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Kcfq58

      Otto it has always been this way so it should stay this way. Is not why this issue will remain this way forever.
      It is because it is God's law. And only God can change His law. Man who changes His law is doing Satan's work.
      Satan is the deceiving evil one. Satan or evil is a major force in today's society. If you do not believe me just take a look around you and look at the drug problem, tax fraud, government corruption. Need I say more?

      I pray for all to be free of the evil one. Jesus helps us to be free from the evil one,we just have to listen carefully to His word.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Otto

      God had laws about how you can treat slaves, Jesus was silent on slavery so using your logic slavery is acceptable and should still be practiced...great logic.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Kcfq58

      Otto:

      God freed the Israelite from slavery.
      What does that say about slavery?

      April 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Otto

      The Isrealites were freed because they were his chosen people, not because they were slaves......so it says nothing on Gods view on slavery.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  2. Kcfq58

    Palm Saturday in my diocese as in all dioceses worldwide is World Youth Day. We had 500 yes 500 youth marched 3.5km just over 2 miles after a rally with teachings and joyful fun in song. Our Archbishop is new only 10 days. He walked with the youth.
    Making noise in the streets to commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. These youth sang songs of WYD's past.
    Said hellos ot people along the way. When we reached destination the Cathedral the joy continued into the Church, where it was packed with adults joining for Mass. Our Archbishop at the end of Mas stated that since the retiring Cardinal named him responsible for family and youth, he was now naming himself as Archbishop of family and youth. The standing ovation lasted 3 minuted and youth and adults vibrated the solid Cathedral with joy!

    This Archbishop newly named will help to dissipate the "boring homilies" syndrome. One must consider the content of the homily not the speaker as some Priests are more dynamic than others.
    If you find your Priest's homily boring you should speak with him in private preferably as to not humiliate him in public. You might be surprised what will come of the meeting. I have had many meeting with my priest and find that working with him and respecting his decisions though not always favourable goes a long way.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  3. Lisa Kinsey

    There are many reasons I will not leave the Catholic church. I belong to a growing and vibrant parish lead by a Franciscan priest that performs his duties in a humble manner filled with the joy of his faith. Leaving the Church just because a priest has boring homilies is a petty reason to say the least. I do not go to Church to be entertained I go to worship our Lord. Mass is composed of many elements the Word of our Lord given to us in the sacred words of the bible, communion and the faith we share with fellow during worship on Sunday. This richness of faith enables to survive me to survive the harshness life often brings. The scandal of the priest abuses does not cause me to view all priests in the same light as those men. Those who committed those terrible crimes were never truly priests.. The oaths they took were meaningless because of the evil in their hearts. I believe the archbishop covered for this scandal be defrocked just like those men were. The gender of the priest means nothing to me. I go to church to enjoy the beauty of an old church with stain glass windows and stations of the cross that depict sacred events of the bible and the litergy and worship I experience each Sunday. To leave the richess of my faith simply because I don't agree with certain policies upheld by the. Vatican would be the coward's way out. I will continue to go to church and enjoy the praise and worship our Lord even if Ino matter if I am the only person in the pew.

    April 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Amelia

      Well said and you will not be the only person in the pew.

      April 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Kcfq58

      Amen. Well stated.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  4. Amelia

    CNN- You should be embarassed for publishing such a pathetic piece of nonsense. The author and "researchers" themselves state that this is "anecdotal" information. This is nothing more than 300 whining people who were excited about grinding their ax.

    The exact same "anecdotal" information could be published about our political system. Find 300 people who don't vote and ask them why. Is it the corruption in the Democratic and Rebublican parties that caused them to become disenfranchised? The lies that are put forward constantly (No new taxes- uh huh)? Are they bored with those running for office- same old speeches. Is it the parties' positions on welfare? Health care? Taxes? The fact that politicians are invariably part of the 1% and control the wealth? Are they too out of touch with your day to day struggles?

    So, CNN- why don't you publish a "scientific study" like this or is does it hit too close to home. Oh, I know, let's find 300 people and ask them why they don't trust the media!! I suspect we might find a few revelations (pun intended).

    Let me give you some "anecdotal" observations- Take a look at the throngs of people that crowd into Saint Peter's Square every Sunday to hear the Pope. Look at the crowds that fill St. Peter's today- Palm Sunday. Why aren't you there asking what these people love about their faith and the Pope?? Every Sunday, our parish is filled at all four Masses. I attended four Lenten Retreats last week at three seperate parishes. These were held in the evening and on weeknights. They were filled to capacity. There was no preponderance of those of different ethnic backgrounds, but there were teenagers, little kids, their parents and the elderly all present for one unified purpose.

    So, there is MY anecdotal observation based upon far far greater than 300 whining people. Why don't you publish this or doesn't it fit your agenda???

    April 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • jarvis.lorry

      I notice that you do not take issue with statements made in the first part of the article, such as that one in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic. OK, what reasons can you give for why people are leaving the Catholic Church in droves? And how would you go about finding out why if you had say, the millions of dollars in the possession of the Catholic Church, to do your own "scientific study"?

      April 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Otto

      I am a recovering Catholic and all these reasons apply, not necessarily in the order listed, I know plenty of ex-catholics who also concur. The good part is it made me look at Christianity and religion and realize it is drivel.

      April 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Amelia

      jarvis, perhaps the US Govt. should use the billions of dollars they have at their disposal or have spent on meaningless wars to find out why citizens are so disenfranchised. What if they find that 10% of the country is dissillusioned and disgusted with the government. I would venture a guess that at various points in our history, the Great Depression would be an excellent example, you would find many more than 10% were disenfranchised and dissillusioned. Yet, did the US collapse into nothingness in 1931? Did that percentage predict the demise of a country? Is it even remotely valid to use such shoddy data to suggest anything?

      The point is, this is a flimsy piece of fluff and not worthy of publication unless you are presenting it as nothing more than someone's opinion or agenda.

      No matter how you design the study, your results are going to be questionable at best in terms of conclusions. This piece is nothing more than tabloid journalism.

      April 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Amelia

      Ok- there are people that have left the Church. People also get divorced and don't exactly speak well of their ex. So this person found 300 people that "divorced" the Church and have an ax to grind. wow.

      It means nothing, predicts nothing.

      April 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Kcfq58

      Otto I will pray for you.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Otto

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  5. Abinadi

    Don't forget to turn on general conference. 🙂 . Go to lds.org and click on general conference.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Kcfq58

      Lds is not a Christian religion though it tries to pass itself off as one.
      There are no repeat no Prophets after Jesus as Jesus is the Messiah.
      Jesus made Peter the cornerstone of His Church. The successor of Peter is Benedict 16, no other.

      Only Orthodox can be Christian Catholic also as they go back to Jesus.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  6. Skorpio

    The Catholic Church through the Pope speaks as if it were Jesus on earth. I am quite sure Jesus would've agreed on 98% of all the Catholic Church matters. The Catholic mass as oppose to protestant Sunday services is a ritual similar to a Jewish service, people go to be with God and celebrate accordingly without considering if the priest is a good public speaker or not. There are more than 44,000 different Christian churches registered in the US which means each one has its "own Pope" with his/her own interpretation of the Bible, dogmas, tradition and culture, by using common sense and logic only the source could be the true church (Catholic / Orthodox)

    April 1, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • jarvis.lorry

      Many people have come to the realization that religion is based on legend and myth. The rest is propaganda.

      April 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Kcfq58

      Jarvis Satan makes you think religion is false etc..
      My God is real. He is sometimes hard to find agreed but if you look hard enough he will be there.

      Satan is the evil one we must be weary of, for he is a powerful force.

      April 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • jarvis.lorry

      The word "Satan" is just as meaningless as the word "God". I suggest you read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.

      April 4, 2012 at 6:10 am |
  7. Amy

    I am not Catholic. Many of my family are Catholic, and many come from Catholic parents. I do not belong to any denomination, however I am a Christian. When I think about joining a church, I include Catholicism in the option. I find the ritual part of it to be beautiful and purposeful. What keeps me away is the judgement cast upon everyone. Who am I to say who has sinned, or who goes to heaven. Surely I am not the judge, nor do I think I am able to do God's job. It's pretty arrogant to assume that any man/woman is able to decide who goes to heaven and who doesn't. Even Jesus himself said that the " Father" ( meaning God, not a priest) will decide. I do believe that Jesus would include EVERYONE in his church to hear God's word and do God's will. Jesus didn't exclude women. Jesus didn't excommunicate ANYONE !!! Jesus taught love and compassion. We need to do those things, not worry about who is sleeping with who. That is between them and God..it's not my problem or my business. I say as Jesus said ( and I don't quote) Brother take the plank out of your eye before you tell me about the sliver in my eye you hippocrite !

    April 1, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Amelia

      I think you are going to have a very hard time joining a Christian church that does not define sin. I am sorry Amy, but you have been misinformed. There is no person in the Catholic Church that decides who sins and who does not. Just as in any other religion including Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and other Christian churches, man has interpreted what has is believed to be the word of God and formulated rules and expectations. Even if you don't belong to any church, you are sitting in judgement of something. For example, I am sure you believe murder is wrong. Man decided to define it as a crime. The church defines it as a sin. Society sits in judgement and says murderers are wrong and need to be punished. Therefore, to say you do not join the Catholic Church because it is hypocritical is fallacy. I think you need to really define why you don"t join which is fine, but don't blame it on the Church and be all sanctimonious about it. Lastly, the Church is not only about ritual. I am glad you find it beautiful, but there is so much more to the beauty of the Church and what occurs at Mass.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Amy

      Defining sin is not the problem Amelia. My concern are the people who feel they can judge a sinner. You give the example of murder. Society does state it is a crime and religion states it is a sin. God will decide if you go to heaven if you have murdered someone. I do not decide it, nor do you or the pope.
      You are correct that there is so much more to Catholicism than the rituals at mass. I agree and didn't mean to imply that I only find mass appealing. As I said, many of my family are Catholic, and I have lived in it so to say.
      I can say that it is clear you love your faith and are a champion for it.
      Best wishes....

      April 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  8. Writerscramp

    Because more people are coming to their senses and using their faculties of logic & reason

    April 1, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things . .

    April 1, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Rational1

      Not in this reality.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  10. Stu

    8. Irrelevance.

    April 1, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  11. June Bug

    The evolution of spirituality in highly civilized cultures is moving away from the single-diety personal God belief. Scientific investigations have created doubt about ancient beliefs. Just as Polytheism once dominated our beliefs, then monotheism, we are now moving towards a more agnostic or atheist belief system.

    April 1, 2012 at 7:04 am |
  12. Tmccoy

    I left because I felt unwelcome in the church. I am a 22 year old and I'm gay. I was raised Catholic. I stopped going after I asked myself, why do I go to church where they condemn me hell. I've always been fascinated with the Catholic religion, and I see the beauty that it once was. I still like to study the history of the Catholic church and I came across an story of two saints, both male, that are believed to be married. This has given me hope. But has also angered me! Why did the Church start moving backwards instead of forward. There is prof that Gay marriage was accepted and preformed by the church! http://www.gaychristian101.com/Gay-Marriage.html

    April 1, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • TJ

      Thanks for the reference information...

      April 1, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • Rabeca

      There are rules for driving a car on the road as well rules in Catholic church, violators will pay the price. I don't think that the Catholic church is the looser here as much the violators are in this case. Real catholic are in the religion for their deep believe not for the management and priests, many Catholics understand the rules and there is no way for them to leave the church.
      The Church is better without the nonbelievers, who don't respect it's principals.

      April 1, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • tricia

      Real catholics are in the religion because they can't think for themselves and follow the secular rule through fear

      April 1, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • Amelia

      I am sorry that you left and I am sorry you felt unwelcomed. Continue to study the Church in whatever way you feel comfortable. The lives of the saints are amazing and inspiring. The beauty that is the soul of the Church has touched your soul as well and there may be a time when you feel you can return. As Saint Francis said,

      Peace and All Good

      April 1, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • AGuest9

      "violators"? Closed-minded much?

      April 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Get Real

      Rabeca, "The Church is better without the nonbelievers, who don't respect it's principals."

      Well, my principals were Sister Scholastica in grammar school, and Sister Vernice in high school. I respected their dedication and feared their wrath... their fantasy beliefs, not so much.

      p.s. I respect them for teaching me how to spell too 🙂

      April 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  13. Amy

    I left because it was un-inspiring. Too busy actually helping people myself, than obsessing over praying to God to help people.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:00 am |
    • Matthew

      What the Buble does the bible teach? What did Jesus believe? Should Christians be involved in politics?
      My Kingdom is no part of this world , said Jesus at Matthew 18:36
      You will know my disciples by the love they have among themselves John 13:34,35
      So should Catholics in USA kill Catholics in Germany because the Governments are at war like in ww1 and ww2?
      Is that following the teachings of Jesus Christ?

      April 1, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Matthew

      What does the bible teach? What did Jesus believe? Should Christians be involved in politics?
      My Kingdom is no part of this world , said Jesus at Matthew 18:36
      You will know my disciples by the love they have among themselves John 13:34,35
      So should Catholics in USA kill Catholics in Germany because the Governments are at war like in ww1 and ww2?
      Is that following the teachings of Jesus Christ?

      April 1, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  14. Vincent

    I find it interesting that people are so flighty about religion. If the Catholic church is Gods church then why would you leave? If it isn't then why would you stay?

    April 1, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  15. Reality

    I gave up Catholicism for Lent. So far I have shed 50 years of RCC imposed guilt. Twenty more to go before mythical Easter.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • MandoZink

      Shortly after I graduated from Catholic H.S, my parents took me to church and insisted I go to confession. I told the priest I wasn't sorry for anything I did because I had no mal-intent. I told him guilt was non-productive and I preferred to be positive and work on any outcome which may not have gone as intended. I refused to wallow in guilt, I said. The priest stammered for minute, said he understood, then told me to say the usual OurFather/HailMary's, which I ignored. He didn't really get it. I told my parents what I told the priest and they NEVER took me to confession again.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Amelia

      No, Mandozink. I think you are the one who didn't really get it.

      April 1, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Reality

      Summarizing with a prayer:

      ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      April 1, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • AGuest9

      Poor Amelia

      April 1, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  16. MandoZink

    Thanks to an excellent Catholic education which stimulated my interest in science and humanity, I am now an very happy and constantly-amazed-by-the-universe Atheist.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • tricia

      ironic isn't it???

      April 1, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • MandoZink

      . . . who did not mean to use "an very happy" where "a very happy" was appropriate.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Rational1

      Agreed.... 9 years fo catholic education sparked a love of science and reason, 18 years of catholic church drove the religion right out of me. Funny... how all the religions say they are the religion of peace, yet start so many wars and condemn so many people who don't believe as they do...

      April 1, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  17. tricia

    People have become much more intelligent over time and religion is out dated. The bible and the messages that are from within it were written by the wealthy and the powerful centuries ago and most of what is written is in no wa relevant to modern society. Religion and the ideals of heaven and hell were constructed to instill fear into the common and uneducated. As we become more intelligent, we see the bible for what it is.......i witten piece of literature.....

    March 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Don

      It's more relevant today than ever. We just chose to mock it in the West, so God has moved on to other areas of the world to set them free from the bondage of sin. The fruits of the gospel are more evident in non-Western countries now, and it's a joyful thing to behold when empty lives are made whole.

      April 1, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • tricia

      God had to exist before HE could move on......silly finatics

      April 1, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • ForestAoudad

      i think here in the west we may say religion is out dated, but look in Africa, to any number of third world countries. They still exist in feudal and primitive society. It is no doubt that religion founded America, and no doubt that we may move away from all spirituality. But it is also without doubt in my mind that religion that the Bible offers is perfect, as you mentioned, for a more primitive society. Maybe if we brought third world countries out of their ignorance and poverty,using the Bible's religion, God would send us a new Word.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  18. Lisa Kinsey

    Unlike the gloom and doom article above I happen to be happy with my faith and belong to a growing and vibrant parish. I wouldn't leave a Church simply because my priest or pastor wasn't a dynamic speaker. Mass is not composed of simply a sermon alone.. When you experience the liturgy at Mass you experience the glory and wonder of our Lord's holy word. Though worship and readings from the bible one gains the strength to deal the harshness life brings. From the stain glass windows and stations cross that surround me with glimpses of the sacred events of the Bible to the beauty of worship services each Sunday I find the strength to survive. I don't come to Mass each Sunday out of guilt nor do I expect the Church to entertain me. My strength comes from hearing God's word through the faith I love.

    March 31, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • David

      Thank you Lisa for being ignorant. I like ignorant women. The church has held back women and covered up abuses for many years and you just lie there and take it. LOL Go make you husband some dinner and wash his feet.

      March 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • jarvis.lorry

      If I were a married Catholic woman, I would find it hard to find solace in an organization that required me to be constantly with child during my fertile years.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • Amelia

      Very nicely written, Lisa. My feelings as well.

      April 1, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • AGuest9

      I'm just stunned when I read posts like that. Really?

      April 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Lisa, it looks like your words which reveal the beauty of your soul are to some as the pearls thrown to the swine in a pig pan. They can't discern something valuable and treasure it.
      Even though I am a former Catholic, I recognize and treasure the good things that church possesses, and will not deny them. Many protestants should take lessons from them. I know that in every flock there are those who belong to God, and He will lead them out of every error, making to Himself a Church according to His promise in Ephesians 4. It won't be lead by man, but by God Himself! And That's His promise!

      April 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • jarvis.lorry

      Prism 1234
      Interesting comments coming from a former Catholic. I liked the part about throwing pearls before swine. Did you leave for one of the 7 enumerated reasons or for some other reason?

      April 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @jarvis.lorry
      I left because God has shown me the errors in teachings and practices of Roman Catholic church, in the light of the Holy Scriptures. However, there are many good things Catholics still retain, which Protestants are lacking.
      But one thing is for sure.: So long, any of us look to man as guide, we will never hear nor learn of the Lord Himself. That's the way He has designed it and ordained it! That's why todays Christianity is so split up and fragmented... because the leaders are not listening nor leaning on God to lead them, but are coming out with their own doctrines and teachings. And people are trustingly following them. But that's not what God intended!

      April 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  19. Moncada

    They leave church; but do they leave God? That is the question.

    March 31, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • stanJames

      depend which god= the god of hate and child molestation or the god of love of all his wondrous creation. etc

      March 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  20. Pipe-Dreamer

    Many people posting here seem to be touching bases here and fielding the depths of socio-religious idiocies there while running the baselines of whatever floats their boats.

    March 31, 2012 at 9:36 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.