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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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. Christianity is not healthy for children and other living things

    Christianity takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Christianity makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
    Christianity prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Christianity makes you fat.
    Christianity wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Christianity contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Christianity fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Christianity can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Christianity reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Christianity exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Christianity makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Christianity makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Christianity makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Christianity gives you knobbly knees.
    Christianity makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Christianity dulls your senses.
    Christianity makes you post really stupid shit.
    Christianity makes you hoard cats.
    Christianity makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Christianity wastes time.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  2. John the Guy

    3. A Bad Priest
    A parable.

    Secretary...Your Excellency, Father Xavier would like you to hear his confession.
    Bishop...Now, alright send him in.
    Father Xavier...Thank You, Your Excellency.
    Forgive me father for I have sinned.
    B...Not again Frankie, did you get caught this time?
    X...No, I don't think so, not yet anyway.
    B...Good, good, neither did I. You have to tell me immediately if there is any hint of scandal.
    X...Of course, Your Excellency.
    B...You know Frankie I may have to send you away. I used to have a parish in the country, lots of rich landowners and strong healthy farm boys. It would suit you. You would like it I'm sure.
    X...Lets hope it won't come to that.
    B...Yes well we will see..Ah say a few Hail Mary's and be more careful Frankie and Ah go now and sin no more.

    Father Xavier prostrates himself and kisses the Bishops feet.
    X...May I kiss your ring, Your Excellency.
    B...Not now Frankie, drop by the residence tonight and we can........

    God works in mysterios ways and the Catholic church covers it up.
    AMEN HALLELUJAH

    April 4, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  3. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things .

    April 4, 2012 at 5:41 am |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things"

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. 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.

      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, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      April 4, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • nope

      nope

      April 4, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Jesus

      "nope

      nope"

      Exactly prayer doesn't change a thing, thanks for agreeing with me!

      April 4, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • nope

      nope.

      April 4, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Jesus

      "nope

      nope."

      Exactly the original poster is full of crap and lies thanks for agreeing with me! Prayer is a waste of time, it's a proven fact!

      April 4, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Prayer changes things

      Do not let your child grow up to be like the one who takes the Lord Jesus' name in vain. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      April 4, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Jesus

      "Do not let your child grow up to be like the one who takes the Lord Jesus' name in vain. A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

      That's why you go against the bible and spread lies not backed up with facts. What a hypocrite.

      April 4, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  4. ElmerGantry

    Beware this troll. It feeds voraciously by baiting comments.

    The troll's screen name is,
    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    DO NOT FEED!

    April 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So is he or she any different from other trolls on both sides of this debate? If you just choose to single out one sides troll while pretending the ones that is wearing your teams jackets and jerseys then you are just being biased.

      Also, don't feed the troll post are like crack cocaine to trolls.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  5. Just a pilgrim

    #8 – Catholic doctrine is as far from Christian doctrine as works is from grace.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  6. Troy

    These reasons are spot on. I was raised catholic but mass is so boring and behind with modern times. I think the catholic religion has lost its way. It's sort of like the GOP. Outdated. Sad cause I'm a republican. But Im moving on and treating life as a connection the earths elements.

    April 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  7. ruth

    I will always be Catholic,I just do not attend church< have not attended since 1966.The reason,I loved the Latin Mass ,could not get used to the English version or the folk mass.When they brought in the guitars ,that was it for me!Guess I left before all the above reasons!

    April 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer,

    April 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer is a waste of time. 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.

      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, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!`

      April 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • TB

      @ "Jesus" : Of course you're right, prayer is indeed a waste of time, if you view prayer as a means to summon a divine bellhop to do what you want, when you want, the way you want it. It's still just self-gratification. As for your comments about faith healers, I tend to agree. I think people make serious mistakes by not using man-made resources available to us because we expect a giant magic wand to to what we want. It's like the old joke about the guy who was on his roof because the river was rising. rescuers in boats came by twice and he refused to get in saying, "God will save me". Water was up to his neck, helicopter came by and he still refused help. He drowned, died and was talking to God. "I prayed, why dident you save me". Answer: "I sent you two boats and helicopter. What else did you want?"

      April 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Kman821

      #8 ... They know B S when they smell it, but all religions are malodorous.

      April 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    changes

    April 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    things

    April 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Jesus

      Yeah Christians are so greed they can't even follow the teachings in the bible.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • TB

      @ "jesus" : the 'greed' comment is a blanket judgment and clearly comes from someone not acquainted with all Christians. I do know some who seem to think that Christianity and capitalism are synonomous. But I also know many more who give anywhere from 10-20% of their incomes to charities, and I dont mean the church pastor. I mean organizations that feed starving people in third world and developing nations. BTW, just how much do YOU give to charities, or even starving people that you know personally, while we're talking about it?

      April 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Jesus

      TB the catholic church alone is worth billions dude.

      'BTW, just how much do YOU give to charities, or even starving people that you know personally, while we're talking about it?"

      i probably do more for my community and give more than you can even comprehend. Let's put it this way I've gone so far as to give my car to someone in need because my mechanic told me about how dire this mothers situation was. I knew I had the resources to do it. The woman was in tears when i signed over the title the next day. Just because we are atheists doesn't mean we fit in your limited view of humanity.

      April 4, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  11. PrimeNumber

    This article could have been written at any time in the last 2000 years. The Catholic Church has always been reviled because it is the one with the hard teachings. It always outlasts each generation of "get with the times" thinkers.
    What many ex-catholics don't realize is that they would have no use for a church that told them everything they want to hear. Let them be their own church for awhile and see how they fare.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • airforce1990

      Actually, the Catholic church is reviled because it teaches false doctrine. The foremost false teaching is using Mary, or other "Saints" as mediators between man and God. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is the one and only mediater between God and man. We can pray directly to the Father through Jesus Christ. We don't need to confess to a priest, we can confess our sins striaght to God. The Catholic church has elevated Mary to a position of a co-redemptrix when the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved. Mary was a sinner just like anyone else. Another is the Biblical requirement for a bishop to be the "husband of one wife". If the Bible requires a Bishop, or preacher, priest, etc...to be married, why then does the Catholic church forbid it? Again, not following scripture. I could go on, but I'm bored.

      April 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • TB

      "Hard Teachings?" Catholic church has long taught numerous things that arent scriptural, and even anti-scriptural, such as priests not marrying. If the Catholic church paid less attention to tradition and more attention to scripture all these centuries it would have more credibility. It would still be duty bound to teach things from scipture that wouldent be popular, but at least it couldent be accused of teaching contrary to scripture. That's why the reformation happened.

      April 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  12. catholic engineer

    1) I grew up in the '60s near a Benedictine Monastary. I was many, many times alone with priests in confessionals, cars, rectories, sacristies, even swimming pools and NOT ONCE ever approached in any inappropriate way by a priest.

    2) Look closely into any Catholic parish. You'll find that most of the valuable work is being done by non-disgruntled Catholic women. Women Mass attendees usually outnumber men about 5-3.

    3) Never mentioned in history books: while the Protestant Reformation was claiming large numbers of Catholics in Europe, the growth of Catholicism in the New World was into the millions.

    4) A recent National Geographic article pointed out that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, millions of people have been baptized into the orthodox church.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Dan

      1) You weren't abused, thus it isn't a problem in the church? Nobody (reasonable) said that a majority of priests were pedophiles. There are a few bad apples in any occupation. The problem is in the Church's response to these bad apples.

      2) And a vast majority of these women use birth control.

      3) Not sure how this is relevant. This article is about the modern church.

      4) Also not relevant. Most of the complaints are not about the religion but about the church. The Orthodox church has separate leadership.

      April 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Charles Lee Ray

      1) If you enjoy it, then obviously you wouldn't see it as being inappropriate.

      2) Women have smaller brains. It's science.

      3) So what? You think anyone gives a shit?

      4) Then pack your garbage and move to russia. Broke people flock to churches.

      5) You're an idiot.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:45 am |
  13. travelinpants

    In my opinion.....it is all pretty sick concerning how the CC behaves when dealing with criminals and women.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  14. airforce1990

    So, does the Catholic church recruit Pedophiles and Gay priests, or does it create them?

    April 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Certain criminals misused the priesthood as an avenue to ply their deviant ho mo se xual behavior on innocents. They deceived the church and the trust of society and should suffer the full consequences for their crimes. Even so the most dangerous place for child abuse is not the church or the school, it is in the home at the hands of trusted family members or neighbors. Any and all abuse needs to be dealt with.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Why do you guys continue to try and equate being gay with pedophilia? And why do you claim gays are deviants? Being born gay is no more deviant than being born left-handed.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      There really is no such thing as "gay". Gay is a word stolen by ho mo se xuals to attempt to make a sick,twisted, unnatural life style seem acceptable. Why equate ho mo se xuals with child molestation? The history is already there.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • gerald

      Primewonk,

      I would prefer the comparison of hmsx and pedophiles to genetic cancer if it is ONLY genetically based as you claim. That something is genetic in some way does not make it good or natural.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "There really is no such thing as "gay". Gay is a word stolen by ho mo se xuals to attempt to make a sick,twisted, unnatural life style seem acceptable. Why equate ho mo se xuals with child molestation? The history is already there."

      The experts have proven you wrong. The fact that you don't even have a clue about gays shows your stupidity and why you should keep your mouth shut.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "That something is genetic in some way does not make it good or natural."

      Yeah like stupid prejudice bigots like you are not natural and a cancer on our society.

      April 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Primewonk

      An inconvenient truth wrote, " There really is no such thing as "gay". Gay is a word stolen by ho mo se xuals to attempt to make a sick,twisted, unnatural life style seem acceptable. Why equate ho mo se xuals with child molestation? The history is already there."

      This, of course, is a lie. Ho.mose.xuality occurs throughout nature, thus, by definition, it is natural. As for your claims about linking being gay and pedophilia – kindly post the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research that supports this. I won't hold my breath, because your evidence doesn't exist.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • TB

      @ airforce1990 : I don’t think it 'creates' or actively recruits gays, either one. I heard one priest sum it up like this: substantial numbers of gay catholic men join the priesthood because gay marriage and even gay 'relationships' are not allowed, therefore, since they have to stay celibate anyway, they might as well put their efforts somewhere else. Problem is, apparently, some of them give in to temptation. And I’m by no means convinced that a majority of priests are gay, and I am not convinced that a majority of those otherwise gay priests give in to temptation.

      April 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  15. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS: –>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    This should help any ex-Catholic still in the "deprogramming mode":

    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 3, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 3, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • Otto

      Repeating the same empty statement over and over does not make it true,

      it is the a good way to get peopleto believe it though.

      April 3, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Jesus

      No it doesn't you are so full of crap and lies. 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.

      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, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!

      April 3, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven. .

      April 3, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Otto

      Once again saying it is proven does not make it 'proven'.

      Use the brain your god gave you and explain why it is proven.

      The reason you don't is prayer is not proven. Studies show it has no effect.

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Stop feeding the trolls.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Jesus

      You haven't proven crap liar. 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.

      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, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!`

      April 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • TB

      @ "Jesus" : The nature and tone of your comments indicate to me that you are one of the most hateful and vindictive people I've seen on one of these forums. You may think religious people or believers are ridiculous, but so are a great many other people. I wonder if you spend as much time and energy throwing hatred at them? The most aggresive comments seem to be directed at people who believe in prayer. Did you not get something you wanted when you prayed for it a long time ago, and now you are wallowing in bitterness over it? If not, why are you spending so much time attacking people?

      April 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Jesus

      "The nature and tone of your comments indicate to me that you are one of the most hateful and vindictive people I've seen on one of these forums. You may think religious people or believers are ridiculous, but so are a great many other people. I wonder if you spend as much time and energy throwing hatred at them? The most aggresive comments seem to be directed at people who believe in prayer. Did you not get something you wanted when you prayed for it a long time ago, and now you are wallowing in bitterness over it? If not, why are you spending so much time attacking people?"

      Nice assumptions on your part but totally off base completely I am here for entertainment, if you really think you're going to change anyone's minds here then the fool is you. You should ask yourself why you read those things into my comments because it says a lot about you.

      April 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  17. Tom Emard

    The catholic church is not based on the teachings of the bible. As far as the modern trends and the world the bible tells us to "come out" from amongst them. (2 Cor.6:17) The catholic church is so powerful they can buy and sell people. Those who were abused as children were told them to be quiet. I know all about the teachings since I am a former catholic. My father sat in the front of the church on Sunday and was drunk the other six days of the week. Not a good testimony for Christians.

    April 3, 2012 at 6:16 am |
  18. Many Known

    I will fight till death for my belief in God the Creator.
    But not for any religion.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • TB

      All religions are flawed, including all Christian denomintions, because religion is creating God in our own image.

      April 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Charles Lee Ray

      You actually believe god exists? baaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahaha!!!

      April 4, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  19. BigSkyHumanist

    My fundamentalist Catholic in-laws behavior caused me to question the Christian religion and now I am an atheist. Thanks Mike and Jeanie now it all makes sense. They didn't attend their daughter's wedding because she married a divorced protestant?! It was her first marriage, and now she has three girls and all of them attend a Lutheran church. They drove away their own flesh and blood. They chose the church over family, it was what Christ demanded of his followers. Well, he got what he wanted. I think they will be very lonely in their Roman Catholic Heaven.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Da King

      Big Sky, You surely won't be lonely in you after life spot.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • jerry148

      He doesn't have one. That's what I love about atheists. The magical imaginary voice asks that you only believe in him and do good things on earth, and you'll be rewarded with eternal life.

      But for some reason, atheists are more content with their final stop being a hole in the ground.

      Really, really high aspirations....

      April 3, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Otto

      Da King,

      Threatening and fear to keep people believing.

      jerry148,

      Just because you believe there is an after life does not make it true. Being content with a hole in the ground has nothing to do with whither there is an afterlife or not. Even if there is an afterlife, it does not make your religion the correct religion or your idea of god the correct one.

      Atheists are more content with exploring actual truth than believing bronze age myths of fear and guilt disguised as truth and comfort.

      April 3, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Charles Lee Ray

      Believing in fairy queens is an aspiration? Well lick my balls and call me Stanford.

      I'm glad I'm not wasting my life on sh that doesn't exist. I actually get to enjoy myself : D

      April 4, 2012 at 4:51 am |
  20. Da King

    Dan, nice try but you article misses the real reason why Catholics leave the church. They leave because the priests don't teach the Word of God, They do not know the word of God and They do not believe the work of God. So The Holy spirit is not present and no one is or gets saved there. There are some exceptions but that is rare. They mostly peddle religion, which Christ opposes. Why did they have to eat fish on Friday,s in the 50's? because their fishing fleets were not doing well. There are many fine catholics and catholic priests but many just don't have Jesus on the inside. Now you know why.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Da King
      The truth is often painful to face, but it's in the end liberating. It was for me. Your post is right on!

      April 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Charles Lee Ray

      The word of which god? There were plenty before the bible and plenty made up after. So which of this sky fairy princess lollipop-land jerk-offs do we choose from?

      I don't mean to be rude, but anyone that believes in any god is a mongrel retard moron of the highest degree.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:54 am |
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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.