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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. rjd2051

    I didn't really leave the church, it kind of left me. It's a business now, more concerned about money and protecting itself.
    I do owe it for an outstanding education, but divorce and womens issues mostly left me feeling uninvited

    March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  2. They Aint Seen Nuthin

    As a former Catholic who left the church ages ago after seeing the very things this article has wonderfully brought out, I can say that the Roman Catholic Church has completely disenfranchised God's people. God created everyone EQUALLY, Everyone, something the Church has refused to embrace. Neither do they embrace Jesus' teaching to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Priests often told me they did not read the Holy Bible instead resorted to what they call a "Missalet" designed to bring out the church's points of view rather than the Bible's teachings. Therefore, it is paying the penalty, a very expensive price by non-conformist Bishops including the Pope who continue to refuse to change things to reflect the love God meant for Everyone to embrace. If they think all of those who have left the church is a large number, brother, I've got News for them, they ain't seen nuthin' yet!!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Hello

      If everyone who claims to be a chirstian would REALLY read the bible they would not be a christian when the finished it.
      Many Atheists are Atheists for that very reason..

      Read Caesar's Messiah for more details as to why..

      March 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Faithful

      So, what you're saying is that you'd like a Church modelled on what YOU think it should be, rather than what it HAS been for 2,000 years? Didn't you ever learn that pride is a trait to be avoided at all costs?

      Priests are human and sometimes don't conform in their reading habits? So what? THAT'S humanity for you – it is made up of individuals!
      The only plus about the 0.7% of priests who abused children is that, because of what they are, they are traceable. Unfortunately the OTHER 99.3% of abusers are at ALL levels of society and no-one knowa who or where thay are. What we do know, however is that they include: Families; Teachers; Ministers of all religions, Carers, GHays, Army personnel, Scouts, Youth workers, Sporting Coaches, Medics, Lawyers and Law enforcers. How do I know? Because Iv'e worked in Child Protection for 25 years.

      Tell me this – If Christ died for our sins [which He certainly did] , why would he have needed to if we're all PERFECT?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  3. Ben

    @evolvedDNA
    Again, God found favor with Mary. The idea that a only men can be priests is called persona christi. It's clearly shown in scripture that Jesus appointed men to be leaders and the women to support them, not serve! If that is how you read it, then you misinterpreted it. Men and women serve each other in love.
    @Snow
    Whether you were Catholic or not in the past 1900 years made no difference to women. There rights were the same whether they were Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, whatever it was. Are you blaming Catholics for the way women were treated around the world in history? Because that's been going on long before the Church was there!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • eric

      Actually, Ben. If you read the Pauline epistles, you see that there were several churches in Asia Minor that were either run by women or had women as elders. Plus, you cannot show one single example of Jesus treating women as second class citizens. In fact, He goes out of His way to treat them as what they are: PEOPLE

      March 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Ben

      A supporter isn't a second class citizen. We support our country and pay for taxes, yet we say we are completely free citizens. And you're right, Jesus did show compassion and love for women. So, I'm not sure what your point was.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  4. rbsrs

    It's not "the churches stance on" anything, it's the Bible's stance. The Catholic Church does not claim authority to change revelation, other Churches do that. Since the RCC is better at dealing with abuse right now then the UN (abuse was and still is a major problem with peace keepers), will people come back?

    March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  5. Mike Kissinger

    Ask what you can do for the church and not what the church can do for you !

    March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Hello

      religions are dictatorships without borders.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  6. bxgrrl

    Many years ago the NY Archdiocese ran ads twice a year in public transportation saying "Come home at...[Easter or Christmas]" The Catholic Church never felt like "home" for me, even after 12 years of Catholic education. I left it while still in Catholic high school and never looked back.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  7. oakie

    I STOPPED GOING TO CHURCH MANY MANY YEARS AGO.I BELIEVE IN NATURE,EVOLUTION AND I FEEL THAT I AM A GOOD HUMAN BEING.I CARE GREATLY ABOUT THE INNOCENT ANIMALS,AND CHILDREN.I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND I DO NOT SUPPORT ORGANIZED RELIGION.IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN,I THINK THAT I WOULD CHOOSE TO BE A BUDDIST.THEY ARE A VERY SPIRITUAL PEOPLE AND UNLIKE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND VATICAN WHO REPRESENT GREAT MATERIAL WEALTH,THEY OPT FOR A SIMPLE AND MEANINGFUL LIFE.I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH THE CHURCH'S STAND ON BIRTH CONTROL AND I WAS SURPRISED THAT IT WASN'T MENTIONED AS ONE OF THE SEVEN NEGATIVES.IF WE ALL TRIED TO COEXIST WITH EACH OTHER AND WOULD PERFORM KINDNESS TO ONE ANOTHER DAILY,WE WOULD ACHIEVE A SENSE OF UNITY AND WARMTH THAT I HAVE NEVER FELT IN CHURCH.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Brian

      Lol sorry you can believe that you used to be a monkey at one point but not everyone is stupid like you. Why cant you libz see how perfect life and everything is and there is a creator to everything! Everything has a creator. A rock crashing on our planet millions of years ago was not a creator.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • bxgrrl

      You could become a Buddhist now. Never too late.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • I am God

      Brian when are you going to finally realize that evolution is factual information? Evolution is real no matter how many times you extreme religious folk try to destroy it.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • BioHzrd

      Why are you screaming?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Dr. B

      @Brian: It would be a great idea if you would actually educate yourself on what Darwin's theory of evolution actually says, rather than parroting that tired line about how we "used to be monkeys." You can disagree with things all you like, just do so from an informed perspective. Thanks.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • eric

      I happen to believe in evolution AND the Bible. Nothing about the one invalidates the other. In fact, I look at evolution as a miracle created by God. The Bible and my biology textbook are both correct.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Hello

      if you would not use all "CAPs" what you wrote would be a lot easier to read..

      CAPS= Yelling
      People who yell all the time, never get heard.. but ignored.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  8. SUAMW

    Curious where "No longer believe in a divine being" ranks?

    March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • SBSTR

      Certainly not in the first 7. It does appear that many catholics are bothered more by the interpretations of catholic church on social issues than the issue of being religious (of the catholic variety). And the fact that some of the actions of more vocal or prominent catholics seem to take a more conservative role, the liberal members seem to be alienated by their own faith. Atheism seems to be far away from their minds.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  9. Brian

    CNN, i am tired of you bashing my religion every single day with your stupid articles. The last time i read an article on CNN was about how Christianity is going away fast and wont exist in years from now. well guess what CNN, we will exist even if humanity is going extinct. We will exist till the end because we have a God that watches our after us. Who do you have? bunch of fake scientists that want to believe we came from monkies. When the day comes, you will be gashing your teeth and begging God to take you back but it will be too late. You can then go back to your "Scientists" and hope they can save you. I'm out of here CNN, you wont be seeing me on your site anymore.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • JaneDoe

      HHAHA your delusional.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • bxgrrl

      Good. There's enough angry people.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • lol joke

      come on man u don't really believe evolution doesn't xist, we didn't just all fall outta the sky one day otherwise there wouldn't be hatred and evil and greed, ur silly

      March 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • rbsrs

      I wonder if CNN would ever do an article on "Why People are Converting to Catholicism" or "Why People are staying Catholic" or "Why Catholicism is Growing so Fast in Asia and Africa"

      March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • JayS.

      Is this even a serious comment? I still can't decide if it's a total 'tongue-in-cheek" joke, or (the horror, the horror ...) the genuine thoughts of a real person.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Mat

      Bye!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Snow

      you wanna know why? read your own comments in this very page.. was there a single positive thing you said in this whole page? I can only deduce that the reason for that is your upbringing.. and your belief system..

      March 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Scott

      How does an article about why the Catholic church is shrinking – written by professors at a Catholic university – get construed as anti-Christian? If I write an article about the shrinking rain forest, does that make me anti-nature?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      Brian,

      Truth hurts, doesn't it?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Blanchard

      I was very saddened to read Brian's response. It reminds me so much of the church's hierarchy and their responses to these very issues. Yes, I am a 'Cafeteria Catholic' and make no appology for being the same. Every group has its own problems. Either you are willing to take a long cold hard look and your problems and change them or we will keep loosing members. IF we are Christians, then out primary objective should be implementing the Gospel He expoused and taught of Love first off and most primary for all and not just a select few. And, the reasons listed clearly show that lack of love from the church's hierarchy. I just hope and pray that the church will change before I to leave. Were it not for my church support group, I to would have been long gone.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Alejandro

      I agree. But more than anything the silliness of this article lies in trying to make it sound like Catholics leave because the Church is "too conservative" and traditional. Those ex-Catholics usually don't go join other faiths. They become secular and accept the values of the world and reject the values of Christ. Catholics who leave the Church and join other religions tend to join conservative Evangelical churches where scripture is emphasized. We can try to engage those who are secularizing but truth is there are MANY Catholics who leave NOT because of unbelief but because they want a better explanation of the faith and unfortunately many priests and parishes are more interested in the social gospel than in saving souls by teaching truth. Also, 300 folks in Trenton are hardly representative of American Catholicism.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Hello

      the creation story of your christian my is really a Jewish myth. Ever wonder why the Christian myth has its roots in the Jewish one?

      Read Caesar's Messiah to find out...and may other things about the bible your church propaganda sellers never told you about. Every Sunday at 8pm MT go to Revolution Radio web site to learn more.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  10. citizenUSA

    I was never a devout Catholic but I did serve some time. I began to just believe in humanity back in 1981. I was in desperate need of help. I was homeless with a college degree. I went to the largest Catholic church in my city. I was told they could not help because I didn't attend church there. They did not have a program to help "outsiders". I'll never forget that. As time rolled on I came to realize many, many things about religion that just kept me away. I don't want to be beholdin' to some unseen force that says do it my way or hit the highway. What nerve.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Brian

      Lol i would say the same to you if not even give you a good punch in the face. A drugy homeless non-believer trator like you should have gone to a athiest group and begged them for help.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Snow

      Does your bible tell you to only help those who do not need it?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • I am God

      It is nice to see another fellow being that agrees with me. Yes have faith and believe in humanity. I would rather have faith in humanity then an invisible being in the sky.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Hello

      You are an outsider because they could not get any money from you...in the myth game if you don't pay you don't play.

      The whole purpose of the myth game is to get money from its members. take a clicker counter to any religious service and count how many times they request money.. it is hidden in the speech so you have to listen carefully.. but you will see the main message is to give..money time stuff etc... usually to god or to some needy group, who in the long run get only a fraction if any of what they take in... it is a tax free business that sells warm and fuzzy along with fire and brimstone guild.

      They whole sales pitch starts at the door.. it is created to channel the money in.... and you have no clue you are being scammed .... It is all about the MONEY honey.... and nothing more.... all that saving your sole etc is just part of the play to get you separated from your cash....

      religions is the biggest business in the world...the largest crime family on the planet.... Thats why they want to over populate the planet.. the more people the more money they make. Its a numbers game... the more sukk3rs you can bilk the more money and power they have.... they don't are about morality.. that is clear.. with their pedophile business benefits they have going on the side.

      Its a scam.. always has been always will be... Read Caesar's Messiah for more info

      March 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  11. plucky

    I would think education should be the number 1 reason why people leave.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • ajk68

      Spoken by a truly ignorant person. Do you have any idea the depth and breadth of Catholic thought and the influence it has had on Western society? It was the Catholic view that nature is intelligible that gave rise to the idea that we could study it and deduce its rules. The philosophical underpinnings of the scientific revolution came from Catholicism (and by the way, early Islam shared in this quest for knowledge – as an heretical offshoot of the Catholic Church – it was only later that it changed). Catholics are anything but anti-intellectual. God gave us a mind for us to use. Catholicism has avoided fundamentalism like the plague.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • ajk68

      I would point out that the largest student group at MIT, when I was there, was the Catholic community.

      Also don't forget that Catholicism started the university system!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Snow

      @aj.. what you do not know can fill books.. people like you remind me of an Indian proverb that "a frog born and living in the bottom of a well thinks that is the entire world".. fyi, google "Nalanda"

      March 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      Correct,

      The more uneducated you are, the more easily controlled. Why do you think Santorum called Obama a 'Snob' for saying everyone should be able to get a college education?

      Religion IS the opiate of the masses...... Keeped them drugged up, scared, and confused with religious dogma and the sheeple will line up to hand over their welfare checks.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  12. Snow

    Ever wonder.. if the church was successfully able to cover up as big a horror as #1, how many other horrific realities did it do and/or cover up and made sure it does not see the light? There is a saying that one does not become an expert at something by doing it just once..

    how much more disgusting can it get if the leader of the cult is disinclined to meet the victims of the horrors its own members perpetrated and covered it up?

    March 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  13. Tanner Ragan

    Guess what everyone?!? GOD ISN'T REAL!

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

      How did you figure that out?!?!?!

      March 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Tanner Ragan

      Well I may not have 100% evidence that God doesn't exist but, it doesn't take a genius to know that Religion is a huge mistake made by millions of people.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Hello

      learn about mythology and you will see where all the gods came from....
      human imagination is a great and powerful thing.. it is just as capable to telling the truth as it is telling lies...

      with no proof.... myths are lies... myths are the roots of religions... religions are myths that turn into social control tools for populations the government's can't manage with out the belief in the supernatural. That is why all religions claim to have mysteries things only the god knows... etc. its part of the programming... teach a myth to a child and he/she be a slav3 to that myth its entire life.... its all about the opportunity of the myth controller has on the population. And with violence as its enforcer.. you then a mythic culture.. rules by those who want to be gods.

      it is the basis of our Age of mythic Stupidity era we are in... America is locked in the mythic madness...

      if or when we get out of this dark age thinking.. we may start to evolve into real humanity.. until then we will be controlled just as the Roman's wanted their slaves to be controlled thy mythic fear...

      Read Caesar's Messiah to learn more on how the mythic plan was created and why.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  14. palintwit

    I don't understand why Newt Gingrich isn't doing better in his bid for the White House. After all, Todd Palin did endorse him.......................bwahahahahahahahahahahahhaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaa

    March 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Hello

      nit with newt is... well a nit wit...

      March 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  15. Nicole

    I left the church (well, rather, refused to attend mass) because they refused to baptize me as an infant due to my parents marital status, therefore excluding me from all of the children's activities af my parish. My father still got to receive communion, though.

    I was 9.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Hello

      He got in because he paid money.... ya don't think it was because they felt sorry for you.... it was the church's way to take control of you and your father.. as long as he was willing to pay is dues... he was allowed in.. you as a child... had no money therefore you are worthless to them....

      when in reality they are worthless to you.... live happy... live free.. from myth and its dogma.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  16. Peter Pearson

    These are not fairy tales nor are they to be read literally. Sometimes the truth is bigger than the "facts". If you're thinking about leaving, consider this: The Episcopal Church welcomes YOU! I took them up on that and have been quite happy with that decision.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • plucky

      Sometimes the truth is bigger than the facts? By definition, a fact (if it is a fact) is true.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  17. Eric Boden

    The Catholic church does many good things and the basic teaching are excellent. The politics of the church and disrespect of the abused drives many of us away. I have left the church come back and left again. Trying to find the priest that is open minded is the hardest part. If the church would remember the true teaching of Christ they could lead by example and people will follow. Do onto others as you would have done to you.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  18. Jim K.

    As a non-practicing Catholic, I agree with many of the points listed. I stopped going to church when I was 18, I am now 44! I had a hard time in CCD classes since I always asked annoying questions about things I found a little lacking in the explanations. I wouldn't get answers like, "You have to take this on faith!" The sermons at mass were mostly about how the church needed money for the school and the ways of sin and how everyone is going to hell who doesn't believe. I just got sick of it and decided to stay away. I have been to non denominational churches and find the teachings very well done and inspiring, I just can't do the whole singing and worshipping thing and 3 hour services are wayyyyyyyyyyyy too long. I believe, it is just that I prefer to believe in the way that makes me comfortable, so church doesn't do it for me. If God did create Heaven and Earth..... then he is everywhere and I can talk to him where and when I choose. I don't need a preacher for that!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Hello

      priests and preachers are first and foremost salesmen... if they weren't selling god they would be out selling used cars, insurance and mattresses.

      They are the best drug dealers....selling the drugs for the control of minds can be packaged in words or chemicals...

      the outcome is the same.. mind control .. with making money being the main goal of the seller.s

      March 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  19. Kevin Clark

    First of all, I am very proud to be a Catholic which is the original Christian religion. Second, what a waste of time for CNN to spend on this article. And they pay for this?

    March 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Hello

      read Caesar's Messiah to see what your heard earned god dollar is really getting for you

      March 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  20. joe catholic

    The truly unfortunate thing about this is that a lot of Catholics are misinformed about what the Churches beliefs are and about its practices and the meaning of them. I have been raised Catholic (I'm now 23) and I have been very involved in my church and community. Even through my years of learning and studying my faith since about the age of 5 or so (starting with CCD classes), I have come to find that while I do know alot about my faith, I am still learning. I will constantly be learning because, no matter what religion or denomination of religion you follow, one thing I have found is that you are constantly striving to learn and know more about your faith. Sadly, in today's society, not all Catholics see this as being important and make their judgement on whether to stay with or leave the Church based on what they are first told (which again, may not be true or may have been misconstrued).

    March 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Chris

      I dont believe its about knowing any Faiths and its practices. It's about having a relationship with God and his son Jesus Christ. When one starts to worry about which religion they are and what needs to be done to fullfill the requirements of that religion, then the 'true' focus is lost.

      Religion isnt going to save anyone, its the relationship one has with God and his son, of course, after accepting Jesus Christ into one's heart.

      At the end of the day, the Pope, preacher, pastor, or any other leader will be unable to vouch for your personal relationship with God – only Jesus can do that.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • joe catholic

      And I totally agree with that. Religion will not save you. Your faith does. I think you may have read into my post a little to deeply. Religion can help facilitate a person in thier journey of developing thier own faith. God gave us free will to choose what we believe in and don't believe in. I think it is unfortunate that so many former Catholics either misunderstood what they were told or were told the wrong thing about the Churches beliefs.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Hello

      What is faith? believing in something that has no proof....because the only way to believe in it you have to imagine it is true or real.. I can not believe in something that has to use force to believed in...
      promising heaven or hell is force to me... Therefore it is a lie....

      March 30, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
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About this blog

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.