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. Fact Is

    If a religion is to be "right" as it's adherents claim, it cannot change it's doctrine because it's unpopular. Yet, there isn't a religion or sect I have studied that hasn't changed a doctrine simply because it was no longer popular to teach it. But putting that aside, 1 in 10 Americans may be ex-Catholic, but the majority of Catholics are only Catholic in name only.

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

      yeah ..like the no longer popular Christian ideas like slavery, no rights to women, the world is flat and that dragons and witches are real... etc.... the problem with religious myths is they were written in a time of great ignorance of the masses so that made stupid ideas easy to believe. demons and such were real... now they are myth..... but they were always lies.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  2. I am God

    I used to go to the Lutheran church when I was younger. Left when I was about 10 years old. Science became my focus and I soon realized that the church denied a lot of solid scientific evidence of evolution. So in turn I became an Atheist. I put my faith in humanity rather then someone living in the sky as some invisible being. I also turned away from religion, because if there is only one God in the so-called universe, why do we have multiple religions portraying different "gods"?

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

      the catholic church was the only and the 1st church founded created by Jesus Christ. The others came after and the others came after someone didn't like what the catholic church was doing and started to change things/and making it their own.
      if you look up history the catholic church is the oldest and first christian church, lutherans, baptists, mormons, evangelists, all of those came AFTER Jesus created his church with the Apostles. Just do some research and you will see. The Catholic church is over 2000 years old when Jesus was alive, now check on the other ones.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Hello

      all gods were created in their creator's image.. not the other way around...

      March 30, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  3. Lcarterma

    I grew up Catholic. Until one day, i read the 10 commandments and the one that strike me at first was 'thou shall not bow down to any graven image'. So, i asked myself, why do people in the catholic church, including the priest, bow down to statues and images? the answer to that was becasue they don't read the Bible and don't follow their own teaching. So, i continued to read the Bible, and lo and behold, i also found out that the catholic church doesn't teach salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Ephesians 2:8,9 says: 'For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works." the catholic church makes us do 'works' for our salvation. Sacraments, hail mary etc.... If a person was to read the Bible they would finally see that the teachigns of the catholic church is inaccurate and therefore blasphemy. One last note, 'Pergatory' is not found any where in the Bible. Ask yourself where did they get this teaching from? They are a cult, only Jesus can save someone....i pray, place your faith in Jesus alone and not a priest , a pope or a man.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Why would an omnipotent god be so insecure as to put worshipping other gods or images on a level with murder?

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

      That is NOT what that means LCARTERMA. You have a picture of a loved one who passed away in your wallet. You look at the picture as a reminder but you know that person is not REALLY there in the PICTURE. Their body is in the ground and their soul is out of this earth. Same thing. We look at a statue of Mary or Jesus and we dont PRAY to the statue itself we know its a piece of wood.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • curiousone

      it's unfathomable how wrong you are.. you have been sucked in to a cult.. catholicism is the only true religion.. all protestant religions are based on the initial carnal desire of king henry the 8th to divorce.. i can't even tell you how wrong you are.. i will pray for your soul

      March 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • jani

      we don't pray to a piece of wood...we look at the statue of Christ as a reminder, just like a picture, we look at the statue of the cross so we remember Jesus is our only Savior and only through him the Father and the Holy Spirit we will be saved. Catholics do not pray to statues. We pray to the Lord who is the Heavens loving us. Im sure he hopes we go down the right path so that one day he will hug us and we will be with him in Paradise with all the Angels and Saints.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Hello

      to a god and his salesmen it is the same.. anything that takes money away from the church is a sin....

      Give to Caesar's what is Cesar's.. Read Caesar's Messiah to learn what that really means.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  4. squeekbo

    I left about the time the abuse scandal first starting breaking over here, but the MAIN reason I left was that, as a woman, I would never be able to achieve the church's highest calling, ie priesthood.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • joe

      That's total bs. As if you had any intention to actually become a priest. That's the stupidest thing I've read all day.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Hello

      yeah.. a great aspiration for any female to be the leader of the largest and oldest crime family on the planet.

      honey.. your male ego is showing.... pull it up... it makes you look ridiculous... dics are for men...

      March 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  5. lindy

    I don't think all the teachings we disagree with were "misconstrued"! I, for one, was not welcome in the church after a divorce. When I remarried, the Catholic primary school I paid to send my daughter to would only address me by my prior married name, tho they readily accepted the checks in my current name to pay the tuition. My husband was told he would not be permitted to be a God-father because he was divorced. During a converstation with the priest, he poised the question that if he murdered his ex-wife and was thus no longer married to her (in the eyes of the church), could he be a God-father and the answer was that if he confessed his sin and was forgiven, yes, he could take on that responsibility! So...a really good man, married for the 2nd time cannot be a God-father, but a confessed murdered can! That's not misconstued, it's downright unbelievable!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Hello

      yep all those things that get you rejected from the church... but being a priest pedophile is nor will ever be a reason to be excluded from the flock....

      to be a pedophile myth salesman... no problem
      to be divorced... your going to h311 honey....

      you can poke a little boy... but not a divorced woman... sins have been labeled to support the church not the people

      March 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  6. Mat

    Raised Catholic, was forced to be confirmed into the church. Don't believe in god. Left church. That's pretty much it!

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

      That's my story in a nutshell. During my childhood I tried to go with the flow, mostly to appease my mother, but also because I figured that I was missing something and that I was supposed to. Over time I started to think of the many religions that people worship today or have worshipped in the past and wondered why it is that people simply adopt the beliefs of their parents. I began to wonder if had I not been born in a Catholic family, would I not simply belong to a different faith? In a society where we demand objective evidence for so many things; in courts of law, in testing the foods we consume, in making financial decisions, why do we not demand objective evidence for the biggest questions of all? Given that con artists thrive on the vulnerability of human emotion, why do we trust our emotions to try to explain the universe?

      March 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  7. achepotle

    1.It is make believe
    2. It is hateful
    3. It is hypocritically gay
    4.It is violent
    5.It is led by a Nazi
    6.It is more fun to sleep in on Sunday
    7. The Middle Ages ended a long time ago

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

      Spoken like a d0uchebag bigot. Good job!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Fact Is

      Congrats, after reading the article you very poorly worded one of the 7 reasons. Don't worry, 4th grade reading comprehension levels come late for some, there's still hope.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • achepotle

      lol...rule of thumb on the internets...if you are going to rag on someone's spelling/grammar/punctuation, you should make sure you get your own right!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  8. Theo

    I am very proud and blessed to be Catholic. While I can in some ways sympathize with some of the reasons given for leaving the Church, as I wondered about many things in my life too, I have found that as I looked for the basis and truth of Catholic teaching, the reasons for these teachings became apparent. The reasons are deep and truly beautiful. i have found that they make me be accountable to God and to myself – not a priest or anyone else. it is a shame that there are priests that are uninspiring, and that can be difficult. That is all the more reason that a Catholic should explore and seek their faith even more – as it is not about the priest. I hope and pray every day that "ex-Catholics" and others may come home to the Church, as it truly is fulfilling.

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

      It is fullfilling to you. Creating a blanket statement based on your experience is not viable. Not everyone is you, and not everyone will feel the same as you when belonging to a church.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Hopper

      But if you see that the very foundations of the Christian doctrine, like whether Jesus was real or not (not backed by any good historical evidence), and all the failings of the Bible (full or inconsistencies and errors) then there is no reason that you should feel accountable to any deity. You do not need to be a slave (fearful of retribution by a vengeful GOD) to all this religious nonsense to be a good person. Evidence base belief (Science, the procedure and study of all reality) is better for you. At some point you realize life is beautiful by itself, even if it is not forever.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Mary

      God Bless... you are absolutely right. It is not about the priest. I love that the mass can be said all over the world on a Sunday and in many languages. Very powerful.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  9. Descarado

    Will CNN follow-up with seven reasons why 1 billion Catholics are happy with our church?

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

      No, we only spin the news to support our liberal agenda. DID YOU GET IT?.

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

      Agreed! Will CNN post why 1 billion Catholics are happy with Catholicism? Why does it always have to be negative reporting on Christianity?

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

      Because people in general are stupid and easily manipulated?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Joe

      When you can answer as to why the church supports pedophilia so much maybe ill come back...until then ill find another religion to worship.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • wAKE UP

      Because the church would make you believe every Catholic is overjoyed with the church. CNN is here to report otherwise. Can't you simply accept that fact and be thankful that your mind has been open to the level if dissent in the Church?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • eric

      CNN is reporting on a study that they DID NOT DO, idiots.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Mary

      No because they make money on each of the "ads" on this page. They make more money when they rile us all up.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  10. JC

    These stupid inadequate studies prove nothing at all. The only bigger waste of time than conducting the study is actually reporting on it.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  11. Jon Matthew

    These Catholics leave because they do not know their faith! There is no place on earth to receive the divinity of our God through the Holy Eucharist. As St. Augustine says, "God became man so that man might become God!" God loves his creation and thus feeds us the new Passover Lamb who becomes for us the body, blood, soul and DIVINITY! 2 Peter 1 Through Christ, he has given us the greatest and most precious promises, so that by these things you may become sharers in the DIVINE NATURE, fleeing from the corruption of that desire which is in the world!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Jon Matthew

      If people only knew that in the Mass we receive the greatest gift in the entire logos the bread of life. And through this bread the Lord God gives himself entirely to his creation including his DIVINITY! So that we all become sharers in the divine life! That is a God who loves us! And when we eat this Holy Bread our God consumes us and transforms us into His Godhead.

      Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true
      words of God." (Revelation 19:1-9)

      March 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "These Catholics leave because they do not know their faith!"

      The Catholics that I know that left have a far better understanding of the Catechism than those still in the pews. It wasn't until I studied the teachings of the Church in more depth that I saw the absurdity in them, leading me on the path to atheism and a far more fulfilling life than I could have imagined as a believer.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Kevin

      Agreed. The people I know that are still in the church turn a blind eye to anything negative. People I know that have left, including me, are the ones that did the research. The ones that read the articles. And the ones that acknowledged the hypocrisy and acted on it. Sheep are a true representation of a typical churchgoer- they blindly follow, and mindlessly quote scripture that has no relevance to their argument. It's sad. Or it makes me sad, anyway.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  12. Zen

    People leave the church, they leave their spouses, they abandon their kids..what is new under the sun? Nothing!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  13. Take it easy

    I am not Catholic. In fact, I believe that several Catholic beliefs are well outside of what you will find in the Bible and yet they do not claim to receive modern revelation of any kind. However, I applaud their religion for standing strong in not changing their beliefs just because there is a sweeping Progressive landscape that is taking over the country. By the way, Progressives are anything BUT open-minded. How can they be considered so if they want to fundamentally change America? Is it not because they are intolerant of political efforts that made the USA the best country in the world? Is it not because they are intolerant of Christianity? They just want to crush Christianity and freedom. I hope the Catholics stand strong. Perhaps they can improve how they handle things, but even if you disagree with what they believe – like I do, you cannot with any conscience tell them to change what they believe God has asked.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Thinks2010

      I think your biased stereotype of liberals/progressives is by and large wrong. I, and the other liberals/progressives I know love this country and find most of our political ideas in line with the progressivism of the founders of this country. I am a christian, though not a catholic, and find progressive ideas to be in line with Christ's teachings and actions. I know deeply religious liberals/progressives of many faiths. Through my volunteer work, I have met many liberals/progressives that give generously of their time and money to their communities. I am a retired business person who applied liberal/progressive ideas to business (treating employees with respect, making goals and standards clear, rewarding good performance, mentoring and retraining under-performers to bring them up to snuff, keeping jobs in the U.S. By doing these things, I was able to turn around a division of a large U.S. corporation taking it from unprofitability to profitability, improving both production and quality and increasing customer satisfaction. I did not have to lay off anyone to do this, I only had to fire two people out of hundreds. So unlike some conservatives, I know that american workers are not lazy, stupid, greedy, etc., and that liberal/progressive ideas are not out of line with capitalism. I have liberal/progressive friends and family members who have served this country in the military and law enforcement, some of whom have been severely injured and some who have died because of their service. Sure there are some fringe liberals/progressives who may fit your stereotype, but they are not representative of the majority.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  14. M C Lawrence

    WOW ! ! ! You know, I may not like all the employees I deal with at Wal-mart, but that doesn't stop me from shopping at Wal-mart!! It's the same for the Catholic Church, not all Priest are bad, there are a lot good Priest out there, seek and you will find!! I'm never going to stop going to church because of a few bad apples (sorry for the pun).
    I find this article list invalided and wrong on all points

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

      Maybe true for YOU, but if the manager at Walmart talked down to you, made you feel guilty about what you were purchasing, and excluded you from the sales everyone else was getting becasue you married a blonde I bet you'd shop elsewhere.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Many of the points given dealt with the catechism, not the hierarchy. How are those invalid?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • joe

      because once you see past the BS of the catechism the hierarchy is the icing on the cake for departure.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • M C Lawrence

      typos are soooo funny 🙂 to be a catholic is not an easy road to take, it's very narrow and hard on the feet.. The rules are not mine, but God.. if you have an issue with them, tell him, he'll be happy to hear from you !

      March 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  15. Drew

    I stopped going to Catholic Church because it was like going to a funeral all the time. Also because God created the earth in 6 days. Not 7. He took the 7th off. Remember? That is another reason why I don't go. God is a busy man and don't need to bother him on his day off.

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

      I hope you don't go to church for that reason b/c you are doing the opposite
      the 7th day is for the Lord not for you NOT to go to church....
      Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
      Six days you shall labor, and do all your work;
      but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God

      March 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Kevin

      Jani- you really need to get out more.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • M C Lawrence

      Jani is right on.... Kevin stop playing and start praying... "GO TO CHURCH" !!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • curiousone

      so you equaate reverence to be akin to goign to a funeral? everything is not a game and "fun filled" escapade... the mass is beautiful and quiet reverence allows you the space to connect with the trinity.. all the cheering and carrying on in some churches only serves to distract people from the ability to connect and gain a real relationship with God

      March 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  16. rock123

    Religion was created to control the common man. Someone found out that the human mind was so fibble that if you design a system that says if you believe(give money) to a faith that you will go to heaven and live on past your death in a better place. Since then peolpe who need a reason to keep living outside of just having a good life jumped at the chance to join a "faith" and have a promise of a better life in the afterlife. NEWS flash, one you die you are like every other living thing, you body decays, turns to dust and poof you are gone. If you dont believe that, than you are either blind to the world and facts that are contained in it to prove that your god did not create the earth the way your story books say or just to scared to say you dont believe.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • PeteH

      Speak for yourself, O uncommon man...

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

      Ok, so you are one of those who believe that some kind of explosion out of nowhere created the universe including our planet and every living organism. Let me tell you something, you need more faith to believe that theory than to believe what the bible says!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Of Course, Manny, why didn't I see it. Talking snakes are certainly more real than something as out there as mathematics. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Hello

      I believe that all life started with an explosion... and still does... its called organizm...sometimes it makes life sometimes it don't.

      March 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      To attempt to classify the big bang as "an explosion out of nothing" shows that you really have no understand of the theory.

      March 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Sorry "an explosion out of nowhere".

      March 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  17. Nemesis

    Notice that the thrust of the article is NOT about one's relationship with god, it's about people's relatiionship with the Catholic CHURCH. There's a HUGE difference there.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • squeekbo

      Excellent point.

      I don't believe there needs to be any intermediary between a person and their god(s).

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

      what is a religion with out a god... Atheism.... what is a god without a church.. dirt poor and a cult.

      March 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Hello

      but the god's need dogma to feed to the bill payers... otherwise there is nothing to bill them for.

      March 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

    WOW and her i thought that one of the reasons people would leave the church is because its all fairy tales... but nope people are still dumb and only have problems with the people that run the church no the idea...

    March 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Hello

      well that guy who dresses up like god's bride in a white dress every Sunday does make me feel kinda creepy if you know what I mean...how about you?

      March 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  19. closet atheist

    I need advice...

    I am unmarried and have a 4 year old daughter. She lives with her mother, but I have her 2-3 weekends a month. I'm worried because her mother (my ex) is a devout catholic. I'm trying to figure out a way to introduce my daughter to "other options" without directly undermining the ex... we have a cordial relationship and I would like to keep it that way. I'm honestly scared though, as I know the brainwashing has begun. I'm afraid that, by the time we can have an adult conversation on the topic, it could be too late.

    Any suggestions...??

    March 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Sphinx

      Why did you divorce your wife?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      Teach her tolerance and show her that religion is a lifestyle choice and that you can be a good person who does good things for the world without being part of a church.

      At the same time, I'm agnostic, but Jesus had some good things to say. Does that mean I believe he was the son of God? I don't know, but even if he isn't, that doesn't make compassion and kindness bad things.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Paddleboard

      Shame on you! Did you have a child out of wedlock?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The best approach you can take is to expose your daughter to different ideologies.
      If you don't raise a fuss when your ex takes the little one to Church, she shouldn't complain if you show you daughter mosques, temples, shinto shrines etc.
      When you have time with your daughter, take her on field trips to explore different faiths and ideas and to talk to people who believe differently.
      One day your daughter will wonder why Mommy believes what she does. If Mom's answer is, in essence "because it's the truth" – your kid will have been exposed to lots of other kind, honest, friendly people who believe just as sincerely in their "truth".
      In time, she'll start asking herself all the right questions to begin searching for her own truth.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Darwin

      When my son asks me questions about religion, I always start with – Some people believe.... then continue to explain it to him. That way, I feel, he gets a sense that there are many beliefs and he has options.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Darwin

      Also, get outta that closet 🙂

      March 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • jani

      teach her to love other as you love yourself...teach her to treat EVERYONE with LOVE and RESPECT no matter what they look like or WHO they like. Gays are welcome in the Catholic church. Its just that the church want the gays to live a life of celibacy. Think of it as you will have brownie points in heaven and less time in purgatory since you sacrificed on this earth. The most important thing to teach her is to Love God over everthing and love your neighbor like you love yourself. Good luck and God bless

      March 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Jim

      Leave your daughter alone with respect to religion and hope that she and her Mother can repair their lives and forgive you for your errors. When you are mature enough to realize that you did not create yourself....you can begin to seek the truth about all things.

      Start with the idea...... God Is.

      and go from there.

      I wish you well in your journey......

      March 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You're making quite a number of assumption there, buck-o.
      There are two sides to every story – and I doubt that Mommy is entirely without blame.
      Would you feel the same if Mom was Mormon, Muslim, or Scientologist?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Gregg

      I would say to you "not to worry". Your child's real beliefs will begin to form fully when she's a young teenager anyway - then those logical questions will surface. Would it really bother you terribly if she remained Catholic? I would encourage you not to do anything that undermines your parenting ability, and allow your daughter to chose her own path. Your responsibility is to answer her questions to you about your beliefs honestly. Like many here have pointed out as they've become more Catholic, a lapsed Catholic, or abandoned it entirely, if your child choses to explore other religions or no religion, that's really her choice, not yours.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Hello

      look on line for a local Atheist group.. they have meetings that always include families and children activities.
      There is a great one in Dallas. Most large cities have Atheist groups..there are also great children books available for patents raising freetought kids . There is also the summer Freethought camp for kids.. called Camp Quest.. look it up on line.

      most Atheist web sites Like Secular web sell kid books. and videos for Atheist kids.and their parents.

      The Freedom From Religion has a great selection of kids books.
      Remember...the best places to take a freethought kid is to museums and other science places.

      if ex gets upset.. tell her.. the kid would not be here if it were not for you... you have just as much right to teach YOUR kid as she does... remind her what the bible tells you what to do to those fighting over a kid... is that really the right way to deal with it? of course not... you can't split a kid... she has just as much right to know you and your views as she does her mother's. I bet in the long run.. little baby girl will follow your path than the myth one....

      March 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Doc Vestibule / Darwin / Hello.... thanks for insights. Appreciate feedback.

      @ Jim... You are the very reason I worry about my daughter being indoctinated. Why is it that you religious types are so judgemental? It doesn't make you sound like a very good person.

      @ Gregg... I agree 100% that it is her choice. The problem is that if I don't present her with alternatives, then she is likely to see catholicism as the only and "right" path. I think people like you tend to underestimate the power of early indoctrination. And I'm not even talking about pushing my atheism on her. Quite the contrary... I want to show her various different religions (or at least expose her to the ideas/concepts). Naturally, when shown various, contrasting religious beliefs I believe (hope) that she eventually comes to the same conclusion as me.

      March 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  20. Jim

    In truth there are only two emotions....fear /hate .....and at the other end of the spectrum love.

    Fear /Hate spawns attacks and sees each individual as being separated from God the Creator of All That There Is.
    It is the total absence of love and it is obsessed with itself. Much of what appears in the media is colored with fear and hate.

    Love is Divine energy and all things are improved when more love is brought to bear. Love is what all of us are made from and therefore all of us would do well to study love . Loves power transcends human intellect and reason. Love carries with it a shift in perception , it sees everything differently. It harbors no ill will....it forgives all poor choices...it heals all wounds and directly repairs human DNA. Love is not just energy it is a way of being.

    Love can help all of us to be healthy , healed and whole......

    As a three time cancer survivor I know this is true.... and I did not learn it from the media or my doctors ......

    I learned it from the Church and from Jesus....

    and since all of us are both students and teachers we are obliged to learn all we can and help others on their difficult path.

    If you choose to do so without faith and religion your chances of success will be greatly diminished and you will be miserable.

    If you choose to find the path to your Creator and His love ...you will learn to experience peace.

    By yourself you will simply not find peace.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Hello

      slavery is also part of your myth... If you can explain to me how slavery is LOVE... then you have a sick kind of love..
      Slavery was or never will be condemned by Christianity... the myth character even tells slave owners how to rule over their slaves and how slaves should obey their masters.

      that is the one BIGGEST issues I have with Christianity.. it supports and promotes slavery...
      It will never be removed from the bible .. because in Revelations it states no one can change the bible... EVER! for any reason.

      that's why I find it so disgusting that people who were brought to this country as slaves. supports a slave based religion.

      March 30, 2012 at 7:48 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.