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'Recovering Catholics' reveal spiritual journeys
According to a 2008 poll, 31% of Americans were raised Catholic, but only 24% describe themselves as Catholic.
June 19th, 2012
09:36 AM ET

'Recovering Catholics' reveal spiritual journeys

By Jim Spellman, CNN

Denver (CNN) - Kristen Kelly was raised Roman Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school and considered herself a good Catholic, but when she was 21-years-old that changed.

“A coworker asked me if I believe in Jesus Christ,” she says.

Despite spending her entire life in the Roman Catholic Church she couldn’t answer the question.

“I never really got exposed to Christ," she says. "It was more about Mary and the Church and a condemnation of everything I was doing wrong.”

She looked at her coworker and saw someone who appeared to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and decided that was what she wanted. She said this prayer:

“Jesus I accept that you are my lord and savior, and I ask you to come into my life.”

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

And from that moment Kelly, now 41 and living in Florida, considered herself born-again, and an ex-Catholic.

“I like to call us recovering Catholics,” she says with a laugh.

According to a 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religious Life and Public Life, 31% of Americans were raised Catholic, but only 24% now describe themselves as Catholic. Read the study (PDF).

That means about 1 in 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. If they were a denomination they would be bigger than Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and Presbyterians.

The total U.S. Catholic population has remained at about 24%, as immigrants have filled the pews the ex-Catholics have left behind.

Video: Why do some Catholic outsiders remain inside the flock?  

Kathleen Cummings , associate director at the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at Notre Dame, says that some people leave the Catholic Church after a defining event like the priest abuse scandals or because of a disagreement with the Church over social issues, but most leave because they feel their needs are not being met.

“They are not experiencing something that fulfills them spiritually,” Cummings says.

Church supporters are urging wayward Catholics to return to the fold. For example, Catholics Come Home, a nonprofit lay organization formed in 1997, has been putting out the welcome mat via the media.

The group has an interactive website www.Catholicscomehome.org and airs what it calls “evangomercials” on radio and television. The group says that since 2008 more than 350,000 people have “come home” to the Catholic Church through their campaign.

Tom Peterson, president of Catholics Come Home, says some worshipers who've returned to the Catholic Church report leaving because they had disagreements with church officials or had divorced and feared they wouldn’t be welcome. But, he says, the majority never really gave up on the Church.

“They just drifted away and life got too busy," Peterson says. "Most say they didn’t dislike the Church, nor were they opposed to the Church teachings.

“An overwhelming majority of returnees tell our diocesan partners that they came home to the Catholic Church, 'because you invited me,'" he says.

But it may not be so simple to lure back ex-Catholics like Matt Rowe, a 35-year-old married father of two living in Denver. Rowe attended 16 years of Catholic School in Illinois and attended a Catholic university.

But by the end of college, Rowe was adrift. He found himself disagreeing with the Church on everything from the role of women to the concept of original sin and what he saw as the Catholic Church’s dependence on guilt as a motivating factor.

Rowe gave up on religion for most of his 20s but never stopped believing in God. When he got married and had kids, he started feeling a void in his life.

“I wanted my kids to grow up in a religion, but not Catholicism,” he says.

After “church-hopping” for a few years, Rowe ended up at Pathways Wash Park, a multidenominational Christian church in Denver.

After years of feeling disconnected in the Catholic Church where he says sermons rarely connected to his life, he has finally found the connection he has been looking for at Pathways.

“I wanted spirituality. I wanted God. I wanted all those points to go back to what I’m dealing with today,” Rowe says.

Fred Viarrial, 59, grew up as an altar boy at St. Leo’s in Denver. Six days a week he donned his cassock and worked the 6 a.m. Mass.

“Books or bells. You are ringing the bells or moving the books for the priests,” Viarrial says.

But as he grew up he began questioning elements of Catholicism. One day, when Viarrial was somewhere between age 10 and 12, he had something especially embarrassing to confess, so he trekked over to a Spanish language parish where he was unknown.

“The priest pulled me out and spanked me on the spot,” Viarrial says with a laugh. “That got me to question this whole thing of confession.”

When he was just 14 the precocious teenager went so far as to schedule an appointment with Denver ‘s then-Archbishop James Casey to discuss his doubts.

“I took a two-page list of questions starting with the Hail Mary. I wanted to find them in the Bible, their origin … where is that in the Bible?”

Viarrial says the archbishop humored him but ultimately did not answer his questions.

He still believed in God, but was losing faith in the Church.

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By his 20s he was searching for a new church and ended up at Arvada Covenant Church, an evangelical congregation in a Denver suburb.

At Arvada Covenant he says the focus is on a personal relationship with Jesus and that his questions about his faith and the Bible are not met with derision, but with a search for answers through Bible study.

He has found a home at Arvada Covenant, but says he holds no grudge against the Catholic Church and still feels echoes of his Catholic upbringing in his faith today.

“It’s like a spiritual tattoo that you receive as a kid," Viarrial says. "Those roots don’t ever disappear, you just better try to understand them.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Colorado • Faith

soundoff (2,511 Responses)
  1. rich

    Hey all of you ex Catholics...time to come home. If you want to go against the grain in this world hop on the bus. The least loved thing to be in America today is a practicing Catholic. I am proud to call myself one. Check out the coming home network (google) for more information. peace be with you all

    June 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • BobZemko

      No, thank you. I have a mind of my own.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "If you want to go against the grain in this world hop on the bus."

      "According to the Census of the 2012 Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook), the number of Roman Catholics of the world is about 1.196 billion at the end of 2010 "

      Sooooooo, against the grain eh?

      June 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      how much practice will you need ?

      June 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Truther

      Time to come home eh.. to what .. lies and more lies and come home to the stone age... all religions are the cause of all the worlds troubles... what a bunch of mindless sheep

      June 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • rich

      Bob, an open mind is a terrible thing to waste. Now your closed mind, well never mind I'm sure that you are doing the best that you can. But I assure you that you could do better with the faith of a mustard seed.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      99.999 % thought the world was flat

      June 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Victor

      I have never left home. I have never been swayed by the inmoral and wrong teachings of todays "modern" world. I'm so happy at home and so is my family. God has helped us in so many ways it would be a betrayal not to say it.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Pat

      It is so outrageous to think that open-minded people actually agree with the Church's beliefs and choose it b/c they agree with it? And I'm talking about beliefs, not mishandled situations (for those who will bring up pedophiles and the Inquisition).

      June 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  2. gerald

    The story is as scripture says that we are fallen creatures and the heart is decietfully wicked. We are told in prov 3:5 to trust not in our own understanding yet in this day and age that is what men do. Thus their sins cloud their vision and they think they are wiser than 2000 years of Christianity. Fools.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      how convenient.."All things are made new", unless ya want to quote the old sh1t

      June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'gerald" is an instance of a bandwagon fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • gerald

      Fallacy Spotter. Apparently you don't know what the bandwagon fallacy is. I have no fear of anything.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Nigel Goddard

      How about just going home to God and love? How about going home to a religion free of murder, genocide, eccliesiastical perversion such as telling professors of the bible that they cannot marry and experience family love, tendancy to lable others as heretics, one that uses guilt, one bent on heirarchial careerism, free of needing your money? All religions preach that God is love but I don't understand why religion has to take your money when many religions own vast land wealth and commercial businesses. When ex-catholics return "home to Roman Catholicism," perhaps they should ask where does the money go? Why does it cost $5.00 to light a candle for a dead person. Why are people paying 100,000.00 Euro for an audience with the Pope and what is done with the money? It seems to me that it is very expensive to be a member of religion. What is the difference between a religion asking you to come home and a cell carrier calling to you to come home?

      June 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  3. Victor

    You can't go against God, people!! We catholics follow GOD, not men or priests.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • veggiedude

      I had 12 years of catholic school. Half way through I realised I was an atheist. 35 years later, I'm still happy and content as an atheist.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • BobZemko

      You follow the rules of an organization that is misogynist, discriminitory and condones child abuse.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Tell that to yer popey guy, and see if he invites ya fer supper.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • gerald

      God guides his Church through his shepherds. "Trust not in your own understanding". prov 3:5. I will give you shepherds after my own heart who will give you knowledge and understanding. Prov 3:5. These shepherds are sinners so there is scandal but the doctrines are pure. The gates of hell shall not prevail.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • rich

      Bob, what about your neighbors, or the school down the steet, or sports in america. You think the church condones child abuse? Brother, you don't know the church!

      June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • PedroT99

      Bob...you are a fool.

      To say that the Catholic Church condones child abuse is like saying that your parents condone their child growing up to be a foolish bigot. Sometimes bad things happen. FYI – You can't spell.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • gerald

      To add to rich's comment. That this is child abuse in the Church is not proof that it is condoned. There are 38 million abused in America and only a small percentage, less than 4000 by priests. So does America condone child abuse? Seems so according to Bob's logic.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      According to the John Jay report, 918 of 1872 (49%) substantiated allegations of abuse against Catholic clergy were addressed by sending the priest off for psychiatric counseling and then moving him to another parish, with nary a whisper to law enforcement. This number does not include priests relocated for reasons other than charges of se.xual impropriety.
      Maybe they don't condone it per se, but by refusing to report these instances to law enforcement, they DID give their tacit approval.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • gerald

      Doc, that fact is that is what society did with all peds in the 70's and 80's. That is what pschiatry told them to do. That is no longer done because it was found that most peds are irreformable. Further the rules have been changed so now they MUST be reported. So your info is dated but you will still use it.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Since all of these pedo priest stories can no longer be swept under the rug, the rules have changed.
      In 1962, The Vatican relased the 'Crimen Sollicitationis', which outlined how the church is to handle accusations of se.xual impropriety against clergy.
      The stickiest point for most people is that not only was the doc.ument itself Top Secret for decades, it explictly stated that anybody involved in this type of investigation, including the accuser and potential witnesses, are sworn to secrecy regarding any and all details, upon penalty of excommunication (a fate worse than death for the devout).
      This preoccupation with secrecy significantly slows the investigative process – the backlog of referrals to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for action against se.xually abusive priests is so large that it takes 18 months to get a reply.
      Jose Barba Martin of Mexico tried for years to have his accusations against the founder of the Legionaries of Christ heard by the Congregation. Eight years it took for Rome to discipline the Rev Marcial Maciel, and require him to live a life of reserved prayer. Another Priest who wasn't handed over to law enforcement. Maciel died in 2008 before the Legionaries admitted he had fathered at least one child and molested young seminarians.
      A letter written by a now-dead Canadian bishop shows church officials knew of se.xual abuse allegations involving a priest before his promotion to a top Vatican post and then discussed with Vatican officials how to keep the scandal from becoming public.
      There is also Catholic priest who was defrocked after a nun accused him of rap.ing three children in Bolivia who has been living with his family in Uruguay for more than a year – with the full knowledge of Uruguayan church officials – despite an Interpol warrant for his arrest.
      The Irish Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse from 2009 came to the conclusion that "the Dublin Archdiocese's pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child se.xual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its as.sets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities."

      June 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  4. Susie

    Th popular culture today is a powerful drain on the church and basic good sense, many buy into its empty promises.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      Th popular culture today is a powerful drain on the church and basic good sense, many buy into its empty promises.
      or it could be
      the church is a powerful drain on culture and basic rational sense, many buy into its empty promises

      June 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Dana

      "Empty promises" is the definition of religion.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Susie

      I have lived through both and found that God's promises are not empty, but that pop culture's are. Your perceived rationalism is merely how you view the world through flawed sensesand flawed neurons. Any perceptual psychologist can confirm this. Were the rubber met the road, God came through for me, not pop culture.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Susie

      where*

      June 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Tridentine

    So many fallen away Catholics just dont understand the Church.If you follow the Gospel and follow the teachings you will have peace.You will not find it in someone else. or something else.Good Catholics should be in the world not of the world.That is not easy for many to accept.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Yeah, the "true church" again. It's also called the No True Scotsman Fallacy. ho humm. next

      June 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • BobZemko

      Yes, we understand the church. We understand the cover-up of pedophiles all over the world for many, many years.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Trumpy

      Oh come on. Don't be so dismissive and condescending and rude. Part of the reason so many leave...

      Many who "fell away from the church" did so after YEARS...DECADES...of believing and being part of it. Many went to catholic schools, took all the rites and tests and whatnot, many help positions in the church in various forms...and still they left. and it wasn't for not "understanding the Church." And if some did leave for that reason, it's kinda the Church's fault for allowing someone to go there for 20 years and still not get it.

      Over-simplifying the motivations of others will only ensure that this problem continues to grow for the Church.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • gerald

      So Delusions, do you subscribe to the theory that there is no absolute truth? And your absolutely sure of that.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Victor

      That is so true.. You are not Catholic by simply attending a 1 hour mass on Sundays. Catholicism is not about that. True Catholics live their faith and do not reduce it to a 1hour a week sermon. WE LIVE our faith, everyday, at work, at home, everywhere. We are not afraid to be persecuted by people like those on this board. Jesus was never welcomed except for those who trully followed him. Don't be afraid for God's promises will come true when we persevere.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Victor' is an instance of the No True Scotsmen fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  6. Victor

    Many have tried to destroy the Catholic church in it's over 2,000 year history.. MANY have tried, THEY ALL have failed. It is written.. Matthew 16:18 "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT!!!

    June 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • MK

      No one is trying to destroy it. It will destroy itself.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      but they can't save the church from themselves. protecting child molesters over the victim. they will fall and you will cry - but the world will be a better place.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "on this rock I will build my church, and the GATES OF DISNEY LAND SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT!!!

      Oh wait, the gates of Disney Land actually exist, so I guess that was a poor analogy...

      June 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • todd

      victor get over yourself.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  7. FraterT

    Kaper says – "The Church turned its back on me when my husband left me. Unless I could gather enough $$ for an annulment, I was no longer welcome to take communion."

    That's a lie.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  8. Biggammo

    The catholic church has murdred more people then, Hitler, Stalin and all the mass murderers put together. They helped Nazi war criminals escape from Germany after WWII, they have persecuted women throughout history because they are a danger to the church. They sit on a city of gold but watch people starve and tell them to have faith. Priests molest children and are not prosecuted but shipped away where they can molest again. The catholic church is built on lies and murder and every sunday they have there hand out for money. I beleive in God and when he passes judgement he will burn their souls and I hope I am there to watch.......

    June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • fofo

      Started pretty good, but believe in God! What God? Come on you should be smarter than that. God was fabricated by human to turn people into a brainless sheep. It's time for us to bury God for good and get on with our life and do the good thing not because of fear, but because we are mature and grown up human being and we know better.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  9. Trumpy

    Dara O'Briain, an Irish comedian, says it best:
    "I wouldn't be a very good spiritual man. I don't believe in god. Still Catholic. Once you've started Catholic, frankly, there's no real way to stop being Catholic. Even not believing in god isn't regarded as sufficient reason to get out of the Catholic church. You think it'd be fairly fundamental to the whole thing, but no! Catholicism, the stickiest, most adhesive religion in the world. ... You could join the Taliban and you'd merely be regarded as a 'bad Catholic.'"

    June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  10. thegadfly

    Here's the deal on those statistics: Ritual and dogma only work on children and simpletons.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  11. Dana

    I used to have an imaginary friend.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • PedroT99

      Awwww....it's OK. Keep trying to get out there and meet people. I'm sure eventually you will find a real one. Good Luck!

      June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    "“It’s like a spiritual tattoo that you receive as a kid," Viarrial says."

    more like spiritual scarring. religion loves to get the hooks in early.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  13. AverageJoe76

    Catholics also make a big deal about Mary. How can you let Mary steal the show from Jesus?

    June 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Norman

      jesus was just a gay guy who was executed

      June 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • BobZemko

      In the church today, Mary could not be a priest.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • gerald

      YOu know little of what goes on in the Church. Those things that involve Mary actually point to Jesus. For example when we pray the rosary, asking Mary to request benefits for us TO HER SON we meditate on the life, death, and resurrrection of HER SON! Mary points to Jesus.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @gerald – Noooo, Jesus should point to Jesus. And truthfully, I should point to God. There's always some 'middle-man' you have to go through to get to talk to the 'Big Cheese'. Why? If you're an all-powerful God, why do you need someone to pass you the messages?

      June 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  14. bob

    Here we go again. Every article written by CNN on Catholics has some kind of negative feel to it. I respect all religions. I don't think faith should be questioned and people should respect others beliefs. It really is sad that the media is so against Catholics.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      CNN will personally send you an email when there is a "good" story about the Catholic Church. I consider this a good story because it means people are leaving the Catholic church.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Trumpy

      Should it be saying "a 7% drop off in self-identifying Catholics...Huzzah!"?

      How would you discuss a trending drop in membership and the potential reasons why without having any part of it "sound negative?" People don't leave happy places in droves.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'bob' is an instance of the circu-mstantial ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Bob – The Catholic church caused this scrutiny with their actions. The child molesters should've been handed over to the authorities, and not shuffled around to new 'meat'.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  15. Truther

    Who cares.. All religions are the cause of all the worlds problems today and what hold mankind in the stone age... OUTLAW all religions !!!

    June 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • fofo

      "Amen" 🙂

      June 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • allenwoll

      EXACTLY ! ! !

      Organized religion is the Original Con Game ! - The leading SCAM of all time ! !

      June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • kendallpeak

      Truther, you really are quite naive. Man has been attacking his fellow man in order to take his stuff for all time. Sometimes these men tell naive people that it is not because they want their stuff, but because they don't like their religion. Only the foolish believe this, as you do.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Truther

      do us a favor Ken and go back and bury your head in the sand you sheep

      June 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • kendallpeak

      Truther, your ignorant rebuttal must be embarrassing for your fellow atheist, though they are wrong at least some of them are intelligent.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Truther

      so your assuming that I have no religion... go assume somewhere else Ken... you continue to love the lie and someday you will find out that you had a wasted life

      June 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • kendallpeak

      Gee truther, you said outlaw all religions, that makes it pretty safe to assume you have no religion. You have gone from ignorant to contradictory. You must be an embarrassment to ANY cause you feebily try to espouse.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Leigh

    Even though I disagree with Church hierarchy on a good many issues, I still remain a Catholic. Why, you ask. Because when Jesus gave Peter the Keys and called him his "rock" on which he would "build his Church, THAT was the beginning of the Catholic Church. That's what I believe. Many will disagree, hey, you're allowed. For me, Peter was the first Leader of the Church. No other denomination or sect would be able to fulfill this for me, because to me, they all came AFTER that fact.

    All that said, whatever problems the Catholic Church has today, and it has many, it is due to MEN'S involvement and tampering with it, not Jesus's. Men wrote Canon Law, men wrote the Missals. But men are fallible, failed beings. Jesus is not. Priests are fallible, as is all the clergy, all the way to the Pope. Yes, that is breaking with "official" Catholic teaching. So be it. They are men. Men are fallible. The only reason they teach that figures such as the Pope are INfallible is so that congregants will fall in line and "obey". Some Popes from history were horrible men: adulterers, thieves, pedophiles.

    But just as many were good men, and they at least tried to lead lives according to what Jesus Christ set forth in the Bible.

    And...preachers and pastors in other sects are in no way, shape or form perfect. Nor are they even close to it. They are "the voice of God" they proclaim, and they say this for the same reason Catholicism lays down its "laws"...to whip the congregants into shape so they'll obey. Not to mention that their "flock" gives them boatloads of power to the nth degree and makes them milloinaires in the bargain! The list of "fallen" preachers and pastors is long indeed. Swaggart. The Bakkers. Haggard. Dollar. Lamb. Long. Latham. Jones. And many more. The list goes on. It isn't just Catholic priests acting scandalous. They have MANY Protestant counterparts doing the same thing.

    There is scandal and evil in every religious sect. Because HUMAN BEINGS ARE FALLIBLE, always will be, and because of that, religious sects...all of them...will NEVER be "pure". Not the "purest" so-called born-again sect, not Catholicism, not any of them. I suppose the "purest" religion would be a set of beliefs that you came up with and adhered to yourself, with no outside interference. But even then, would it be "pure", or subject to YOUR OWN pollution of it?

    June 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Dana

      It's amusing when people talk about the bible as if it was non-fiction.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      How do you know Peter established the Catholic church? It is only because that is what the Catholics tell you, the same leadership you have a problem with. Do you see the contradiction here?

      June 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Truther

      Good one D...lol... you said it.. bunch of B.S. it all is

      June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  17. kendallpeak

    The Catholic faith is the wonderful faith handed down from Christ through Peter to us today. Because of it, many souls are saved and many earthly pains are addressed through hospitals, schools, etc....The fact that some people leave is really a non story, the same could be written of all faiths, political parties, and clubs. One thing the Church isn't, it's not a change with the wind group, this is another reason people leave, they may be looking for a "god" that agrees with all the currently popular whims of society. All good Catholics pray for the return of all people to the One True Faith.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Truther

      people like you are the cause of all the worlds troubles today... oh my religion is the one and only true religion... you people make me sick !!!

      June 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • BobZemko

      No, they leave because of the enormous clergy-abuse scandals.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Horus

      You can prove that this Jesus fellow handed faith down through Peter to "us" today....right? oh, gee. ok then.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • closet atheist

      "many souls are saved and many earthly pains are addressed through hospitals, schools, etc"

      ... and we, as taxpayers, are subsidizing it. Time to end the tax exemption of churches. More money in the goverment coffers = more teachers to teach real subjects (not spreading more religious nonsense)

      June 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Bogusreligions

      If the Catholic Church were the real deal, then why are their leaders livin' so large? They (including the Pope & his Bishops) should (just like Christ did) give their wealth to the poor. That just doesn't make sense.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  18. BobZemko

    Jesus, save me from your followers !!

    June 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • allenwoll

      Bob - Yours is the PERFECT prayer for ALL ! ! !

      June 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • closet atheist

      funny..... and so true

      June 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  19. Danny

    Many people leave the church because they look to other human beings to be their guides and inspiration; when that person or persons fall short of expectations, they become disappointed and leave. We tend to forget that humans (religious or not) will fail at some point or another and will not get everything right. That is why we must look to Jesus and develop a one on one relationship with him through the reading of Scripture and prayer (and Im not talking about Hail Marys and our Fathers, thats repetiveness that doesnt get pass the roof of the church) so that we will stop looking at men who will fail and focus on Jesus who never disappoints. I say this from experience and the awesome relationship I have with Jesus. In Isaiah 2:22 the Lord says "Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?"

    June 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  20. AverageJoe76

    I could never understand confessing your sins to another human, with the belief that he passes on forgiveness from God.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • cnnmembuh

      There is biblical basis for confessing one's sins. Jesus authorized his disciples (and those ordained thereafter) to do so on his behalf. Also, there is catharsis and healing in confessing.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • allenwoll

      AJ76 - That you even CONSIDERED that idea shows that you are pretty "glaubig" ! (credulous)

      June 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Derek

      It is not that he is passing on your confession God can hear your confession anywhere, but the priest guides you towards how to spiritually reconcile the sins you have committed and how to atone through penance.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • DennyRicky

      It's always better with a "middle man", Joe. There's certainly more money in it. Just look at the massive wealth of organized religion, especially the catholic church. There's an obscene amount of money to be made by keeping people immersed in fear and ignorance. And organized religion are pros at this.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Derek

      Denny that is non-nonsensical the catholic church uses doesn't amass wealth like some protestant religions and mostly those odd ball ones where its a one man operation. The catholic church uses 100% of what it brings in through donations etc etc to support its churches and good works through out the world. So, saying it is to make money is silly maybe once upon a time it was a way of corruption but that is no longer the case.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @allenwoll – I'm being called 'credulous' because I entertained the thought? That's overreaching a bit, .....but y'know what, I'll be that. Especially since most of us probably all have had bouts of belief and disbelief throughout our entire lives. wondering if this or that is true or not. I still don't know s_hit. What you see as 'credulous', I see as progression.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:36 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.