'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. Stephen R. Sottile

    I was raised Latin Rite Catholic and left in my 20s to arrive back in my 40s. As I enter into my 52nd year I prepare to leave again, most probably to the Anglican Catholic Rite. The degree of hypocrisy and small mindedness in the hierarchy of the Church is mind numbing. It is inconceivable to me that this Church which was the base of Western Civilization has departed so much from Christ and his teaching. The attack on the US nuns and the false religious freedom arguments of the US Bishop's have just pushed me over the top.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • BobZemko

      You didn't even get to the part about the pedophile cover-ups.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      Fruit of the tree.. consider that next time.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  2. Brooklyn Boy

    I was raised as a catholic but, the time I was 12, I realized that it was all a croc (as are all other religions). I have three young sons now and I woundn't take them anywhere near that den of phonies and child rapitsts.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  3. Catholic Convert

    What of all the many folks who have converted from other religions of from nothing at all to Catholicism?

    June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Len

      Stupid is as stupid does.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • tkogrady

      ummm, that would be an interesting article, but it's not the topic of this article

      June 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      Maybe they liked the purty dresses

      June 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • bigdil

      I don't know. What about all those people who drank Kool Aid in Jonestown?

      June 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  4. Terry

    I'm an ex-Catholic and really don't know if I even still believe in God, but I do know there is a tremendous value in religion, if it isn't used to promote hate or intolerance. The morals and truths our society is based on can well be said to be derived from our predominantly Christian beliefs. And for all who put down those simply because they have faith, I say shame on you. Who are you to judge others simply because they don't think and feel the way you do? And who's to say the lessons of the Bible aren't valid, even if the stories aren't true? I mean, I don't believe the fable of the lion and the mouse, but I still believe the moral of the story has value.....

    June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • asdf

      But that's just it, isn't it- you can be a good person and convince others to be good people without the threat of hell. Somehow many, many other cultures all have basically the same breakdown of good and bad people without Jesus being involved at all. Many without god being involved at all.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Not a Scholar

      Just because other nations don't have Jesus does not mean they don't have religion. And a matter of fact, most other nations have stronger religions than Catholicism. Muslim – Buddhist – Hebrew, etc.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  5. Colin

    A few questions should help highlight why some might be inclined to leave Catholicism

    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the religion of:

    (a) The ancient Celts;

    (b) Bronze Age Egyptians;

    (c) Pre-Colombian Aztecs; or

    (d) Modern Catholics

    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are:

    (a) a reptile handler who has severe mental issues;

    (b) a five year old boy who just read a fairytale;

    (c) a scientific fraud; or

    (d) a Catholic

    I believe that an all-knowing being, powerful enough to create the entire cosmos and its billions of galaxies, watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty" like protect myself from disease with a condom. I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

    (d) A Catholic

    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gifted psychologist

    (b) A well respected geneticist

    (c) A highly educated sociologist

    (d) A Catholic with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Catholic

    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from Catholicism:

    (a) Catholicism tells people not only what they should believe, but what they MUST believe under threat of “burning in hell” or other of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Catholicism can make a statement, such as “God is comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas Catholicism is regional and a person’s Catholicism, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than geographical upbringing; or

    (d) All of the above.

    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am

    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker

    (b) A mafia boss

    (c) A drug pusher; or

    (d) A Catholic Priest

    What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:

    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;

    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;

    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or

    (d) All of the above.

    The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:

    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;

    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;

    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions as “boots on the ground” to distribute condoms; or

    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      I see you have got the "copy and paste" function down...

      June 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Catholic Convert

      Aren't we very pleased with ourselves? Now go write a script for SNL!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Moncada

      Hey did you know that somehow something can be created out absolutely nothing.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Timothy Rigney

      You really should get more informed or at least less misinformed before you start stereotyping us. Just for starters, most Catholics believe that Genesis is an allegory and that's Official church policy. Has been for years. Almost all Catholics in modern countries who are well-educated and informed believe in the Big Bang. It's the Message that counts.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Colin

      YEs, Moncada, it's hard to understand that Catholics can believe that, isn't it? A god, created out of nothing.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Shaun

      Best. Post. Ever. Thanks!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Colin

      YEs Tim, after about 2,000 years of insisting it was literally true and burning those who disagreed to death.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • justsayin'

      the above writer (colin) is:
      a) ignorant of Catholic teaching
      b) spiritually adrift
      c) unrepentant sinner
      d) all of the above

      (by the way, we are all sinners, but some admit it and ask for forgivenes from Jesus, the only one who can cleanse us)

      June 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Beweaver

      You are ignorant. You are bigoted. You are filled with negativity because you think it will improve your self-worth. It won't. Dragging down others will never make up for leading a pathetic life. You have the opportunity to do something positive with your life. You've got to give up these preoccupations with trying to harm others.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Where do you draw the line

      Timothy Rigney said:

      You really should get more informed or at least less misinformed before you start stereotyping us. Just for starters, most Catholics believe that Genesis is an allegory and that's Official church policy. Has been for years. Almost all Catholics in modern countries who are well-educated and informed believe in the Big Bang. It's the Message that counts.

      If Genesis is an allegory, is the virgin birth also an allegory? Is Christ rising from the dead an allegory? His ascension into heaven? Three gods in one? It's the picking and choosing that gets to me. Either it's all fact or it's all hogwash.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Marilyn

      haha I like that you mentioned the help in exams..Just like god supposedly chooses a team in sports..and helps one guy score over another...

      June 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • John from Houston

      I greatly enjoyed this...good work.

      In fairness.....some of your topics are specific to Catholics while others also apply to other branches of Christianity.

      And I'd like to nominate Politics for the murder/suicide question.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • irlkro

      If I picked 'D' in any of the exam questions, does that mean I'm going to hell?
      Haha, just kidding. I'm not going to Hell or church. Figure that one out.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  6. budshot

    There's a line from an 80s play dealing with Catholicism that goes, 'the ultimate goal of the Church is to become obsolete.' Meaning (as I understood it) that once a person has gained what there is for them through the Catholic Church, it no longer becomes really necessary. It has done its job – tutoring and guiding a person toward a good and giving life.

    I've only heard that line in the play, never in any theological context, talk or article, but it made perfect sense to me when I heard it. I have the capacity to study, think and figure things out on my own. I was gifted with a good education and I don't need other individuals to do this 'work' for me. I was raised Catholic and, though I miss the community a bit, I haven't been to a Catholic service (other than a wedding or funeral) for over 20 years. I find it unnecessary for me. And I really don't like the incredibly strong and damaging turn it has taken to the far right. It was never 'left' but it used to be open to conversation and discussion and involvement. Now it seems to be dictatorial and absolute. That kind of an organized religion seems obviously destructive. So sad to see so many of them go down that path.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • another ex-Cath

      I'd never heard that line before, but it makes perfect sense. Thanks.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Beweaver

      I think you hit on a key point. The community of being Catholic can sometimes be top-notch. But it requires coming out of one's shell and getting involved. But there are plenty of other groups with which one can become involved so in itself, it is probably an insufficient reason to get involved with the church again.

      I don't know a lot of people who are Catholic for cultural reasons alone. When people ask themselves if they want to be Catholic, it really should start from the story of Jesus Christ first and foremost. If you don't believe the story, why be involved with the religion?

      June 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Not a Scholar

      I call BS!! There will always be sinners. Therefore the Catholic Church is more like job security rather than working your self into unemployment. Much like a doctor who tries to encourage people to be healthy while all the time knowing it is an impossible feat and a good preffession.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  7. asdf

    Catholicism, with its emphasis on dogma that was made up well after the (supposed) time of Jesus, is just so much easier to disprove than evangelism. There's so many more inconsistencies to point to because everything is so rigid. Evangelic churches, on the other hand, are all about jesus=love and love=jesus and "i feel him inside me" (creepy in any other context, for sure), but no obvious BS to point to like Catholics.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      classic example of bearing false witness against thy neighbor...

      June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • dadawg77

      I'm an ex-Catholic atheist and know the BS of the Church, but Evangelic churches have much more BS.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  8. cnnmembuh

    This article is ridiculous. She didn't encounter Jesus in the Catholic church? The first thing you see upon entering every Catholic church is Jesus on the cross. Eucharist is the focal point of the mass. Somebody apparently wasn't paying attention.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • asdf

      Seeing a bloodied carcass on a stick and then symbolically eating him later is perhaps not the type of intimacy she was looking for.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      well you got the bloodied part right, but the only symbolic thing in a Catholic Church is the Holy Water. Everything else is real.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • gilamosnter

      spoken like a true catholic. She meant in a spiritual sense NOT physical. Catholism focuses much on the aesthetics and the man made rituals/traditions as oppose to actual teachings from the Bible and relationship with God. It is basically a man made religion that uses the 'Christian' story as it's agenda.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Beweaver

      I'm a Catholic. I understand what Catholics mean when they say they don't feel propelled to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. How many times has a Priest talked about such a thing in a Homily? In my experience, not often if at all. However, when I read the histories of the Saints, the way they describe their spirituality is often times exactly that–as having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So, do I need to leave the Catholic Faith to have a personal relationship with Christ or do I simply need to explore more deeply the spiritual resources within the Tradition? If you are a simpleton, you may not have the good sense to explore beyond what your local Priest may be sharing in Homilies. That is sad but something we can fix through prayer and fasting.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Truth will prevail

      Eucharist is the physical presence of jesus as well as the cross in the church..Jesus is in heaven and his spirit is present in people on the Earth- in the ones who have received it.Jesus died to take away our sins and to give us His Spirit and the Spirt and the Word of God (Bible) helps us walk this life on Earth.
      Why did Jesus say,God is a spirit and we worhip him in Spirit and in Truth?Think about it
      Catholics worship and kiss physical things and believe that God is present in statues Eucharist dead saints bodies etc.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  9. Cheryl Jefferies


    Worst jobs' openings report in 7 1/2 years. And, you continue to publish your anti-Catholic, anti-God, anti-religion rantings Meanwhile, you post elsewhere on this site a "Snapshot of Obama Job's Record." Which is a flat-out lie. And, you don't give anyone a chance to post on that. You, CNN, are as much of a lying coward as he is. Meanwhile:

    Just out from the government itself.

    Obama can't blame this one on Bush...Bush had a better record on jobs' opening, obviously.

    But, folks don't care.

    After all:

    Obama will provide.

    Obama is God.

    Obama speaks and food and houses appear.

    And, ObamaPhones, of course.

    So, who care?!

    I do, but so what?!

    June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • BobZemko

      Is that what Rush told you today?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Bet

      Why don't you just as god for a job, then?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • budshot

      What a load, Cheryl. Interesting for you to write what you do and call someone else a liar.

      Turn off the hate radio and Fox and start educating yourself. And just because Obama is a black man doesn't mean you need to be scared, okay?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • dnick47

      So you support an anti-Christ? Romney is a Mormon which denies the divinity of Christ making him an anti-Christ. All anti-Christ are enemies of God per any orthodox Christian Church and its based upon the Scripture. If you support Romney you are an enemy of God. Also, Obama is not anti-Christian – another lie like th birther lie. All lies orginate in the Enemy who is the surpreme anti-Christ – read your Bible instead of accepting the lies of Fox News carte blanche.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • ryan

      Not everything is about your irrational hatred of a political figure. The president does what he is told by the corporate interests and the military industrial complex. No matter who is elected. Wake up and remove your head from your neither regions.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Daniel

      Any so called religion that has its history in Judaism is an outright hoax. Control, Control, Control. There is not one empirical fact that Jesus was nothing more than the greatest salesman or all time, the same going for Mohammed and any Jewish fool.

      They have no one iota of substance in reality. You are a sheep....BAAAAAH!!!

      Why do you blame a president for the mistake we lef the whole of government make?

      Oh yeah your Catholic....

      June 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • another ex-Cath


      June 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • eell

      Go vote for Bush if you love him so much.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  10. rick1948

    Like all churches, the Catholic Church is scared to death that people will begin to logically analyze what they are hearing. When people see corrupt leadership that is either committing crimes or covering them up, when they see the totally illogical stance that forces people to have more children than they want or can afford, when the see the millions of dollars of wealth gained by donations from people who can't afford it – people begin to think. And, thinking will destroy any religion.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Daniel

      Hmm great comment...very truthful

      June 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Beweaver

      You sound like a dogmatic fundamentalist. You present your ideas as conclusions but really they are merely assumptions. Grow up and stop being such a bigot.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Da King

      God is opposed to religion because it is of Man. He gave us all we need, his Son and his Word. Most catholics, including the priests don't know either one. Rick, you are so lost God can't find you.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Marilyn

      Churches are all just big business, all about the money...The first thing they do is pass the collection plate..

      June 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  11. jp

    I love the Catholic Church. I'm definitely staying!!!!!!

    June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks Mr. Sandusky

      June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  12. Brooklyn Boy

    If you have a "personal relationship" with somebody who has been dead for 2,000 years, I don't want to know anything else about your social life.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Da King

      That will change when you become a man.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Beweaver

      If you become a man or move to Manhattan.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  13. Crazyhorse

    Wow here we go again with the Catholic bashing... just remember that bearing false witness against your neighbor (even if they are Catholic) is a BIG no-no!

    June 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • BobZemko

      Yes, you're right !!! That all-loving Gawd of yours may condemn me to eternal punishment for it. And he loves me !!!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      You shouldn't judge, even yourself.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Beweaver

      I recognize that you are specifically chiding other Christians and former Catholics. Thanks for your comment. It is on point.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And remember Catholics are not true Christians.


      June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • John Lubeck

      Just remember that the Catholic Church is supposed to be a religious organization. As long as the pope's goal is to make it part of the Republican party, we'll not only stay away, but we'll tell everyone we know to stay away.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  14. chrism

    If you are baptist, methodist, presbyterian, anglican, etc etc etc you have more in common with the catholic church than different. Also every one of those "denominations" disagree with each other on a variety of points. So what do you prove by shopping and finding one that "suits you?" You've shown nothing more than in all likelihood you sought out and found a group of people who may be about your age, have similar interests, don't want to deal with similar things, prefer to talk about certain things, or even prefer certain types of music. The problem with this CNN article is it is divisive like the majority of their "belief blog" clap trap because they've actually set out to stir up controversy with people "leaving" the catholic church, take their usual pot shots, and it's all baloney. Jesus Christ said be of one mind. All Christians again share so much more in common than what divides them. At our local Barnes & Noble, there's a great meetup discussion group people come from all beliefs to SHARE, to find COMMON GROUND, not to emphasize who "left" where and be divisive. Shove it CNN and your quest for advertising revenue. You serve mammon yet again.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why not vote with your feet and leave?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • chrism

      You first, Tom, you just made a very disingenuous post. My reasons for posting are sound and they are none of your business. If you don't like my posts, take your own advice. Leave. Don't read them.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I didn't say I didn't like them. Do you often have this much trouble with reading comprehension? You are whining about CNN posting stories you don't like for the purpose of making money. What do you THINK they're here for? As a charity? To write only about how great religion/Christianity are? It's a business. If you don't read and post here, CNN doesn't earn money. There's the solution. If you object to what CNN posts you an put an end to it by refusing to read it. No clicks on the story, no advertising revenue. Problem solved.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You nuts crack me up, bit@hing about CNN's supposed anti-faith bias and thinking that anyone from CNN is reading your posts. What are you, 12? Still writing letters to Santa?

      June 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Marilyn

      Jesus nor God ever said anything..They never wrote anything down..It's all story telling from other people..,Here say.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Marilyn


      June 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  15. Rabbit One

    i don't care who is Catholic or who is Muslim – the real inquiry is whether or not you can read those literary works and glean anything good for your own lives and the lives of your community from them – if so keep reading – if not put the books down

    June 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  16. me

    I'm an outsider to the Catholic church and a closet atheist. But what I like about the Catholic church is that it is structured and follows a set of established practices. A catholic can attend mass in city A and its pretty much the same as mass in city B. Whereas in other denominations you have a zillion made up churches all doing their own thing and some of those things are pretty far out!

    June 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • BobZemko

      You're absolutely right !!! There are the same kinds of pedophiles in the clergy all over the world.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Not a Scholar

      Many churches of the Protestant Faith also can give you the same structure. And some of them even do it without beating into your mind that you are a no good member of the minion, a sinner, and worthless such as the Southern Baptist church aspires to do. You could go to an Episcopalian Church and find the service is much like a Catholic service. Same with the Lutherans. But to be perfectly honest, the Catholic Church gives there parishioners such tunnel vision it is not something I would really like to find the same everywhere. Why does the Catholic Church not allow the congregation to complete the Lords Prayer as was given to us in the bible? Because you are not worthy!!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  17. The Dude


    June 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Colin

      Luv this video.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  18. BobZemko

    The Catholic Church's greatest fear is people thinking for themselves.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      No true, but nice try bigot.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • biggins

      I totally agree! I was Catholic for about 15 years growing up but soon realized that established religions only have one goal: to control ppl at every level and stage of their lives, and at that point I drifted away. I do believe in God, mainly because I am an engineer and can appreciate the intricate details necessary for life and the universe as a whole to work. When was the last time you looked at a stack of bricks and 2x4s and watched them build a building all by themselves with no assistance? It takes careful planning and consideration to "make" anything, nothing spontaneously poofs into existance by coincidence, especially not at this level of detail. Yet I have not found a church to call home, mainly because I don't have the time and energy to visit them all and try them on for size. But I am sure there is one out there that is right for me.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Not a Scholar

      How does that make anyone a bigot? I totally agree with the idea that the Catholic Church likes to do all the thinking for you. You don't have to chew any information. Just swallow and digest. The Catholic Church will not entertain any idea that they did not already think of. I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood as the only Protestant. I was amazed but what my friends would tell me. Independent thought in grammar school got your knuckles whacked by the nuns. Confession was prescribed as what should be said and how. your transgressions were all forgiven by muttering a few words of guilt. give me a break.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • rich

      The worlds greatest fear...what happens after we die! what if they were right? Fear is the beginning of wisdom!

      June 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  19. Moncada

    Thank my Lord that I finally got away from the church.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  20. New Gawker

    People grow up get busy and are scared to death to bring their children into a den of pedophiles.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      more bigotry..

      June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Not a Scholar

      I see more truth. Why don't you explain yourself.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:55 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.