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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. Buddha2112

    TAX ALL RELIGIONS!

    June 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Clinton

      How bout we tax stupid people like you? You're dumb. Flat out dumb. How anybody can think it's okay to Tax a religion is beyond me. You're just ignorant.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  2. Haywood

    The reason people are leaving is due to the fact that it is all a myth.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Badomp Bomp

      It's because they myth the point...

      June 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Clinton

      Haywood, You're an idiot. First and foremost, you're dumb. Next, you don't see a bunch of people on here telling you what to believe, so why do you feel you have the right to insult and attack someone elses beliefs? You're an idiot and an intolerant idiot at that.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  3. religion; a way to control the weak minded

    @7virtues7 said: "If you believe and he isn't real you haven't harmed anyone, but if you don't believe and he is real you only harm yourself!"

    no if you believe and he isnt real, you just wasted your entire life believing something that some men wrote in a book while other men edited it to fit their agenda. Congrats, you are a sheep. Think for yourself.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bishop Bullpucky

      Well said.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  4. teddski

    Nobody has talked about the “Church” and its stand on gay issues. The Church tends to blame all the underage child molestation on the gay community, which is entirely false. When the current Pope was the right hand man of Pope John Paul II, he issued a statement that is still enforced - that all gay men are “inherently evil” and would be “welcomed back into the Church only if they took a vow of celibacy.” It is difficult to “come-home” to the Church when is has barred me from attending.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Bishop Bullpucky

      Why would you want to belong to a club that hates who you are?

      June 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      The church is going backwards and whithering. It will eventually fracture, once again.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  5. Melvin

    The Catholic church is run by criminals and child molesters.

    Since when did they have any moral authority?

    June 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Badomp Bomp

      They prefer being an immoral majority to being a moral authority...

      June 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  6. The Jackdaw

    I protect kids for a living, do everything I can to help ALL people, respect all life and give everybody their dignity, give my time and resources to help others, complain little, hurt nobody, want minimal things for myself and often go without, sacrifice for family, friends and community, but because I do not think there is a deity in the sky, I'm going to Hell while some selfish, ignorant, mean, destructive, abusive and hateful person who says, "Sorry" to God at the end of their life goes to Heaven. It seems to me that if there is a God, he needs to reevaluate his screening process. I’ll be fine in Hell. I’ll do as much good there as I can too.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • kendallpeak

      First Jack, your interpretation is all wrong. But with that said, you go on to say God needs to reevaluate.....This is the classic atheist fallacy, "If there was a God, He would set things up exacly as I feel they should be, since I am godlike, since things are not exacly as I would have them, there is no God. A simple fallacy in logic..

      June 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Ancient Curse

      Jack, you are awesome. Thanks for everything you do.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • trevor

      That person that says "sorry" for what he does and MEANS it (only he and God know that) will go and be with God. Hell? You'll be just "fine" separated from God? You're on you way, but I don't think there are many folks that are going to want you to inject any "good" there, because without God's presence, "good" doesn't exist.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      If you go to confession and ask forgiveness, it is supposedly granted. So what I said about it is not false.

      And the "borrowed from Zen philosophy" argument about God's will interpreting what is just and good, not mortal man, does not apply when the rules are enforced by child molesters who are as open minded as the Hitler’s Youth clubs they spawned from.

      I will continue to do what is right now, in this world, instead of worrying about my ‘soul’, which cannot be identified, defined or quantified, in the afterlife. If that is not good enough for an invisible and all powerful being that can’t bother to lift a finger, fine. He can talk to me about it later. Speaking to this further, I think the message behind the Jesus myth is that we are all responsible for this world and we need to help ourselves. “God helps those who help themselves.”

      While religion allows people to be comfortable with their own cruelty and ignorance because they can apologize for it on Sunday, I will actually attempt to better myself (granted I have a long way to go) and I will attempt to help the world around me instead of praying that something that does not exist does it for me.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • trevor

      Forgiveness can only be granted if you believe in the one that has the authority to forgive, and it isn't a priest. What "finger" or what do you want God to do for you? He gave you life and does place responsibilty on you to recognize him as you creator...again it doesn't "fit" your view of how he should be, therefore you dismiss his existence...and he will "talk" to you in the afterlife...you can bet on that. God helps others (blesses them) as FREE gift, it has NOTHING to do with "helping yourself". Apologizing for something on Sunday (weekly confessional) means nothing if you continue to repeat the same disobedience to God's greatest command to love others and you love yourself.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • trevor

      Finally, instead of going through all the various "issues" you have with God, lets just boil it down to one question. If you don't believe God is real, then why do you feel it necessary put this much effort into attempting to tell others of faith that they're wrong and you don't believe? Its kind of like getting into an argument with someone who believes in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy...why are you wasting your time here?

      June 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  7. John

    To ask the existential question is to become human, to ignore it or put it off is to drift in the seas aimlessly and without purpose…. But sooner or later the hunger and thirst for meaning will arise…and if there is no direction, no answer can be sought. And if there is a storm, the hopelessness of such a foolish actionless endeavor can drown one’s self. Each of us makes a special and separate journey toward meaning…some of us have longer times than others…and there are many boats…which to choose? Some appear to be bigger than others, some brightly colored, some dull, some really quite simple..but each is crafted in a way by some beautiful plan that can accommodate each of us if we but search for that boat…yes, many boats. And the ones with Love as their mast, they are the boats that last. One particular boat which is really quite solid if one takes the time to study and understand what it really teaches, not what hearsay or urban legends say it teaches, is the boat of the Catholic Church…a boat that has weathered stormy seas already for almost two thousand years. May each of you have the courage to ask the question, may each of you have the strength to pursue the answer, and may each of you find the answer.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Holy Roller

      All of life's answers can be found at prolapsed.net.
      God bless

      June 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      I hear ya'! There was LOTS of love in torturing and killing countless people throughout the centuries "in the name of "god"". "Conquering" through love is one thing, conquering and taking control by the use of torture, intimidation, and mass killings is the epitome of human kind at its very worst. Even to this day we still see religious fanatics trying to control other people's lives when they can't even control all the corruption, bigotry, discrimination and other disgusting immoral behavior in their own cults.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • blinky

      John, I think that was pretty well said. I admire that you're a Catholic who wishes others to pursue answers on their own. Thanks for a refreshing departure from the routine condescension I so often encounter when people post their views about belief.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  8. Jesucrisco

    The Catholic church is an international crime syndicate set up for the purpose of robbing the gullible and molesting the innocent.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Badomp Bomp

      But think about how much good the $600,000,000 that was paid to their victims of abuse will do for the community...

      June 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  9. beatnikb

    I am an ex Catholic. Born and raised. Growing up, I attended at least 3 church activites per week. This article really resonated with me, because I've struggled with my spirituality over the years. I left the Catholic church in 2004, when I was 23, after not only all of the molestations that were coming out in the news, but specifically after reading a story about the murder of a nun by a priest that was covered up by the church for years. That priest continued to live and serve as if he'd done nothing wrong. I no longer felt comfortable associating myself with the church. However, once I became pregnant, my husband (not a Catholic,) and I decided to start attending Mass again in the church I grew up in... my family is still a very prominant part of the parish. When we discussed having our son baptised, they turned us away when we explained that one godparent was agnostic and the other was Catholic, but not practicing. They offered us a stranger who could act as a godparent in return and I was disgusted, once again. They would turn us away, when it was obvious we wanted to be a part of the church. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. and I'm so glad it happened, because in the three years since, I have realized that they taught me nothing but how to be afraid. I wasn't supposed to ask questions. I never felt like I was accepted by the church. So, I'm glad to be out. I plan on raising my children to question everything. We pray, we believe in Jesus, but I'd rather teach my son to use his brain and to really think critically rather than to just obey and fear authority.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • xmxm

      Congratulations! Welcome to the bright side of science, reason, humanism and compassion.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • FajitaBob

      Beatnik: There are over 1B Catholics in the world. Please do not judge all Catholics on a few bad experiences. You say "...all those molestations..." The numbers (while an abomination) are very small; just seems like a lot because that's all that C NNfocuses on. I am sorry for your experiences, but I have NEVER had such experiences, and I have been a part of many good churches. The people I know through church focus on serving others. Try it again–uou might be surprised at how things really are.
      P.S. if you had really been committed to baptizing your baby in the Faith, why would you choose as Godparents people who have turned away from it? just askin'.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • FajitaBob

      xm: Compassion (in part) means NOT disparaging others beliefs. I do not see much here form Catholics ripping atheists, but there are plenty of atheists making hateful comments toward Catholics. live and let live–why is that so hard for you guys? Well, others may pray for you, but in the end, your free will is probably gonna sink you (if your posts are any indication).

      June 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • MG

      ...lol...why would you pick godparents that aren't practicing Catholics? The whole point of chosing godparents for your children is to have another couple of people assist you in bringing up your children in the faith. The church doesn't care if you like their rules or not. They aren't trying to win a popularity contest or compete with other churches. They've stayed traditional for over 2000 years. Joining the church is a choice and it's not for everyone. I don't recommend it if you don't believe in it's teachings and that's the beauty of America...you can join any religion you want or not join any.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  10. Heavy

    If god is all powerful.

    Can he create an object so heavy that even he can't lift it?

    June 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Now Why

      He did, My balls.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • JJ

      He created you.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Holy Roller

      God created imswinging.com too!

      June 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • ME II

      He could if He wanted to; He just can't want to.
      (or something like that)

      June 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Clinton

      What a stupid question. I know and recognize this question as it was posed many hundreds of years ago. Just because you can't wrap your mind around what God is doesn't mean that he can't exist. You know that asking a question that cannot be answered does not prove or disprove anything. The problem with people like you, is you have a narrow mind about things you can't understand.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • FajitaBob

      now why: eventually, you're gonna choke on 'em...

      June 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  11. MOJO

    The Catholic Church is nothing but a bunch of hypocritical people and pedophile priests. If there is a Den of Satan on earth, this place is it.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  12. m

    Get out! God won't care. You don't need the Catholic "church" to be close to God! (He would agree!)

    June 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  13. jdk

    more anti-christian bashing from CNN's belief blog. What a surprise.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Did you notice the story about Hasidic Jews?
      Your persecution complex is showing.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  14. CJ

    Why are you talking about a 2008 Poll today in 2012? Why is CNN talking about a 4 year old Poll?

    Is this another anti-catholic article?

    June 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • ME II

      Not all polls are done every year.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  15. Blind leading the blind.

    Did anyone see the video of the priest who sits on a lubed up wine bottle and it breaks inside his butt! Gross! So much blood and broken glass!

    June 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  16. 7Virtues7

    Mother Teresa said, for those who believe no explanation is necessary, and for those who do not believe, no explanation is satisfactory! I pray you have the gift of belief!

    June 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Educate yourself

      I believe, I believe, I believe.

      I believe religion is a hoax to extort money and to control the people.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Hindus, Wiccas, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Shintos, etc., etc, etc. all say the same thing.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • m

      Well, aren't you the pious know it all! Goon!

      June 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • OOO

      October 9, 2009 12:04 PM PrintText
      Letters Reveal Mother Teresa's Secret

      In life, Mother Teresa was an icon — for believers — of God's work on Earth. Her ministry to the poor of Calcutta was a world-renowned symbol of religious compassion. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

      In a rare interview in 1986, Mother Teresa told CBS News she had a calling, based on unquestioned faith.

      "They are all children of God, loved and created by the same heart of God," she said.

      But now, it has emerged that Mother Teresa was so doubtful of her own faith that she feared being a hypocrite, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.

      In a new book that compiles letters she wrote to friends, superiors and confessors, her doubts are obvious.

      Shortly after beginning work in Calcutta's slums, the spirit left Mother Teresa.

      "Where is my faith?" she wrote. "Even deep down… there is nothing but emptiness and darkness... If there be God — please forgive me."

      June 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • whatajoke

      I pray you can get a life. very sad existence you have there.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  17. Colin

    Actually Mike, you’ll find that most (ex-Christian) atheists don’t believe for one or more of the following reasons:

    The concept of an immortal being makes no sense to us.

    The concept of an all-powerful being makes no sense to us.

    The concept of an all-knowing being makes no sense to us.

    We tend to have a good working knowledge of the age, size and history of the Universe and the idea that a being would create the entire thing – with 400,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100, 000,000,000 starts and even more planets, then sit back and wait 13,720,000,000 years for human beings to evolve on one planet so he could “love them” and send his son to talk about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine makes no sense to us.

    The answers usually proffered for what we see as basic logical flaws in Christianity – “you have been blinded by your lack of faith” “God moves in mysterious ways” “God is outside the Universe” or “our minds are too small to understand the greatness of God” are never satisfying to us. We see a retreat to mysticism as the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    The common argument, “well, what caused the Big Bang?” with the implication that, because we have only theories and no iron clad explanation for the Big Bang yet, [the Christian] god must have caused it – does not make sense to us. “I don’t know” does not equal “god” to us, much less the Judeo-Christian god. We feel the answers to such a question are much more likely to be found in Einstein’s equations, quantum physics, large particle accelerators and radio telescopes than in Genesis Chapters 1 through 20. We’re crazy aren’t we?

    We do not see miracles in things like tornadoes missing a certain trailer in a trailer park, cancer going into remission or Tim Tebow winning a football game.

    We understand that Christianity is one of many, many religions in the World, and we don’t think that we were lucky enough to have been born in the one part of the World that “got it right”.

    We tend to have a basic knowledge of history and know that there is nothing magical or special about the supposed history of the Jews, gospels, letters, apocalyptic story (Revelations) and other materials that found their way into the Bible, in that they are largely indistinguishable from the other mythology and religious writings of the time and region.

    Human beings are terrified of their own deaths and we see the various religious beliefs that try to “wish it away” such as reincarnation, living happily ever after in Heaven with Jesus, having your own Mormon planet etc. as nothing more than childish stories for the more naive, timid minds among us.

    We do not see morality as predicated upon a belief in the supernatural. We accept that one can be moral without believing in the supernatural and that doing so is no guaranty that one will conform to the norms of society that people call “morality”.

    “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist” is not a convincing argument to us, as in inability to disprove something is a far cry from it being true. We cannot prove that the Hindu gods Shiva or Vishnu do not exist either, nor Santa Claus for that matter, but that is hardly a reason to believe in them. It is almost always impossible to prove a negative in this sense.

    When one looks at the various Christian beliefs that were once firmly believed – Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, people living to be 700 or 900 years old, the Red Sea splitting, water turning into wine, talking snakes, a man living in a whale’s belly, people rising from the dead, Jesus driving demons out of people and into pigs – but which are now acknowledged by most thinking people to be mere mythology, it is pretty hard to give a lot of credibility to what’s left.

    It is hard not to consider Christianity as based on circular reasoning. Most Christians believe in God because the Bible says so, then turn around and say they believe the Bible because it is the word of God. To draw an analogy, “I believe Obama is a great man because his biography says so, and the reason I believe his biography is that it is about Obama, who is a great man.”

    In short, the more one comes to understand mother nature, the less reason there is to believe in a god and the more one understands human nature, the more one sees why so many of us still do.

    So, the next time you proudly proclaim that you know the secrets to life, death, the origins of life on Earth and the origins of the Universe, because your parents or priest taught you some comforting stories from late Bronze Age Palestine as a ten year-old, you might like to consider where your beliefs fit into the bigger picture.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • whatajoke

      Top Ten Signs You're a Catholic in Name Only
      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
      9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
      8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
      7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
      6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
      5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
      4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
      3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" catholicism
      2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
      1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, catholicism and church history – but still call yourself a Catholic

      June 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • J in FL

      Cokin....all so perfectly said. I couldn't have said it all better myself.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • akismet-e03c15469bb92cbfa9e8eb8434ad86ec

      Wow – very well said! Neil deGrasse Tyson couldn't have said it better.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • T. Philip

      The Bible also say, " The fool saith in his heart that there is no God" If you are an intellegent person you would question so as to why everything is systamatic and not random. A super being or you if will a master planner has to be behind the universe that operates with such precision. Gernerally atheist like you want to deny the existence of God so that you don't want to be accotable to your life and lead a moral and selfless life. Wake up from your selfish and self centered life and acknowledge God almight. It will do a lot good for you.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • whatajoke

      T. Philip –

      Why do you care? If we are so immoral won't we go to hell. Why do you feel the need to push your views on everybody else?

      Also, if god is flawless... why do we have gay people?

      If god made the earth for us... why do we have cliffs to fall of, why do we have natural chemicals in the environment that kill us? Why do we have tornado's, hurricanes, floods, etc etc etc.....

      Your "logic" is so fundamentally flawed. Get over yourself and join the world of adults and science.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  18. n222s

    Where are the interviews of returning Catholics?

    June 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • whatajoke

      Couldn't find any

      June 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  19. Danny

    To contribute to the theme of the article Ill say this: The Catholic church has strayed from the teachings of Scripture and decided to add their own rules and regulations and declaring them equal to the Bible. Many traditions that have been created through the centuries have been declared "A MUST" or be damned, many and if not all cannot be found in Scripture. Also the pope is just a man, he does not have the authority to declare anything else apart from what is already established by God. Jesus is the only authority, he declared it when he said "I have been given all power in heaven and on earth".

    June 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • I am the one

      Would you believe I have been given all power in heaven and on earth? Well, I have!
      I'm starting my own religion tomorrow to prove it.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Danny

      Because of this is why the Protestant church was formed. To protest agaisnt baseless traditions that have no impact on a persons relationship with Jesus. Follow the teaching of the Bible alone and you will truely follow God.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      You could be thinking like Martin Luther and John Calvin around 1500.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Danny

      Let me know how that works out for ya. 😉

      June 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • I am the one

      At least tomorrow I will be able to say my church is growing 😉

      June 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Danny

      Jesus is calling out to you. He wants you in heaven with him after this life 😉

      June 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  20. john

    Lets see celabacy, pedophilia, the list goes on and the church is worried about birth control and masturbation and you wonder why catholiocs are leaving the church.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • J in FL

      It's all about the money. Less in the congregation, the less money. The more people choose to not have a big family & teach catholicism, the less money. It's all about the $$$ from day one of the popes. In the 800's, before & after, they would cheat peasants out of all they could....for money, land and properties.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:58 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.