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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. clarke

    I am Catholic, but have never been full blown believer in the Catholic teachings. I believe in God and the 10 commandments. So in the eyes of the church I must be a sinner.I don't believe in any religion running my life, my mind's eye doesn't accept that.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Jespo

      A Catholic that hasn't been fully blown...it's a miracle....sorry, couldn't resist.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  2. Steve

    I was raised Catholic and spent 12 years in parochial school. I was beaten regularly by the nuns from first through 3d grade and subjected to humiliation on a regular basis thereafter. In highschool I was acosted by a priest from whose intentions I only barely escaped. I lost my faith before I was 16.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  3. Clinton

    It's amazing to me, whenever an article comes out about a specific religion the message boards get crammed with hateful people who don't believe in God. Atheists must be the most hateful intolerant people i've ever seen. You look at this article about Catholics converting to Protestant and it has nothing to do with Atheism. Athiests always talk about religious intolerance as an example of how terrible religions are, yet here they are, the biggest bunch of hateful people attacking other people's beliefs because they don't believe. Here's somethin for you hateful Atheists, Nobody cares about your beliefs, keep them to yourself. If you don't believe that is fine... but for those who do, we don't care what you have to say about our religious beliefs because we're not going to be rude and attack your beliefs... we have morals... you obviously don't.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • OOO

      You are confusing criticism of your belief with hate. Maybe your identi ty is so tied into your faith that when someone questions it you can not help taking it personally.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • .

      pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • sam

      Clinton, you have totally told us off. We're all going to go stand in the corner now, thoroughly chastened.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      @OOO: If it was just criticism of the Catholic faith, that would be fine. But, a LOT of these posts do cross the line towards hatred. That's the issue.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jespo

      It's ok, we're sorry for hurting your wittle feelings...go back to your imaginary friends. How fragile a thing your faith must be.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Clinton

      OOO – no i am not confusing anything, i'm reading blogs posted by intolerant idiots attacking people who believe in God, saying they're naive, saying that they're wrong and that what they believe is a myth. That's fine that you think that way, but you don't see Muslims in here pushing their beliefs and you don't see buddhists or any other religion pushing theirs, it's just you Atheists. That's hateful, that's attacking somebody elses beliefs... It's insulting.

      . – Your comment is ridiculous, Saying that i'm the pot calling the kettle black doesn't even make sense, pointing out that people are being hateful with their comments is not being hypocritical you moron.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • OOO

      Jeff,
      Then point out what you consider hate directly. Clinton is just throwing sphegetti (sp) against the wall here. If I see hate, I'll call it out either way.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • OOO

      Clinton,
      Saying someone is nieve, wrong or reveiling that what they believe is a myth is not hate. These are actual arguments that can be backed up!

      And we atheists are not pushing our beliefs. We are asking for the proof in yours.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • OOO

      And finally, calling someone naive can be backed up... It just means lacking knowledge about the subject in question. Calling someone a moron... well that is probably a step closer to hate.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Vetta

      I notice that you are telling Atheists not to push their beliefs (or lack of beliefs) on people when the church is the biggest offender of pushing their beliefs on everyone. Calling people names, spewing hateful remarks that come from fear is not the way of a good christian. To claim that you have morals and an atheist doesn't is a little egocentric. The real truth is that we as human beings do not truly know if there is a God or not. If believing in the Bible and living by the rules of the church brings you enlightenment, that's wonderful. If being an Atheist helps someone get through their life, beautiful. At the end of the day, regardless of religion, beliefs etc, we are ALL equal. There is no human being on the planet more important than another. There is no right or wrong belief. We humans are so full of ego and the need to be "right". Why can't people just accept "what is", treat each other with respect, kindness and love? Why do people feel the need to put someone down when their views are out of alignment with their own. Don't our differences allow an opportunity to learn and grow from each other?

      June 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Clinton

      Vetta – The world is full of various religions and Churches, I personally have never pushed my beliefs on anybody else, i know many that have never tried to push their beliefs on anybody either. So you're response is that because particular churches try to push their beliefs on others you're going to attack all of the people who believe in God. That makes a whole lot of sense...

      June 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • andyst

      Actually, Ooo you dont have to be a catholic to go into a catholic church. The catholic church has not aspoused to shun people of other religions or those without. It does appear that some people are holding immense grudges against religion. Let it go, nobody is forcing you to beleive anything.

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

      @clinton – I was observing the hypocrisy of telling an atheist not to push their views on people when the church (and I'm not calling you out specifically) – in general, pushes their beliefs on lots of people. No need to be defensive. I would like to recommend that instead of putting words in my mouth about calling out all people that believe in God, perhaps you could just ask me for a little more clarity. Conscious communication tends to be more enjoyable and allows an opportunity for each party to be treated with respect.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • FajitaBob

      ooo–you're full of it. Read some of these comments–people say some really offensive things that are NOt simple criticism. Some of you guys just cannot accept varying opinions, which is ironic, given that many of those comments nail Christians for being intolerent. I have yet to see comments like that from Christians. Whatever, these peoples actoions speak for themselves.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  4. Reality

    Saving Catholics from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • FajitaBob

      Reality: blahblahblah. There is no factual statement in your argument; it is simply opinion, or "belief." You are using other people's opinions to prove your belief as fact. Those of the opinion that the resurrection did take place have a differing belief. So believe what you will, and let others do the same.

      -the only person who could make it through your ramblings

      June 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  5. KMW

    CNN,

    I am on my way to Mass and I will pray for your netwok.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Maybe you should go to a book store instead and visit the science section. . .think of it as doing this country and humanity in general a huge favor.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • sam

      Really? With everything going on in the world right now, you're going to be petty with your prayers. That's adorable!

      June 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • KMW

      DeeCee and Sam,

      I will light a candle for your souls. You certainly could stand it and I feel sorry for you and am glad I am not you.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Re-convert

      Keep the faith KMW!! Soooooooo awesome that you go to daily Mass! Keep the prayers coming....obviously we need them 🙂

      June 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  6. FajitaBob

    Oh, great. Another wedge article by C NNand their little cronies, trying to advance their agenda. Live and let live, people. I don't see any posts here from Catholics ripping atheists, but there sure are a lot of hateful posts going the other way. and I bet many of you trolls really believe you are the good ones. Well, your actions speak for themselves.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • bigdil

      Easy Bob-
      Not believing in unsupportable assertions is not the same thing as ripping those who do. If you want to believe in something based upon faith instead of evidence, be my guest. It's just not my thing. Also, refusing to report church doctrine as though it were fact is not a bias or an "agenda." It's just reporting. American Catholics are leaving the Church. It's a fact.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  7. Robert

    The Catholic church as some very sound Biblical doctrine and the leaders in Rome are comitted to the Lord and His truth. In my opinion, however, some of the conservative protestent denominations have a more accurate understanding of some of these doctrines, such as salvation, and some have left the Catholic church for that. Nevertheless, most who have left are simply apostate.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      Says who? What moral authority does the Catholic Church have after molesting so many generations of children?

      June 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  8. sheshie

    Really? This is what CNN considers headline news? I'm going to Fox.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  9. andyst

    If you beleive in GOD or not, humans need community and churches provide that to people. There are not many venues that can provide it. In this day and age everyone needs to feel belonging. Every once in a while you need the comfort of others. The church provides that for people. The sum total of any church is not the bad people, the people that belong to the Catholic Church dont agree with the abuses in SOME parts of the Catholic community. Dont paint the whole church as bad for the inexcusable misdeeds of some.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • SandyStorm

      well said

      June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Vested

      Churches are NOT needed for anyone of faith.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Adam

      THEN LETS CREATE A VENUE!!!!

      You're GD right community is good! So lets build a beautiful building, and all go there and sign beautiful songs, and rejoice in the opportunities we have, and the friends we have, and everything good and numinous and true in this world, and leave out the one part that poisons everything: the part where we lie to ourselves about what we know about the universe.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Don't be silly! Just because the Catholic Church killed and tortured countless innocent human beings "in the name of god" for many centuries and tried to hide the r*ping of hundreds of thousands of children by its own priests for decades? WHY on earth would ANYONE give the Catholic Church a bad rap?

      June 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • mikep

      I was raised Catholic, then when about 10 realized snakes don't talk and never looked back

      June 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • andyst

      So much hate in some people. Please let go of it. I am more than willing to have a conversation, you do not have to get so upset about it. If church and GOD are not for you, that is your perogative, let those who find solice in it enjoy it.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  10. SandyStorm

    I'm Catholic and believe in God. Jesus is my savior. At judgement day, I will be judged for the content of the life I lived. Based on my beliefs, I will go to heaven. If I'm wrong and there is nothing...I've lost nothing. However if you non-believers are wrong, what have you lost?

    June 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      If you're wrong, you've wasted your entire life believing in silly stories written by a bunch of goat herders.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Colin

      And what if the Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Shintos, Wiccans, Muslims or Sikhs are right? Its not all about you or nothing.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Adam

      You have fabricated a exculpatory rationale to allow you to LIE TO YOURSELF ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW OF THE METAPHYSICS OF THE UNIVERSE.

      Take your Pascal's Wager and be gone. Beliefs are not like clothes–to be adopted and discarded based upon convenience, attractiveness, or comfort. They are our only purchase to the REAL world. And if you have no respect for our world, in this, the only life we are sure of, then you have betrayed yourself as an enemy of this project we call civilization.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • SRO

      Pascal's Wager raises its tired head. Pascal's Wager is not an argument, it's a fear tactic. Besides, how can I believe something that I have already reasoned to be false?

      June 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • BRC

      @Sandy,
      If I'm wrong, I won't feel like I've lost anything. I lead a good life, because I choose to. To me that is far more valuable than being told to. If I get punished for all eternity because I didn't thank Jesus, then I was going to burn anyway, because I'm not going to say thank you to someone who never did anything for me just because they threaten me. That's not a good way to live life in my opinion.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • MoreOrLess

      Yes, but if you can consider the possibility you could be wrong then how can you honestly say you believe Jesus is your Savior. Sort of contradictory, don't you think?

      June 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • bigdil

      I don't believe in Church doctrine. If I'm wrong (which I seriously doubt) and I am subsequently punished for not believing things which my mind tells me are not true based upon everyhing I have observed and learned, then the game was rigged from the beginning. If there is a God, I presume he provided me with a brain for a reason. I also assume that he expects me to use it to the best of my ability. If I have done so, no decent god would punish me.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  11. Hmmmm

    After 9-11 I began attempting to boycott anything that has and will ever come out of the Middle East,which includes Judaism Catholiscism, Islam, oil and sand. Catholicism, Judaism and Islam in this day and age are all the same thing and synonymous with extreme ignorance.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  12. Al

    My question would be why 24% of Catholics remain in the church. I know some pro-choice Catholics and the majority of Catholics I met have used birth control at some point in their lives. Most Catholics I know do not believe in Papal infallibility even in areas of faith. Most Catholics I meet do not have a problem with euthanasia. The church's position on the ordination of women and on gay marriage guaranty that the church will have more differences with followers as times moves on.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      An honest answer to your question – because none of what you describe comes close to being a core belief of Catholics.

      Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, he died for our sins, and will come again. Catholics believe this life is but a small portion of our whole life and that we will be resurrected in heaven. Catholics believe in the two commandments Jesus gave – love God above all other Gods and love one another as you would love yourself.

      Birth Control, abortion, euthanasia just aren't anywhere near as important as the above. Its certainly not important enough to abandon their religion.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • mikep

      It's like a country club...for dummies

      June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  13. JJDLS

    I was raised Catholic attended Catholic school through 10th grade, my parents were "devoted Catholics" until there deaths in their late 80s, my father was also an alcoholic abusive individual but by golly he went to church on Sunday mornings. In my early teens (in the early 70s) I turned to the church for help from the abuse at home and they turned me away and told me "to deal with this at home". I've always believed in God but have no use for organized religion.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  14. Joe T

    All of you non belivers really need some kind of help. Just listen to some of you saying we Catholic's are going to Hell. God please forgive those who don't believe and help them to come out of their misery. Life is short here on earth. What's next for them ? We will pray for you all.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      There is no heII just like there is no heaven.

      Read a book, live a good live, and be happy.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      Pray for the hundreds of thousands of children who've been molested by the Catholic Church. Pray for them.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Adam

      Any non-believer who says that is severely confused or lying. It is OK to ignore these people. Just like it is ok to ignore people who pretend to know things that they cannot know, such as yourself.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • mikep

      joke's on you..grow up

      June 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Word Catholic is corruption of word of Sanskrit, Katha, meaning gathered to gather or compounded, It is nothing but hinduism, criminality of hindu's, criminals of Egypt and Persia by subordination and corruption of truth to hindu pagan fundamentals, called Mithra ism, savior ism. handy work of hindu Jew's, criminal secular s to impose themselves as god's.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • bigdil

      I'm willing to bet that your faith causes you much more "misery" than my lack of it.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  15. creative36

    Took me years to purge that swill from my system. Putting children through catholicism is tantamount to child abuse

    June 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  16. Bishop Hairy Palms

    If you can't trust the Catholic Church with your children, how can you trust them with anything else?

    June 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  17. mikep

    Can't believe anyone believes this stuff..Time to take the kids gloves off and tell Christians, Muslims, Jews, ect. what they truly are...IDIOTS

    I'm not saying there is no "god," but to claim anything but I don't know who or what that "god" is, is a complete fallacy..Only the weak turn to religion, time to man up

    June 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      R'amen!

      June 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  18. TODAY

    kill yourself

    June 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  19. G

    Ignore the haters Johnny. What you said in the confessional should have been held in confidence. Counseling/mentoring you and helping you to find the Lord in your life would certainly have been more helpful but you know that already. As some others have said, don't let a bad experience with a flawed human being color your impression of the Church. Stop in, go to a Mass, talk to a local priest or deacon (or, if your local parish has one, a Welcome Home representative). Tell them about your experience, let them know you were hurt, and perhaps they can help you along your faith journey. Most importantly though, I'd suggest you reflect on your current beliefs and on the teachings of the Church and see where they diverge. Then, I'd try to figure out why (this may form the basis for a really good conversation with your priest or deacon or perhaps a well studied Catholic friend). Trust me, "divine intervention" is all around you. You're just not paying close enough attention...

    June 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  20. creative36

    Took me years to purge that swill from my system.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.