Is It Time for You to Leave the Catholic Church?

You know it is time to leave the Catholic Church when…

“Mass doesn’t inspire you.”  Over the course of the past few years I’ve become keenly aware of friends and family who have opted to leave the Catholic Church on the grounds that the Mass wasn’t “inspiring.”  Upon hearing this, again, just a few days ago I felt prompted to make that the top reason why people ought to leave the Catholic Church.  After all, Mass should be inspiring and uplifting and if you, as a congregant, can’t be inspired by the rich history of the Mass and the fullness of the faith that is imparted in the Mass through Sacraments that include the offering of the Body and Blood of your Lord and Savior, well, then, by all means, leave the Catholic Church.  Check out the nearest non-denominational gathering in which you can be inspired and don’t give it a second thought that you only have a portion of the fullness that Christ left us because, well, hey, you’ll feel “inspired!”

“The Priest bores you.”  I’ve decided this has to be reason number two on my list of why you should leave the Catholic Church because if you can’t count on your priest to entertain and keep your interest, well, it is high time to leave your faith behind.  This is a way better choice than taking the time to understand what the priest is doing and Who he represents (which is best to leave alone because the knowledge will potentially make you fall to your knees).  If push comes to shove and your priest bores you, definitely seek out someone who better represents the secular world in style and mannerisms versus that priest who has committed his very life to serving you.  Why bother praying for God to remove the scales from your eyes during Mass when you, personally, could most certainly find a much better replacement than the Holy Priesthood that Christ Himself set in place.

“All they ever want is money.”  Really, who do these people think they are?  Always asking for money to help the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked.  What is that all about?  You’d think they read that somewhere or that is was the “Gospel Truth.”  Don’t they know that we are all struggling to make ends meet and that helping others is a real cross to bear?  Money is an excellent “top five” reason to leave the Catholic Church.  I’m pretty sure all the other churches never try to collect money to fund their programs.  I believe it magically falls from the sky, you know, sort of like manna from heaven.

“The whole “Cross to Bear” thing is a real drag.”  Speaking of crosses…I really wonder when the Catholic Church is going to get over this whole “pick up your cross” attitude.  Have they not heard of “prosperity doctrine” teaching?  God doesn’t want me or you to have difficulties or problems.  It isn’t as though these can help us in our walk with Christ or anything.  It isn’t as though we can learn anything about being a Christian when we carry a cross.  The two aren’t in anyway related!  I heard from a very popular Christian preacher that God wants me to be rich!  I like that message way better than anything the Catholic Church teaches.  If you are tired of hearing how you ought to carry your cross, well, take your cross elsewhere.

There is no real “fellowship” in the Church.  Who doesn’t want fellowship?  Look at all the fellowship that exists in other Christian churches. Why bother making an effort to bring that attitude to your Catholic brothers and sisters when you can leave the Church and find fellowship elsewhere.  It isn’t like the Catholic Church has a real understanding of community.  There is just no way that the lack of fellowship that exists in any of our parishes is a result of our own personal behaviors but, rather, they are most definitely a result of the Catholic institution.  Whatever you do, don’t spend time reaching out to your fellow Catholics when you can leave them behind and reach out to those who reject the teachings of the Catholic Church.

If you know someone who has left the Church, or who is considering leaving, and I haven’t included his or her reason(s), please feel free to add…

Cheryl Dickow

By

Cheryl Dickow is a Catholic wife, mother, author and speaker. Cheryl’s newest book is Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Womenwhich is co-authored with Teresa Tomeo and is published by Servant (a division of Franciscan Media); there is also a companion journal that accompanies the book and an audio version intended for women’s studies or for individual reflection. Cheryl’s titles also include the woman’s inspirational fiction book Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage. Elizabeth is available in paperback or Kindle format. Her company is Bezalel Books where her goal is to publish great Catholic books for families and classrooms that entertain while uplifting the Catholic faith and is located at www.BezalelBooks.com. To invite Cheryl to speak at your event, write her at Cheryl@BezalelBooks.com.

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  • Grace Harman

    NO! None of these is a reason to leave. Our Church has the fullness of TRUTH. Our Church has Our Lord truly PRESENT on the Altar. How can one be bored with that? A dynamic speaker is NOT more important than Jesus. His cross (and our own) should be a motive to make our way daily to honor Him and give Him thanks.

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    Grace, perhaps it isn’t sufficiently obvious, but Cheryl has taken a very sarcastic approach in this article.

    In truth, there is no reason sufficient to leave, not even the sins of the clergy. What she is asking for are the various lame excuses we’ve heard for leaving the Church, in full knowledge that those excuses will be lame.

  • sillyfuzz

    I’ve heard the excuse that the Church is just too full of hypocrites. Which I think is a good reason to leave because you are not going to find hypocrites in any other church. And why should you be a sound witness to all those hypocrites when you can just go across the street where there are none.

  • BAPTISTCONVERT

    Also, you can’t profess Jesus Christ as your “Personal Lord and Savior” be baptized and get a “get into heaven free” card! It would be terrible to go through life having to obey anything that Christ said when you can profess Him as your personal savior one small moment in time and your heaven bound!!

    Peace Be With You!

  • Proverbs3130

    This was meant to be a sarcastic post, right? Please tell me so …

  • Warren Jewell

    Permit a cradle Cathoic who over years has lapsed as if it was shampooing, as it now seems to my embarrassed memories, to note that these Catholics like the great bulk of Catholics who in November will vote for a fiercely pro-abortion candidate for the Presidency all suffer from lack of rigorous but joyous catechetics.

    And, I went to Catholic schools! Religion courses were not so much ‘boring’ as but treated as if nothing better than nor more meaningful than, say, geometry and algebra. And, Christcentricity and Christian service were but secondary, really, to plowing through seemingly ‘un-alive’ dogmatics over and over and over. Confirmation was effectively offered as if it is some kind of destination rather than a most adult starting point. In high school, a Christian Brothers school named for Saint Joseph as the Worker, I was handed a New Testament and ‘My Way of Life‘ which is a textual summary of Aquinas’ Summa in freshman required book supplies – and in four years, neither ever referred to. Oh, yes, I read the Bible and ‘My Way’ now – but by my choice to enrich my Catholicism – voluntary – ‘extraordinary’, if you will.

    And, to my mind, where was Chesterton in my high school years? Where were a number of fine Catholic authors who I never even heard of?

    (S-I-G-H!) If we don’t want them to walk away from the Eucharist and the Mass and Sacraments, we should be teaching them to “always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you . . .” (1Peter 3:15) that they may know why it is they stay in hope.

  • susie8

    I recognize the sarcasm in this article, but I really don’t find it that funny nor am I ready to give the author a “you go girl.” I think most rational Catholics will attest to the fact that these are not adequate reasons to give up one’s faith or one’s Church. The reasons for leaving church are much deeper than this, but these reasons are easy and make the deserter perhaps sound funny or flip.

    It saddens me when I hear of folks leaving the Catholic Church with a “grass is greener” attitude. All churches have issues: some less than pious clergypeople, hypocritical parishoners, financial issues, etc. I recognize, despite my young age, that folks both leave and go to church for the wrong reasons. Going to church does not get you into heaven any more than the attitude of some of our Christian friends and neighbors that BaptistConvert touches upon: accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. I am a big a propopent of living your life as an example of Christian mission you believe in; show don’t tell or better don’t preach…remeber the words of St. Francis?

    With that being said I do think sometimes our local parishes fail us in various aspects of our Christian mission. Some of us are devoted to our faith regardless of the entertainment value, but those who are questioning or feeling mariginalized need a little something more…is this what Jesus intended, no, but is it human nature, yes. My pastor is a great guy; pious and kind and friendly, but he never makes eye contact when he reads his sermons. Never puts himself in them…honestly I could read the sermon each week and I don’t think anyone in the congregation would notice. I know our liturgy centers around the Eucharist, but honestly you have a church full of attentive (well for the most part!) congregants, now is your time to continue to stoke their flames of faith. You don’t have to be wild and crazy like some of those T.V. Evangelists, but leave them with a nice, faithful, message of hope, love, compassion, honesty, whatever…so that perhaps that message will continue to influence them Monday through Saturday.

    Our former pastor was diligent about organizing coffeehours and such after mass for a little bit of fellowship (and I know fellowship can happen anywhere and everywhere and does not need the parish or the priest to advocate for it), but it really did bring people together and we were able to get more folks involved in other aspects of the parish through this vehicle (good opportunity for festival sign-ups, community dinner planning, etc). Those coffeehours have gone by the wayside, even though the parishoners organized them, there is no support from the pastor, so they stopped.

    I am very active in my community (service projects, homeless shelter, domestic violence awareness, etc), and I can’t get my parish to join any of these events…I even use the petty approach that the domestic violence shelter is a program funded by the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal (to kind of affirm that it has a stamp of approval from the Church). People race out before the final hymn has even started let alone finished. I don’t think the priest, the parish, or the Mother Church is to blame, but at the same time I think our pastor has a certain responsibility to set the tone at the parish. To make it welcoming place that emphasizes the beauty of the mass and sacraments, as well as our Catholic duty to serve others and actually interact with one another. A group of parishoners asked our pastor if they could organize a scripture study and he said no. They had a certified leader (he had gone through the Archdiocesean program and was certified to lead such a study) and they simply wanted to use the church hall (which they felt was neutral, just in case shy newcomers didn’t feel as comfortable going to the home of someone they didn’t know) and just wanted his blessing and the ability to advertise through the bulletin…it wouldn’t have cost the church anything, the group was going to donate “coffee and…” each time they met. Still the answer was no.

    I’ve asked to start a youth group and serve as the leader (I am a certified catechist and I have a masters degree in religious studies from a university based divinity school), again, it wasn’t going to cost anything (and if we needed funds I would organize the kids and we would raise them), again the answer was no.

    A small group of my friends and I attend the same parish and we show up for food prep nights as our festival approaches, we receive a cold reception from some of the older men and women, because we are encroaching on their territory. The bulletin says all are welcome…is that the spirit of hospitality that Jesus preached? It is not just my parish it is many parishes. I know these are not viable theological reason as to why people leave the Catholic Church, and they are certainly not reasons for me to leave I love my faith, but they are reason enough for young people to feel unwelcomed and marginalized. But I am a very determined young woman, and firmly believe that we as individuals have to take Ghandi’s words to heart and “be the change we want to see in the world,” and I refuse to let their be mass exodus from my parish for any of the silly reasons in this article or any of the more serious issues dissatisfied Catholics have with their parishes.

    Also, why people go and leave the church has nothing to do with their political leanings. The Catechism teaches us to use our conscience, as well as our Catholic social and moral teachings when selecting an elected official. We are to weigh the issues (all the issues) and decide which candidate or party platform is going to do the least amount of harm to human lives…this does not strictly mean being advocates for the lives of unborn fetuses this means being advocates for ALL human lives. I think this is another decision that is between you (the voter) and God.

  • siobhan32

    Dear Susie8,
    This too shall pass. Do not let your heart be troubled. Always pray for your priests, even if they are exceptionally holy. Pray much. Only in Heaven will we fully understand how much they are beset on their own account and especially on account of the enemy. And keep asking about forming the youth group. Be like the neighbor banging on the door at midnight to borrow some bread. Persevere and HOPE, HOPE, HOPE! Also, did you ever consider fasting one day a week for your priest(s)? I will keep you in my prayers.

  • jgcase

    My family belongs to a very lively and enthusiastic parish. Praise God, we have an excellent pastor who is also a wonderful preacher, as are the two vicars and the other priest in residence. (We are the largest parish in our state.) Even so, there was one lady who left the Catholic Church–not just our parish, now, mind you–BECAUSE OUR PASTOR SOMETIMES CLOSES HIS EYES when he preaches to prevent distraction from his task!!! She was absolutely positive that this meant he wasn’t sincere, and so, she left the Catholic Church.

    When someone WANTS to leave the Catholic Church, any excuse will do.

  • CherylDickow

    Susie8,

    Fortunately, I am not looking for a “you go girl.” My intention is much simpler and my sarcasm indicative of my sadness at the number of people who are either friends or family members and have left the Catholic Church.

    I ask…For what? Why? Is that really the answer?

    So, don’t worry about not wanting to extend a “you go girl” to me. All I really ask is that you pray for anyone considering leaving the Church.

    Cheryl

  • markiemarie

    Hi All, Susie8 Hello, I Know your frustrations. I have a few Questions. Does your Church have Eucharistic Adoration? How many hours are alloted out for Adoration? How Many People Spend Time in Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament? I know in the last 40 years or so The Church has Focused heavily on The ‘Social Gospel”, which is a Part of one’s Faith Relationship with Jesus. Does your parish have a more Christocentric Focus or Social Service Focus? I’m just trying to get a grasp of where the Frustration is eminating from. Maybe people can offer some tips. Bless you and your strong resolve in Christ. Keep fighting the Good Fight,I’ll be praying for you. Actually I’m on my way to see Jesus now,I’ll bring your concerns to him,O.K. Love Markiemarie

  • markiemarie

    Hi Cheryl,,I get it. Great article. I once was “outside” with the scales fully on my eyes.First Through the Merciful Grace of God, Mother Angelics Brought me back inside & Father Corapi Catechized me into a Staunch Spiritual Soldier. I know how you feel as well. When we really “Get It” as to what really goes on ,and the very Reality of Standing at the Foot of The Cross,with Our Mother Mary and all the rest of the Family, it does & can get one “fed up” at times with the whiners. I have gotten in several situations where the fraternal correction was not accepted regarding the youth in the parish wearing “Daisy Duke ” hot pants to Mass. I even got Chastized in front of the congregation from a priest when he found out I had “the nerve” to say something about it. After all we can’t “Offend” anyone by suggesting they might want to put some clothes on when coming to the most dignified event in the History of Mankind. I know the Frustration of feeling like I was in the TwilightZone of Dissent. But Mother Angelica said” if your not a Thorn in Someones side regarding your Love for Jesus, well then your simply not “living you Christianity Right”. I say Keep going ,,,,,Girl. Love Markie Works

  • susie8

    Thanks for the kind words everyone…I am not one to let these things get me down and I will continue my quest for a more inclusive, balanced parish life for all!! This is the first time I have posted on Catholic Exchange because I was compelled by the topic. I guess I just wanted folks to know that young people have similar frustrations.

    MarkieMarie: I think my frustrations stem from the fact that for the last two years under this pastoral leadership our parish has no focus! There is no holy hour, but rather just the faithful rosary and novena group after daily mass. Like I said our pastor is pious and nice, but he doesn’t like making himself or the church building available for events outside of mass. And there isn’t much emphasis on a social gospel either…which is pretty important to me. I was educated by the Sisters of Mercy (in college), so I am huge proponent of the works of mercy and I have always been compassionate about being active in my community, providing basic human needs to those who have fallen on rough times; that is just one way I live the gospel.

    I guess our parishes are in good hands if folks like us are committed to good works, praying for our priests (and perhaps some vocations!), and joining those committees!

    I’m actually going to work with one of the professors at work (I work for the divinity school I graduated from) on putting together a more formal proposal for a youth group and it will articulate how little it will cost and how much the young people can contribute to the spiritual well being of our parish life.

  • Claire

    Susie, I share a lot of your frustrations at my own parish. I can see why people are tempted to leave the Catholic Church under these circumstances, although I try to keep it in perspective. Regarding voting, in the context of choosing the candidate who will do the least amount of harm to human life: the number of lives lost to abortion far exceeds loss of life in all other contexts, whether it be the death penalty, war, etc. The numbers alone make abortion the number one voting issue.

  • siobhan32

    Dear Susie8,
    In your last lines of your first post, you said ‘we are to weigh all the issues’ and this is true. But the first and most fundamental issues is LIFE, and if one gets that wrong, everything else will be skewed. On September 2nd, the Bishops issued this second clarification on this issue. Here is the link: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2008/08-123.shtml
    Inside that page is another link for the 2 page fact sheet.
    In addition, they quote the Catechism: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (No. 2271).
    So, you see, all the issues are not equal. And the Church, in her wisdom, offers guidance on making our decision for voting. God bless you!

  • markiemarie

    HI Susie8, I just came back from visiting with Our Lord At Adoration. I got an Inspiritation for you. Try an work Toward having a Holy Hour Established in your parish. If The Pastor isn’t into Him, then go to the bishop with your request and brings some friends with . Just ask like ,Hey Father I Love Jesus and I really want to spend time more intimitaly with him,Please,Pretty Please! I have to be near him in this way, my soul is yearning for him,won’t you please allow it? I’m convinced if you persist in that single Mission , all else will flow effortlessly. Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Front of The Blessed Sacrament is One of the Fastest ways to Acomplish His Will for your life and His Will in the lives for others through you. Please Pray for this Daily. It WILL WORK. Blessings & Love ,Markie

  • BerenCamlost

    Does nobody understand the sarcasm?

  • Grace Harman

    At 2:59 the sarcasm didn’t register. Sorry. I know people who left for similar reasons – or for anger at a priest or disagreement with Church teachings.
    Also there are many who were not taught the truth of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist and other basic points, which is a tragedy.

  • celothriel

    Regarding “weighing the issues” when we vote: please read this, written by then- Cardinal Ratzinger.
    http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm

    Sorry I do not have time to write more – I hear a little voice from upstairs calling me :-)

    God bless,
    Linda

  • jcstab143

    “Why do you ask priests to forgive your sins”: You may ask this question of someone in the Church and if they don’t have the answer, by all means take that as gospel to leave the church, since the answer couldn’t be offered to you for what you wanted it to be. For heaven’s sake, don’t take the time to find out what the church really teaches about reconciling yourself back to God and His Church, only take what somebody tells you the Church teaches and go on that. By all means, it’s much easier to sit and have that one-on-one relationship with God, so all you have to do is ask Him to forgive you and it’s done. We do sin in a vacuum after all.

    How’s that? :^)

    Yes all, IT’S SARCASM!

    Love to all and His Peace be with you.

    You’re all in my prayers.

    J.

  • krby34

    Susie8 – first and foremost welcome out of lurker mode. If you don’t know what that means it is a title given to people that visit forums and blogs and just read but do not comment and provide content to discussion and development of ideas. You have showed the boldness of your character and stepped out to improve the message spoken here. The sarcasm of the article struck cords and started the music that we each join in on. In our own special way, like an orchestra, together we make the message richer, deeper and ultimately more dimensional than any one single instrument can do. You have played a big part in doing that here! Well on your way to helping to grow faith in others.

    As to your issues about your Pastor’s ongoing “no”, remember in Luke Chapter 18:1-8 the women receives judgment from the judge because of her persistence. I hope this is not why the Pastor gives his authorization but if it gets it then use what means you must. Now I am not condoning nor even suggesting harassing your pastor but rather continue to approach him for discussion on developing these issues. What I do suggest is the last part of Jesus’ lesson here, more importantly unceasingly offer up prayer to your Father in heaven for Him to open the way for your projects and the projects of the church to blossom!

    The third point of development of conscience prior to voting. You are indeed correct on the Catechisms message, however make sure your conscience is fully formed! When you stray from the overt teaching of the the bishops you put great weight on yourself at personal judgment! They are endowed with infallibility when discussin faith and morals, you however do not carry such authority from Christ. Their teachings, as was pointed out early, are pretty clear on this issue expressing the very importance of this single topic.

    I facilitate adult education/catechesis at my parish and have many who have brought similar arguments to our sessions in past elections so I did some research for this election and the numbers are staggering!

    1.2 million American Lives were lost to abortion in 2005 alone. That number was down from 2006 at over 1.3 million (as if down 100,000 deaths is a good thing?). These numbers are from http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2008/01/17/index.html, in case you are wondering Guttmacher is an organization that supports abortion so this is the other sides count!

    You think the war in Iraq and the American lives put at risk is more important? In the entire war in Iraq from March 2003 to March of 2008 1.204 million lives were lost (thats a five year period not just one) and of those lives 1.2 million were Iraqi. I not trying to say Iraqi lives are less important I am simply pointing out that these were lost over a 5 year period. If we look at the same five years for abortions we will well exceed 5 million deaths to abortion. These numbers come from http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq/iraqdeaths.html, this organization is against the war in Iraq so they would be allies for those wanting to make the war more important than abortion.

    In fact only 1.263 American lives have been lost in ALL wars we have fought following the Revolutionary war including counting deaths for both sides of the American Civil War which few that support human rights would argue was not a just war!

    The top ten leading causes of death in America for 2005 (not counting abortion) combined just barely beat abortion for 2005 at 1.332 million deaths. But this includes all kinds of heart disease, all cancers, chronic low respiratory disease, unintentional injury, diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s, Influenza & Pneumonia, Nephritis and Septicemia. These numbers come from WISQARS webappa.cdc.gov.

    I would challenge you to find any single or even combined topics that rival the loss that abortion represents. We may well have “killed” the cure to Cancer with a young baby girl in 2005 in an abortion. The manthat would have received the “Noble Peace Prize” in 2035 for negotiating peace in the middle east in a manner that lasts, sentenced to death because his Daddy was a rapist and aborted in 2005. The first American Pope put to death in abortion before he could “corrupt” the world with Catholic Oppression (my own bit of sarcasm) by a young teen because of outside pressures to not ruin her life with the “punishment for one mistake”. (Paraphrased from one particular candidate’s expression of protecting his own child but not his grandchild!). We will never know the losses brought about by abortion because the hints of the possibilities never had the chance to get past the first few months!

    When we cannot protect the most vulnerable lives we are all at risk!

    That is why respect for ALL live starting with the most vulnerable must be the key issue.

  • 20_40_Vision

    Was there ever a “right time” for the Prodigal Son to leave home? Yes – so that he would appreciate what it means to be back home. I have three types of family members in my extended family. 1) Those who know absolutely nothing about the Bible, have never studied it, and get their spiritual high off of the mindless recital of the Rosary, Litanies, and the whole routine of the 3-year Catholic Cycle, and who probably think the Church was invented by the Council of Trent as that’s when statues, indulgences, and devotions hit their peak in Church History, 2) Those who left the Catholic Church and are VERY GOOD Christians today in other demonimations – those Churches that cater to their emotional needs, who truly welcome and hold hands with them, and are truly there for them in tough situations, and 3) those who were either improperly trained or who never were really on board by active and conscious participation in the Church – who never “got it” and attended Church weekly only because they had to, and upon the first day of liberation and true personal choice made it a habit to go to NO CHURCH.

    There is always a good time to get away from the Catholic Church – for many people, just as Jesus walked away from the Temple and did not meet his weekly obligations to the Sabbath when He was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. The question must be asked though – what’s the purpose of running away? Who or what is one running from? Is one running from all of the fake parishioners who are only Christian long enough until the race out of the parking lot, where our true selves are again revealed? Are we running away from those who obviously are just in it “for me” who get what they came for – Communion – before racing out of Church to beat everyone else to the Sunday Brunch Special? Are we running away from priests (and there are TOO MANY of them) who only give lip service to Rome, and who openly defy Rome’s “instructions” regarding today’s expectations of them, and who still expect us to attend Mass weekly so that their financial obligations can be met through the collection plate?

    Or, are these people fooling themselves into believing that they are capable of running away from God’s observation of their lives when they leave the Church?

    I can not speak for other people. I can only speak from my observations as leader of an internationally recognized movement that has one single goal – outreach, understanding, and support for America’s missing 20-40 year old Catholics – those who have left the Church. If I can only give one suggestion to people who have run away from the Church, it is this: Don’t judge the Holy Spirit by a religion, and don’t expect to get very far in this life or the next if your only God is the vain, profane, narrsicistic, selfish person in the mirror that knows better than God does. It could very well be that when the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered, even when the Homily was pitiful (and too often it is) and the music is like nails on the chalkboard (and too often it is) and the people around you are so fake that you can’t even stand to be in the same room with them (and too often they are) … consider that for that Mass you attend, God does not decide to appear upon that Altar by sciences and mysteries beyond our understanding because the priest is there, or because the choior or lousy neighbors are there, but because and only because you are there – He comes there just for you. There really is no other setting where we can witness what Elijah did in the soft voice after the wind, fire, and earthquake – where we can witness just that same presence of God than at Mass. All of the distractions from this are just that – distractions.

    But, I agree that sometimes people need to get away. In old times, people used to get away by climbing some high mountain. In leaving the Church, people seem to enjoy their vacations from routine by sinking into a deep valley. Do they hear the Psalm there? I don’t know. But if people need to get away, know that many are praying with and for them while they’re away. As for myself and many others who are in the 20-40 organization, what we’ve discovered is that even when the priest is terrible and the homily is worse and the music is so pitiful it would have been better to sleep in and dream of angel’s choirs, there is a certain balance in life that is attained by making Mass a routine every week, just because only in the Sacrifice of the Mass can one truly experience the “highest form of prayer,” and the closest encounter on Earth with God. We have also discovered that there is a great importance not widely celebrated in the American Catholic Church of doing what our Protestant brothers and sisters already do – immersion – total immersion into the Word of God. Go to the bookstore, buy and really get into the “Catholic Study Bible.” That book contains explanations of things in footnotes and commentary that the priest simply doesn’t have time to read or discuss at Weekly Mass, but then and only then does the puzzle all seem to fall into place, and the Mass make sense to those in the younger generation who would never “get it” if left to just the priest at Mass.

  • Bruce Roeder

    Fascinating.

    I’ve tended to look at the issue not as one of “why leave?” but as “why stay?”

    With our three children that have been confirmed so far (six to go), I have given each a little talk after Confirmation. I explain that they are Catholic because our family is Catholic, but as they grow up, they need to be Catholic because it’s true.

    You have to come to believe on your own, not because your family does it. You have to be Catholic because it is true; the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Jesus, the Son of God, the second Person in the Blessed Trinity.

    Now, if you have doubts, that is different. If you have doubts, then do some work to find answers to your questions.

    As Catholics, we must be confident enough to do this. We aren’t selling anything. The Truth is the Truth. Know that anyone with an open mind looking into the Church will find the faith is quite reasonable and the claims about the Church are true. As true as anything can be.

  • hcsknight

    It’s this kind of childish “humor” Catholicism that stoops down to the level of “prosperity doctrine” and so many of the other Protestant errors.

    If Mass is truly a Sacrifice, the Sacrifice at Golgotha, then there’s no such thing as humor being associated in any way when it comes to the subject of people’s fidelity to the Faith. None.

    Since Vatican II there’s existed a grave misunderstanding of its teachings. Far too many have taken the liberty to introduce, understand, and measure the Catholic Faith by human emotions.

    If you’re going to try to use humor to express the importance of Faith, at least try to close up the attempt with the gravity, solemnity, and reverence due to Christ Crucified.

  • hcsknight

    Below was sent to the Editors of Catholic Exchange.

    To: editors@catholicexchange.com
    Sent: Sunday, September 7, 2008 9:30:15 AM
    Subject: RE: Is It Time for You to Leave the Catholic Church?

    I find the article “Is It Time for You to Leave the Catholic Church?” offensive to the Catholic Faith and to the stated goal of CE.

    If CE is to be true to its “Catholic Exchange is a non-profit media organization that seeks to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ as proclaimed by the Catholic Church to the world through the modern tools of mass communication. Inspired by Pope John Paul II’s call for a “Springtime of a New Evangelization,” and in faithfulness to Pope Benedict XVI, we strive to “put out into the deep” a relevant response to the need for greater catechesis and revival of the lay faithful.”

    We are called to be Evangelists, not children who make fun of others. Cheryl, in the below article, is acting like a pathetic high school girl. At the very least it is not at all remotely in keeping with “as proclaimed by the Catholic Church”. Nor is it in any way an “inspiration” of the type for which Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have called.

    How does it speak to the “revival of the lay faithful” and a “relevant response to the need for greater catechesis”? It doesnt. It only promotes selfish, immature, and anti-Catholic and Christian attitudes and spirit.

    If Mass is truly a Sacrifice, the Sacrifice at Golgotha, then there’s no such thing as “appropriate humor” being associated in any way when it comes to the subject of people’s fidelity to the Faith. None.

    Since Vatican II there’s existed a grave misunderstanding of its teachings. Far too many have taken the liberty to introduce, understand, and measure the Catholic Faith by human emotions.

    If CE is going to try to use humor to express the importance of Faith, at least try to close up the attempt with the gravity, solemnity, and reverence due to Christ Crucified.

  • CherylDickow

    hcsknight,

    My only recommendation would be to re-read the article and imagine me throwing up my hands in frustration at yet another friend sharing news of leaving the Catholic Church. Don’t read this as “humor” because there is nothing funny about people who choose to leave the fullness of what Christ left us in our Catholic faith.

    I’m assuming you’ve read my countless other Catholic Exchange columns to know the extent to which I love, cherish, and embrace my faith and the time and effort I spend in writing articles of evangelization. Or maybe you haven’t and that is why you feel you can publicly reprimand me in this forum.

    Cheryl

  • markpro67

    What a cocky and Arrogant article. It’s this type of article that makes people leave the Church. The only problem I have with giving money to the Church, is when the ask for money for the schools, when they have Asians coming from Cambodia to go to their Catholic schools and they pay for it, when they won’t even look at my two kids because we don’t make enough money. Lets start talking the truth.

  • Dave

    Maybe Cheryl should have been a bit more indirect with her sarcastic insight .. but come on folks, we should be alble to discern the real points here … that being she is playing off superficial catholics who don’t get what the Holy Mass really is. As one of our priest says “If I leave the catholic church .. for where would I go? She holds the truth.”

    But now that I’m thinking about it … we don’t sing all that well, and the minister down the street sure can light em up! Maybe I’ll leave the truth for that.

    Peace and love,

  • markpro67

    Another sarcastic Catholic!!!!!

  • markpro67

    Also, now that I think of it, Catholics are the biggest bunch of hypocrites that I have ever known. 75 to 80 % of Catholics go to Church every week and haven’t been to Confession in the past year. That’s the biggest bunch of Saints I have ever seen under one roof on a Sunday, only to leave and not practice what they preach.

  • markpro67

    Now that’s Sarcastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • recovering_catholic

    How about the best reason for leaving the Church, you no longer believe in the existence of a patriarchal God, Virgin Birth, and other such “mysteries”? How about the fact that all religion is rooted in thousands of years old mythology, that we no longer need to explain the “mysteries” of the universe? How about the fact that someone decided to start thinking for themselves? How about the fact that the Catholic Church’s rigid patriarchy is eventually going to be it’s downfall? And making light of people’s reasons for finding a new spiritual path — no wonder people are leaving in record numbers. You have no respect for the beliefs of others. In fact, I am probably wasting my time with “sheeple” such as yourselves. You can have your faith, but please, please, do not force it upon others — it makes you look desperate. If you don’t like it you can move to the Vatican City, the country that you pledge allegiance to every time you attend Mass. And you can take the entire Republican Party with you, they have destroyed or belittled every institution which has made our country great.

  • Bruce Roeder

    recovering_catholic,

    Thank you for reading catholicexchange and contributing to the comments boxes. Your time here is not wasted, but you seem to have a very mistaken understanding about the Church’s teachings on God’s revelation, conscience, the Mass, and the freedom of faith — among others.

    I would sincerely invite you to read through the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with special attention to the Church’s respect for religious liberty (paragraph 2108)

    As you might know, most Catholics are not Republicans. In fact, most Catholics are not even Americans.

    I am also puzzled by your comment on no longer needing to explain the mysteries of the universe. Are you implying that they have all been figured out?

    It is telling that you chastise the Church for a lack of respect for others peoples’ beliefs in the very same sentence that you use the term “sheeple” to refer to Catholics.

    “Sheeple” is a very interesting term. I have found it is difficult for me to admit that I need a guide, a shepherd. Doesn’t everybody need one, no matter how hard it is to accept it?

    Please reconsider the good news of Jesus Christ. You will be in our family’s prayers.

  • Dave

    recovering_catholic,

    Are we all not sinners .. even yourself (whether you believe in the spiritual aspects or not). But name one “instituition” (not my word) that has done more good for mankind that the Catholic Church?

  • markpro67

    Here we go again going around the fact that most catholics that go to church every week have not even been or even thought about going to confession in the last year, never mind the ones that have never been, but go to church on Sunday and receive the lord unworthily.

  • markpro67

    How often have you gone to Mass early and seen a line of people out the door waiting for Confession?

  • markpro67

    And please Dave, don’t go around this with all kinds of words, just state the facts.

  • Bruce Roeder

    markpro67,

    Your advocacy for more frequent confession is great, but what Dave’s last comment (and mine) are addressing is recovering_catholic’s assertions that:

    there is no longer a need to explain the mysteries of the universe,
    all religions are based on myth,
    the Church is rigid, patriarchal, and has no respect for the beliefs of others,
    people leave the Church because they are no longer sheep and think for themselves

  • bhokuto

    Greetings Cheryl,

    A rather interesting approach.

    A few things:

    1) Christ didn’t leave anything. He gave, and Gives continuosly.
    2) Though you are frustrated at Faith taking a dive, It must be so.
    3) This really gives more of a reason for those teeter-tottering on the edge, to actually go.
    4) The Catholic Community needs to Repair all these problems.
    5) The Priests are few are far and they are reaching out where they are welcomed
    to build communities of Faithful believers. For instance they want the lay to get involved in creating bible studies, prayer and worship times, gatherings to keep people in tune with the Holy Faith rather than bonking out in front of TV’s sets or computers.

    The problems are everywhere in life. Yet they can all be overcome when people begin to live in Charity. Charity, Charity, Charity. Using the creativeness God has given to each.

    Jesus constantly was saying to His apostles and disciples, love one another, by this they will know.

    Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkeness, and “the cares of this life”….. {the rest you can read} the emphasis on cares of this life.

    Everywhere, people are in “cares of this life” and they do it on their own whims, though God allows them to, but they do it out of getting somewhere other than back to where Life comes from. So they obstinately waste Gods graces Who gives and gives and gives. At some point that will cease because they are not giving back. So if you go to Mass thinkng God’s going to give after you wasted
    all your time and free will living for yourself, you will only get what you deserver after you wasted all. That’s when the bell starts sounding. And that’s when pride comes out full blown, and that’s when rebellion is understood and that’s when, God says, I gave to you but you failed to “thank Me”. Now you come to Me as beggar. Learn what you have wasted and why I do not give. If I continue to give as I did then, you would end up beyond salvation. Now learn and humble yourself and change your ways.

    This will eventually happen to those who walked out and probably a third will return, the rest jumped ship for good. That’s sad story.

    Good lesson to remember: God took a small group of people and made them His for several centuries and made a promise to Abraham about sand of the Sea. But what we do not seem to notice is that out of the “whole” world back then Israel was small in comparison or A Remnant. This is always the case. The Elect.
    The promise being sand of the sea is the whole world through him, but this is really metaphoric as in the symbolism is really God the Father. For He created all souls and they number the sands of the sea. All of mankind. Thus Jesus sets the Pharisees straight about the Pharisees being Abrahams followers.

    Read Ezchiel 37 it tells us about the “Elect”. A small number. It’s never going to be a large number as we think and hope. The parable about, God inviting the rich and powerful, they had excuses. And then he told the servants to go out to the streets and invite the rest, and out of these only those dressed for the occasion were accepted. This leaves very little.

    Though the Church may boast 1 billion on the roster, the roster will be trimmed to those who love God. Weeding out process is happening. Those who rather live for “cares of this life”.

    Peace

    Peace

  • bhokuto

    Commenting on “Does the Priest bore you?”

    The Priests for the Lay “represents” the Heart of Jesus to us. God reads hearts.
    If hearts do not reflect love towards the One and Only, this is reflected by the Priests as an outward sign, Jesus is in Every Priest. They are chosen by the “rite” set in motion by God. This means God is bored of us. Faith, when the Son of God returns, will He find faith on the Earth? Only a few.

    This is why we must love God first will all our beings. Then, Jesus sees love coming to the Tabernacle and He inflames us more with His Body and Blood. Holy Communion.

    When we partake of the Eucharist, Jesus give us His Heart, The Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, the Heart of God. Love is cultivated in the Heart, so God gives us His Love. The heart of man as human pumps blood, the heart of man as spirit pumps spiritual blood, God gives us His blood to mix with ours to create spiritual blood ties, thus we become Gods sons and daughters.

    Science of the Saints- one of the Seven Fold Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Science, Piety, Fear of God.

    Peace

  • GUEST

    your forgot a very important part
    THEY ARE HYPOCRITES

  • L. Marie

    I was an evangelicalfor 8 years…rich fellowship, growth learning….folksknew Jesus personally.  So for 2 years I have attempted to come back.  Half the Catholics have no understanding of what they believe….few have a personal relationship with Jesus..  Some even think it’s wrong to take a personal word from scripture.  So why stay?  No fellowship, lonliness, and no growth from solid scriptural teaching!  I cant take it any more..

  • LN

    While some people might flit frivolously from one religion to another, many Catholics leave for very serious reasons. It is often a heart-wrenching and very sincere time of soul-searching, prayer, study, and, frankly, agony. Mocking people who have been through this doesn’t help your cause. It makes you look like a jerk.

  • Joseph

    I left the Catholic Church and joined the Lutheran Church, As a Catholic I believed the same things as I do as a Lutheran. I liked the married clergy.

  • mark

    I appreciate your sense of sarcasm that is clear in your article. You hit the nail on the head. Many parishoners just don’t have a clue as to whatt it means to make sacrifices and be a true Christian. At times it is work. Other times there is true joy in knowing Christ is your personal Savior. Anyone who does not appreciate Mass and Communion has no real appreciation for the things Jesus did for them or are putting other things first in their life. Worship is not about being entertained!! II wish you continued sucess with the Faith and please continue to write your articles. Thank you!!

  • RM

    Sorry I am late but I have to respond. As a Catholic I am very disheartened by your and some of the other posters condescension towards people who are considering leaving or have left the church. One tenet of the faith that I was taught was to have compassion and understanding toward all as Christ did, including those who dissent. And not only understand but respect their reasons for leaving which in most cases are valid reasons. One major reason is the Church’s handling of the sex abuse scandal. I personally know someone who has suffered not only at the hands of a priest but the church who tried to sweep it under the rug as if it never happened. Another is the rigidity of Church teachings. Although thankfully there is no more Inquisitions, the Church’s inflexibility in the twenty first century is also another factor driving people away. Going to a Jesuit college and taking religion and history courses opened my eyes to the basis of many of the Church’s teachings having roots in earlier religions, the reasoning behind them most of the time having no spiritual basis but based more in ones agenda whether it was for the male Church leaders, secular rules or Christianizing an earlier belief of people they assimilated. Pope Benedict XVI is almost the opposite of Blessed Pope John Paul in his inflexibility(shunning and condemnation of other religions) , almost arrogance and aloofness towards certain Catholics(women, Catholics in developing countries, victims of priest sex scandals). I could go on but this is a paragraph already. I would politely ask you that before writing an article that makes you look as one poster said “like a jerk” you have a dialogue with someone who actually left and without judging them listen.

    Thanks

  • Don Cameron

    I am considering leaving. I am active in my parish in liturgical ministries and St. Vincent de Paul. As American Catholics I reject teaching regarding gays, women, contraception and The Magesterium. I cannot defend some of the horrible things the Church does. If the prelate from Africa gets elected, the homophobe who makes ordaining gays the scapegoat for bishops and cardinals lack of fidelity, compassion and responsibility, there is not much left to keep me there. God is perfect. The Church is far from perfect. I will never understand many of the horrible things it does today and did in the past. It is a mixed bag: some good, some evil.

  • linda

    Because it is run by criminals and rooted in deep corruption.

  • palomino

    Wow Cheryl how witty of you to talk down to those who are truly struggling with the faith. So entertaining…which we don’t get in mass. I am once again shamed to ever have any doubts about the one true church. Catholic guilt and shame at it’s best.

    Can you tell me in your wisdom why it used to be a sin for unconsecrated hands to touch the Eucharist and now any layperson wearing cutoffs and sporting tattoos are now permitted to stand at the altar and give communion?

    One of these hypocrites was in a grocery store after mass cursing her daughter out loud using the F word for all to hear Yet every Sunday she was up at the altar bowing and looking reverent. At least I don’t pretend to be something I am not. So tired of the “scripted” reasons why Catholic is the one true church.

  • AriD2385

    The disdain poured upon those doubting their faith is astonishing and completely out of keeping with Scriptural commands to lift one another up, completely out of step with the fruits of the Spirit (kindness and gentleness) and just generally lacking in compassion or understanding. Think of this: what if someone was searching for answers and this article came up in the results. Do you honestly think it would help them resolve their doubts? Or is it more likely that the condescension would only confirm their worst doubts about the Catholic Church? The fact that it is specifically addressed to doubters is a prime example of what it looks like to kick someone when they are down.

    Perhaps it would be fruitful for those who share the author’s attitude to reflect on why the feel the need to react with hostility and defense toward those who doubt Catholicism. Even more fruitful would be a meditation on Christ’s response to all who rejected Him–God Himself. It is a cause of amazement to see how The Lord of the universe displays more humility when encountering opposition to Himself than we do in our defense of Him and His Church. Perhaps, as He told Peter, we ought to put down our swords, for if He wanted to squash His detractors, He could have done so Himself.

  • Mike

    That is how I found this — searching for answers as I am struggling with my faith. Aside from apostolic succession, the most commonly asserted argument/tactic to keep me in the Catholic Church is guilt, shame and obligation. I find myself being forced away. I find that people outside the Church behave more like Christians than those within. The author of this article certainly did not speak like a Christian.

  • AriD2385

    Please know that Christ is near you and can be sought with any and every doubt you have. Peace.

  • JamesUnger

    The Pope’s comment yesterday has renewed a desire to find a place that does not throw the moral people under the bus. Apparently the Pope has not attended church in the U.S.A. or Western Europe. When was the last time anyone has heard preaching about chastity and waiting for marriage in church. Yes, we will hear about the “sanctity-of-life.” We had to leave our former church and find one that actually preaches on sexual purity, on protecting marriage, etc. I have told priests for years, that “social justice begins when men keep their zippers up and women their legs crossed until marriage – and then only with your spouse.” Most of the criminal activity comes from fatherless homes – cause the “sperm donors” do not take responsibility – and the gov’t can never meet such a need. Shame on the Pope. I remember in my Jesuit-runned High School how I had to defend orthodoxy in debates with the faculty – in and out of the “religion class.” It’s time that the Pope join in the fight against Moral-Phobia, not ignore it. Sexual sin is a main cause for social injustice.

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