How Many Have Bailed Out of Catholicism?

Benedict will have a big audience here in the United States. According to a megastudy of Americans' religious identification released recently by the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life, almost one in four Americans--24 percent--is Catholic. But Pew also found that no American faith group has lost more adherents than the Catholic Church; 10 percent of Americans are ex-Catholics. However, in the pollster version of a smackdown, some of Pew's findings are getting an argument from the go-to research center for all things Catholic--the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.

It's kind of a wonky dispute, but interesting nonetheless. CARA maintains its 2003 research shows the situation isn't as bad as Pew paints it. The number of ex-Catholics isn't so awful when you consider the gigantic size of the church, contends CARA. And, it says, the Catholic church's retention rate--68 percent of those who grew up stayed Catholic-- is actually better than the Baptists, Lutherans, Methodist, Pentecostals, among others. Pew would counter that it makes more sense to compare Catholicism to all of Protestantism (not individual denominations), and 80 percent of those raised Protestant still are.
CARA also points out an intriguing tidbit. Some media reports on the Pew study linked the departing faithful to such factors as the recent clergy sex abuse scandals. Not so, says CARA. Most actually got out before 1988, CARA researchers say, well before the horrendous abuses of children by priests moved into the spotlight.

By Jacqueline L. Salmon |  March 19, 2008; 11:03 AM ET
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The Catholic Church has been in decline in the US since the baby boom generation came of age in the 1970s. The church continues to be a destructive force in modern culture both by preaching intolerance towards all sexually active people and its failure to advocate strongly for the underprivileged. Although Catholic Charities have done a good job, their efforts dim when compared to the work of the church heirarchy to support Bush in 2004. President Bush has repeatedly attached the poorest Americans, and I know Jesus is not smiling at him.

Posted by: Anthony Smith | March 20, 2008 12:22 AM

The Catholic Church has been in decline in the US since the baby boom generation came of age in the 1970s. The church continues to be a destructive force in modern culture both by preaching intolerance towards all sexually active people and failing to advocate strongly for the underprivileged. Although Catholic Charities have done a good job, their efforts were significantly dimished when the church heirarchy pubically and inappropriately supported the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004. President Bush has repeatedly attached the poorest Americans, and I know Jesus is not smiling at him.

Posted by: Anthony Smith | March 20, 2008 12:24 AM

Polsters used to just ask people if they went to church, and what church, and how often. Now, they actually count attendants at churches, and wherever they do this in the U.S., they find almost exactly half of those who say they go to church regularly (besides Christmas and Easter), actually do, on any sort of regular basis. In the U.S. less than 25% of the total population attends a Roman Catholic Church on a regular basis. And most of them support marries priests, women priests, divorce, stem cell research etc.. (BTW that is twice as many Catholics who regularly attend thlic church in Canada.) In Latin America, most of the people who attend church on any Sunday morning attend a protestant church and their numbers are growing rapidly in every Latin American country.

Posted by: The myth of Catholic power | March 20, 2008 12:27 AM

As an ex-Catholic myself, I think the main problem with the Catholic church is that it still tends to stubbornly hold on to its own interpretations of the Bible and the way to salvation. Most, if not all, Protestant interpretations and theology lay emphasis on salvation through faith and not by works and a personal relationship with and commitment to Christ.

If Catholics can acknowledge that salvation is only through grace by faith, and that the Bible is the only basis for that faith, then we can probably make progress. It should also acknowledge that practices such as the Confession, Intercessory prayers to saints etc., are at least 'Optional' if it's serious about retaining adherents who are more serious about following a more 'Biblical' path to their faith.

Posted by: RJ | March 20, 2008 4:48 AM

This whole subject matter is inconsequential. It is similar to 500 year old statistics asking Europeans then if they believe that the Earth is flat and if we are the centre of the Universe. Ofcourse there was a large number of supporters then but so what. Some 50 years ago when I was a kid we had a preacher who filled his Church with wisdom and music and then suddenly quit. We asked him why and he said "I no longer am a believer - it is time for me to stand on my own two feet." Really, Pope Benedict should follow that guidance.

Posted by: Rudolph | March 20, 2008 6:50 AM

The first cause of the exodus from the Catholic Church in the last century was the failure of Vatican II to deal with the issue of birth control because Pope Paul VI insisted on withdrawing the issue from the agenda. It was an irrational, thoughtless, and arbitrary, leaving millions of good Catholic couples in a horrible quandary.

Since then, the Church has been moving backward into a fundamentalism that may be comforting to the faithful who feel embattled by uncertain times but defies reason.

Under Pope John Paul II, huge steps backward were taken by the Church under the influence of Opus Dei. The best minds of the Church such as Hans Kung were repressed and persecuted.

Since then, despite the good intentions of Vatican II, Christ's message has been hidden behind curtains of supersticion at the same time that the Pope and the Vatican curia promote reactionary politicians who do not defend the oppressed and downtrodden whom Christ came to liberate.

The scandal of pedophile priests and priests who exploit their position in the community to prey sexually on the young has been endemic in the Church. Medieval literature in England contains warnings to the priests about their relations with the young. Sadly, the way the scandal has been handled by the Vatican-- shoving the dirt under the rug until the rug could no longer cover the filth--is proof that the Catholic Church is just another political institution which puts self-defense above morality.

Yet, how to explain the millions who still believe in the Church so ardently?

Most are not informed; they have no idea what is really going on in the Church. Others cannot take the emotional leap into a vacuum which abandoning the Church and the faith of their fathers entails. Others feel that, "this too shall pass."

What the Catholic Church represents in modern times is a tragedy, but its history is so pockmarked by scandal that its current failings are just "more of the same."

Posted by: FedUp1 | March 20, 2008 6:57 AM

I left and never looked back. Pope B can play dress up all he wants while priests play with little boys and then go out and preach against same sex marriage. HA! What a joke. ALL organized religions are bunk, based on a book that is pure fiction.

Posted by: pj4521 | March 20, 2008 7:59 AM

I just have one thing to say! Thank you Martin Luther for the reformation, I am glad I was not brought up Catholic

Posted by: Thomas White | March 20, 2008 8:14 AM

Always a one way conversation - the dissers.

Posted by: Dave | March 20, 2008 8:28 AM

Always a one way conversation - the dissers.

Posted by: Dave | March 20, 2008 8:29 AM

I left because they preach right wing hate from the pulpit. If I lived in South America where liberation theology is strong, i might rejoin the church. But the Church in the USA is despicable. Refocus on poverty instead of homosexuality and abortion, and allow women to be priests, and maybe people would come back.

Posted by: raised catholic | March 20, 2008 8:43 AM

I was born and raised Roman Catholic. A few years back, I took a hard look at a Protestant denomination for approx. 1 year.

After 1 year of attending and watching on T.V., I came running back to the R. C. church. There was sooooooo much missing in the other denomination. Nonetheless, I thank them because they made me a much better Catholic.

There are an estimated 1 to 1.1 billion Catholics worldwide. *WHO CARES WHAT THE NUMBERS ARE?*

I would not mind if the R. C. church shrunk 90% down to 100 million members if it meant shedding all the nominal, erstwhile, in name only, Catholics. (The church of "What's happening now" is right down the road. Please join them). If Benedict and I are the last two Catholics, so be it.

The ones I'd like to see leave the R.C. church are the pro-choice/abortion, elected, Catholic officials such as Rep. Giuliani and the Dem "gang of 18" ..... Biden, Dowd, Leahy, Kennedy, Kucinich et.al.

Holy Thursday ...... gotta go. Time for Mass.

Posted by: Dave | March 20, 2008 8:47 AM

Many of these posted comments about the Catholic Church are inaccurate. These comments do not represent the church's teaching. These comments are offensive to Catholics.

Posted by: motherseton | March 20, 2008 8:51 AM

To all of you who left the Catholic Church, please read the life and times of St. Francis of Assisi. The Church was in much worse shape then. Contrary to most of these posts, I love my Church and I will stay with it, warts and all. The Catholic Church is in a transition period now--some want to go back to the Church of the past because they need that comfort and security of old times. Others, like me, are looking to the future, trusting that God will lead us to where the Church should go. Married priests, women priests, an end to the male dominated clergy--why not? Perhaps another St. Francis and St. Clare will come along to "Rebuild My church for, as you can see, is falling into ruin." (In the Chapel of San Damiano, Francis heard God's voice speak clearly to him from the crucifix saying, "Francis, Go and rebuild my Church, which you can see has fallen into ruin." Francis believed initially that the call was to a literal, physical rebuilding of the Church...only later did he realize the call was to a spiritual rebuilding.)

Posted by: ams515 | March 20, 2008 9:09 AM

Of course the Catholic CHurch loses people. When you are the beacon of morality it will cramp people's style as they are expected to act in a decent manner. Hence, people leaving.

Posted by: Alan | March 20, 2008 9:12 AM

I went to Catholic school for 10 years. I learned that no human is infallible. Never has been, never will be.

Posted by: | March 20, 2008 9:15 AM

God Bless you ams515. There is but one God, one Lord, one Spirit, and one Salvation, and this comes through the Holy Catholic Church instituted by our Saviour Himself. Only pride, heresy, selfishness, and blindness guide those who have attacked her through the millennia and continue to do so, under different [false] names. Blessed are the feet of he who comes in the name of the Lord, our Holy Father Pope Benedict. My heart and the hearts of many are full of joy as we expect the message of the Servant of Christ next month in the US. If our Founder suffered slander, persecution and death, we true Catholics shouldn't expect less than that if we are to remain faithful to His Gospel within the Holy Church. And we also need to pray and love for those who curse us, even though this is sometimes difficult, but it is our duty and our salvation.

Posted by: danfig | March 20, 2008 9:24 AM

As one author has one of his characters say: "I am not in the church, but the church is in me," existing in the good people whom he had worked with.

I can say that also. Most people were better for being in the church. Fallen away or "retired" Catholic I am, but there are many aspects, maybe just good memories of the church that I still treasure.

Sure, for close to two decades I was a member of a Catholic religious order. Their work with the young, their assistance to those who needed help, and the tremendous satisfaction that it gave me certainly were a very important phase in my life for it focused me on a more selfless and other person-centered view of life. Those years prepared me for the next phase: another type of professional career away from teaching, marriage and raising a family. And oh yes, a full life, where I am totally grateful for the happiness I have with my memories, and my family. My life has had a solid meaning and purpose.

Surely people are frustrated with the attitudes of many clergy and most of the bishops, who have served themselves and neglected to deal with, or even respect, the laity.

I am convinced that the church will continue in a downward spiral, until the hierarchy wakes up, until there is a married clergy, until women are allowed to serve fully as ministers, until it recognizes the necessity of birth control, until it deals more dramatically with poverty, until it severes its ties with the wealthy, until it eschews wealth for the sake of status, until it concerns itself with the struggling people, and until it makes total efforts to reach out sincerely to actually serve.

Posted by: Jerry | March 20, 2008 9:37 AM

As one author has one of his characters say: "I am not in the church, but the church is in me," existing in the good people whom he had worked with.

I can say that also. Most people were better for being in the church. Fallen away or "retired" Catholic I am, but there are many aspects, maybe just good memories of the church that I still treasure.

Sure, for close to two decades I was a member of a Catholic religious order. Their work with the young, their assistance to those who needed help, and the tremendous satisfaction that it gave me certainly were a very important phase in my life for it focused me on a more selfless and other person-centered view of life. Those years prepared me for the next phase: another type of professional career away from teaching, marriage and raising a family. And oh yes, a full life, where I am totally grateful for the happiness I have with my memories, and my family. My life has had a solid meaning and purpose.

Surely people are frustrated with the attitudes of many clergy and most of the bishops, who have served themselves and neglected to deal with, or even respect, the laity.

I am convinced that the church will continue in a downward spiral, until the hierarchy wakes up, until there is a married clergy, until women are allowed to serve fully as ministers, until it recognizes the necessity of birth control, until it deals more dramatically with poverty, until it severes its ties with the wealthy, until it eschews wealth for the sake of status, until it concerns itself with the struggling people, and until it makes total efforts to reach out sincerely to actually serve.

Posted by: Jerry | March 20, 2008 9:37 AM

As one author has one of his characters say: "I am not in the church, but the church is in me," existing in the good people whom he had worked with.

I can say that also. Most people were better for being in the church. Fallen away or "retired" Catholic I am, but there are many aspects, maybe just good memories of the church that I still treasure.

Sure, for close to two decades I was a member of a Catholic religious order. Their work with the young, their assistance to those who needed help, and the tremendous satisfaction that it gave me certainly were a very important phase in my life for it focused me on a more selfless and other person-centered view of life. Those years prepared me for the next phase: another type of professional career away from teaching, marriage and raising a family. And oh yes, a full life, where I am totally grateful for the happiness I have with my memories, and my family. My life has had a solid meaning and purpose.

Surely people are frustrated with the attitudes of many clergy and most of the bishops, who have served themselves and neglected to deal with, or even respect, the laity.

I am convinced that the church will continue in a downward spiral, until the hierarchy wakes up, until there is a married clergy, until women are allowed to serve fully as ministers, until it recognizes the necessity of birth control, until it deals more dramatically with poverty, until it severes its ties with the wealthy, until it eschews wealth for the sake of status, until it concerns itself with the struggling people, and until it makes total efforts to reach out sincerely to actually serve.

Posted by: Jerry | March 20, 2008 9:37 AM

That the Catholic church has so many haters just goes to show how powerful it is and how scared of that power so many are. I would never DREAM of bashing another religion of which I was NOT a member. It stuns me how much anger some of you have toward a church that you no longer are or never were a part of. What about the Catholic church scares you so? Are you scared because you know the reason you're not a Catholic is because you can't live your life to its high standards? Are you afraid to face your own shortcomings with respect to the morality the church preaches? What gives?

Posted by: jef3r | March 20, 2008 9:45 AM

I'm not a Biblical scholar, but I do recall a Bible story about an adulteress and a bunch of guys with stones. I'm surprised to see so many stones flying through the air here. I'm dropping mine and shuffling off. Join me?

Posted by: Tim | March 20, 2008 9:52 AM

The dissents from the above posters s foretold in scripture.One should realize that after 2000 years of scandal and dissents the Church still waxes strong proving that itis not a human institution ,but guided by a Divine hand.
As for the recent Pedifile problem:the liberalism of VaticaII allowed toomany homosexuals to enter the Semenaries without investigation.The Church is now swinging back to its traditional Conservatism thanks to Pqpe Benedict.

Posted by: Lizard2 | March 20, 2008 9:54 AM

For "Lizard2"

You wrote: "The (R.C.) Church is now swinging back to its traditional Conservatism thanks to Pope Benedict."

Amen! You are so correct.

This Pope has already exceeded any expectations I had for him. He has adroitly, adeptly reversed or modified some of what came out of Vatican II.

As far as I'm concerned, both Popes JP.II and B.XVI have been wonderful for Catholicism.

Posted by: Dave | March 20, 2008 10:14 AM

While many may have left, many have joined as well. I am a new convert to Catholicism. It was the best decision I have made in my life. Many have left the Church because of a small minority of pedophile priests. Pedophilia goes on in all denominations as well as in schools, doctors offices and homes all across America. Catholics are moving on regarding this issue. Protections have been put in place. Billions of dollars have been paid out to victims. No doubt it will continue as long as there are men and women who go into the helping professions and lack self - awareness and fall into these horrible sick and sinful ways. For me the historical fullness and beauty of Catholic Church in its ritual and faith far outweighs the actions of a few twisted individuals who happen to be priests. No church has done more to help the poor, hungry and marginalized people in the world.
I am very happy in this wonderful lenten season to be a Catholic. If people truly knew and practiced their faith on a deep spiritual level they would find all the tools they need for a rich and fulfilling spiritual life. I love our new Pope. In fact, I took the name Benedicta John as my confirmation name in his honor.

Posted by: Pamela Ruigh | March 20, 2008 10:16 AM

Now brothers and sisters in the Holy Church, let us bown down in all humility and devotion before the holy and eternal sacrifice that no human words or sentiments can fully describe, which is the oblation that our Lord made for us on the Cross. He who is all-powerful, made himself power-less; He who was without sin died at the hands of sinners even forgiving them at the Cross. He who taught us and lived the commandments of the Father is coming to encounter us one to one in these holy days that begin today. Let us go encounter Him!

Posted by: danfig | March 20, 2008 10:30 AM

We have a Church that disrespects and disregards the laity, disrespects and neglects Latino immigrants who make up 1/3 of its membership, and then wonders why the faithful go over to other churches. Our pastor doesn't know or care who is (or isn't) celebrating the Spanish-language Mass in our parish. He hardly ever communicates directly with us. Our diocesan newspaper only has one page in Spanish and that is being produced by volunteers right now because they don't have a Spanish-speaking writer. And the level of "cover your ass" bureaucracy in the diocese is stunning, especially for those who want to volunteer with children. If I went over to a Protestant denomination, I could teach Sunday school without filling out lots of forms and being treated like a potential criminal.

Posted by: RG | March 20, 2008 11:08 AM


I am a practicing Roman Catholic, and for the life of me have never understood why non-catholics , and just plain, old -fashioned Catholic Bashers are so infatuated with what the Catholic Church teaches. I certainly would never think of questioning or commenting on the teachings of Protestants or the different groups of the Jewish faith. I also don't think it is necessary to call our clergy"pedophiles "or resort to vile slander. The fact of the matter is the percentage of priests that were sex abusers is about the same percentage that are in secular society. Of course I realize that there never has been a protestant minister or rabbi ever involved in sex abuse!! If you want to have a civilized discussion about faith, I would love too. But first ask God to get the hate out of your heart that you folks harbor for Catholics.

Posted by: nick | March 20, 2008 11:25 AM

I am a Catholic convert and was raised Lutheran. I had a fundamentalist period in between. I have been reading the lives of the saints down through 2000 years, and the one constant thread is how much God loves us, how much he wants us to love each other. My life as a Christian is to burn away all that is not love. The protestant straw man of the Catholic Church being about works is nonsense. And sola scriptura forgets that it is the church that decided what would be in the Bible that the protestants are using exclusively. Jesus said, this is my commandment, Love one another. It's all about the love.

Posted by: Sue | March 20, 2008 11:26 AM

Ultimately God's gift to the human race is the offer of eternal life, in communion with the Trinity and all the saints. The Church is God's gift to help us achieve that goal. This road is not easy and the "gate is narrow". In the 60's and 70" our goals and purposes went off on a secular tangent, probably best symbolized in an endless individual search for pleasure and power in our society. A search for cheap, easy grace, if you will. Thanks be to God, we are being lead back to the traditional sources of strength that have sustained the Church for 2,000 years. Benedict XVI is gracefully doing this in a very pastoral way, like an grandfather or uncle stepping in to the confusion with an inspired wisdom. Not everyone is willing to do difficult things or to admit that they may have made a mistake, and the new/old direction may be very challanging for them. Not all will rise up to it. Having lived through both phases of the Catholic Church (pre- and post- Vatican II) I am more that willing to return to substance and discipline.

Posted by: Stevarino | March 20, 2008 11:29 AM

to a person to whom the worship of spooks is incomprehensible...our obsession with religion is saddening...if we, as a species, survive.....hopefully in a few hundred years we shall look back on these times as the true "dark ages"

Posted by: Ricardo | March 20, 2008 11:30 AM

to a person to whom the worship of spooks is incomprehensible...our obsession with religion is saddening...if we, as a species, survive.....hopefully in a few hundred years we shall look back on these times as the true "dark ages"

Posted by: Ricardo | March 20, 2008 11:31 AM

The Catholic Church must reform if it is to survive.

One issue for example is atonement theology:

"Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians (Catholics) love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

"Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

(from Professor JD Crossan in his book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

Next the Church must address the flaws and errors in its founder and foundations:

A synopsis:

1. Abraham founder/father of three major religions was either the embellishment of the lives of three different men or a mythical character as was Moses, the "Tablet-Man" who talked to burning bushes and made much magic in Egypt.

1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis have relegated Abraham to the myth pile along with most if not all the OT. http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/ConservativeTorah.htm

2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (demons of the demented aka satan and "pretty wingie thingies" aka angels). He has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a mamzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). Analyses of Jesus' life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, On Faith panelists) via the NT and related documents have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

For added "pizzazz", Catholic/Christian theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".


Posted by: Concerned The Christian Now Liberated | March 20, 2008 12:26 PM

There are over a billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, and there are over a trillion galaxies in the universe. There may be more than one universe. We know so little from where we stand. Everything pales and fades...even the master debate between homoiousia and heteroousia.

Posted by: Jay | March 20, 2008 12:28 PM

Beware that this "Concerned The Christian Now Liberated" is copying and pasting same stuff from:
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/pope-watch/2008/03/wuerl_on_benedict.html

Posted by: danfig | March 20, 2008 12:48 PM

Again the Church is castigated for teaching and promoting a moral code that would prevent most of the major problems we have today.We need to try harder to live up to this code, so that by our example, those that left will return. May the "Hound of Heaven" rescue them.

Posted by: AEBA | March 20, 2008 1:03 PM

The Catholic Church is better off without members who cannot or do not want to accept the teachings of the faith. If you're an unhappy Catholic and want to defect, please do so. I'd rather the Church be composed of 5000 faithful than 50 million unfaithful.

Posted by: Brendan | March 20, 2008 1:14 PM

Protestantism is such a loose term, and Catholicism is such a precise notion; I am not convinced that Pew's argument for taking Protestantism as a whole makes that much sense. There really is no exact parallel in comparison of Protestantism and Catholicism. A better match would be Catholicism and Orthodoxy, but my guess is that Catholicism comes out on the short end of the stick in that comparison.

Posted by: Mike Meyer | March 20, 2008 1:31 PM

Brendan: Catholicism officially lays claim to one billion adherents.

Posted by: Mike Meyer | March 20, 2008 1:34 PM

The first writer commented that "The church continues to be a destructive force in modern culture both by preaching intolerance towards all sexually active people...." Sorry, but that's just not true. You're wrong -- get your facts straight. The church says that certain sexual activities are wrong, but also that others are good, and that's putting it weakly. In fact, the church teaches that sex in its proper place has unique and irreplaceable value. Such sex is encouraged; it is not treated with intolerance. You might not like what the church teaches about sex, you might not agree with it, but you should at least get clear what it does and doesn't teach if you're going to criticize it.

Posted by: CMSinVA | March 20, 2008 1:47 PM

"Concerned Christian now liberated" wrote:

"The Catholic Church must reform if it is to survive."

NO!

I, for one, do not want its dogma, doctrine, traditions (written, oral, other) or the Magisterium "reformed."

Looking for reform? I encourage you to go elsewhere (as in Protestant REFORMation).

Concerned, the Catholic church *WILL* (and should) survive and be with us until the end of times.

Concerned, I see you are still infatuated with Crossan.

Despite your errant musings over the past months, you're not winning many converts to your way of thinking.

Posted by: Dave | March 20, 2008 1:52 PM

I am a Catholic convert and was raised Lutheran. I had a fundamentalist period in between. I have been reading the lives of the saints down through 2000 years, and the one constant thread is how much God loves us, how much he wants us to love each other. My life as a Christian is to burn away all that is not love. The protestant straw man of the Catholic Church being about works is nonsense. And sola scriptura forgets that it is the church that decided what would be in the Bible that the protestants are using exclusively. Jesus said, this is my commandment, Love one another. It's all about the love.

Posted by: Worth repeating | March 20, 2008 2:00 PM

I was raised Baptist, and I'm being confirmed in the Roman Catholic church on Saturday evening at an Easter Vigil Mass. The Roman Catholic church was founded by Jesus and continues to be the one true church. Yes, baptisms in other churches in the name of the Trinity are valid. But if you want to belong to the one true church, you must convert to the Roman Catholic church. "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Posted by: Ron in California | March 20, 2008 2:01 PM

For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, no explanation is possible. For those who seek not the truth, there is no hope.

Posted by: allegheny934 | March 20, 2008 2:09 PM

"Some media reports on the Pew study linked the departing faithful to such factors as the recent clergy sex abuse scandals. Not so, says CARA. Most actually got out before 1988, CARA researchers say, well before the horrendous abuses of children by priests moved into the spotlight."

Catholics got to before 1988 because we knew what was going on BEFORE it hit the media. Child molestation and priests was an open secret/joke long before the media covcered it. There's even a few references to this on a Frank Zappa album (Joe's Garage) from 1979!! (Zappa was raised Catholic by the way.)

This is a major reason Catholics left the church and CARA are kidding themelves if they think Catholics didn't talk about this before 1988.

Posted by: Tony S | March 20, 2008 2:15 PM

We Catholics get beat up pretty badly in comparison with our Baptist, Protestants, Mormons, Jewish, and other Christian brothers and sisters. It makes me feel good we are acknowledged by the press and the general public regardless of our religious beliefs and convictions i.e. Abortion, Gay Marriage, Stem-Cell, etc... The Catholic Church have always been challenged and will continue to do so simply the Catholic Church chose to be accountable, has moral standards , strong belief in family values and life, dignity, and obligation to the members of the church. I expect our faith to be continually tested, mocked, and ridiculed for the longest. We do our best to make the world a better place to live whether providing shelter for the homeless, volunteering at a nursing home, or simply giving one's personal time to the poor and under privileged without fan fare and media attention. Who can pass judgment on us without honestly looking at themselves in the mirror?

Posted by: Marion | March 20, 2008 2:30 PM

As the flaws and errors of the OT and NT have been "thumped" upon us for the last 2000 years, it is time to thump the facts. Get use to it!!!

Some more facts: (from course notes - graduate theology class at a major Catholic university)

The story of Adam and Eve is only symbolic.

Thus myth was composed in the 900s BCE and functions as an etiology (explanatory myth) . In the 900s Israel was self ruling, under King David and Solomon. The people were no longer at war and the question" Why are we not happy?" may have been asked. The short answer is sin. (Look at 1 Kings 11 for some clues into why the story depicts Eve sinning first and then tempting Adam [Solomon]).

Original sin is therefore only symbolic of man's tendencies to sin.

Original Sin as symbolic of the sins of our origins -- in our
families and in the broader society, both of which affect each person profoundly. The "sins of our origins" approach helps to account for certain patterns of sin in particular families and societies.

Baptism does not erase original sin since the sin does not exist. The old "laundry of the soul," approach to Baptism is no longer accepted. (and finally Limbo can be put on the myth pile.)

Infant Baptism is only a rite of initiation and commits parents and godparents to bringing up the child in a Christian home.

Since baptism is now celebrated at Sunday Eucharist, all the members of the parish family are encouraged to pledge their support and care for the faith life of the newly baptized. (A manifestation of this is
persons volunteering to teach other people's kids the basics of
Catholicism.)"

Posted by: Concerned The Christian Now Liberated | March 20, 2008 2:32 PM

The question asked should be; How many support church teaching...the others are not catholic at all...which is good, we need a smaller more unified church.

Posted by: R.S.Newark | March 20, 2008 2:40 PM

Peace be with you,

There are many on this site, from within and without the Church, who do not understand the Catholic Church. I only ask that you sincerely pray and ask Christ Jesus to reveal the truth about His Church to you and that when he does that you accept it. For those that do not understand the Papacy, the Pope himself is not infallible. What is infallible is when he is acting as the head of the Church as Christ's successor, as Peter's successor, in interpreting holy scripture (which by the way, the Catholic Church formed). This doctrine is scriptural as is confession, as are those doctrine deemed infallible by the Church as they are/were loosed in the earth by the power of the holy spirit operating through the Church. Please take a moment to read the following holy scriptures and sincerely pray that God will reveal his divine truth to you. Please let us also remember what Easter is all about. Christ died for ALL of OUR sins because he so LOVED the World. As such, HE made disciples of men that would carry his saving grace to the World. These disciples make up the one and only Apostolic Church - the Roman Catholic Church. I pray God will reveal his divine truth to you and then bless you with the grace to receive it.

Peace be with you:

Matthew 16: 16-19
16 Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Matthew 20: 24-26
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
26 What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?

John 20: 21-23
21(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.
23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Posted by: | March 20, 2008 3:03 PM

Peace be with you,

There are many on this site, from within and without the Church, who do not understand the Catholic Church. I only ask that you sincerely pray and ask Christ Jesus to reveal the truth about His Church to you and that when he does that you accept it. For those that do not understand the Papacy, the Pope himself is not infallible. What is infallible is when he is acting as the head of the Church as Christ's successor, as Peter's successor, in interpreting holy scripture (which by the way, the Catholic Church formed). This doctrine is scriptural as is confession, as are those doctrine deemed infallible by the Church as they are/were loosed in the earth by the power of the holy spirit operating through the Church. Please take a moment to read the following holy scriptures and sincerely pray that God will reveal his divine truth to you. Please let us also remember what Easter is all about. Christ died for ALL of OUR sins because he so LOVED the World. As such, HE made disciples of men that would carry his saving grace to the World. These disciples make up the one and only Apostolic Church - the Roman Catholic Church. I pray God will reveal his divine truth to you and then bless you with the grace to receive it.

Peace be with you:

Matthew 16: 16-19
16 Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Matthew 20: 24-26
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
26 What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?

John 20: 21-23
21(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.
23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Posted by: Rachael Dallesandro | March 20, 2008 3:04 PM

These criticisms of the Catholic Church are repeated everywhere and the mothersetons and Daves follow the truth denying it where ever they can. Amazing how truly ignorant Catholics are.

Most amazing of all is how truly EVIL the Catholic Church is.

Posted by: owlafaye | March 20, 2008 3:30 PM

dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us pray for those who curse us and the Holy Church, including "owlafaye"

Posted by: danfig | March 20, 2008 3:37 PM

Rachael Dallesandro should try to pull her head out from under the robes of the priests and into the fresh air of reality.

You are truly a puppet of Catholicism and this is understandable considering the heavy load of induced guilt you seem to be carrying. The programming is removable Rachael...good luck!

Posted by: owlafaye | March 20, 2008 3:46 PM

So sad. I was raised and educated as a Catholic through college. I have also been a member of liberal Protestant churches. My conclusion after all this is that if religion makes one happy, go for it. However, the belief that your religion alone grants happiness, salvation, power or goodness is dangerous. I remember priests honoring Joe McCarthy and damning Communism. I remember being told Protestants are sinful. All such messages are dangerous to our human integrity. Now I'm a Humanist and agnostic and regard organized religions as stops along the way.
Mary D

Posted by: MTDresser | March 20, 2008 3:51 PM

So sad. I was raised and educated as a Catholic through college. I have also been a member of liberal Protestant churches. My conclusion after all this is that if religion makes one happy, go for it. However, the belief that your religion alone grants happiness, salvation, power or goodness is dangerous. I remember priests honoring Joe McCarthy and damning Communism. I remember being told Protestants are sinful. All such messages are dangerous to our human integrity. Now I'm a Humanist and agnostic and regard organized religions as stops along the way.
Mary D

Posted by: MTDresser | March 20, 2008 3:51 PM


Prayer is that selfish begging directed towards a supposedly all knowing deity (who should be aware of your needs unbidden) to render asunder the natural laws of the universe to satisfy the beseeching petition of one individual.

Nothing fails like prayer, danfig.

Please pray for us long and often and do so in church. This will keep you off the streets, away from honest society and out of our children's pants.

Posted by: owlafaye | March 20, 2008 4:07 PM

nick:

One reason people are preoccupied with Catholicism is the inteference of the Catholic Church in public policy issues that affect all Americans regardless of religious affiliation (or lack thereof). From adoption by gay couples, all manner of fertilization technology, access to emergency contraception (including by rape victims in energency rooms), and of course birth control, the Catholic Church opposes it for ALL people and will move heaven and earth (pardon the expression) to influence federal and state law to prevent or stop what it opposes. That's one reason why people have strong, negative feelings about the CC. And why it is absolutely their right to express these feelings.

Posted by: pirate1 | March 20, 2008 5:17 PM

Do whatever you want. It's a free country.

But I'm staying.

Posted by: Baptized James | March 20, 2008 5:25 PM

I started reading these posts because I was curious about how many people had left the Catholic church, but any actual numbers didn't appear to be forthcoming. At any rate, I recall vividly the liberation I felt when I left the "one true church" at 18 years of age. Of course, there was a period of floundering since it is difficult to go from absolute certainty into the gray area. By my early 20's I became quite comfortable in my own skin, thank God. I did feel animosity toward the church in those years immediately after my departure because I felt I had been lied to. However, now at age 67 I no longer have those negative feelings and find myself to be "free at last" in my own, authentic, atheistic skin.

Posted by: schmitty67 | March 20, 2008 5:32 PM

I started reading these posts because I was curious about how many people had left the Catholic church, but any actual numbers didn't appear to be forthcoming. At any rate, I recall vividly the liberation I felt when I left the "one true church" at 18 years of age. Of course, there was a period of floundering since it is difficult to go from absolute certainty into the gray area. By my early 20's I became quite comfortable in my own skin, thank God. I did feel animosity toward the church in those years immediately after my departure because I felt I had been lied to. However, now at age 67 I no longer have those negative feelings and find myself to be "free at last" in my own, authentic, atheistic skin.

Posted by: schmitty67 | March 20, 2008 5:32 PM

I think it's amusing to read some of the anti-Catholic screeds you always encounter in these sorts of discussions. 95% of the critics don't really know much about the Catholic Church and are against what they THINK the Catholic Church is (or what they THINK the Church teaches) based on what someone else told them, and 95% of the time the information they were given is completely incorrect.

The molestation stuff is a scandal and a disgrace, no doubt about it. But it doesn't invalidate the Church's teachings or somehow make the Church itself inherently evil. All it means is that there were some very bad people who ministered on behalf of the Church. But you know, the Protestants have had the same problems too, such as that teacher at an Episcopalian school in South Carolina who molested 43 of his students.

The post from "RJ" saying that the Catholic Church needs to reassess its theology because Protestants disagree with it is just ludicrous. Why would ANY church throw out what it believes just because another denomination disagrees with it? Isn't RJ's argument essentially tantamount to saying, "The Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, so the Christians should rethink that teaching." Put differently, why should the Catholic Church (or the Orthodox Churches, for that matter) depart from truth just because some other Christian communities (Protestants, but also some of the other oddball groups in the First Millennium) lapsed into various heresies over the years?

Posted by: Rich | March 20, 2008 5:55 PM

Happy Bunny Day since Easter did not happen!!

Some facts:

From an analyses of the documents by many contemporary NT exegetes:


The Resurrection is fiction i.e. it was added to make Jesus akin to the Caesars and Greek half gods/half men (1a) Mark 8:31-33 = Matt 16:2l-23 = Luke 9:22, (1b) Mark 9:9b = Matt 17:9b, (1c) Mark 9:12b = Matt 17:12b, (1d) Mark 9:30-32= Matt 17:22-23 = Luke 9:43b-45, (1e) Luke 17:25, (1f) Mark 10:32-34 = Matt 20:17-19 = Luke 18:31-34, (1g) Matt 26:1-2, (1h) Mark 14:21 = Matt 26:24 = Luke 22:22, (1i) Mark 14:41= Matt 26:45b,(1j) Luke 24:7 (many references but only a single attestation and from the Second stratum (60-80 AD).

http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/017_Resurrection_of_Jesus

From the course notes of a large Catholic university's graduate theology class:

"Heaven is a Spirit state (no physical bodies present).

Christ's and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven. For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead as transformed into a "spiritual body." No one knows exactly what he meant by this term.

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.

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's Gospel records it. The Assumption 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."

Amazing how this agrees with Professor Crossan and many other contemporary NT exegetes' conclusions based on attestations and stratums.

Some added tidbits:

According to Reimarus as referenced in R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

"Reimarus (1774-1779) 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."

From: K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998. p.55

"Stories circulated to the effect that Alexander of Macedonia was not only the son of Philip II, but also of the god Zeus-Ammon (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Alexander" 2.1-3.2); Plato was the son of Ariston and the god Apollo (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 3.1-2), and Augustus was the son of Octavius as well as the god Apollo (Suetonius, Lives o f the Caesars 2.4.1-7). The extraordinary character of these elites reputedly stemmed from both their divine origins and their kingroups. Their kin-groups provided one form of legitimation-political right to the throne and/or social status (thus the importance of Joseph in Matthew's genealogy). Their divine procreation provided another: their honor was divinely ascribed, and their greatness as leaders derived from divine paternity."

Posted by: Concerned The Christian Now Liberated | March 20, 2008 6:23 PM

Being a lapsed Catholic I still feel a sentimental attachment to the Church. But when I read some of the venomous remarks posted here by professed Catholics & anti-Catholics alike, I'm repelled by the whole idea of organized religion. I don't think much of what's been posted here reflects the teachings of Jesus, and that makes me sad.

Posted by: Mike Brown | March 20, 2008 7:07 PM

Catholics are the "first Christians", any other Christian is a "protestor", hence "Protestant".

Catholics never voice vitriol against other Christian denominations, but the protesting Christians are very loud. Peace be with you, brother.

To all the atheists out there, God loves you no matter what, it is your decision, your free will.

To all the Jewish people, you are our "elder brothers and sisters" and we love you, and you are the first chosen of God, "first born" so to speak, your responsibility is great.

To all the other religions, if you love God, we are on the same page.

My message, God loves all of us, we are His children, and you are my brothers and sisters.

If you are unhappy, go to your Father, He will hear you.

I am very happy, because I know He loves me, and I am not jealous that He loves you also.

Posted by: GQIV | March 20, 2008 7:08 PM

I have never heard a hard word of hatred preached in the Catholic Church against any other religious group. I cannot say the same about some Fundie Protestants, who seem to believe Anti-Catholicism is the 11th Commandment.
Peace, we're all Christians.

Posted by: John James Kavanagh | March 20, 2008 8:07 PM

The problem with religious polling is that it is based upon Protestant notions of "weekly church attendance". Until the Reformation, people rarely attended Mass at all; when they did, it was usually at Easter. It was the clergy's job to give the sacrifice (saying Mass) so that the common people did have to. There was simply no time in the Medieval lifestyle for weekly church attendance, Bible studies and the like. Even half of a day off meant lost productivity, and poverty or death. Weekly church attendance was instituted after the Reformation so that governments could ensure that people were receiving their weekly dose of political indoctrination (through the now-important sermon), as well as ensuring that they weren't practicing any religions or getting ideas from outside sources. Religion and state became one, such as in the Church of England, and not practicing the state religion was paramount to not being patriotic. The idea of weekly attendance in Catholic churches never became a hard requirement. I think that happens is that pollsters and analysts not familiar with Catholic practice see a lack of public practice as a sign of a lack of religiousnesses. The fact is statistics cannot truly gauge a person's religious sentiments. I am not registered at any parish, for example, and on paper have appeared to have "left" but I simply have moved around too much to be bothered.

Posted by: Matt | March 20, 2008 8:41 PM

As always, this story is standard anti-Catholic fare from the post. Almost all stories on Catholicism have a negative bent.

Posted by: Kevin | March 20, 2008 9:14 PM

Many of these posted comments about the Catholic Church are inaccurate. These comments distort the church's teaching. These comments are offensive to Catholics.

Posted by: motherseton | March 20, 2008 10:14 PM

Matt,

I don't know where you got your information from, but it's certainly not from practicing catholicism. Every Sunday--being a celebration of Easter--is, and has been, a holy day of obligation, when you have to participate in holy communion, unless you are kept from celebrating by illness or other obstruction.

As an ex-Roman Catholic, now a practicing Episcopalian, I can say that I have run into more ex-Catholics in church than cradle Episcopalians. And, the reasons for leaving the RCC are many--treatment of women and homosexuals, money spent on the church hierarchy, sex abuse scandal, inappropriate (IMO) intervention by Bishops in politics, disconnect between practice and beliefs (e.g., most Catholics practice birth control, but some cannot be hypocritical about it), in-vitro fertilization, end-of-life decisions, marriage to a person of another faith, etc.

I don't think the Pope cares about the ones who leave, so long as the church as a whole continues to grow worldwide. I use to be very angry at the RC as an institution, but I've grown out of that. I still get along with my RC friends and family, including my priest uncle and nun aunt. My mother prays daily for my return to the "true church". But, she hasn't disowned me. My Irish grandparents are probably twirling in their graves at my joining a branch of the Anglican church (whose members perpetrated many un-Christian acts against them). But, it's working out just fine for me and my relationship with Christ.

During this Holy season, I pray we all get along, and I hope the Pope's visit is peaceful and meaningful for his followers.


Posted by: tricia | March 20, 2008 10:45 PM

"Bless me, father for I have sinned---I stopped going to church 40 years ago."

I was brought up Catholic, feared God, said prayers, got confirmed (a beautiful ceremony!), went to Church every Sunday, didn't eat meat on Friday, went to confession, avoided "condemned" movies, remained ignorant about sex, and was an altar boy for a short while. From seventh grade through high school I attended Catholic all-boy schools. I never encountered nasty priests or cruel nuns.

As I matured, I saw less and less reason in the church's seemingly arbitrary rules that if broken guaranteed one's path to damnation. I can still remember having to get our parish priest's permission to skip mass on Sunday so I could go on an overnight skiing trip. Going to church became meaningless for me. When I stopped going to church, my parents had a fit rather than trying to understand me. I have gone to church once since about 1968---to please my "lapsed Protestant" wife who wanted to see High Mass.

Any church that claims to be "the one true way" and that claims that other religions are inferior is arrogant---if not worse. The Church's teachings on birth control seem like proclamations suited for the Dark Ages. And the rite of Holy Communion, which is described as "drinking Christ's blood and eating his flesh," sounds just like cannibalism.

Two things provided by the Church I cherish to this day: a reasonable explanation for the existence of the universe and everything in it (nowadays called "intelligent design") and the overall quality of education it provided me from seventh grade through high school.

I still try to live by the Golden Rule, I'm not mean to animals, I gladly pay taxes as a way to affirm my belief in community, I recycle things and would prefer not to pollute anything, and I am more and more amazed by the mere fact of our existence. (We DO exist, don't we?) Nevertheless, returning to the practice of going to church---Catholic or any other---holds no value or interest for me.

Posted by: Dave | March 20, 2008 10:54 PM


I take issue with the poster who claims the Roman Catholic church is the "one true church" and was instituted by Christ Himself. A church with such a frightful history, full of superstition and oppression would hardly qualify as the church the Lord had in mine. Particularly a chuch which claims that they are the "new Israel" and has replaced Israel as the recipient of the covenant blessings promised to Israel by God Himself. History records the sad course of the Catholic church and hierachy, particularly during the Middle Ages - especially the behavior of those "vicars of Christ" who persecuted believers who failed to accept the dogmas of Catholicism. The claim that these are the successors of Peter who is supposedly the head of the church is absolutely ludicrous by Bible standards. Christ is head of the church, and it was James - not Peter - who was leader of the early church at Jerusalem. Nonetheless, if that is the true church, as full of child molesters and other sexual deviants as it is then the true believer must question why Messiah would want to bring anyone into it. Don't reply to me, just read the history of the Roman Catholic church, the Bible and draw your own conclusions. Though I know there are many who would rather stand by an organization rather than stand for truth, no matter how ugly, one still cannot deny the truth.

Posted by: sboyd18 | March 21, 2008 12:02 AM

My ex and her mother are both devout orthodox Catholics, and both of them are characterized by the inability to think rationally and logically. They both depend on "that is the way it is" as a reason for just about anything and that attitude is so tightly bound to orthodox Catholicism that any thinking person would have to reject both the attitude and the system that requires them to think that way.

My son once mentioned that the priest had said that the main difference between Catholicism and Protestantism is that Catholics believe that the wine and bread become the actual blood and body of Christ while Protestants don't. I responded to that by pointing out that the main important difference is that Catholicism requires its adherents to do, say, and believe what they are told to do, say and believe without asking questions while real Protestants (not the fundie types) are EXPECTED to ask questions and to doubt until they find their own way to wherever they are going in their relationship with God. I wonder if my son ever mentioned that to the priest.

It is illustrative that most of the major scientific advances have been made by Protestants while the good Catholic scientists have generally been not in the best relationship with their church. It shows what happens when a person is raised to think in terms of reality or in terms of magic.

Posted by: dkm | March 21, 2008 12:17 AM

Several "good Catholics" wonder why so many people reject Catholicism and what are they afraid of. The same question might be asked as to why so many people reject Hagee and Robertson because there really isn't a whole lot of difference between the two viewpoints. Orthodox Catholicism (Opus Dei, the Marists, and the Yuntas) and virulent fundamentalist Protestantism come from the same roots and authoritarian personalities. Remember that it was Cortez who told the Indians (in Latin) that if they didn't submit to the Catholic Church they would be killed and it would be their own fault. Then Pope Ratzinger said just about the same thing when he rhapsodized about how the Indians' souls were yearning for the comfort of the Church as they were killed and enslaved.

Since Constantine, the Catholic Church has always been in league with the political power structure, and, knowing which side its bread is buttered on, has always used its influence over the laity for the support of the power structure. When some priests have had the temerity to actually practice what they preach about caring for the poor and downtrodden, the heirarchy has come down on them like a ton of bricks. Among recent examples of this is the battle in Africa over whether condoms should be used to prevent AIDS, JP II's war against the Latin American priests who espoused liberation theology and the Mexican heirarchy's attempt to rein in the priests who supported the Sandanistas in their struggle for their human rights. The excuse has always been that what the errant priests were doing wasn't "according to doctrine," but what kind of a doctrine results in oppression?

If you look at the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America, it is one long line of oppression and subjugation of the common people. One of the posters mentioned how much the Catholic Church has done for the poor. Considering how much the Catholic Church has done TO the poor, any benefit pales by comparison. Then compare what the Church has done for them with the resources it has available and the Church doesn't look good at all. If you look at the number of Mennonites that there are in the world and how much they have done for the poor in the developing world, then compare that with the Catholic Church's achievements and their numbers and resources, they should only hope that there is no judgment day.

Posted by: dkm | March 21, 2008 12:54 AM

>"The Catholic Church has been in decline in the US since the baby boom generation came of age in the 1970s"

That's a popular myth. The truth is that the Catholic Church has been growing in the U.S. for 200 years and is NOT in decline. Tonight, about 150,000 American adults will enter the Catholic Church, a small portion of the 16 million worldwide who will join the Catholic Church this year.

For the former Catholics, we love you and seek your return to the faith. We've prepared a short two-minute video for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLok_ACKAVU

God bless...

Posted by: Timothy | March 22, 2008 8:40 AM

Timothy,

Please authenicate your statements that the Catholic Church is growing in the US.

Posted by: Concerned The Christian Now Liberated | March 26, 2008 6:16 PM

Corrupt, hedonistic, and vastly wealthy beyond compare, while the poor of the world are encouraged to hope for a place in heaven by placing their faith in the Vatican and the Pope.

What a monstrous joke. I saw these problems at the age of 17 and haven't been back for nearly 50 years. The Pope is the center of pomp and circumstance that puts the Queen of England to shame. There is nothing more vain nor worldly than the Papacy.

The messages of peace and love go out to the masses on a clockwork basis, while the Vatican coffers are filled to overflowing with cash and more cash. Sin and salvation?? They should know alot about the first, and are in great need of the second.

Posted by: perspective | March 27, 2008 9:19 AM

Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Saint Peter
Saint Linus
Saint Anacletus I
Saint Clement I
Saint Evaristus
Saint Alexander I
Saint Sixtus I
Saint Telesphorus
Hyginus
Pius I
Anicetus
Saint Soter
Saint Eleuterus
Victor I
Zephyrinus
Saint Callistus I
Saint Urban I
Saint Pontian
Saint Antherus
Saint Fabian
Saint Cornelius
Saint Lucius I
Saint Stephen I
Saint Sixtus II
Saint Dionysius
Saint Felix I
Saint Eutychian
Saint Caius
Saint Marcellinus
Saint Marcellus I
Saint Eusebius
Saint Miltiades
Saint Sylvester I
Saint Marcus
Saint Julius I
Liberius
Saint Damasus I
Saint Siricius
Saint Anastasius I
Saint Innocent I
Saint Zosimus
Saint Boniface I
Celestine I
Saint Sixtus III
Saint Leo I
Saint Hilary
Saint Simplicius
Saint Felix III
Saint Gelasius I
Anastasius II
Saint Symmachus
Saint Hormisdas
Saint John I
Saint Felix IV
Boniface II
John II
Saint Agapetus I
Saint Silverius
Vigilius
Pelagius I
John III
Benedict I
Pelagius II
Saint Gregory I
Sabinian
Boniface III
Saint Boniface IV
Saint Deusdedit
Boniface V
Honorius I
Severinus
John IV
Theodore I
Saint Martin I
Saint Eugene I
Saint Vitalian
Adeodatus
Donus
Saint Agatho
Saint Leo II
Saint Benedict II
John V
Conon
Saint Sergius I
John VI
John VII
Sisinnius
Constantine
Saint Gregory II
Saint Gregory III
Saint Zachary
Stephen II
Saint Paul I
Stephen III
Adrian I
Saint Leo III
Stephen IV
Saint Paschal I
Eugene II
Valentine
Gregory IV
Sergius II
Saint Leo IV
Benedict III
Saint Nicholas I
Adrian II
John VIII
Marinus I
Saint Adrian III
Stephen V
Formosus
Boniface VI
Stephen VI
Romanus
Theodore II
John IX
Benedict IV
Leo V (903)
Sergius III
Anastasius III
Lando (913 - 914)
John X (914 - 928)
Leo VI
Stephen VII
John XI
Leo VII
Stephen IX (VIII)
Marinus II
Agapetus II
John XII
Leo VIII
Benedict V
John XIII
Benedict VI
Benedict VII
John XIV
Boniface VII
John XV
Gregory V
Sylvester II
John XVII
John XVIII
Sergius IV
Benedict VIII
John XIX
Benedict IX
Sylvester III
Gregory VI
Clement II
Damasus II
Saint Leo IX
Victor II
Stephen IX
Benedict X
Nicholas II
Alexander II
Saint Gregory VII
Blessed Victor III
Blessed Urban II
Paschal II
Saint Gelasius II
Saint Callistus II
Honorius II
Innocent II
Celestine II
Lucius II
Blessed Eugene III
Anastasius IV
Adrian IV
Alexander III
Lucius III
Urban III
Gregory VIII
Clement III
Celestine III
Innocent III
Honorius III
Gregory IX
Celestine IV
Innocent IV
Alexander IV
Urban IV
Clement IV
Blessed Gregory X
Blessed Innocent V
Adrian V
John XXI
Nicholas III
Martin IV
Honorius IV
Nicholas IV
Saint Celestine V
Boniface VIII
Blessed Benedict XI
Clement V
John XXII
Benedict XII
Clement VI
Innocent VI
Blessed Urban V
Gregory XI
Urban VI
Boniface IX
Innocent VII
Gregory XII
Martin V
Eugene IV
Nicholas V
Callistus III
Pius II
Paul II
Sixtus IV
Innocent VIII
Alexander VI
Pius III
Julius II
Leo X
Adrian VI
Clement VII
Paul III
Julius III
Marcellus II
Paul IV
Pius IV
Saint Pius V
Gregory XIII
Sixtus V
Urban VII
Gregory XIV
Innocent IX
Clement VIII
Leo XI
Paul V
Gregory XV
Urban VIII
Innocent X
Alexander VII
Clement IX
Clement X
Blessed Innocent XI
Alexander VIII
Innocent XII
Clement XI
Innocent XIII
Benedict XIII
Clement XII
Benedict XIV
Clement XIII
Clement XIV
Pius VI
Pius VII
Leo XII (1823 - 1829)
Pius VIII
Gregory XVI
Blessed Pius IX
Leo XIII (1878 - 1903)
Saint Pius X
Benedict XV
Pius XI
Venerable Pius XII (1939 - 1958)
Blessed John XXIII (1958 - 1963)
Paul VI (1963 - 1978)
John Paul I (1978)
John Paul II (1978 - 2005)
Benedict XVI (2005 - )


Hate as you will- but I will trust in the words of Jesus.

Blessed to be a member of the ONE TRUE faith contianing the fullness of Christianity.

Posted by: Blessed | March 27, 2008 10:13 AM

Blessed,

Here is what Professor JD Crossan and other contemporary NT exegetes conclude about the historic reliability of said Catholic foundation: (Think ill of Professors Crossan, Reed, Borg, Fredriksen, Schillebeeckx et al's work if you want but they haves done their homework as shown by the content of their books See www.amazon.com for a compilation. )

John 14: 26 not historic ( 62-. Spirit under Trial: (1) 1Q: Luke 12:11-12 = Matt
10:19-20; (2) Mark 13:11 = Matt 10: 19-20 = Luke 21:14-15; (3) John 14:26.)

John 16:13- not reviewed by Crossan or others.

Matt 16: 18-19 not historic (73- Who Is Jesus?: (1) Gos. Thom. 13; (2a) Mark
8:27-30 = Matt 16:13-20 = Luke 9:18-21; (2b) Gos. Naz. 14; (2c) John 6:67-69.)

1 Timothy- not written by St. Paul (See Crossan's "In Search of Paul", Harper, San
Francisco, 2004, p.105 and Father Raymond Brown's, An Introduction to the New Testament)

2 Peter 1:20
Since Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary Catholic theologian basically ruled out prophecies by concluding God does not know
the future, one can rule out the infallible nature of this verse.

Also from Raymond Brown's, An Introduction to the New Testament, 2 Peter was
the last canonical work written i.e. ~ 130 AD, author unknown. Tis a bit dated for use in claiming infallibility plus the verse is not from Jesus or Peter but some possible remembrance of a scribe.

From another source:

Also think about the logic (or lack thereof).

"I believe the Bible is inspired." "Why?" "Because it says so." Would your
anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book or person?

"I believe x is inspired because x says so."

Fill in the blanks:
x=Pat Robertson
x=the ayatolloah Sistani
x=David Koresh
x=the Koran
x=Blessed

more "logic"?

"I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah."

Again, this what some leading experts are saying about the foundations of Catholicism and infallibility. It is disturbing that the Vatican remains silent concerning the conclusions of these contemporary NT exegetes.

Posted by: Concerned The Christian Now Liberated | March 28, 2008 3:35 AM

If you fail to believe in the concept of original sin, you need only look at the world today to see proof of its existence. If Man were free of a "sin that does not exist" Nobody on this board would be as miserable as they are.

Posted by: Bill W | April 2, 2008 1:31 AM

If you left the Church because you feel its focus should be on income redistribution and liberation Theology....you've completely misunderstood Jesus' mission on earth. His mission was man's SPIRITUAL state NOT his material state. Yes he preached charity and it is an important component of the Christian faith(and other faiths I might add)but it is not the primary focus as some on here so errantly believe. Those of you who believe otherwise have completely missed the point of his mission. As for those who are protestant for spiritual not political reasons...Godspeed but the Catholic Church isn't the ONLY church that makes money. Christ's mission was simply for humanity to return to God by praying and seek his forgiveness for past transgressions and TRY to live a better life. The fact that we as human beings haven't been honest with ourselves in living a good life isn't ANY particular Church or Synagogues fault. It is our OWN fault and we all have failed(myself included) to admit our own responsibility.

Posted by: Bill W | April 2, 2008 1:55 AM

I bailed out of Catholocism when I learned how to think for myself. A little research sure opened my eyes.

Thank God, the Roman Catholic church no longer has the military might it once commanded to jam its medieval superstitions down people's throats under pain of torture and death. If there is anyone who thinks the Catholic church rightfully rules Christendom through a chain of popes going back to Jesus and Peter, you might want to read about Pope Formosus. Pope Stephen VI had his corpse disinterred, clad in papal vestments, and seated on a throne to face charges. The verdict was that the deceased had been unworthy of the pontificate. All his measures and acts were annulled, and the orders conferred by him were declared invalid. The papal vestments were torn from his body, the three fingers from his right hand that he had used in consecrations were cut off and the corpse was dragged through the streets of Rome and thrown into the Tiber river. Never heard that before? -- check it out for yourself in sources published by the Vatican.

Then there was the little matter of the Inquisition, not to forget the trial of Galileo -- right up to the U.S. bishops who allowed serial pedophiles to molest again and again.

It sickened me to see that idiot Bush sucking up to the pope. But the pundits are claiming it may be the Catholic vote that determines the next president, so that pretty much explains it.

Posted by: Bill Gronos | April 17, 2008 7:11 PM

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