Dear Mom and Dad, I’m not a Catholic Anymore

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m not Catholic anymore. I feel like I owe you an explanation, and I hope that if you’re somehow able to hear and react to me anymore, that you’ll understand.

Catholicism was a huge part of who you were. You worked so hard and sacrificed so much to send me to Catholic schools. You were so proud of me when I made my First Communion, and my Confirmation. Dad, I remember you leading us in the Rosary when we went on long trips. I remember going to Church every Sunday morning, and singing the hymns. Dad, I remember your deep voice booming a vibration I could actually feel, standing next to you.

Church was at the center of everything. Dad, I remember you being part of the men’s club of Ascension Parish – the Ascenders. And Mom, I remember you being president of the Mother’s club of our school.

All our friends were Catholic. All of them.

I wanted to be like you. I still want to be like you.

Until recently, I belonged to a great Catholic Church in Kansas City. The people there are great – wonderful, generous, admirable people. I even like the Priest – a sincere, thoughtful young man whom you both would love. I used to love going to the Masses there – I would kneel and I would sing the hymns and recite the same prayers that I used to recite while kneeling next to you. It felt so deep and so connected. I knew it echoed back to you kneeling next to your parents, and their parents, on back. it reached back into history, and I could participate in the beautiful church at Meyer and Holmes and it might as well be a church in Krakow or Tipperary generations ago.

But, mom and dad, I just don’t believe in the Church anymore. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I don’t feel right anymore acting like it does. I can go through the motions and try to focus on just the stuff I like, but I feel like a hypocrite.

It’s so comfortable to act like it does still make sense. I miss my friends on Sunday mornings. I want to participate in parish festivals and fish fries. I like the camaraderie and the community. Like I said, it’s a great, great group of people.

But it’s a community that is based on a belief, a creed, that I cannot say in good faith.

I got pretty darned close to the Church. I’ve known Bishops, and I’ve participated in many meetings with them. I have heard them talk about the importance of the priesthood, and I’ve heard them talk about the importance of protecting children.

And I’ve seen them assert their superiority. I heard my Bishop claim that those of us who supported President Obama’s election should fear for our immortal souls. At the same time, he was willing to, at best, avoid investigating a pervert priest and allow him to have access to children. But he presumed to judge me.

Mom and Dad, the Church brought you so much richness and friendship. But, did you know that at the same time you were going to Mass every Sunday and tithing your salaries, the Church was actually castrating young men in the Netherlands who had homosexual leanings?

That’s what was really going on. At the same time, the Church was covering up rape of children in our parishes? Remember Fr. Christian, who hosted movies in the darkened cafeteria of Ascension School? He was raping children. He used those same hands to give us communion, and the Church helped hide his crimes. He never touched me, but a friend of mine was raped by a priest a few parishes over. All that was going on, while we were kneeling in the pews.

That’s all pretty obviously wrong, but the Church hurts others, in other ways. Someone we know and love was told that she could not get married in the Church because she was born with a birth defect that made her infertile. One of the most devout people I know was unable to get married in the Church because the man she married had been divorced, but they had not managed to get the prior marriage annulled in the Church. We didn’t go to her wedding, and you carried the cruelty a bit further by not even telling me it had happened. To you, the marriage hadn’t happened, because it wasn’t held in the Church. That is messed up, but you were doing what the Church expected of you.

I’m sick of it, and I can’t go along with it anymore. Fortunately, I was too weak of a Catholic to raise my children in the faith – I couldn’t make them profess a faith I was struggling with.

The Church does not represent good to me anymore.

It stands against gay marriage – not just in the passive way that it stands against divorced marriage or infertile marriage, but it is actually trying to stand in the way of allowing gay men and women from having marriages in their own churches, according to their own consciences. The thing is, Jesus didn’t preach against gays – in fact, he hung around 12 men and never saw fit to mention the topic. Hmmm. I honestly believe in my heart of hearts that the Church is clinging to a societal taboo that, someday, I hope, it will evolve to be deeply ashamed of, like the many other evils it has embraced.

Just like it is ashamed of its child rape now, but it just can’t quite get around to taking really seriously.

Dad, I remember how, when you were dying, you were planning to have a painful, long-shot surgery to extend your life for a few months at best, because you felt that failing to do so would amount to suicide, and bar you from heaven. I’m thankful that you died suddenly before that happened, and before you endured one last dose of massive pain for your understanding of what the Church expected.

And, Mom, much more positively, I remember how much comfort your faith brought you in your final months. You were ready to go see Dad and begin your afterlife, and you had no doubt that was the way it would be. That’s amazing faith, and I’m so glad you had it.

But I never really have. In my heart, I don’t think that all that stuff about heaven really goes on that way. I don’t necessarily believe that nothing happens; I just don’t know. But after 50 years of being pushed to believe that I will be with the Father God Almighty, etc., etc., it just hasn’t really grabbed me. And I wouldn’t bet my spiritual wealth on dubious propositions like the bread and wine really being flesh and blood, or that God, if there is one, is damning all those other religions to Hell, or that Mary really was a virgin, or that God will cure someone or change the result of a football game if enough of us pray a certain way. After 50 years of trying to believe all that stuff, I just don’t really believe it, and maybe it’s time to stop trying.

As far as theology goes, maybe (maybe not) there is some kind of energy afoot in the world that is beyond human understanding, but I don’t think that energy requires me to believe what a bunch of hypocritical, greedy old men want me to believe.

I know that I’m allowing my anger at the sons of bitches who control our Church to filter into my understanding of the whole shooting match. But, really, I look at how corrupt and just plain mean the Church itself is, despite the wonderful, kind, loving people who make up its congregations, convents and lower levels, and I don’t think that Jesus meant all that when he allegedly told Peter that he was a rock to build a Church on. If Jesus really wanted Peter to construct a power-hungry, wildly wealthy, secretive, strictly male and absolutely hierarchical international organization, he could have said that, but he didn’t.

Did you know that the Church is attacking nuns now, for spending too much time on social justice, and not enough time attacking people for abortion and homosexuality?

Mom, Dad – could you really support this? Too much time on social justice? Not enough focus on abortion and homosexuality? Would you really be a part of a group that thinks that way? It’s like they truly have never read the Bible. I have, and I know that Jesus would be listed as an enemy of this Church, after he ignored those issues to focus on social justice.

It’s crazy – absolutely insane, and I cannot take it anymore. I hope, if you were alive, you would join me in stepping aside from the writhing mess of hatred and hypocrisy that the Church has become. If you wouldn’t, I would understand, I suppose, because Catholicism was bred into your bones as you bred it into mine. It’s hard to step away from something that your parents, and their parents, and their parents believed so fervently, and that so many of your good friends continue to believe.

But I’m finished. I can’t take it anymore. I am not a Catholic. I’m truly sorry.

125 Responses to “Dear Mom and Dad, I’m not a Catholic Anymore”

  1. BoMarley says:

    You have stated this so firmly. Are you reading my mind with your spiritual powers? Thank you. Bo

  2. gonemild says:

    Thanks for reading and responding, Bo.

  3. jack says:

    how do I tell my parents that I am Christian but not Catholic? I feel abortion is justified in some cases. I do not believe in the “Body and Blood of Christ” (Its bread and wine guys-its called symbolism). And what the hell is wrong with gay marriage? If two people want to be married, why should WE be able to say “uh no…you cant do that because that’s not how traditional marriage works.” Is there a christian religion that is way less strict and i could belong to, or am I just going to be on my own?

  4. gonemild says:

    Jack – I’m sure there are other churches that are more open-minded. If you talk to people and visit a few churches, you might find a congregation that fits you. Personally, I’m okay with going it alone for the time being.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I think that, on some level, we must be kindred spirits. This is almost exactly the way I feel about the Catholic Church. The only slight discrepancy is that my grandparents are the ones who are devout Catholics, and my mother is much more open and accepting of me exploring and experiencing other avenues of spirituality. I just can’t tell you how much better it makes me feel that there are others who feel the same way I do. The Church has made me feel so ostracized and so alone for what I believe and it’s a comfort to know that I am not alone. Thanks so much for your post!

  6. PJ says:

    Thank you for putting my thoughts into words so succinctly. The hard part for me, is to make peace with and finding what I am seekingnow–how to recreate the faith, peace, community, rituals that did give me roots and a foundation without all the catholic baloney. How can I help guide and gift a different spiritual path for my son…really helpful post.

  7. Anonymous says:

    @ Jack- are you from Canada? We have the United Church here (not sure what the American equivalent here is- maybe a very liberal form of Methodist or some sort of Presbyterian?) and it is pretty much exactly what you are looking for. If you google the United Church of Canada or United Church of England for a further look at the Protestant split, it would help. I started practicing with them when I left Catholicism. Very inclusive, and closer to Jesus’s message anyway.

  8. Imogen says:

    @ Jack- are you from Canada? We have the United Church here (not sure what the American equivalent here is- maybe a very liberal form of Methodist or some sort of Presbyterian?) and it is pretty much exactly what you are looking for. If you google the United Church of Canada or United Church of England for a further look at the Protestant split, it would help. I started practicing with them when I left Catholicism. Very inclusive, and closer to Jesus’s message anyway.

  9. Anna says:

    It makes me feel so much better to read this as I myself have been raised roman catholic and am feeling less connected to church for the same reasons as you. I used to tell myself that I am just going for God and no one else, but especially after the Pope’s message during Christmas regarding homosexuality and uniting with the Muslims and Jews to stop it made me sick. What happened to Jesus loving everyone? And doing good work and helping your fellow man? I am currently feeling lost right now as I am very faithful but cannot support an institution that protects Priests when they do wrong yet preach against ’sinful’ behaviour.

    Thanks so much for this- it really helps.

  10. gonemild says:

    I’m glad to hear that it helps, Anna. I wish I had real guidance to offer – but maybe that’s a dangerous impulse that causes all the trouble in the first place.

  11. Heidie says:

    Wow, yes. I feel this.

  12. TAM says:

    I do not agree with the Catholic church for many reasons. But it is not because of my feelings or, my thoughts on justice or right or wrong It is because of what the word of God says. Can we trust what we think and our experiences which are very subjective and emotionalized as truth? I think not. I realize this is not a popular stance on this site, but I can read it clearly in the bible, it is a very biblical one. That homosexuality is a sin like the others in the bible it clearly talks about. SO is gluttony, fornication, telling a lie etc etc. We love the sinner hate the sin. I am a sinner that is saved by the blood of Christ. I will struggle with it (sin) til He takes me home to heaven. People can kick and scream and threaten and call me names. But it is indeed what the bible says it is. I do not expect non christians to act like a christian should. Nor do I think they will believe as I do. But if we are Bible believing christians we cannot just “hear what our itching ears want to hear” that is part of a passage in the bible.
    You wrote ” that God, if there is one, is damning all those other religions to Hell,” 2 Peter 3:9 says The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Christ came to the world to Save the world not condem it. But it is a free Gift you have to take the gift to have it. Bible says no one comes to the Father except through the Son. Son is Christ not buddah,allah…etc. God is not sending people to hell people make the choice themselves by rejecting the Gospel. I do not pretend to have the knowledge of God to understand all but He is soverign,merciful and a just God. I will pray for you as you sek truth. Case for Christ and Case for faith are good if you are interested. Blessings

  13. gonemild says:

    TAM – Considering we disagree fundamentally on important points, I’ve got to say that your posting is as even-tempered and pleasant as I could imagine. Thank you for taking the time to set out your beliefs thoroughly and respectfully. Personally, I don’t share your faith in the bible – I see it as self-contradictory and flat-out wrong in many parts. But if you accept it as the word of God, and more dependable than your own experience of the truth, then I can see where you wind up if you start from that premise. Blessings to you, too, and thank you for sharing your perspective.

  14. thermoplyae says:

    How can the catholic church have anything to say about homosexuality when so many of thier owntake young boys. they have to turn a blind eye and cover all of it up or it means they need to make changes. How many years did sandusky get? Ill bet no priest recieved that many years for the same crime.

  15. gonemild says:

    I understand the sentiment, but it’s an illogical argument. The fact that individuals are sinners does not mean that the Church cannot speak against sin. Should the US be silent about genocide because of what happened to the Native Americans? I condemn the Church strongly for its behavior, but my disagreement with their position on homosexuality has nothing to do with the fact that some priests may have molested boys. They’re just morally wrong about homosexuality.

  16. Brett Page says:

    I wonder what Jesus would say if he were to take a stroll across St Peter’s Square next week? See all the old, male virgins (supposedly) who run the show getting together to select another old, male virgin to take over from the old male virgin who just handed in his papers? The elaborate costumes. The lavish halls in which they will meet. The secrecy in which everything will be conducted. A long way from the man who wore a simple robe and sandals, lived humbly and told us to always pray in private. A man who embraced women into his fold in a culturally counter-intuitive way for his times. A man whose simple yet challenging message has been buried under centuries of man-made rules which barely reflect the core values He espoused. I wonder what he’d say?

  17. gonemild says:

    I think Jesus would shake the dust off his red prada shoes.

  18. piojame says:

    A new pope has been elected and it makes me feel sick to my stomach. I have to deal with a catholic mother who keeps texting and talking about it. Your letter helped me to talk to her about what I think. Thank you!

  19. Christie says:

    We are currently starting an Anglican church and love it. It is a “media via,” or mid-way between Catholicism and Protestant beliefs. Its services are liturgical, we recite the Nicene Creed and have all other ancient aspects of the Eucharist present; we use the protestant version of the Bible, believe in the Trinity, and believe Jesus came to save all who believe in Him by grace, a gift, not of ourselves or anything we could do. So far, this is the best we’ve found. God’s wisdom to all of you who are seeking Him. My heart aches at how we often find pain in churches, but we are all only human.

  20. "E" says:

    WOW! Thank you for putting into words, how I feel too.
    Your letter says it all….from the “thank you” for having the best intentions, Mom & Dad…to all the other problems with the religion.
    I too was raised Catholic, and now in my 50ies, and have gone back to the “basics” (The word of the Bible). I was “thrown away” from my family members who are still Catholic….because I had the audacity to “like” Obama.
    Is this REALLY what the Catholic church is teaching???
    Are we to”throw away” family members, if they “like” a person that the Catholic church does not like? (It sounds like the schoolyard bully!) Jesus didn’t do that! He took in a prostitute when all others shunned her.
    What happened to keeping religion and politics separate? ( sounds like the Catholic church is the biggest violator of this)
    I’m with you….I just can’t accept a church that behaves like this.

  21. BATElahem says:

    As long as people are encouraged to interpret the bible and gods word them selves then we can expect another another 40,000 christian denomination. the more division then weaker Christianty becomes.
    I imagine the father of lies is extremely happy with his work in tearing the body of Christ apart.
    “The Eucharist is only symbolic. I can’t see any difference between a consecrated host and a plain host.”
    Do you have a soul? Yes? Then please show it to me.
    Does gravity exist? Then please show me what it looks like.
    Catholics walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The Real Presence of Jesus is hidden in the Eucharist EXACTLY like the divinity of Jesus was hidden in His manhood. Nobody who looked at Jesus could tell he was God by looking at him (except during the Transfiguration), and the Eucharist on every altar of every Catholic Church is just like that.
    Catholics say that we believe in all things seen and unseen, from the Nicene Creed formed in 325 AD. Jesus said at the Last Supper, “This IS my body” (Matthew 26:26), not “This represents my body.” Paul says that if you eat the Eucharist without discerning THE BODY (1 Corinthians 11:29-30), then you eat it to your own condemnation, and could get sick and die. Jesus Himself says His Flesh is real food and His blood is real drink (John 6:55). Just like the Adam physically ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and died (Genesis 3:3-17), just so, we are to physically eat Jesus’ (the new Adam, 1 Corinthians 15:45) flesh (John 6:51-56) from His tree (the Cross, Acts 5:30) and live forever.

  22. BATElahem says:

    Just saying sometimes we dont always understand why the church says and does stuff becuase the media feeds us with such crap we cant tell right form wrong anymore.
    The Bible speaks several places in regards to the sanctity of the womb. Psalm 139:13 says:

    “For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

    This verse explains that God is indeed creating humans in the womb, NOT just when we’re born.

    In Jeremiah 1:5, God says:

    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

    This verse shows that God has a plan for us even before he creates us in the womb. For man to thwart God’s plan through the killing of His creation is an abomination.

    Similarly, God tells Isaiah that He formed him from the womb too:

    Isaiah 44:24: Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earth — Who was with me?

    In Luke 1:43-44, Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary says:

    “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.”

    Notice that Elizabeth called Mary a mother, even though she hadn’t given birth to Jesus yet (He was still a “fetus”), and that John the Baptist leaped for joy upon hearing Mary’s voice, which is quite a feat for an unviable tissue mass.

    It is really sad that so many women kill their own children. It would seem that the prophecy of Jesus has indeed come true in this age:

    Luke 23: 29 “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, `Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!”

    America will pay a terrible price for all of these killings. Pharaoh (Exodus 1:22) and King Herod (Matthew 2:16) were rank amateurs at killing innocent children compared to our “Supreme” Court. 50 million dead babies is around half of the number of people killed in the twentieth century by Communist dictatorships! How many of these 50 million humans would have become great presidents that could have led us out of war, or great inventors to solve the energy crisis, or great scientists to cure diseases, or great fathers and mothers who could have had the next president, inventor or scientist? Sadly, we will never know. The bible says that “we are made in the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:27). The devil knows he can’t get God, so he goes after us, who, after all, look like God.
    There is a gulf a million miles wide between Christians and abortionists. Why?

    Because Jesus said – “This is my body, which is given for you”.

    While the abortionist says – “This is my body, and it is mine to do with as I please.”

    Just saying…

  23. gonemild says:

    Bate -

    Your argument amuses the heck out of me. Tortured extrapolations from cherry-picked passages – I wonder if you eat shellfish or wear blended clothes. Because the Bible is clear on those issues – you don’t need to try to imagine that God was really making an anti-choice diatribe when He did the Last Supper. (Don’t you feel kind of foolish making such weak arguments?)

  24. Rachel says:

    I don’t even know how I found your blog post, but I can relate a bit. I grew up Protestant, mostly Presbyterian, but Prots move around alot denominationally. In my search for more liturgy I ended up becoming Catholic 10 yrs ago (to the horror of my anti-catholic extended family, not my husband and kids). My dh was raised Catholic and came back when I joined. Our kids were little so they came with us. I bought it all, hook line and sinker. But in the last few years I’ve been un-buying it, especially since (recently) I allowed myself to read about the sex abuse scandal. I turned a blind eye to it for years because I couldn’t bear to know. Seeing how the hierarchy continued to protect the priests while at the same time trying to make folks feel guilty for perceived
    ‘immorality’ just turned my stomach. Yesterday I turned 47 and now feel adrift again. I did so much to convince myself and my family how good and true The Church was. They all want to stay now, which is fine, but I can’t go back. Not sure when or if I ever will. I still believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. I’m a nondescript Christian, I guess. Thanks for writing.

  25. Dwayne James Mitchell says:

    I was educated in Catholic Schools in the late 40’s and 50’s. —- Twelve years of torture and religious information. I experienced the negativity of the nuns both physically and psychologically. —- The quality of the education on a scale from one to ten was at best a five. — When I was a Junior in Catholic High School a nun asked me; — “what I was going to do with my life?” —- I responded that; —- “I was going to college!” —- She responded; — “What Catholic college or University would ever accept you?” —- I told her that I did not want to attend a Catholic College or University. —- She responded; — “Where do you want to go?” —- I counted with; —- “I want to go to a State School!” —- She said, —”If you go to a State School you will lose your faith!” — At that point in time, I knew that I had her, so I went in for the kill! —- I told her; —-”Before I can lose something I would have to have it!” —- She turned “white” and she never annoyed me again! —- I am no longer a practicing Catholic! I got good at it, so I see no need to practice it! —- I attend Mass with my wife on Saturday in a small chapel in a local hospital, but I do not participate. —- I enjoy listening to Joel Osteen on a Sunday morning. He makes sense! —- The Attitude of the Catholic Church with regards to the cover up of the Altar Boy issue makes me sick. —- The nuns and the priests are very sick people, and they should not be around children! —- The priests, nuns and brothers of the Catholic Church are fakes , frauds and phonies! —- Best regards! —- Dwayne

  26. Sheryl says:

    Get rid of Father Waters. He has destroyed the church and the school

    . My daughter does not want to be Catholic anymore. You are not a leader in the church. Im a sinner.You and the the Bishop ,Suck…. Oh by the way when will the church be finished

  27. I agree with a lot of what you say. Right now, I’m a Catholic as well and I’m starting to disbelieve most of the doctrines; especially the body and blood becoming bread and wine. The thing I hate most about religion and especially the Catholic Church, is that they say they’re the one true church. And anyone who doesn’t believe is going to Hell. Jesus certainly wouldn’t have wanted such a corrupt religion to start. Considering that all religions are man made, no religion is the true religion.

    Not to mention indoctrination; forcing children into religious beliefs when they have no say. Oppression of women; not letting women become priests just because they’re women. Cherry picking from the bible; everyone loves to pick out what sounds good, but forget about all of the genocides, rape, and other ridiculous laws that are in the “Holy Book”.

  28. drew says:

    Above all, I want to say is I am sorry to anyone who has been hurt by anyone bearing the name Catholic. I am sorry for those who have misrepresented the defaced the Catholic Church in our day and made it out to be something it was never supposed to be. Lastly I am sorry for my own misrepresentation of the Catholic Faith and Jesus Christ, for I too deserve blame and have lived the life of a hypocrite.

    I have always found it helpful to remember that the Church is not a country club for the righteous but a hospital for the sinners. It was Jesus himself that spoke of this as the reason for His coming (Mk 2:1&). This does not excuse the behavior of priests and authorities who have defied Christ. If anything they are more culpable for their sins – “To those whom much has been given much is expected.”

    But unfortunately in our “bad news makes the news” world we get a portrait of the Catholic Church that is tragically is skewed and has lead to many to misunderstandings of what the Church is and what it should be. For if we want to understand the true Church we must look to those who live truly Catholic lives – the Mother Theresas, the Damien of Molokais and the countless unknown others who have lived exemplary lives of heroic sacrifice and love. That is true Catholicism. It is a faith which is beautiful and reasonable though it is often thrown out with the bathwater. Many do not give it a fair chance nor delve deeply into what the Church actually teaches before leaving or condemning it. We’re made to believe that the Church oppresses women and yet those who are most exalted in the Church are not the priests but the saints, of whom the most honored is a woman. Sadly, it is true there have been many people throughout history who have not looked upon women with the dignity they deserve, but that is not what Jesus stood for nor is it what Catholicism truly teaches. When I look at our world today and see the rampant selfishness, greed, degradation of women, the broken families and broken lives, and then I look to truly faithful Catholics I know, there is no question in my mind where the truth lies. It is in this Church, with all of its black marks , that I have encountered the most beautiful and loving families I have ever seen in my life and numerous religious men and women who have given up everything to show that truth and joy does not lie in anything this earth can offer but in relationship with our Lord and God.

  29. gonemild says:

    Wonderfully written and well thought-out. Thank you for posting it here.

  30. Mary says:

    I’m online looking for viewpoints on this exact topic and found your post. I am raised Catholic, I married a non-denominational Christian. We do not argue about our differences, and I truly believe that despite my being raised Catholic and told it is the “one true religion” that it can’t possibly be true that all the other lovely Christians out there, including my mother-in-law are wrong. It can’t be true. I have been the MOST uplifted and brought to the edge of tears in my mother-in-law’s church services. Whereas in our Catholic mass, I feel bored, lifeless, I get NOTHING out of it. My parents are elderly and are traditional Catholics. They love their faith, with a passion. I am similar to you in that I want to tell them that the Catholic religion is not for me any longer…but I honestly would break their hearts. I am so torn right now, because I have three children and I feel as though we should all be going to Sunday service regularly, but I would feel like such a hypocrite taking them every Sunday. If I feel the church is stagnant…imagine how their young minds feel sitting there! I want them to experience Jesus and the excitement in that service that my Mother in law goes to every Sunday. I just can’t bring myself to break my parents’ hearts.

  31. gonemild says:

    It’s tough – I waited until after the death of my parents to make my final (I assume) break with the Catholic Church. Of course, there’s something wrong about faking religion to keep other people happy . . .

  32. Matt Larsen says:

    I’m obviously late to the party but wanted to chip in my two cents: I think it’s great that the author chose their own path rather than follow the one their parents chose. My parents baptized me catholic but I never felt obligated to the church- not as a child and not now as an adult. As far as the church’s belief that “once a catholic, always a catholic”- I personally believe the First Amendment of the United States supersedes the catholic church (and yes I am intentionally spelling catholic with a lower-case c). I refer to myself as a non-denominational Christian. And no pope, priest, or minister is going to tell me otherwise.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I do not believe God is here for me anymore I keep having terrible things happening to my family .I am being punished by God and he is not helping my children with what they need . I do not want to be catholic anymore my faith is gone!!! How do I leave the Catholic Church?

  34. gonemild says:

    Anonymous – I’m sorry you are going through such struggles. From the way you explain your crisis, it seems to me that you have a strong faith in God’s involvement in your life, but you are struggling with how He is treating you and your family. In your situation, I would strongly suggest calling your church and asking to speak with your favorite priest.

  35. ashbur18 says:

    I just read this after telling my very catholic mother that I don’t want to go to mass because I don’t believe in Catholicism anymore and I’ve been thinking about other religions. I went to catholic school until 2nd grade and then I switched to public but continued with the torture of CCD every week. I was also confirmed, and I did tell her that I didn’t want to be confirmed during that process. I think she tried to understand but she set up a meeting with our pastor so I could really understand what I was doing. He talked over me the entire time and it was almost sickening to sit there for an hour listening to the same things I have been told over and over when I don’t want to go to mass or ccd. My mom is also a catholic schoolteacher at our church parish and all of her friends are catholic, so of course this affects her stance on my freedom to make a choice as well. All throughout confirmation they kept telling us that it was our choice and nobody should be forcing us, but half of the kids in there (maybe more) were in there because they had no choice whatsoever. I guess I technically had one but it was either get confirmed or be ostracized from my mom, her friends, and my grandparents.!i understand that she takes great comfort in the church and that she wasn’t raised catholic. I get that she wants me to be catholic and she made a promise at my baptism to always raise me in the light of Christ. And she has. I love God. I’m still very Christian and I pray every day. I just hate the rigid traditions and views of the Church. I can’t stand mass anymore and I feel like if I don’t want to be there it’s not serving its purpose. My little brother is almost 13, and he goes to catholic school and will continue doing that until or during college. He loves Catholicism and I can appreciate that. I just don’t love it. I really understand how hard it must be for my mom to accept. I do. But my dad isn’t catholic, he barely goes to Easter and Christmas mass with us. My aunt and uncle only go at Easter and Christmas. So I’m not the only one in my family. I was an altar server and a lector only to make her happy. My first comment after serving my first mass was that I was so happy it made the time go by faster. I was 10. When I was probably around 6 I told my mom I didn’t want to go to mass with her and when she employed that traditional catholic parent guilt and walked out the door looking all sad, I sprinted after her only to make her happy. When I was around that same age I would help my mom in the church’s center for kids that needed to be watched during mass so they wouldn’t disrupt the congregation, and I would continually tell my mom that I’d rather stay there than go to mass. So this is not anything new. I’m 17 now and as an “adult” in the eyes of the church I feel that I should be free to make my own choices. I understand that some people, including my mother, may view this as the typical teenage “but mom you just don’t get it” thing. I still love God but I think it will take a while for my mom to see past me not wanting to be catholic and see that she did in fact raise me right. I have the courage to make my own choices and I could not live my life without spirituality. I love to tell people that I am not religious at all but I am very spiritual. Most tend to think that it means I’m Wiccan or something but it just means that I love Christianity without being obligated to go sit somewhere for an hour every Sunday and have my personal views squashed like a bug I agree with everything said here. I am sick of Catholicism but I could not live without my spirtuality and loving God. My mom uses the excuse “you just want to be like your friends, you can’t let them influence you” every time I try to bring this up, which has been multiple times now. My friends aren’t catholic, they all go to different churches but not every sunday, and we all have different opinions and views on things. That’s okay. But I have formed my own opinions independently of anyone else. That’s okay too. I understand that it will take a while for my mom to process and understand my decision. I just don’t know how to deal until then without going to mass just to appease her.

  36. gonemild says:

    You’re obviously a very thoughtful and caring person – I hope your mother accepts your journey, even if it is difficult for her not to have you accept her beliefs.

  37. Dolia says:

    Catholics change the way you think and thanks to my neighbor I have recieved the way god has sent to me! Now I’m a Christian but hiding behind my parents. I don’t know how to tell them since I’m only 14 and it’s pretty tough

  38. Jack Rice says:

    Thanks for writing this Gonemild. Perhaps we could each send some good vibes each others’ way. It’s hard for me to even talk about God or use words like “prayer”, when I feel they’ve been so mis-used and abused over the years. I’ve been through the ringer a bit -kicked out of the Franciscans and the whole deal. Ultimately, I believe in Goodness and Mercy. The way you and I, and many others feel toward the Catholic Church is probably no different than how Jesus felt -or may have been tempted to feel- toward the Pharisees. I think he gives us a tremendous example -an enigmatic example -an inspiring example- of how to be true to oneself, to the Truth Within, when the whole world (and especially those in the highest positions of authority) seem so deluded. When people ask if I’m Catholic, I say yes. But they will have to question me further to find out what that truly means…I believe in the Universal Church…the Universal Community. I believe that Oneness is what we are all called to, and that this Oneness will happen. It isn’t my faith in the Church that gives me this hope…it is my faith in Goodness Itself. It’s painful to have to see things in a way which your friends, family, and community would deem “heretical”, but we can find strength in the fact that Jesus went through exactly the same thing…and worse. Thank you for your testimony and God be with you.

  39. annie says:

    The Catholic Church has helped me and given me a life raft in the midst of personal tragedy and failure. The Real Presence and the fearless Truth of Pope Benedict convinced me that it was The Church Jesus founded.
    I am so sorry you lost your faith but please don’t forget that priests are still pulling people like me out of the moral gutter and giving them hope, consolation and a home. When someone says Catholic Church I say “home”. The Church has fallible and wicked humans in her ranks. She also has a host of saints, Living on earth and in Heaven. Five nuns chose to stay behind nursing the sick in the 1995 ebola outbreak.They knew it meant death. A Franciscan priest was hung in our town for continuing to say Mass and give the sacraments to his people. Stories like that aren’t prominent in the news.They accepted certain death so not to abandon the people they served. Priests visited me and held my hand when I was very ill at the hospital. The Bishop used come to the hospital to silently bless the sick in accident and emergency late at night. Before you dismiss the church outright you should consider that many poor, sick and lonely people shelter in the folds of her mantle. We are her witnesses. Our voices are small and seldom heard.Thank God someplace has room for poor sinners like me.

    p.s. If there’s no annulment to a prior marraige in the catholic church, then the couple presenting for marraige are in a potentially adulterous situation. The Church cannot condone sin or practice false compassion.Its mission is to save souls, not help them into the abyss of Hell. The mission is to save souls that’s why the Church was founded to help people get to Heaven. Many social justice religious and priests have neglected or compromised their primary mission. The nuns who advocate abortions and contraception have betrayed Christ.
    Also, infertility does not prohibit a woman from marrying. Where are the Church documents which teach this? So perhaps there was another impediment that wasn’t disclosed to you or maybe someone got their wires crossed. Impotence or failure to consummate a marraige is a problem and grounds for annulment. Thank you for your time A.

  40. Skylark says:

    I joined the RCC two months ago, after almost 20 years of discernment. NOTHING could have prepared me for what I now know about this “religion”. I was a born again Christian with Episcopal background, but the RCC called to me, perhaps because I saw in it a chance to increase in devotion. Oh, was I wrong! The pervasive sense of shame is overwhelming! Where did this come from, out of the blue? And I see it in the little children’s faces after “first penance”. What a nightmare of lies and abuse of the soul.
    Sadly, the priest turned out to be a really sadistic person, too.

  41. Mary the Catholic says:

    Being a Catholic is very very hard. There are many issues that have evolved which make us question our faith and our tolerance of failed leaders of the Church. I will pray for you to continue on your journey, and to be at peace. Going forward, hold onto your faith in the word of God, seek comfort in knowing that each of us is connected together and that we all pray for you. Love God and yourself.

  42. Dwayne says:

    I attended 12 years of Catholic School, and it was 12 years of pure HELL! The Catholic form of the Christian religion is a joke! It is the most negative form of Christianity on the face of the earth! The clergy are fakes, frauds & phonies! I was abused both physically and mentally by the nuns in elementary school in NYC in the 50’s! The education on a scale from one to ten was about at best a five! It was all about indoctrination into the Catholic Church! The best decision that I ever made was to leave the Catholic Church! The Catholic Church, and the Clergy are criminals who abuse children for fun!

  43. Phil Cardarella says:

    Terrific essay that really hits the heart.

    I have always maintained that there are really two Catholic Churches: The Church of the Bishops and the Church of the Nuns.

    The Bishops get to go to the Country Club. The nuns get to go to Heaven.

    Of course, I came to this conclusion long before the pedophile scandal. Having been raised in a Catholic home and attending Catholic schools, I never ate meat on Friday. Never had occasion.

    Then, one day after graduating fro high school, I happened to be in a local restaurant and ordered one of their tasty hot beef sandwiches. Just as the waitress brought it to my table, I remembered that it was Frida

  44. Phil Cardarella says:

    I can remember my exact thought process: Did I really believe in a Deity Who would condemn a soul to eternal torment for the MORTAL sin of eating a hot beef sandwich on a Friday? When you just plainly state it, it is obviously ludicrous!

    I went one mental step further: Postulating the existence of such a Deity, would I really want to spend eternity in the presence of such a Prick?

    I ate the sandwich and have never looked back.

  45. G. Davis says:

    I’m trying to figure out how to tell my parents that I’m not a Catholic anymore, and this letter helped me with some points. I’m coming from a different place (I’m lesbian, and extremely uncomfortable with participating in the church anymore) but your strong words are very helpful to me. Thank you.

  46. gonemild says:

    Good luck – I hope it goes well and that your honesty will be appreciated.

  47. I’m Mexican so I been Roman Catholic my entire life but lately I just can’t take it anymore. I see how religions work and is just nosense…I was taught
    Of submission with no questions, go to church on Sunday and just go and believe in virgins, sainths, Jesus … Contradictory to be a stronger religious human been the more I read the bible the less I want to belong to any religious cult… I started to use media fb to show my absent of religion and
    My own family started to block me because I’m becoming Atheist…
    They don’t even bother to ask why???
    Dad, mom, and lovely wife hopefully you understand that I’m tired of pretending and that I don’t believe this anymore..

  48. By the way also last time I attended church was a Christian
    I’m not gonna lie: I cried and accepted Jesus as my savior… But after a while that exact feeling appeared again:I rode a volswagen bug I learned to drive in one, my father owened one (saw them thru my childhood ) I was about to cry… So that time I cried over accepting Jesus as my savior it wasn’t because I was accepting him… It was because of mayor events that occurred thru my childhood… Dad and mom are in their 80″s but I don’t know if I shoul tell them or not. I know if I tell them they would be so disappointed of me…
    But DISSAPOINTED, I don’t know if I should tell them..

  49. Anonymous says:

    Could I get the email address of the author? Would be curious to get more background. Thanks

Leave a Reply