In 2014, approximately 10% of all Americans identified themselves as “former Catholics.” Most people have a friend or a family member who is a “former Catholic.” Perhaps you have left the Church yourself.
As an atheist to Catholic convert, Jennifer Fulwiler has experienced life both with and without religion; and based on her experience, she asked those considering leaving the Catholic Church to first ask themselves 5 questions. Below are the 5 questions with excerpts from her column. You can read her full column at the National Catholic Register.
If you or someone you love are considering leaving the Catholic faith, ask yourself:
1. Are you sure members of the Church hierarchy are worse than anyone else?
When people cite the pedophilia scandals as a key reason for abandoning the Church, I worry that they’re setting themselves up for deep disappointment. The fact that priests abused children is an idea so horrific that one can hardly bear to think about it, and the fact that some bishops didn’t take action to stop it is almost worse. But the chilling fact — perhaps so chilling that we don’t can’t accept it — is that this is not a problem with Catholic priests and bishops; it’s a problem with human nature. A priest is no more likely to abuse a child than a male schoolteacher, and a bishop is no more likely to cover it up than a school administrator.
2. Are you sure your faith life would be better outside of the Church?
Keep in mind that leaving the Catholic Church means leaving the sacraments — sacraments with real power, which are not available outside of the Church that Jesus founded. If it brings you joy to commune with Jesus spiritually, how much better is it to commune with him physically as well? And how lucky are we to have the sacrament of confession, where you can unload all your burdens, hear the words “you are forgiven,” and receive special grace to help you to be the morally upright person you strive to be?
3. Are you sure the Church’s teachings are wrong? (more…)