I’ve witnessed some people who left the Catholic Church recently announce it on social media. The people who announce it are usually Catholic celebrities who feel like they owe it to their “fans” some sort of explanation. They don’t really owe them an explanation which is why I find that kind of behaviour of public announcments a little bizzare to be honest.
It is the same when people make public announcements of how they’re cleaning their facebook friends list and anyone whom they have not interacted with will get the chop. I mean, come on!!! Who cares right? I often feel it’s crucial to their well being we don’t be too heavy on them either, but that all depends on their level of ignorance of the Catholic faith. I also see such intimate decisions being plastered on social media as a subconscious cry for help.
I’m not going to single them out in this post, because their reasons for leaving are pretty much everyone else’s reasons, and they’re entitled to their privacy even though they made their departure public. Therefore this isn’t a response to them as much as it is everyone I’ve ever met. I’m not going to go ahead and judge them, but I will judge their reasons for leaving, as people who know the faith well, as a little ridiculous. With someone not so accustomed to the faith at all, I will not even judge their reasons for leaving as silly. The reason for that is because as far as the intellect is concerned, it’s not formed enough yet for that kind of tough approach.
I’ll be much more understanding and even respect those reasons, why? Because all they’ve ever known is how to judge a group based on its behaviour. For example, if someone has a bad experience with a dog when it was a child, it will grow up fearing all dogs. If they had been tortured by members of the police force, they will grow up judging the entire system and are less trustworthy of police.
This kind of behaviour comes natural to the person living with original sin with little to no catechesis. We make generalizations based on our experiences with large or small groups of institutions. We should not be surprised then, when uneducated Catholics look at the Church who is supposed to preach love and mercy, leave the Church when its most intimate members commit abuses. We shouldn’t be surprised if they take the small percentage of priests who commit abuses and generalize the whole priesthood as pedophiles.
It’s only when I see Catholics who should know better, who’ve had the Catechesis do I shake my head in disbelief when using this reason. They know quite well that if we were to judge a group based on its behaviour, we might as well get rid of all religion and even atheism. I will go into the reasons they used and some more with a response to all of them.
I would like to reach out to these people personally, but they’ve made it quite clear that many others have tried and they’re not interested. Ok, I won’t knock the door of a house where I’m not wanted. But I will not allow it from at least responding to the reasons because they happen to be ones that most secular minded lapsed Catholics have. I really feel that my readers will benefit from being able to respond to some of these reasons.
Again, if you’re Catholic whose been educated in the faith and educated others in the same (which these people have) I find your reasons juvenile and quite surprising. But if you’re only new to the faith, I find them to be understandable reasons based on your existing level of comprehension and education you’ve received from the world. Don’t get me wrong…they’re still bad reasons for leaving or not coming into the Church, it’s just I’ve more empathy with the irreligious than those who should know better.
So what are some of the reasons they made? The Churches sex abuse scandal, whether it be homo or heterosexual relationships between adults or criminal acts of pedophilia. In addition to this every Catholic is nasty whether they are lay people who work for the Church or don’t.
Let us be honest. Unless you’re a spiritual master who can handle being rocked by such scandals and still stay on the boat, you’re going to be tested by this one. People who have (through no merit of their own) mastered the understanding that these criminals and sinners do not decide whether they stay or leave a group will come out on top almost every time. Surprise surprise, the Church of 1 billion members is full of criminals, drug addicts, freemasons and pedophiles. America has only 350 million people and yet there’s a murder every minute. It’s just the basic laws of nature that there be crime in such numbers whether it be at high or low rank of the Church doesn’t matter.
The police force have lots of pedophiles and criminals, but when someone breaks into our home, who do we call? the Mafia? We dial the only number we know which is 911 (or if you live in Ireland like I do it’s 999). And don’t give me that line about how the Church teaches love and mercy and so they’re different to the police because the police force uphold a moral law which happens reflect much of what the Church teaches. St.Paul even goes as far as to call them Gods servants.
Therefore, it makes no sense for me to walk away from a Church whose small percentage of priests commit such horrible crimes. When my soul is broken I don’t call on the corrupt priests anymore than I do the corrupt police members. The Churches gospel teaching still stands regardless of the actions of clergy just as the moral law of the state still stands when certain police members fail to live up to it.
Therefore when I hear Catholics well versed in their faith use this reason my immediate reaction is one of utter disbelief to be honest. I’ve found it the easiest argument ever to counter even before I became educated in the faith. Yet, I still have to respect that maybe all they’ve ever done is study the faith from an intellectual perspective without having regard for much needed spiritual direction. This happens Catholics a lot who think that by learning about God it makes them Catholics.
They could be priests that have been through seminary and studied for years it doesn’t matter. It’s most notably a symptom of the American Catholic whose culture relies heavily on a protestant mindset of work and education to the exclusion of spiritual progress. It’s a very intellectual country with a heavy emphasis on knowledge assuming that intelligence alone makes them more powerful and spiritually adept.
Where else have we seen this? We’ve seen it in the heresy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism constantly rears its ugly head in cultures and the Church, so forget the idea it’s yesterdays problem. It often presents itself through protestantism under new labels such as new age cults etc. This mindset also creeps personally into individuals with no spiritual direction who become the play thing of the devil.
Therefore, if you are leaving the Church based on the actions of its members, consider the following. You might as well throw out your Bible, and every atheist and religious text ever written because it was all written by sinners and those with a proclivity to do evil. Every time you see a criminal in the Church, call to mind the thousands of saints who practiced their faith and proved the worthiness and relevance of the Gospel in todays world.
Wow!!! Do that, and you will win every time. In fact, do it right now. Think of a person who done you great harm in the Church. Acknowledge and be honest with the feelings this evokes within. Now move your focus to a great Saint you hold a special devotion to, and picture thousands of them smiling at you from the heavens. Did you notice the shift in your mood? Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen the first time. But go ahead and rinse, wash and repeat the process.
Let these people be the reason you stay put but most of all let JESUS be the reason you hang around all the more. Incorporated into this was the reason he and his wife left was because the Eucharist they were taught was supposed to transform people. If people still wandered around being sinners how is it possible for the Eucharist to be truly transformative? He tried to create rules that we shouldn’t use free will as an excuse.
This is usually a tactic of someone who wants to control a conversation to their advantage. They already know the answer but are denying anyone bringing the truth up by setting a rule of debate they cannot break. You don’t get to order someone not to use a response if you don’t have a counter argument for it. If you don’t like the idea of the use of an argument you better make sure you’ve something to counter it with, otherwise you simply sound like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum.
It’s like going into a pharmacy and asking for medicine that best deals with your headache. Before the pharmacist has had a chance to respond to your question you say, “And don’t tell me the medication recommended by health professionals will do the trick because that answer won’t cut it.” Huh? I think you get the picture, right?
Even with that in mind, there is an even bigger answer to the Eucharistic question than simply people having free will. The Eucharist transforms those of us who are detached to sin. It is a two way street. A murderer cannot just walk up, take the Eucharist and expect to be miraculously turned into Saint Padre Pio having taken it. God requires complete faith and detachment from sin in order for the soul to benefit from the Graces of the Eucharist. However, people still benefit from taking it regardless as God doesn’t come all at once on a person, rather it is a relationship that builds over time. But if the soul is not willing, then simply by receiving the Eucharist, God will not intervene.
When saint Paul says nobody can partake of the Eucharist if he doesn’t discern it’s truly the Body of Christ because they would be receiving it in an unworthy manner, he means also those who don’t obey or live the Gospel. the Greek for “discern” is “Diakrino” which can also mean to be partial. A verse later he accuses many are spiritually and physically sick because they are “asleep” meaning they’ve yet to give themselves to God fully in order to benefit.
If you partake of Holy Communion you do so unworthily if you have yet to repent. Going to confession is not repentance. Repentance means to change the inner man. The Holy Spirit cannot work in a soul that doesn’t discern or is “partial” and “staggers” or “wavers” in the faith which is also what the Greek Paul uses for “discern” means. Therefore, obedience to God and giving him your heart fully is necessary. If you’re reading this and saying, “But I’ve already done that” then you’re nowhere near ready to receive in a worthy manner.
This is why many are sick and and unwell spiritually, because as Saint Paul says they’re asleep and have yet to die to themselves. It doesn’t mean they’re not saved, for a souls salvation is up to God not us, but they’ve yet to die to the world within them before they can truly benefit her and now.
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.1 Corinthians: 11:30
The reason why many in the Church are nasty or still move about with the world on their shoulders is not because the Eucharist isn’t transforming them, it’s because they won’t allow God a place in their souls to incinerate the old sinful self that nests like a viper within them. God will not impose himself on a soul not even with the Eucharist. Therefore, if you’re not willing, God won’t bother.
The man and his wife were upset that his two children who had been homeschooled turned out Atheist. They were big Catholic homeschoolers and yet two of their children turned out atheist. You see, you make a big mistake if you think simply educating your children about the faith will ensure they remain Catholic. Nothing could be further from the truth. It goes back to the argument I made earlier that simply having knowledge of your faith doesn’t make you Catholic at all. That is a trait I see in many Americans the world over who engage with the Church and it needs to be nipped in the bud right away.
I heard from one priest about a homeschooling family whose daughter turned out Muslim. We forget that our children when they grow into their teens regardless of what the culture says, in the eyes of God they’re now freethinking adults with a will of their own. If they turn out gay or atheist whats that to me? I’ve done my part before the Lord so I let it go. But some parents cannot let it go. Their attachment to the child is sometimes stronger than their attachment to God.
It is such a strong bond that they end up blaming God and the Church for their childs failures as well as their own problems even going as far as to expect Christianity and the Church to change to suit them or they leave it altogether. That’s what happened our ex Irish president Mary MacAleese. Her son came out as gay and this once conservative woman who loved the Church turned into someone with a vendetta against the Church, begging for it to change to suit her sons newfound homosexual lifestyle. Her bond with her son was more important than her bond with God and his Church. God says that unless we put him first and our family second we cannot truly love Him or anyone for that matter at least not in truth.
Don’t allow the behaviour of anyone or any bond you have with your children separate you from the Love of God. It’s really that simple. At the same time, don’t give up on them. If there was hope for St.Augustine who left the faith when young and became an Atheist, there is hope for your children also. Don’t despair and leave the Church over it. Be strong like St.Monica and pray calmly for your children. She put God first and as a result, with much patience saw the return of her so to the Catholic faith.
If there are any other reasons you left the Church, please share them with me, I’d love to hear them.