Are there spiritual consequences for leaving Catholic Church?

Long story short I’m a convert of a few short years, and with each passing year I become more miserable in relation to Catholicism. This past year and half has been particularly rough spiritually (everything else in life has been fine), and now I’m seriously considering leaving.

The thing is, I can’t find anywhere what the Church’s teaching is about formally leaving. Keep in mind, I don’t disagree with anything it teaches, so it’s not a matter of heresy, and I’m not denying Church authority, so it’s not schism. I can’t remember as I type what the CCC said about apostasy, but I do remember that I didn’t fit that category for some reason either, although I think it had to with the fact that I’d still remain Christian.

So what’s the official line? Because I am afraid of the possibility of ending up in Hell.

You would be in serious jeopardy of hell.

Since you know that Christ is the Church, when you walk away from the Church, you walk away from Christ. Walk away from Christ, go to hell.

I agree that this would be a very serious choice on your part. Whatever truth has been revealed to you cannot now be unrevealed, and you are responsible for your actions insofar as you know the truth.

So what exactly is the problem?

In what sense are you “not denying Church authority,” when you are, (by your action of leaving) saying that the Church’s laws no longer apply to you, personally? :confused:

You would definitely be in schism - and if you believe everything that the Church teaches, then where will you go? Since there is no other church on earth that teaches what we teach.

So what’s the official line? Because I am afraid of the possibility of ending up in Hell.

While there is no way to say for sure whether you will end up in Hell, I think that you increase the odds substantially, by leaving the Church deliberately. Remember, Christ established this Church, and no other. He also told us to bear our crosses - whatever difficulties you are having, He will see to it in good time, and in the meantime, endure patiently, knowing that this is His Church, and He is taking care of it.

The Apostles had to put up with Judas; we, too, have to put up with one another in our failings.

Where could you possibly go?

Even though I get asking the question here, the vast majority of us are lay people who cannot give you a final answer. Is it possible for you to talk to your parish priest about this. Or if not, a priest from another diocese…

In any case, please know that I will keep you in my prayers. Someone (I think G.K. Chesterson) wrote that an unexamined faith is not faith at all, but superstition. May God bless and keep you on your journey toward him! :grouphug:

Catechism of the Catholic Church -

“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 - How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church, which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council [Vatican II] teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.


Why would you leave the True Church founded by Christ for the salvation of the world for a man-made organization? All Protestant entities that call themselves “churches” are man-made. We know the name, date, origin, and founder(s) of each of them.

To be Christian meant to be Catholic before the so-called “Reformation” – or more accurately, Deformation.

Do you know where we got the Bible? Maybe you need further study. You are putting your soul at risk if you leave the only Church founded by Christ, who speaks for Christ (Luke 10:16).

Would you like to tell us your problem with the Church? Perhaps we can help.

Merlin,
I would just like to let you know that it makes me sad to hear that you are thinking of leaving. The church values you, I value you and you are needed here in Christs holy Church. If you need someone to talk to, just ask. I am here for any conversations you would like to have. You will be sorely missed by Christ and the sheep of His flock. God bless you and may the Holy Spirit come upon you.

You’re better off asking a priest this. All I know is that it’s rather serious. I don’t know what what exactly you’re going through. But I will be praying and also asking our Beloved Virgin Mary and St. Michael the Archangel to intervene on behalf of your spiritual life. Try and hang in there. I’m recent convert myself and I know that things can get rough.

I don’t have an answer to that exactly, but… I would like to go back to the way it was. I felt a lot closer to God before I entered the Catholic Church.

I was brought up nominally Protestant, with no real formation so to speak, ended up an adult atheist. After a born again type of experience that happened outside of any church setting, I ended up regularly attending a quiet little Anglican church which in some ways was very Catholic actually, but still, in other ways had that New England Protestant quality that’s hard to describe, but very nice. I was settled into something like CS Lewis’ “mere Christianity” and quite happy, and day by day was becoming closer to God and less sinful and more happy.

Eventually it became clear that the Anglican community had it wrong on certain issues, and as I learned more and more about the RCC, intellectually I didn’t see any other choice but to convert. My heart seemed in it, too.

But I hate going Mass, confession feels like a bad therapy session, and I don’t for the life of me understand what’s appealing about fellowship. I’m frustrated by having to explain to cradle Catholics of all people why a woman can’t be a priest, and speaking of priests, of all I’ve talked to, not one has the clear, practical spiritual advice I expected Catholic priests to possess (I blame Chesterton for the expectation).

All of it has really been wearing me down over the past year in particular. I’m just tired, that’s all. I’d like to return to sneaking into the back a small church when I feel like I need a Sunday service, not because I’ll have to go to confession for mortal sin if I don’t. I’d like to be able to take off this brown scapular without worrying that I’m somehow thumbing my nose at Marian devotion and thereby increasing the likelihood of my heading south for eternity. I’d like to go one week without hearing about the Catechism, CYO, or Cursillo, one week without novenas, extra rosary intentions and worrying about how many dying souls will have to suffer longer because I didn’t feel like praying a Chaplet of Divine Mercy this Friday. I’d like to go one Sunday without having to pretend like I’m in deep prayer after communion when the fact of the matter is that although I acknowledge the divine truth of the Holy Eucharist, my heart’s never moved after receiving.

I hope that helps explain things.

merlin,
you want to formally leave and yet remain in ‘good standing’ as defined by the Catechism?

Here is what I hear you saying with this question: I want to formally be gone or out, but yet be formally ‘OK’ or ‘in’. From this I sense a tension because it sounds like you want it both ways. Don’t want to be Catholic but believe Catholic teaching and concerned with ones standing in regard to this teaching, but don’t want to be Catholic. There’s a bit of a contradiction playing out in what you post. Not a huge one, but tension is present.

To a convert of two years, a belated congrats and welcome. : )

Now I’m not qualified to give spiritual direction – I’m just a common Joe. But maybe this will help and provide a new angle for reflection. To me it makes sense, and is even somewhat predictable, that a ‘misery’ associated only within your relationship to Catholicism is being felt or experienced at this early stage of your Catholic journey. As they say, “the honeymoon is over.” I think maybe, maybe, you are experiencing, in some degree and in a more profound way than ever before, the separation from the world that is a necessary condition of truly following Jesus. This call or even command to distance oneself from the priorities of the world and order ones life on the priorities of Jesus is more than difficult, it’s impossible – for man, but with God all things are possible.

You will find spiritual guidance in personal decisions, such as yours, only in consistent sincere prayer. Outside of this you and the others you bring into the discussion, like me, will only be capable of arriving at educated guesses. So pray for guidance, always, even beyond this situation. We need God’s guidance every day.

I will shoot some prayers up for you.
Best regards,

Petek

Merlin, the above was posted before I read your second post. So it is not a response to your second post even though it follows it in the thread.

What a wicked thing to say “you are in serious jeopardy of hell”
Who are you offer such advice ?
A Christian is a follower of CHRIST
You do not have to be a Catholic to be a Christian.

Yes, that answer may not be charitable, but it is true. Once you are a Catholic, you are one for eternity. It is not like being a Protestant, where you can flit from one denomination to another without penalty. By being charitable in this case you are doing this person a great disservice. Because, it is written in the Catachism of the Catholic Church that the penalty for leaving the Church is eternal damnstion.
I would suggest that the person in question seek out a priest from one of the Religious Orders, like a Franciscan or a Dominican, or even a Jesuit, and open up a dialog with him.
They can be far more pastoral in their skills and views than most parish priests. All the person in question has to do is telephone any Parish office and the secretary should be able to tell him where to find a priest from one of the orders mentioned.

Perhaps you are having your very own dark night of the soul.

Best wishes for you!!

This.

Just be open for a torrent of graces when it ends.

With that said, I’ll pray for you!

They said “would be in serious jeopardy of hell”… huge difference there!

And it’s only wicked if by “wicked” you mean “true.”

There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from extra devotions and other activities in the Church if you are feeling burned-out or overburdened. You might want to try other activities/devotions/etc to bring new freshness to your Church activities. As another poster mentioned, you might be having your own dark night of the soul. It is a very difficult, but from what I’ve read, a very rewarding and spiritually growing experience that Christ gives to some. Maybe reading a book about those who have gone through similar?

Just don’t give up on Christ and His Church. Sometimes it is hard, Christ demands that we pick up our crosses daily, and this sounds like a tough one for you right now.

God bless you.

One could ask who are you to offer such condemnation?

A Christian is a follower of CHRIST
You do not have to be a Catholic to be a Christian.

But that’s not the topic under discussion.

[quote=Merlin3626;9390217 All of it has really been wearing me down over the past year in particular. I’m just tired, that’s all. I’d like to return to sneaking into the back a small church when I feel like I need a Sunday service, not because I’ll have to go to confession for mortal sin if I don’t. I’d like to be able to take off this brown scapular without worrying that I’m somehow thumbing my nose at Marian devotion and thereby increasing the likelihood of my heading south for eternity. I’d like to go one week without hearing about the Catechism, CYO, or Cursillo, one week without novenas, extra rosary intentions and worrying about how many dying souls will have to suffer longer because I didn’t feel like praying a Chaplet of Divine Mercy this Friday. I’d like to go one Sunday without having to pretend like I’m in deep prayer after communion when the fact of the matter is that although I acknowledge the divine truth of the Holy Eucharist, my heart’s never moved after receiving.
[/QUOTE]

Thank you for your honest, heart felt answer. My heart is breaking for you. It’s sounds like you are so overwhelmed with trying to be a good Catholic. Take off the scapular and put it away until the day comes that you want to put it back on…if you ever do. I’ve seen posts here that Mary would never want you to do anything that would draw you away from Jesus. That would include praying the Rosary, Novenas, etc. Take a step back and just pray. You believe in the Church. Go to another parish if you need to. Don’t join any groups, just go to Mass. Talk to another Priest if you need to. Keep trying until you find someone who can answer your questions. Being in Boston I would think you would have any number of options. Try spending time in Adoration. Pray as you feel led. Just spend time with the Lord.

Remember God loves you. He wants you to be a part of His church. He is always here for you.

I’ll be praying for you.
[/quote]

Yeah but how many saints have the protestants produced since the reformation? It is my sincere belief that the only way to be a PERFECT Christian is to be a Catholic. You can still be an imperfect “Christian” but why would one want to do that? Also no Catholic Church no Christ present in the Eucharist, why would you not want to receive the very Body and Blood of God? I don’t think OP should let his emotions get in the way of his decision, he admitted he intellectually agreed with the Churches teachings so that should be enough.

One more thing, what OP is doing is like accepting the theory of gravity but getting mad/upset that people die from falling due to gravity. Then because of this wants to stop accepting the theory of gravity. It is nonsense, he/she seriously needs some prayers.

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