Have you been hurt by your church?

I’m putting this thread in the Non-Catholic Religions section because I want people from all faith communities to have a chance to respond.

Have you ever been hurt by your church?

I’ve been on CAF for many years, and many of the other old-timers here know that my husband and I were kicked out of our Evangelical Protestant church in 2002. I won’t go into the details at this time. Back when it happened, I wrote it out it great detail, and it’s about 70 pages. I’ve thought about doing a proposal to a publishing house, but who would want it? It’s disturbing.

My husband and I were just talking this morning about the effect that this awful incident has had on our family and is still having. To this day, we have problems trusting even our beloved Catholic Church. My husband is one of the Catholics who is not sure what to think of Pope Francis. He’s afraid that now the rock is turning over and the worms and bugs underneath the rock will be exposed.

Although one of our daughters converted to Catholicism and is a devout Catholic, she has never been able to establish a love relationship, and I can’t help but wonder if the betrayal by our church influences her ability to get close to someone.

Our other daughter (the one who suffered the most abuse from our church) is still not attending any church, and we suspect that she has too many awful memories.

We know other ex-Protestant converts to Catholicism who have been hurt by their Protestant churches who feel the same way as we do–they have difficulty fully trusting, and they always harbor a little bit of worry that perhaps the whole thing will blow up in their faces and they’ll discover that Catholicism isn’t true either, and then what? It’s a Secret Fear. We all know that Christians weren’t meant to be alone, but we can’t quite bring ourselves to totally trust “church” because of the hurt that we experienced in our “churches.”

Have any of you been hurt by your church? How has it affected your journey to heaven?

Have any of you been hurt by your church?

Yes.

I cannot walk into the Catholic Church I attended as a teenager. There is a psychological barrier. I get the shakes and my fight or flight response kicks in - fortunately it’s normally “Flight”. The times “fight” has kicked in haven’t been pretty.

How has it affected your journey to heaven?

I no longer believe Heave exists, or at least, no one can be sure of it. So there’s that.

Cat, I can’t say anything to easy your pain, but you and your family have my prayers.

On the subject: Lutherans expect the church to hurt us and make us miserable - it’s how the Devil tries to move us away from Christ and to keep us from proclaiming the Gospel.

In my case, I had to suffer from un-biblical and heretical nonsense. It took only a few months of bad church to turn my 10-year-old self into a haughty agnostic and twenty years (and one amazing wife) to even get me back into a church.

And even then… church is still a mess.

Cheese SDC…

That attack that you are having is very strong and it is from the evil one.

I myself was involved in church work as a Catholic and ended up running across a woman involved in heavy duty animal sacrifice, and causing alot of serious problems with various other church groups she got involved in. She seemed to show up at all sorts of events, get involved, and mess up people.

So when I started to pick up on her, she completely changed and started to fight and malign me, and she won as she was expert on disinformation and creating a false image of others. The bishop finally took action on her over 10 years later after a number of complaints.

But I had this tremendous anxiety. I could hardly go up to communion without sensing I was going to fall down. It was so damaging to me and my psyche that to this day I cannot stand up before the congregation without holding on to something. I also had 2 priests come to our house to bless every single room and corner. And attending the blessings completely delivered me from any side effects, after almost 20 years of having this anxiety and hesitation of serving the Church again.

Go before the Blessed Sacrament and just sit before Our Lord and rest in His heart and ask for healing. Go to confession and speak about this to the priest and ask for his blessing and see what else he can recommend.

Anxiety is from the evil one.

I’ve been Catholic now for a number of years, but the church I enjoyed most was a particular Presbyterian parish when I first became Christian. Yet even there the pastor discouraged me badly (for which he apologised rather late in the day). However I learnt a lot from him.

He also predicted I’d lose my then government job, and thought another Presbyterian pastor would have something to do with that. I can’t prove it, but I think I know what happened. Sure enough I lost the job. Mind you, this particular pastor has damaged a number of lives. I go to a Catholic psychiatrist, and quite early on he told me **he’d treated about eight Presbyterian pastors for stress related breakdown. ****In every case, this particular pastor was mentioned. **He’d been the moderator of the church, and if he didn’t like someone’s theology (he was and is of course infallible himself, the height of arrogance), he’d get someone in their parish to keep picking on the pastor till they cracked.

When they went to him as moderator, he’d suggest, “Well, if you can’t take it, maybe you should think about leaving…”. He’s a pastor who serves the devil, to put it bluntly. One of them actually wrote a booklet about this entitled “A Corrupt Church in Queensland.”

My old pastor said to me in his office not long before he died that “I think he’ll (the corrupt pastor) will get hold of this church after I’m gone and wreck it! But he can’t touch the people!” Sure enough he got hold of the church and wrecked it. Within a few months, 80% of the parishioners had left the Presbyterian Church altogether. They weren’t going to stick around to be infected by this man’s evil behaviour.

So you’re not the only ones.

My old pastor may have been discouraging, but he was wise and prophetic, uncannily so. I found that anything he thought would happen invariably did, unless he qualified it in some way.

So, if other predictions of his are going to be fulfilled, then I still expect to have trouble with the Baptists (my wife is Baptist). His comment was “I think you might have trouble with the Baptists… They’re very much aware of being Baptist, much more so than Presbyterians are of being Presbyterian for example…” As yet it hasn’t happened, but I’ll bet it will.

He also thought I’d have trouble with a Catholic priest. He predicted I’d become Catholic, which obviously has already happened. Every single time we get a new priest in our parish, I wonder if he’s going to be the one who stuffs it up. So far no go, but I found the old pastor was so accurate, I think it will happen.

There is a book around called “Surviving Friendly Fire” by Ronald Dunn, and it deals with this topic. “Friendly Fire” is bombardment of combatants by their own forces or their allies, and it happens a lot in the fog of war. His book is not about war, but more about Christians hurting other Christians, sometimes very badly.

It happens in churches too. As my old pastor used to say, “one bunch of sinners is pretty much the same as the next.” They also make up the entire church, and as a result you’ll get “friendly fire”, as sure as night follows day.

Christ suffered “friendly fire”. One of his apostles betrayed Him. The crowd that welcomed Him on Palm Sunday called for his crucifixion a week later. His disciples ran away. Peter denied Him three times. HIs own people denied Him.

It’s been a feature of Christian life since the very beginning.

By “church”, do you mean the assortment of humans that gather together under a system of belief? Or do you mean that system of belief itself?

If the former, sure - that’s what humans do every now and then - hurt each other. If the latter, no, can’t say I have.

Those representing “Church” have hurt me badly.
Those in upper levels of “church” have hurt me badly by not listening to me or the others who have suffered because of one person. It’s a refusal to admit they made a mistake.

But the Church itself?
No. I have no bad memories anywhere that I can attribute to false teaching, or actions that hurt me.

People in places of power…YES.
I trust that they will be dealt with in God’s good time…for the reasons that they chose to tear down the good and advance their own agendas.

God is at the wheel. Unfortunately, sometimes people drive the car into the ditch. When you steer away from Christ…people do suffer.

God bless you. Seems we all have a sad story to tell.

But God is with us.
ALLELUIA!

Yes. I was hurt deeply at the evangelical non-denominational church that my husband was attending when we got married. It involves prophecies made by a pastor that never came true.

It affected my journey to heaven because it caused me so much disappointment, anger, and disillusionment that I was more convinced than ever that something major was not right there and that the Catholic Church was where truth is. In retrospect it was the biggest favor that church could have done for me. It was painful and I wish it wouldn’t have happened, but God brought good out of it and used it to turn me toward home. I’m sure however though that Satan would have loved for the whole ordeal to turn me away from Christianity and God altogether. It is only by the grace of God that that didn’t happen.

Yeah. That’s not gonna happen. At all. Not even a little bit. :slight_smile:

And here’s one last example.

Oh! And here’s what happened one time to me in confession! (You’ll have to read to the end of that post to get to the confessional part) :slight_smile:

I’m not trying to insult you, and I hope I’ve not. I’ve already been down the path you describe and it was so incredibly destructive that I will not do it again.

Yes, I have been hurt by the Catholic Church, meaning a particular priest and those who did his bidding. There is a lot of dysfunction in churches, Protestant and Catholic. The rigid hierarchy of the Catholic Church tends to lend itself to cover ups and a good old boy network. The Non-denominationals tend to based on one charismatic leader, whose ego may become totally unchecked, and his inner circle corrupt and power hungry. The standard denominations, I suppose, have problems too. I’ve been to them and they give more power to the church governance committees, and some of those folks are on huge power trips.

Right now I’m not going to church. Later this year I will probably have time to check out the local ones in the town where I moved, but right now I’m content to avoid them

I’d tell you that the devil was afoot, but from your experiences it’s even more pernicious: it seems that jerks took notice of you and decided to foist their ways on you.

For me, It’s one thing to have obvious signs of evil - it quite another tar-pit to have your life in conflict with jerks and sucky people that seem reasonable on one level and yet manage to drag you down none the less.

Frankly, for me, the second trap would be much harder to shake off - as it’s not as obvious.

You’re in my prayers.

Yes, my wife and I were both quite hurt at one independent charismatic church that we were attending in the 1980s. There’s a sort of funny thing connected with that – later on, in the late 1990s at the government agency where I worked, there was an office move, and three of us guys were grouped together in one area. We were all Christians, and as we got to know each other, it came out that all three of us had suffered at the hands of the leadership of that particular church. That’s what happens when there is no hierarchy.

Later I also had a doctrinal dispute with the pastor of a denominational Pentecostal church, but there was no actual hurt there; it was more like, “If you don’t see things my way, I will not let you function in any leadership position in this church.” “Okay, buh-bye.” That was actually the start of my 10-year journey into the Catholic Church.

The likelihood of something similar happening in the Catholic parish where we attend now is very small, but even if something did happen, there are other options for attending Mass and receiving the Sacraments, without getting personally involved with the leadership.

Yes. In the form of myself falling for temptation.

I never blame the Church for human error. Our parish just “lost a priest to the sex abuse scandal”, a priest who never did anything untoward to my children or me. And why would it matter if he hurt me directly or not for me to blame “the church?” He still did those things while a Catholic priest.

Anyway, no one has done more harm to me than myself and that is why I am still a Catholic; because no one has done more good for me than anyone else.

Change “Church” to “Corporation” and you could be talking about my employer - dysfunction, good old boy networks, power hungry, etc. It’s all so very human!

I was lucky as a child because my parents were extremely devout Pentecostals and they raised me in the faith, all three of us kids, as a matter of fact.

The most recent church we attended though, I think had a huge effect on my folks. We had a few disagreements with the pastor there. I had already decided to leave that church because I was having theological issues with Evangelical Christianity, and veering closer to Apostolic (Catholic, Orthodox) Christianity. My dad was a pastor in Italy and he felt that the pastor there insulted him because at one point he turned to him and said that my father’s ministry was “all burned up.” He never stepped foot into that church again, and while my parents still are devout, they are “homeless” so to speak. It was strictly this church though. We’ve never had problems at other churches, and it’s certainly not Evangelicalism that’s the issue. I feel bad for them because I feel like he “broke” my parents spiritually.

And yet we cant expect to “quit” everything. Sinners are all around us; in fact, there’s one in each of us. But I think we can all agree that we wouldn’t agree with quitting life because we are sometimes personally responsible for our own hurt.

Forgiveness sets you free.

Cat,
I am not very familiar with your story but when you said that your daughter suffered “abuse”, do you mean some kind of physical or sexual? I’m not trying to pry but understand the basics of the story. With her now being an adult, she probably will have to come to terms with the hurt and pain on her own time frame which is hard to do when you are a parent.
I think all of us can look at whatever Church we grew up with and find that many Christians have had significant hurts. I know that growing up and going through the Sunday school system in the Methodist Church, i always felt bullied which set me on a course of searching when eventually landed me in the Catholic Church. But, i hold now no ill will or anger because I’ve come to the place of forgiveness and viewing those hurts as what drove me to look elsewhere. If your past Church Cat gave you the left foot of fellowship, I think you can and do view it God using that to move you to the Catholic Church. I think there are different types of trust in religion. There is trust in others which can be unstable because others can and will fail us. But there is trust in teaching and truth which if based on God’s truth won’t fail us. There is also trust in God’s justice which can take longer. If something that was illegal happen to your daughter, was that ever pursued in our legal system?

Ah, but I expect better from Churches. Unrealistic, perhaps, but nevertheless, I see no reason to waste time with self-righteous hypocrites who have the audacity to lay claim to the truth, while living no different than non-Christians. :shrug:

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you go back for more.

Nope can’t say I have. Now people in the Church, sure who hasn’t. Humans have a way of hurting one another at times. Usually just because they are human.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.