Leaving the Catholic Church and Family Reaction


#1

Okay I just joined this forum and first I’ll introduce myself a little bit. I’m Austin, 22 years old, and I was baptized as a baby in the Catholic Church. My whole family is Catholic, I went to Catholic grade and high school, was raised to be a good Catholic guy. However I have never really felt at home in the Catholic faith, and as I have gotten older I have noticed many of the inaccuracies between what the scripture teaches us and what the Catholic church teaches us. I stopped attending mass regularly when I was about 20 years old because it felt more like a chore and a requirement than something I wanted to do. The Catholic faith to me felt so hollow and empty, I didn’t feel I had a connection with God at all. I would leave every mass empty, I just didn’t get anything out of it, it was just saying some prayers from memory every Sunday. About 6 months ago I started looking at other religions and asking friends about their religions. Finally, I went to a non-denominational Christian church. I knew the minute the pastor started talking that I had found God and had been born again. I was energized with the surmon and left knowing I had truly experienced God’s presense and his love, and it was an incredible experience. I had a very personal experience with the pastor who helped me communicate with God to release me of my sins, it was the most powerful moment of my life, and I truly felt that I had been saved.

I have been back several times since then and it just keeps getting better. I now plan on joining and becoming and attending weekly. Unlike the Catholic mass, I not only do not consider it a chore to attend mass, but I want to attend it. There is no doubt that I have found my church and the people I want to share my faith with.

This leads though to the difficult part of the process. First of all, while my friends and most of my family will probably accept my decision, I know my mom and dad will have a very difficult time accepting my decision. I know they might even try to convince me not to do it (that’s why I’m waiting until after I have officially left) but I know what I am doing is right. I am looking for some advice from others who have left their faith for another, how did you break the news and how did you comfort them? What did you say to them? Also, I am unsure of how to officially leave the Catholic church. Do I have to write in somewhere denouncing the faith or do I have to talk with a priest? I know if I talk to a priest about it he will try to do the fear tactics that most Catholics do. Statements like “you are turning away from God’s church” and “you will live in hell for betraying God’s intention”. But back to the point, if anybody here knows the process I have to go through, I really want to start the process as soon as possible just to get the process over with and start my new life with God. I appreciate any help that anybody here can offer.

Austin


#2

If your parents are like mine, you are going to break their hearts. Have you seriously studied what the church teaches. I can’t see that you have, since you claim it conflicts with Scriptures. You got me on that one.

The joy you feel in the preacher’s sermon, what uplifts you about it? Does he appeal to your emotions or to your heart and soul?

Notworthy


#3

Maybe try listening to Scott Hahn, Karl Keating, Patrick Madrid and some of the others who speak on apologetics first.

I to left the church at 18 for some of the reasons you stated. But at 24 realized how little I really new about the Catholic faith.
#1 reason to remain Catholic the Eucharist followed by the rest of the Sacraments.
Most other churches make their own rules like you can go to one Luthren church and hear one thing and somewhere else hear another.
Sometimes we look for those warm fuzzies. They are only temporary especially when we really learn faith is not about feelings but belief and trust.
My parents were very upset when I stopped attending Church and continued to pray for me.
There is no faith as great as the Catholic faith. But there are a lot of things that take time to learn. The Saints sorry not there, the Blessed Virgin they will of course convince you she was a good woman but no one to intercede for us.
I have heard so many bible quotes thrown, by these people that I am amazed how ignorant people are. When they don’t even look into why Saint Paul said by faith alone you are saved.
Sorry I went off but as I have stated in many posts my passions are strong. When I left I was Saul when I returned I try for Paul.
May God bless you in your journey and I hope and pray that you find the truth and love for the Catholic faith your parents gave you.:slight_smile:


#4

I’m sure my parents will at least somewhat be heartbroken, especially my dad. However God comes first, even before family, I have to do what I believe will bring me closer to God and heaven. I just would like some advice on how some other people have broken the news to their families. The pastor’s sermon truly touched my heart and soul, nothing I had ever experienced in a Catholic mass. The Catholic mass and faith to me seems very hollow and corrupted, the denomination I go to now seems so pure and I truly felt for the first time that God was in me and working through me. The Catholic mass and faith relies too much for me with just memorizing prayers and I also didn’t like the fact that many Catholics look down on the other faiths. I might not be a Catholic anymore but I respect the faith, I just don’t feel at home there. I truly feel that in my new church I have found God.

As for your comments Toni, I respect them but disagree with them. I have never had so much faith as I do now, and I just agree with the teachings in my church so much more than the Catholic church. I know both of you are trying to make me reconsider my decision, but my decision is firm and final, the last thing I need to do is just to officially leave the Catholic church.


#5

Ok there is no official out of the Church if that is what you are looking for. I guess the only thing left is to tell your parents. As I said I will pray that God blesses and guides you along your way.:slight_smile:


#6

Before even leaving in the first place, what exactly are the issues that made you go? Have you examined them thoroughly? Have you researched about it, read Catholic and non-Catholic sources, weighed them in? I think it is good that you have come here, where you can read threads concerning the issues you have, and decide for yourself whether it is really good to leave, or you simply need to know more what the Church really teaches.


#7

I didn’t realize that there was no official way out. I thought there would be some final process, like writing to your diocease that you are leaving, to absolve you from your responsibilities and beliefs as a Catholic. If that is the case, then I guess the church already doesn’t consider me a Catholic anymore? I would be relieved if that is the case, but now would come the hard part.

As for your comments Millard, yes I have done research for both sides and what the beliefs are, and I feel this Evangel non-denominational Christian church that I now attend are the beliefs I truly want in my religion. Trust me this was not an overnight decision or an easy decision, but it is the right decision for me.


#8

just be sure your decision is based on faith and conviction, not emotion, and not a desire to somehow get back at your family, or at the Catholic church for somehow having failed you. Above all make sure your decision is based on conviction based on what Jesus said and did in the bible: not on the personality of the new pastor, on the way people there treat you, on any external factor such as the building, the social hours, the young adult group, etc. and your personal feelings. Just as individuals and groups within your Catholic parish may have let you down or behaved less than Christian, so may the new people let you down, even your pastor, and you will be crushed.

Our faith is based on Jesus Christ, not on any human person. Work, pray, study, read the bible and investigate, even if it takes your whole life, to find out which Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, which Church retains the fullness of the Gospel he preached, and which Church teaches with authority that comes directly from him.

Someday you will come back home, and you will be welcome. We are all praying for you.


#9

[quote=Austin83]IThe Catholic mass and faith relies too much for me with just memorizing prayers and I also didn’t like the fact that many Catholics look down on the other faiths.

I know both of you are trying to make me reconsider my decision, but my decision is firm and final, the last thing I need to do is just to officially leave the Catholic church.
[/quote]

Yeah, I’ve wondered often about memorizing prayers and how beneficial, for I slept through our faith for over 35 years. But then I noticed a lady in our Mass who had a look of ecstasy on her face, and I realized, she’s listening to the same sermon and prayers as I am. The problem might be with me! I later learned it was like the lady who was hemorhaging. She got healed and others didn’t who touched Jesus. Its because she was reaching out to touch him.

All the repetitive prayers? They teach me how to be a good Christian. The prayer of St. Francis is like a handbook on the teachings of Jesus. All those prayers of Thanksgiving? They teach me humility. You can’t reach honestly thank God for all He’s done for you and be boastful at the same time. Almost every prayer and ritual reaches back 2000 years and further.

Finally, are we trying to convince you otherwise? Of course we are! We wouldn’t be evangelists if we didn’t now, would we?

Notworthy


#10

It is never God’s will for a person to leave the faith.


#11

I’ve been considering leaving the Church myself. You have my prayers.


#12

Annie I do not want to get into a religious debate, but the Evangel church’s teachings come from God more than the Catholic faith. The Catholic faith gives the pope basically as much power as God and makes us believe that the God actually speaks through the pope. That is just one issue I have always disagreed with, I believe God speaks to us directly through the bible, through the scriptures, which is what my Evangel church teaches us, not through any individual here on Earth.

Trust me Annie, the only thing that has held me back this long was knowing I would crush my parents. That is the most difficult part because I love them so much, but now because of my new church I have a loving relationship with God, something I never felt or had before. I believe that my church is truly God’s church just as much as the Catholic church, maybe even more because they teach God’s teachings in the bible, unlike the Catholic faith that relies on the pope and the officials in Rome.


#13

[quote=Austin83]I didn’t realize that there was no official way out.
[/quote]

None at all. The Church is very much open in both ways.

If that is the case, then I guess the church already doesn’t consider me a Catholic anymore?

Not really, since like stated, the Church is very much open. So that means that you can consider yourself not Catholic anymore, but as far as the Church is concerned, you’re a lapsed Catholic.

I would be relieved if that is the case, but now would come the hard part.

Why would you even be relieved?

I feel this Evangel non-denominational Christian church that I now attend are the beliefs I truly want in my religion.

What is your basis for this?


#14

Is it the Rapture?
Is it once saved, always saved?
Is it Bible Only?
What man-made tradition made you convert?

Notworthy


#15

[quote=Austin83]Annie I do not want to get into a religious debate, but the Evangel church’s teachings come from God more than the Catholic faith. The Catholic faith gives the pope basically as much power as God and makes us believe that the God actually speaks through the pope. That is just one issue I have always disagreed with, I believe God speaks to us directly through the bible, through the scriptures, which is what my Evangel church teaches us, not through any individual here on Earth.

Trust me Annie, the only thing that has held me back this long was knowing I would crush my parents. That is the most difficult part because I love them so much, but now because of my new church I have a loving relationship with God, something I never felt or had before. I believe that my church is truly God’s church just as much as the Catholic church, maybe even more because they teach God’s teachings in the bible, unlike the Catholic faith that relies on the pope and the officials in Rome.
[/quote]

You must know that you are placing your soul in extreme peril.


#16

[quote=Austin83]Annie I do not want to get into a religious debate, but the Evangel church’s teachings come from God more than the Catholic faith. The Catholic faith gives the pope basically as much power as God and makes us believe that the God actually speaks through the pope. .
[/quote]

I hope that as you continue your studies you will come to understand the basic falsity of this statement. For a true representation of the role of the pope, and for answers to other commonly misunderstood Catholic teachings, you can certainly go back to the CA homepage articles and library. I am very sorry your own parish failed in educating you on the basics of your faith, that you should have such misapprehensions.

Best wishes for your continued progress in your study of scripture. As I say, if you do so sincerely and diligently you cannot but help to come to the truth. The scripture cannot let you down if studied in a translation that is true to the original languages and meaning and interpreted by someone with authority from Christ to do so. I am confident your study will someday lead you home again.


#17

You are confusing faith with emotion. I had been away from the mass for 13 years. I went to a bible study at a non-denominational church. I then decided to attend the “worship” service. Though I love all the people there, and while there is a strong bond of “fellowship” or friendship, the worship felt empty for me. They have no connection to the apostolic church, no sacraments, no devotions or disciplines.

In fact, the next Saturday I attended confession for the first time in 30 years and that next day I attended Catholic mass.

People will usually go through what you are going through when they have no clear idea as to what they are doing, what the church is, or what their relationship to God is. The RCC is almost 2,000 years old and the catechism can get complex. Some people, especially when they are young, can’t fully grasp the magnitutde of it all.

You do not need to “swear off” the Catholic church. You may find yourself wandering from one non-denominational church to another, or from one Protestant church to another. Chances are, eventually you will come back to the Catholic church. Just keep an open mind about everyhting you have learned and will soon experience.

The Catholic church will always be there to receive back again when you are ready.

Thal59


#18

I assume the term “lapsed Catholic” is basically their term for fallen away or non-practicing Catholic? I don’t like the fact that the church still considers me Catholic, but that I can’t control. But with my new church, for the first time I truly feel I am at home and with God. My pastor sermon’s mean so much to my heart and the mass in general just touches me so much now. Thal I also respect and appreciate your comments, but unless it’s a wedding I doubt I will ever step foot in a Catholic church, not when I have found God where I already am, but I respect your opinion.


#19

[quote=Austin83]the Evangel church’s teachings come from God more than the Catholic faith.
[/quote]

What is your basis for this?

The Catholic faith gives the pope basically as much power as God and makes us believe that the God actually speaks through the pope.

Is this because of your “research”, or simply by your own understanding of Catholic teaching regarding the Pope? Nowhere is it taught that the Pope has as much power as God. Certainly the Church does not teach the Pope to be Omniscient, Omnipresent, and all the other qualities that God has.

I believe God speaks to us directly through the bible, through the scriptures, which is what my Evangel church teaches us, not through any individual here on Earth.

And yet the Bible as well shows us that God spoke through His prophets, through His Apostles. Paul certainly did not preach going around with a Bible in hand. Nowhere is that stated anywhere in the Bible, ironically.


#20

False Teachings?

Details?

Notworthy


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.