Thinking of leaving the Church


#1

Hello Everyone

I have been thinking about leaving the Church. I worked for my local Diocese for the last two years and have ran across some of the most un-christian type behavior I could ever describe. I know that the Church is made up of fallible individuals but I can’t describe how discouraging it is to be in contact on a daily basis with people who represent the Church yet act in terrible ways. I was lied to, deceived by and gossiped about by people who supposedly are carrying out Christ’s mission here on earth. As a matter of fact on my first day at work at the Diocese a long term employee told me that " you’ll lose your faith working here". She unfortunately was right.

I , like most of the people on this Forum, had a deep appreciation for the Catholic Church. I was the type of person who read and studied Church History, read every Papal Encyclical and had a genuine appreciation for our faith. I took the job working for our Diocese not for the money ,which was modest, but to serve a higher calling. Now all I feel is betrayed and confused. I have left the job and have found a position with a wonderful company and many of my former fellow workers have also left. The one overriding factor for all of us was the hypocrisy of the leadership and the terrible way they treated their employees.

I know that it does me harm to harbor bitterness but trust me, I’ve seen things from inside the Church that would discourage the strongest Catholic. From the Bishops on down we have serious problems in the way we treat people and the “coldness” of our hearts.

How does one get past this type of terrible experience and learn to see the beauty of the Church again?

Thank you and God Bless


#2

I’m sorry to hear this, but people are going to act like this no matter what religion they belong to. It’s a sad truth, but that shouldn’t affect your beliefs. Besides, that community of yours is far smaller than the real world; there are decent Christians/Catholics/other religious people out there.

Never generalize.

Ironically Yours, Blade and Blood


#3

Well, let’s see…I’ve seen liturgical abuses, I’ve known about many priests stealing money from parishes, I’m in a diocese that has harbored priests who have molested children, I’ve had some religious education teachers try to teach me things which were not in accordance with Church teaching (all in the name of “reaching out to the youth”), I’ve been to a Youth Day where a so-called “Catholic” music orgainzation was promoting “Catholic” music and music they said was alright for teens because it expressed how they felt (one of the songs they were promoting was very blasphemous), I’ve heard about all the excommunications going on, I’ve heard about all the female priest ordinations, and I’ve read some very disturbing things about the Church’s history - for example, that a number of parishes in Poland converted to Nazi-Catholic parishes during the Holocaust.

But you know what?

Holy Mother Church resembles the Most Blessed Trinity. God is triune: He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Church is truine too: she is the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant. Now, how can the Church be anything but Holy if she is in Heaven and Purgatory? And dose not the Holy Sacrament of the altar - the Holy Eucharist - make the Church, that is, the Body of Christ? “Holy”, indeed, is a mark of the Catholic Church. Consider this whenever Satan tries to tempt you to hate the Church or leave Christ.


#4

My sister did this, left the Church after working in the parish office, because of the hypocrisy and uncharitable remarks she heard constantly.

Many of us have experienced these things even w/out working at that level. Think of how badly some of the saints were treated by their superiors and fellow priests and religious. They prayed, offered it to God and stayed faithful to God.

Another thing to consider…how do you think God feels? Jesus must feel betrayed again every time one of His appointed shepherds scandalises the flock instead of tending them.

I have had trouble with a parish priest who didn’t like me pointing out that certain things he was incorporating into the Mass where forbidden in the GIRM. I had no choice but to stay in that church, unlike my sister, I could not bring myself to abandon Jesus in the Eucharist. I am not perfect myself by any means, but I do love Him and try to make up by my fidelity what is lacking in others.

How does one get past this type of terrible experience and learn to see the beauty of the Church again?

Watch the Passion of the Christ (again) and be there for Jesus in the Garden. Stay with Him as He is being scourged, mocked and crucified by those who should know better. Help Him carry His Cross and, above all, do not judge. Pray for those people and ask God to make them holy that they may give honour and glory to Him.
.


#5

This certainly is discouraging - I’m sure to you, and to those of us studying and working towards crossing the Tiber. We know there will be weeds growing with the wheat and the Church is no exception. The best we can do is focus on the “truth” and if we maintain faith that the Holy Spirit continues to protect the Church from errors in doctrine, then we need to stay in the Church and work to improve it from within. I know that is easier said than done.

I’ll pray for all of us (those in the Church and those thinking of joining).

Blessings,

Brian


#6

In John Chapter six Jesus turns to the twelve and askes them, " Do you also want to leave?". Peter answers. " To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." Now the apostles saw a Church where Peter himself denies knowing Jesus, Judas betrays Jesus and just about all of the Apostles misunderstand Jesus at one point or another. Peter and Paul disagreed.

The Church has always had humans that act like humans. Yes, it is a shame that we cannot see Christ in Christianity many a time. But as Eucharisted said we cannot leave a Church founded by Christ because of the misbehavior of those around us. I pray that in some of my moods I never caused anyone to see the Church differently because of my actions.

If you truly know the history of Christanity, or humanity for that matter, you will find corruption everywhere. No religious organization is exempt from the sinful nature of humankind since we are all human.

I volunteer many hours at my parish and my wife works there. Yes, I have seen things that are quite unsettling to say the least. But it is those who persevere that make the difference. If those who recognize the injustices leave then who will be there to make things better? Every saint that I’ve ever read about reaped the injustices of the members of the Church. Saint Padre Pio was constantly being ridiculed by his fellow bishops. The list is endless.

But why are we Catholic? Because Christ founded our Church and left us with the priceless gift of Himself in the Eucharist and the other sacraments. The Liturgy is heaven on earth. We cannot get that anywhere else. I would never let a fellow sinner move me away from what Christ instituted.

Do you also want to leave? My answer? To whom shall we go? The incarnate Christ represented in His Church has the words of eternal life. I will never leave that for the sinful choices of others. Never…and I pray that no one leaves because of mine…teachccd :slight_smile:


#7

Have you considered that if you leave, you will leave Christs’ Church with one less faithful soldier?


#8

I’m sorry for your troubles. I can only imagine the pain. There is not much that I can offer other than prayers, but I would encourage you to (as much as possible) make your concerns known to leadership within the Catholic Church. If you find your bishop to be in serious error with regards to your experiences, try to find another bishop in your region with whom you could communicate your concerns–or, meet with your own priest to discuss these things. Actually, meeting with your own priest should be first on the to do list, I suppose.

In defense of working for the Church, we have a close friend who works in administration at a monastery in the area. She describes the job and the people as a dream to work with. She loves every minute of the job. If there is something this truly wrong where you are, you need to try to do what you can within your power to correct.

I also would urge you to not leave the Church over these issues, but, again, all I can offer is prayer.


#9

Hey Don’t give up faith I know how hard it is when you see all the bad things that go on right under our eyes in the church but we arent going to church for those people we are going for ourselves and The Lord. We need you in this fight, Like Pope John Paul said We need to set this world on Fire with the love of God. And Sometimes the people that need the most help are the people right in our churches. A friend once told me" You know people arent perfect at church in fact they are backstabbing and sometimes down right rude but thats why they are at church they are looking for help." I had never thought of it that way, but it makes sense.I will keep you in my prayers. God Bless!!!


#10

Never heard of that, and I live in Poland. There’s a lot of misinformation which looks like a conscious and directed effort to blame Poland for the Holocaust. In reality, collaboration with Nazis was scarce, there was no pro-Nazi puppet government like in other countries, we had the biggest and most organised resistance and near a half of us died throughout WW2. We also have record numbers of people risking their lives to save the Jews from the Nazi. Our faith was what kept us strong. Our priests died along with the people and the Nazi were far less gentle than in the West. Don’t listen to those stories, or rather, listen critically and pay attention to the sources.

The same can be said about many of the favourite charges against the Church in general. There’s doubtless truth in some, but there’s a lot of misinformation and a lot of poor history.

Don’t leave the Church. Wasn’t Judas an Apostle? We have hundreds of people who don’t do their jobs well and dozens of traitors - or maybe I should make the numbers bigger - but have some real saints too. Could you alert the Bishop to the situation in the diocese administration?


#11

The best advice I can give is to read the unabridged version of St. Catherine of Siena’s “Dialogue.” It’s basically a dialogue between God the Father and Catherine telling her how to handle being in one of the absolute low points of the Church history. It gives great advice for dealing with the kind of situation you find yourself in. Essentially, we must have self-knowledge. We must be able to see our own defects if we are to bear the defects of others with love and compassion. If someone sins against you, intercede before God for them adding “To-day it is your turn, and tomorrow it will be mine unless the Divine Grace preserve me.”

Here is a little exerpt about what a holy soul does in these situations:

And not only in the case of good, but even when he sees something evidently sinful, he does not fall into judgment, but rather into true and holy compassion, interceding with Me for sinners and saying, with perfect humility: ‘To-day it is your turn, and tomorrow it will be mine unless the Divine Grace preserve me.’

"These [holy souls] do not lose their time in passing false judgments, either on My servants or the servants of the world, and they are never scandalized by any murmurings of men, either for their own sake or that of others. That is to say, in their own case they are content to endure anything for My Name’s sake; and when an injury is done to some one else, they endure it with compassion of this injured neighbor, and without murmuring against him who caused the injury, or him who received it, because their love is not disordinate, but has been ordered in Me, the Eternal God.

"And, since their love is so ordered, these souls, my dearest daughter, never take offense from those they love, nor from any rational creature, their will being dead and not alive, wherefore they never assume the right to judge the will of men, but only the will of My Clemency…Another thing is necessary for you to arrive at this union and purity, namely, that you should never judge the will of man in anything that you may see done or said by any creature whatsoever, either to yourself or to others. My will alone should you consider, both in them and in yourself. And, if you should see evident sins or defects, draw out of those thorns the rose, that is to say, offer them to Me, with holy compassion. In the case of injuries done to yourself, judge that My will permits this in order to prove virtue in yourself, and in My other servants, esteeming that he who acts thus does so as the instrument of My will; perceiving, moreover, that such apparent sinners may frequently have a good intention, for no one can judge the secrets of the heart of man. That which you do not see you should not judge in your mind, even though it may externally be open mortal sin, seeing nothing in others, but My will, not in order to judge, but, as has been said, with holy compassion. In this way you will arrive at perfect purity, because acting thus, your mind will not be scandalized, either in Me or in your neighbor. Otherwise you fall into contempt of your neighbor, if you judge his evil will towards you, instead of My will acting in him. Such contempt and scandal separates the soul from Me, and prevents perfection, and, in some cases, deprives a man of grace, more or less according to the gravity of his contempt, and the hatred which his judgment has conceived against his neighbor.


#12

My prayers for you.


#13

My questions for is this: Have you researched other religions and their beliefs? What other denominations are you considering? How can you be sure the same thing or worse wouldn’t happen with you new religion (faith)?


#14

When you find a church filled with perfect people, please, post an update.


#15

Flippant - insensitive remarks like this is part of the coldness I speak of. No one expects “perfect people” in the Church. I do think we have the right to expect people working for the Church not to deliberately lie and deceive.


#16

This is a very poor reason to turn your back on Christ’s Bride-- the Church. The Church and Christ are ONE. You cannot turn your back on one without turning your back on the other.

Down on your knees, in front of the Crucific saying, “Thank you Jesus for dieing for my sins and the sins of the whole world.”

Remember, Christ was betrayed and abandoned. There is nothing you experience in your lifetime that he did not experience and take upon himself on the Cross.

Unite your suffering to His.

And spend lots of time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Remember that when Jesus asked his disciples if they wanted to leave too, Peter said, “Master, to whom would we go?”

There is no other Church. You know that already. Forgiveness is an act of your will. You will have to call upon the grace of the Sacraments.


#17

Those people who work for the Church are still people, warts and all. Prayers for all who work in these positions, nothing flippant, just honest.


#18

Hello,
i am new to CA and i just read your November post about the difficulties discovered while working in the church.
i am also familiar with this, having worked in the church. i am sorry that some did not understand what you were saying - it is hard to understand the realities unless you have been through it.
i hope you found, like some respondents suggested, that union with Christ in his suffering that pulls us through. And of course the Eucharist. Also the faith community. And lots of prayer, reading, etc.
i hope you are patient with yourself. It takes about 2 years i’ve heard to heal from this, although you may find, like me, that i’m not the same, but my faith is stronger.
Anyway, am praying for you. Glad you found a nice job and hope that is working out fine. Don’t let anyone take your faith from you. The Catholic faith is so beautiful and it is His gift to you.


#19

It is obvious you love the Lord and because of this you are suffering from the sinfulness and lack of charity of others in His Church. If you didn’t love Jesus and His Church, it wouldn’t bother you so much.

I can totally empathize with your experience from my own. You will find a lack of charity everywhere you go … in the Catholic Church and outside as well. Your faith rests on Christ and not on the purity or lack thereof in His Bride.

One thing that helps me is to know myself in truth before the Lord. I read a story once about a holy person who was continually harrassed in prayer by accusations of their sins. “You are a very proud person, etc … etc … etc …”.
One day the holy person turned to “the accuser of the brethren” and acclaimed “it is precisely because I am all those things that I need Christ and to pray.”

If you know the Catholic Church is His Bride, you know there is no where else to go. The Lord is offering you an opportunity to grow in holiness through what you are suffering. Like St. Augustine who said “Lord, please make me chaste … but not yet” … I know the feeling of wishing the Lord didn’t want our growth in holiness too much … or that He would save it for another day.


#20

A priest friend of mine was called into a major city hospital to give the last rights to a police officer who had been shot.

When he arrived at the Emergency Room, he found the officer on a gurney with only a flesh wound. So, they talked. Turns out the officer had not been to mass in 20 years, but was Catholic and had asked for a priest when he thought it was serious.

Father: So, why haven’t you been to Mass in 20 years?
Officer: 20 years ago, some #%#@%@ priest gave a homily insinuating that all cops were crooked and dishonest, so I left and never returned.
Father: Do you believe in God?
Officer: Oh, of course! And I believe that Jesus is the son of God, and died on the cross for our sins.
Father: And you haven’t been to church in 20 years? Do you believe in the sacraments?
Officer: Of course. And, I have to tell you, I really miss them.
Father: And you haven’t been to church in 20 years? Do you believe in the Real Presence?
Officer: Of course! Christ is present in the Eucharist.
Father: And you haven’t been to Mass in 20 years? Tell me, who is the #%#@%@ here?

Well, the priest told it better. But, the point is that the faith is the faith, no matter that it seems that most of the people who practice it, even work for the Church, seem to struggle on a daily basis with living that faith.

If you BELIEVE, then you simply can’t leave. You have nowhere else to go.


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