I’m not sure if I should share my reasons, I fear it may earn me a ban or suspension but I feel I should be honest as my story is far from unique.
I was actually quite comfortable being a Cafeteria Catholic, really after the child abuse expose the vast majority here in Ireland take the proclamations of the Catholic priesthood about as seriously as they do an episode of the Big Bang theory (I mean no offense by this, I simply cannot think of a better analogy) and favor a more personal private faith. Catholic by circumstance and culture more than anything else.
It wasn’t always this way, I took my Catholic faith very seriously but (personally) as I progressed through my Religious Studies and History Undergraduate Degree to my mind the position of papal infallibility became entirely untenable. Not from anything like the Galileo affair but rather the formation of the Church itself. Certainly, men are sinners but the way the church was set up as an organization (absolute monarchy) really appears to my mind to invite corruption (who could possibly challenge Innocent III about his proclamation about being Supreme Temporal Ruler for instance?). I personally cannot accept the idea that our savior couldn’t come up with a better mode of governance or would permit the world to suffer as the west did under medieval Catholic rule. Certainly democracy is not perfect and many democratic institutions themselves are corrupt but when ones looks at episodes like Honorius or the Cadaver synod democratic corruption really in my mind pales in comparison.
That didn’t tip me into converting though, what did was the attempted suicide of a dear friend of mine who was kicked out of the family home by her parents for being a lesbian. Not for having a girlfriend (at the time she had decided to remain celibate), not for disobeying Catholic teaching, but for having same sex attractions.
Their callousness draws directly from their intense Catholic faith, and I cannot say it is just because their daughter was gay (their son has since ran away from home and now lives with his sister as well). I realized I simply couldn’t support such an organization anymore, these two people are hailed as paragons of Catholic virtue in my local parish by the priest and while disliked by almost every other parishioner are constantly upheld as a shining example of Catholic virtue in practice. Certainly the Pope did not my friend her out of her family home or directly suggest her mother beat the “gay demons” out of her with a candlestick until she fell unconscious, but her parents quoted the advice given by Cardinal Burke to cast sinners out of family life as justification for doing so. It may be guilt by association but I decided I wanted no more part of it, by practice or even as a nominal cultural Catholic.
Why am I no longer a Catholic? I, as an academic teacher at a university can sit at my desk and consider the good and the bad aspects of Catholicism if not in history than at least in my life and that of those around me. The bad far outweighs the good in the lives of those I am intimately familiar with and myself, it continues to influence actions that lead to the harm of otherwise innocent people here and upholds those who deserve justice to be done to them as paragons of virtue. In other words, I can’t offer any form of support or anything but the most basic level of neutral academic respect to that.
I continue to study as a scholar, since Catholicism was my original specialist subject and I am paid grants to continue my research, but on a personal level I have no desire to return.
I was always taught by a organizations fruits one could judge them, and I see a very, very bad crop in 2015 Ireland