I thought once you know the truth the truth will set you free.
Just because someone is formally Catholic, it does not mean he recognizes the truth before him.
Sadly, sometimes people are ignorant of the faith in which they were raised and therefore convert. As a convert to Catholicism I have been surprised how many “Cradle Catholics” don’t understand the beauty, depth and truth of the faith.
To know the faith in one’s head is quite different than one who knows it in their heart. Perhaps people who come to an understanding of the experience of faith be it somewhere else becomes grateful towards it so that this person continues to pursue it where this experience was found. Most Catholics will tell you that is was the experience of faith that will set them apart from what they already know that was spelled out for them when they were younger.
Because it’s easy and selfish.
Try reading over this article, it might provide some interesting data that address this question.
You can know the Truth and still fall away. You could have a great personal encounter with Christ and still find yourself tested in painful ways that strain your faith.
I left for lots or reasons all amounting to I didn’t believe any of the distinctive Catholic dogmas anymore. I was raised non religious but became Christian and Catholic in college. I was drawn to its history and intellectual tradition. There were a few things I couldn’t quite accept but on direction from my spiritual advisor he told me to practice the faith and those things would fall into place. They never did. Ten years later I was trying to practice my faith that was getting more dead and moribund by the day. I was going through the motions and getting more and more resentful of the church. Yet my resentment was making me terrified of my salvation. I laid awake at night terrified that my contrition was not perfect or if I even had it at all. I did confession because it was an obligation. It gave me no comfort. I went to mass because I was obligated and it gave me no comfort. I bought every book Catholic Answers put out and read all their tracts. I went and crossed swords with Protestants in real life and online. I was not trying to convince them, I was trying to convince myself. I realized all my “answers” were pathetic.
I started to hate all the obligations of the church. I hated going to mass. I hated going to confession. I pretended to be on the same page as everyone else. Even though they looked as miserable as me. They all ran out of the church so fast after mass that you would think the building was on fire. My dismal and dead faith offered me no peace, no comfort. It became a source of pain in my life. I was in a state of spiritual torture and agony, I had to make it stop.
All this coupled with some very negative experiences at my local parish, where I was a lector and my wife a Eucharistic minister. I finally told her on the way home from church that I wanted to check out somewhere else. I related all this to a coworker who was feeling very bad about his Reformed baptist church. We both decided to check out a local tiny confessional Lutheran parish in my town. The pastor told me the Lutheran Law Gospel distinction. He offered to baptize my daughter free of charge with no strings attached. Folks actually stayed after church and enjoyed each other’s company. It was like coming up for air. I recently moved and found a new small confessional lutheran parish similar to the first. I was confirmed in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod late last year.
Working with my pastor I have let go of my anger towards my former church. Turns out I may have something called scrupulosity. Something that my hero Luther also may have had. His writings on the issue felt so close to home. I can relate. Now I actually respect my former church more now than a year ago and half ago. I believe that the Catholic Church preaches the word and administers the sacraments, I believe it is a legitimate coequal, co blessed by God, beloved Christian Church home to many Christians. But its simply not for me.
My Testimony tells why I left…and then why I returned.
I am in my 60’s. I was a cradle Catholic and even went to Catholic school for 9 years. Having said all that, in my late 20’s I left the church for over 30 years and have been “home” just over 3 years. There are as many reasons why people drop out as there are people who do so. It also doesn’t mean that they will never return. For me, it had to do with a lot of the changes that occurred with V2–but also I think a degree of false pride. I began to judge the entire Catholic church by the particular parish I attended. When I came back, I made God a promise and that was that I’d shut up and obey. This doesn’t come easy to me as no parish is exactly all you want. BUT, the Mass is the Mass and the sacraments are the sacraments and for me it is better to be Catholic and maybe sometimes a little irritated than to be where I was—which was nowhere.
Thanks for all the replies. None were particularly enlightening but I promise I’ll keep searching. God bless you
Very interesting article. I forwarded it to our RCIA Committee. The one category that made me chuckle was the one that said that the Church did not take the Bible literally enough. That’s when the passage on marriage and John 6 came to mind.
Your scrupulosity is truly a cross to bear. For me, I discovered it shortly after comig in the Church. It was pointed out to me that it could be caused y my desire to make sure I was doing everything “just right” for my new faith. I was advised to ‘let it go’ and accept the fact that perfection was to be found only in heaven. But as to the ‘co equal’ part, I will have to disagree with you. I found the FULL truth here. As with so many things, ‘just as good’ usually isn’t.
G K Chesterton once said that Christianity was not tried and found wanting; but that it was found to be hard and not tried at all. This truth can be said about the Catholic Church.
Some, may study the theology and find they cannot in conscience agree. But there are more people entering the Church for this reason than those leaving it. Others may do so in their own pride and we can only pray for these.
But the greatest majority find that their lifestyles are not compatible with Catholic teaching and they do not want to change. Often they will excuse themselves by blaming their parish experience or the pedophile crisis or their family situation. These only God can judge.
What we must do is to continue to align our informed conscience with the truths of the Church; align our devotional ,life with the examples of the Saints and never leave the loving arms of God who founded the Church and the Sacraments for our salvation.
Our former pastor used to tell us that the most important journey we will ever make is the one between the head and the heart. How true!! God Bless, Memaw
AMEN and Thank you !!! God Bless, Memaw
Here are some reasons why some leave:
Coming from a family that does not take the faith seriously
Not wanting to cooperate with the graces given them
Looking at others in the Church who do not have a deep faith and being affected by that
Lack of desire to grow in the virtues of faith, hope, and love…and all the other virtues
Not praying consistently whether one feels like they want to or not
My journey began when I had started to pray. Even though I was taught the faith I began to experience God only when I had begun to pray. The heart I thought needed some instruction as well and nobody had told me to find this out in a way that would have been understood by me. Perhaps if we are taught more when we are younger to experience God it would not to be too hard on us to come to know of God. I suspect the Lord is just waiting for our first words I mean a real old fashioned type of discussion between Him and us. Do you have some experience that brought meaning to your faith? Was it prayer or perhaps some other route that led you into a more lively faith?
It’s only the “truth” if you believe it to be the truth. Some people just don’t accept it as such.
I think there’s two main reasons. God has not yet given that grace to wholeheartedly accept the truth with faith. Or the person has, with God’s grace, accepted the truth with faith, but has neglected that great gift and allowed sin to harden his heart.
Neither of these scenarios means that the person is definitely lost. Sometimes God lets us wander in the desert for a while before leading us into (or back into) the promised land. I’m willing to bet Church Militant wouldn’t be the devoted Catholic he is now if the Lord had not allowed Him to take the path He did first.
We are definitely lost only when we persevere to the very end in that hardness of heart to the grace of God calling us to the truth.
Here’s a passage from the First Vatican Council to back up what I’m saying:
[quote=Vatican I]14. To this witness [of the Church] is added the effective help of power from on high. For, the kind Lord stirs up those who go astray and helps them by his grace so that they may come to the knowledge of the truth  ; and also confirms by his grace those whom he has translated into his admirable light , so that they may persevere in this light, not abandoning them unless he is first abandoned.
- Consequently, the situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have embraced the Catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the guidance of the Church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for calling it into question.
This being so, giving thanks to God the Father who has made us worthy to share with the saints in light  let us not neglect so great a salvation , but looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith , let us hold the unshakable confession of our hope .
23 1 Tm 2, 4.
24 1 Pt 2, 9; Col 1, 13.
25 Col 1, 12.
26 Heb 2, 3.
27 Heb 12, 2.
28 Heb 10, 23.