Why Aren’t You Catholic?

That’s the question. I’d like you, be you an ex-Catholic or an atheist, a Protestant or a Buddhist, to answer. Any honest responses will be given equally honest attention, neither “slanging [nor] silence”.

For, as the Anglicans become Catholic, as the Eastern Orthodox Church declares greater communion, as members of even the Lutheran Church seek entrance, and as the Church herself grows ever greater throughout the world, the time swiftly approaches when your reason for staying outside of the Universal Church will be just as important and asked for as the Catholic’s reasons for being within it.

So what is it? I would love to hear, as my heart yearns and breaks for those outside of the family. Please respond; let’s shock the world by having civil dialogue, in love and in faith.

Please give this to any friends outside of the Church, or anyone you know who’d like to answer! I will post on any reason, no matter how small.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12167332645985278749 Elizabeth of Hungary

    Heh. I *believe* it was A.C. Piepkorn, a Lutheran theologian, who said something to the effect of, no one can truly be Lutheran unless they get up every morning and first ask themselves why they are not Catholic. A good friend, a Catholic seminarian, asked me this very same question this summer. Why aren't you Catholic? I pondered the question for…well, months, really, until I realized around Christmas, to my shame, that the answers were 1) fear, and 2) inertia. And once I saw that, once I admitted that, I knew for certain where I have to go. So, I'm on my way. Lots of "life circumstances" have to be arranged, but I'm coming. Save me a seat, k?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10775592484866509189 Karyn

    I think my grandmother left because she seems so angry about the hierarchy of Rome and she often complains about the Pope and the Church's riches. My father left because the nuns and priests were always trying to scare everyone with the threat of hell. My in-laws left because they felt the Church was impersonal and had to many rules that were just "made up by men". My husband temporarily left because he doesn't like all of the rules and rituals and the potential to "go through the motions mindlessly". I'm a convert and have had such a different experience and it makes me so sad that they don't see the Church the same way I do (though my husband has reverted, thank God). I worry that my children may end up with the same disdain other cradle Catholics seem to feel.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16625967408713849281 Pete

    I left for years. First it was too much "Thou shalt not" and not enough of God's glorious Love. I just started feeling like huge failed sinner with no hope of redemption, then I just drifted …… for about 25 years. But I'm happily back in Catholic fold by God's good Grace and Love.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09157748079129752535 Tim

    Why am I not Catholic? Because I still have theological issues to work out. I refuse to enter into Catholicism unless I can accept what it fully teaches. To do otherwise is neither respectful toward Catholicism, or to one's self. Though I have huge Catholic leanings and sympathies, I cannot bring myself to convert for said reasons. I have Catholics and Orthodox both telling me "Its OKAY- we have the fullness of the truth. Come home." I am trying to them both an honest hearing. On a more personal level, I am terrified, and thus in a stalemate. On the whole, not a good scenario to be in. I know I've spiritually suffered (and still am suffering) because of it. Indecision is just as much a killer as decision. Yet, what am I to do? I cannot lie to any Church if I were to join half-heatedly, nor can I lie to myself and convert without full acceptance of doctrine, practice, etc. Pray for me, a poor sinner. If, by some chance, I end up being the doormat to heaven, I'll be happy. P.S.- FWIW, I was raised (and still am) a Missouri-Synod Lutheran. If that means anything to anybody XD

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Because I require evidence.For example: "The Dragon in My Garage" by Carl Saganvideo version: videotext version: textWhen you understand why you dismiss the invisible dragon and indeed dismiss all other possible gods, then you will understand why I dismiss your god.As for Catholicism specifically. Why aren't you Protestant, Muslim, or Hindu? Because your society and/or your parents didn't teach you that. There is no good reason to choose any one religion over another. All require the exact same belief without evidence. And faith doesn't determine truth. Truth is determined via evidence and the scientific method. That is how we know anything and everything.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    "Only when you also know the lesser known facts about Christianity are you truly free to decide for yourself what you believe." – http://www.truth-saves.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07893718360768235431 lordshadowblade

    I just want to give a shout out. You win at life.That being said, I'm Catholic. ;-)Also, perhaps as a way of response to Abermore, I would look at the philosophical Empiricists, particularly Locke and David Hume. The interesting thing is, that if you believe that we can only know anything through empiricism (ie evidence, experience, etc) then ultimately…you don't even know that. Hume took empiricism to its ultimate logical end and it ended up refuting empiricism. Or, as to the question,. "How do we know that we know?" Hume would say, "We don't." P.S. Even though I don't have a blogger account, consider me a new addition to your blogging fanclub. Pax tecum.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12659710455999003457 Nanette

    Wow…what thoughtful and thought-provoking replies. If only more people could be so balanced on this topic. I'm a proud/devout Catholic. I could never give up the liturgy, Eucharist or my faith's beautiful traditions. Thanks so much for this question. God gave this a thumbs up, I'm sure. Ncrookedhalocatholicblog.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17624589296171657699 egosumbarb

    Whoah! Kudos to everyone on keeping this civil and respectful! If you don't mind my sharing… in response to @abemore's questions (also, Woohoo! on the scientific method shout out!):Believe it or not, the scientific method, reasoning, and constant pursuit of 'truth' is what ultimately strengthened my faith in God and adherence to Catholicism…not my parents or society. I did research other religions (western, eastern, ancient, you name it) over time as well as philosophy because I'm a scientist who loves brainteasers… and religion is certainly the mother of all brainteasers (*challenging research-induced drooling*). Naturally, this led to A LOT of reading and research over the years…(because I'm such a geek). Catholicism ultimately made more sense to me. Does it mean that all over religions are wrong? No. I think that all major religions ultimately worship the same God. Also, each religion seems to have so much in common. Furthermore, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, etc. each have at least some part in their theology, practices, etc. that can benefit anyone's life. Meditation, for example, is a practice that is found across the religion board as well as the secular world….and there's plenty of peer-reviewed journal articles out there suggesting that it helps too. Speaking as a scientist, I must point out that neither the "scientific method" nor "evidence" ultimately lead "know[ing] anything and everything." Quite the opposite in my experience. If you read a scientific paper on any material, you will ultimately see more questions raised in the "conclusions" section than you see concrete answers. Hardly any researchers worth their salt ever come out of a project "knowing" something with 100% certainty. I can assure you that any paper up for review would certainly raise PLENTY of eyebrows if this was ever the case. Published papers tend to come out with more theories and questions than they began with(whether or not they sought to prove or disprove a particular theory). So though I would say that science may lead to a better understanding of something…I would not venture to say that it leads to "ultimate truth" per se. If that was the case, NIH and NSF would not be shelling out billions of dollars to support so many researchers…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    Know that I've read all of these fantastic comments, and am preparing to post tommorrow on one o the reasons given..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07224387870248366957 Yes, I’m Catholic

    Great post. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post!I am Catholic, hardcore Catholic. But many in my family have left. Some have left because of the gay marriage issue. One left because he agrees with the democratic party views of gay marriage in addition to the Church's stance on abortion, stem cell research, basically any issue where the democratic platform disagrees with the Church. One left because of an issue with a priest, and she thought that the diocese didn't deal with it quickly enough, and it just proved to her that all religions are faulty…so why go anywhere? And now her son is an atheist. A niece and nephew just stopped going to Mass, and I don't think they believe in God at all, though I'm not certain. I bring these up with one request: please pray for them? Thanks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03673253604347855767 Ambre

    The second issue for me is the institution… the Catholic church… it had and still has too much power.. and it's authority is justified through the divine, a source of power which is really unchecked… And now if the church used it's power to do good things in the world.. I could ignore that.. but that's not the case.. And now you'll tell me that the church helps plenty and donates to charity and whatnot… but does that excuse all the other bad deeds the Catholic church has done? Can't we have a charitable organization that only does charitable things? So my problem with the church is that it has too much unchecked power.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03673253604347855767 Ambre

    My first issues never got posted.. so I'll repost.My first issue is that deities and supernatural forces have no empirical basis.. So really, if you believe in a god, you can believe in anything… science at least tries to make an attempt at understanding the world around us though proof.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00098504849466846551 Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    @Abemore,I am fully convinced that no proof will ever convince somebody who does not desire a relationship with God. And, given what I have been taught about what manner of being God is, that's entirely logical. Consider the following Catholic doctrines as premises:1. God is love; that is, he desires to obtain and provide as a gift to his beloved that which is to their greatest authentic good.2. God is omniscient. He knows everything, including what is truly best for you and the most desperate of your unacknowledged desires.3. God is omnipotent; that is, he can do anything he wants.4. What is best for us is to know who God is, to love Him as He loves us, and to serve His will.5. Free will is good for sentient beings.If these are all true, there's a decent chance you can have evidence of God's existence that you find convincing. How? Ask him to demonstrate the truth of these things to you.If 1 and 4 are true, he is motivated to do so. If 2 is true, he knows you want him to do so. If 3 is true, he has the means to provide you with convincing evidence.However….when you add premise 5, it all becomes contingent on whether you sincerely want to find God. If not, then He suddenly becomes motivated to hide Himself from you. For the good of your free will is something He will not take from you in order to compel you — all against your will — to know who he is.@Tim,fair enough. I'm impressed by your honesty. I recommend you look into the explanations provided by decent Catholic apologists. But if they convince you, stop fearing!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00098504849466846551 Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    @Ambre,I used to fret about the apparent irrationality of the Church. I can freely suggest Dr. Stanley Williams' Trying to Fly With One Wing, which is all about the right relationship between faith and reason.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13201226644704622876 Sal

    Why it took me seven years to enter:a) I was still trying hard to make Anglicanism work b/cb) I knew becoming a Catholic was going to drive a wedge between myself and my spouse that only grace could fix. On a human level, I dreaded that, because I loved him dearly.Well, it did and twenty-five years later it still isn't mended.(Mostly because I'm an ass.)But give it time…I cuold never tell anyone NOT to do it for reasons of personal discomfort, but I certainly never discount them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14564367169682934416 kotak spam

    @Abemore: I am a mathematician. The truth is not determined by faith, nor evidence nor scientific research. The truth shall be there at first.There are known knowns, there are unknown unknowns, but there are also unknown knowns.If nobody have proved Pythagorean theorem until now, Pythagorean theorem is still true. There are not-yet-proved (conjecture) in math. Some of them may be true although we don't have any proof. For the transparent unicorn argument, nobody also believed that transparent sea cucumber exist, until recent deep sea creatures discoveries, and there still exist parts of deep ocean that have not been touched by human. The lesson is: sometimes we don't know that something exist (so we say something does not exist) because we are not familiar with the area. It's like kindergarten students who say "well, I saw my primary school elder brother wrote 5-7 on his homework. but we know that we can only subtract the bigger number with smaller number. he's stupid!". I laughed when I first saw square root of minus one coz I thought the teacher did typo.Moreover, the 'faith' that this should be true or that should be wrong are what drives to evidence, at least in math. You can searched for disproved or proved conjectures in mathematics. For example, Euler proved that 2^64-1 is not a prime (back at his days there were no sophisticated computers, so he did it manually), because he believed that the conjecture "2^2^m-1 are all prime" is wrong. If he believes that the conjecture is right because there is no counterexample, he would not search for counter example and waste his time doing tedious calculations.The problem with atheist scientists may rise coz they believe that 99.9999999% confidence interval is enough. Although it is not likely, the 0.0000001% might be the true one. As long as the possibility is not ZERO (although its very near to zero), something is still possible. You can say that god is not exist because there's no proof, but this is not a valid logical statement as I mentioned above: the truth will always be there even where there is no evidence.Or some logically smarter scientists may say "well yeah, there's no proof that god does not exist. But it is very unlikely that god exist, just like it is very unlikely to see a madhatter on the dark side of the moon, so god does not exist". But what's the difference with this?A: hey, i just got 1 billion dollar from the lottery. Can u imagine that?B: it is very unlikely to win the lottery, so it will not happen!So my point is: you cannot prove god by using religious argument. however, you also cannot disprove god by using logical argument either. Until now, god's existence is a conjecture, just like god's non-existence. Those who believes (i use this word as there is no prove either to disprove god)that god does not exist cannot boast that they are way more intellectual than those who believes god exist.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10077021437921234464 Catholic Defender

    My eldest brother left the Church because he cannot reconcile the bad lifestyle of our father with his strict implementation of Sunday worship. My brother in-law and my sister left the Church because a priest shouted at them during mass baptism when the priest found out that they haven't paid the dues. My other brother left the Church because the priest relieved him from parochial duties due to frequent absences during parish meetings. My neighbors became nominal Catholics because for them their priest is enriching himself while they still have to figure out how they have to survive the next day. But for me, I was firm in my faith because I am convinced intellectually and historically that this Church is the only legitimate Church that has existed for more than 2,000 years now. I hope you also visit my blog from time to time although I am not an English speaking Asian. God bless you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04274507983353868813 Practicing Mammal

    I am.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03292701296977739590 the patriot

    I am not a Catholic because your Church teaches lies!!! You practice anti Christ and Anti GOD practices such as IDOLATRY, INFANT BAPTISM, REPEATED PRAYERS (rosary), Celibacy… all of which are prohibited by GOD in his commandments. Your Church earns billions in a week only to feed the luxuries of your cardinals and your pagan pontiff. Your church is the one responsible for the murder of Christ, His apostles and early followers and its a fact. The ROMANS killed every Christian they can get their hands on during the early centuries when Constantine founded Catholism and Yet today this pagan church is called ROMAN Catholic church? You church follows not the law of God but the law based on your CANNON doctrine which was made up by politicians and priests almost two thousand years ago. Your church are full of false prophets and Hyppocrites and real Christians should not be subjected by your laws and false doctrines. And I am sure that you your self doesn't read the bible because you are prohibited to do so?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03292701296977739590 the patriot

    Catholic Defender… be wise and read the bible. Read history and be open the truth. Ask GOD to give you the wisdom to know what is true. Your comments are so dumb and baseless. I am saying this to you to warn you as it is written in the book of Exekiel… do not be subjected to the LIES of Catholic Church… before it is too late.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03292701296977739590 the patriot

    You also said that the catholic church are the most widely persecuted church??? WRONG… you church is the ABUSER and persecutor of real Christian. To those who can HEAR… HEAR… who can SEE … SEE!!! thats the words of CHRIST.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    @the patriotI'll make sure to post on all that, so as to further discuss your interesting points! I would hate to think I've been within the anti-Christ church all this time…after all, seeing as the Catholic Church compiled the bible THAT would mean that the Bible itself is Anti-Christian! Which would be very confusing, don't you think?

  • Manda

    @The Patriot,oh my.Where there is love, there is God. Where there is hate….God is not. Prayers coming your way.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12315317923902957130 Otepoti

    Thank you for asking this question. Since my answers turned out to be just excuses, I have signed up for RCIA.

    • BlueOak619

      Comments like this bring joy to my heart.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08698702076517626368 Kellee

    @the patriot. How do you figure the idolatry? Since when is celibacy prohibited by the Bible? We are allowed to read the Bible and encouraged to do so often, and Christ died for our sins freely, He freely gave up his life to be obedient to the Father. Technically, the pharisees killed Christ on the charge of blasphemy, because he claimed that he is The Christ, the Son of God, I AM. (I AM was used in the Old Testament by God.) I would suggest that you actually study what the Catholic church actually teaches rather than taking the Calvinist attacking points against it, also actually studying the writings of Calvin and Luther, so you get a better idea of what they where against, not only with the Catholic church, but in how they formed their own churches. It's good reading, and historical. Now in answer to Marc's question, I became Catholic after many years of reading The Bible, the Catechism, and reading the writings of Calvin and Luther. My husband is Catholic and our children where baptized in the Catholic church, because we where married in the church I agreed that our children would be raised in the church. I'll admit that my reading and studying of the church was merely for helping to educate our children in the faith, me keeping my word. The last major religion I was in before was LDS, and I knew it was wrong, just theologically speaking. Because of my study of the church I saw that the theology made sense, and the history lined up. That's my story.

  • Anonymous

    From a forum post of mine:This will never be settled in an internet forum. Hyoooj topics abound, but with that said you can't possibly know how badly I wish I could believe like you guys. I know these 4 things with unshakable certainty. There has never been an extended time in history when Rome was not immersed in some kind of loud public Christ dishonoring corruption. 2. The gospel, Jesus and epistemology I find unmistakably staring me in the face in the scriptures answers sweetly to the Spirit of the most high God who never fails to meet me in prayer. He's there first. Not to mention His faithful walk with me through my days (and nights too). That gospel, Jesus and epistemology by their very nature utterly preclude the slightest possibility of Catholicism having anything whatever to do with them, except as a hostile adversary. (I don't mean individual people). They cannot both be true3. There is no possible way, just NO WAY, the God I know as per the above could ever sanction anything like the romish bureaucracy and most especially that abhorrent and abominable vatican city. 4. Catholicism displays absolutely no transforming power of the living God in the lives of it's people whatsoever. They are with few exceptions just as dead as the world and for good reason. The church has taken the very Greek pagans that Paul denounced in 1st Corinthians as the basis for their belief system. I have seen that blindingly displayed before my very eyes times too numerous to count right here in these forums. To say nothing of the rest of my life.I don't have all the answers at the moment, but I will go my earthly grave believing what I just said. You're a decent man and a sharp guy and very well educated, but do not fool yourself into believing you have that magic info I've never heard that will change my mind.Tiribulus – Detroit

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14278135181589019911 SGuilfoyle

    Jesus never promised us a perfect Church. He promised us that He would always be with us.So we Catholic Christians stumble onward, trying to keep up following Him, occasionally veering off the right path, occasionally going entirely in the wrong direction.Thank God for His boundless love and His Divine Mercy!

  • Anonymous

    Why am i not a catholic member? (1) I dont believe in pope and apostolic successions (2) Reading world history, i discovered that RCC had been playing with politics,wars,etc. (3) Their teachings and doctines are in direct opposite of the teaching of the apostles. (4)They believed in rituals (like eating Christ in wafer during masses) (5)They do not care for their members about bible study,but instead teaches cathechesm. (6) They have many images and pagan monumements named after saints (they only changed names) (7)Their history is not of true christianity but originated from political party. (8)They changed the 10 commandments by eliminating the 2nd commandment and dividing the 10th commandment into two to accomodate for the elimination of the 2nd commandment (9)The many secrets of vatican that still today are kept unlocked in their library vault. (10)The many crimes against the Jews.(11)The false church today that run contrary to Christ. (12) Many more that i cant write about.

    • Angela P.

      Wow… so many reasons that you do not believe. May I suggest going to Scripturecatholic.com or perhaps reading Dr. Scott Hahn’s book, Reason’s to Believe. Just reading your “whys” you are so off on what the Church actually believes. #8, however, is way wrong. The Catholic Church did not change the 10 Commandments. The Commandments were changed when Martin Luther created his own church and decided to throw out and change the parts of the Bible that did not agree with his thinking.
      Please… look further into your questions to get the real and true answers.
      Peace and blessings.
      Instaurare omnia in Christo+
      Angela P.

  • Anonymous

    Hate, Pride, Ignorance, Prejudice, Rebellious, Glorification of Private Revelation…… Protestantism teaches and cultivates some disgusting sins and twists them to be means and not ends. You are no different than a people that hate and fear another ethnic group because you have been institutionally trained to, and for some, over generations for 500 yrs. Not unlike southerners in the United States who cling to the anger handed down by their forefathers over a civil war fought 146 years ago. To our brothers and sisters in Christ, who have been lead astray or reared in culture that taught heresies and to protect those heresies from being corrected were taught to fear and hate Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, we await you, as prodigal sons and daughters. Stop denying yourself and your descendents the fullness of Christ’s love and life. Return home and leave behind the heresies that ensnared so many over the centuries. This is your moment to heal the wound.

    • Josh

      Anonymous – seems like you’re the one with a wound that needs healing.
      I’m sorry, let me be more charitable: you’re not being charitable.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14204732406904344969 tom in ohio

    to timso . . . you have theological issues with Catholicism? And you have none with LCMS? I bet you do!I was evangelical free and needed a long time to cross the Tiber. When I did I lost my job because of it. But I'll tell you this, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear, the theological issues shrink and eventually disappear. There's a whole cloth thing to Catholicism. When you start to really "get" one part then another comes along and eventually it all fits together. All the best on your journey!

  • Guest

    I’m not a Catholic because I don’t buy the whole “We’re the One True Church” line. If I thought there was a One True Church, I’d go further east than Rome to Orthodoxy. If you take Catholicism’s standards for a One True Church to their natural conclusion, Orthodoxy’s claims are a lot less contrived and a lot more consistent. I don’t think anyone’s got it completely right. I’m an Anglican, because we aren’t ashamed to admit that, while we maintain the traditional perspective so important for a rich and thriving church life.

    • Pfm11

      But Angicanism is not thriving

      • Jack Heron

        Since when is popularity the judge of one’s wisdom? If the Catholic Church (God forbid, because I like it despite our differences) were to falter and lose adherents, would you leave it because it was ‘not thriving’?

      • BlueOak619

        Neither is the Catholic Church though.

    • Josephkurian


      With my all love and respect, let me say, I really think you misunderstood catholic church!!

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    I’m not Catholic because: (a) I was brought up a Quaker, and in terms of ritual and hierarchy in religious services Quakers are at the polar opposite end of the world to Catholics (b) I’m an atheist, of course, though I know quite a few atheists who acknowledge their Catholicism informed and inspired their views even though they now know there is no God (c) I don’t agree with the Catholic doctrine that lesbian and gay people are inferior (d) I don’t agree with the Catholic doctrine that women’s lives are unimportant and the most moral kind of woman is a dead woman (e) I don’t agree with the Catholic doctrine that once a piece of bread has been magicked into a piece of the body of Christ, it should be treated with more kindness and consideration than many a human being.

    • Guest

      You can have disagreements about the existence of God or of ritual but please do not say things like theres a Catholic doctrine tha says gays are inferior or that womens lives are unimportant and the most moral kind of woman is a dead one. You are completely wrong about that. Yes we disagree with homosexuality but we never say they are inferior, do some research on the churches actual stance on homosexuality AND of homosexual. While it disagrees with homosexuality it calls for homosexuals to be treated with the same kind of love and respect as anyone else. Secondly, the women thing frankly doesnt deserve a response. That is completely stupid. Some of the most admired catholic figures are women.

    • Guest

      I think you need to a little research. First of all…. gays and lesbians are not inferior in the eyes of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is one of the few organizations in the whole world that considers ALL life sacred, yes even those of our homosexual brothers and sisters. This is something I struggled with myself when I came back to the Church, but I found that the Church loves all people and does not condemn those who are homosexual at all. Second, women’s lives are not unimportant. I don’t know where you heard that…. many, many, many, saints are women and women are held in the highest esteem as wives, mothers, nuns, and lay women. They can choose to have careers, be married or not, and have children or not and still follow the teachings of the church. And your last point….I don’t how to address this because it’s a teaching that is so close to my heart, but the Eucharist is the one teaching I couldn’t deny as true. I can’t explain it, but the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ…..if you are open to other beliefs, look up some Eucharistic miracles. One thing about the Church is that is tends to take a skeptical stance on these things and will go through every scientific method it can when a miracle such as this happens.


    • Angela P.

      The Catholic Church doesn’t have a doctrine that states that lesbian and gay people are inferior. The Church stands firm in the belief that God created man as male and female and destined them for each other in a bodyly way. The Church accepts without reservation those who experience homosexual feelings. They ( persons who experience homosexual feelngs) should not be unjustly discriminated against because of that. At the same itme, the Church declares that all homosexual relations in any form are contrary to the order of creation. (CCC 2358-2359) Honestly, I don’t know where you are getting our information in regards to women and homosexuals, but the Church doesn’t have any doctrine that the state the most moral kind of a woman is a dead woman. As far as the body of Christ… it isn’t magic… it’s the word of Jesus, himself. In John 6 Jesus made it quite clear that the bread was His body. He stated it four times. It was so very clear that many of His disciples left Him because it was too hard for them to understand. If Jesus mean’t it any other way… He could have called them back and clarified it more… instead… He was VERY clear. Being a Catholic and knowing that through the Eucharistic prayers prayed by the Priest during consecration…that bread and wine BECOMES the BODY AND BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. And because that IS him… He SHOULD be treated with the utmost kindness, reverence and love.

      I pray this helps.
      Instaurare omnia in Christo+
      Angela P.

    • Josh

      EdinburghEye – I can’t speak to (a) or (b), but you’ll be happy to know that all faithful Catholics agree with you on (c), (d), and (e). Any religion that holds those beliefs would be unspeakably abhorrent.

  • Nicole Creehan

    EdinburghEye, I would like to clear up two points, c & d, about the views of the Catholic Church so that, no matter your views on the Church, they can at least be based on correct information. For point c. the Catholic Church most certainly doesn’t believe that gays and lesbians are inferior. The belief is simply that they can’t be married in the eyes of the Church, and thus shouldn’t have sex (because we believe that you shouldn’t have sex outside of marriage) because sex is intended for procreation (which is impossible for gay or lesbian couples) and marriage is intended to create a stable environment for raising a family. Because these two stances make it easy to fall into your belief that we feel they are inferior, the teachings of the Church specifically stress that gays and lesbians MUST be treated with the same respect and dignity due to all people regardless of their sexual orientation. I say this as someone with a cousin who is a lesbian and a very close friend, and fellow strong practicing Catholic, who is gay. As for your point d. I am not sure where you got the founding for the idea that the Church believes that women’s lives are unimportant, if anything we as a Church raise the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, to a higher honor as the example to which every person, male and female, should strive than almost any other Christan faith. Because Bl. Pope John Paul II can express our views on women far better than I could here is a link to a letter he wrote during his pontificate that I recently read on the subject: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_29061995_women_en.html.

  • Jear77

    First of all I want to tell you I took a few hours and read through a couple of topics I searched to see what would come up. I agree with quite a bit of what you say. I also disagree with some of what you say.
    I am what I would call a “modified Lutheran”
    There are certain things that are mysteries and have a “hands off” policy about them.
    However, in my own studies of the Bible, I find that much of Christianity has strayed from what I believe that Christianity should be. We’ve lost what it means to be Jewish. Remember that Christ was Jewish, and celebrated their customs, traditions, etc. I feel we, as Christians, should do the same, and by *not* doing the same we miss out on a LOT. A lot of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) churches celebrate the Jewish holidays instead of stuff like Christmas, Easter, etc (which we were not told to celebrate) http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/cienciareal/cienciareal20.htm for more info. As Christians we’re supposed to avoid every appearance of evil, so I’d rather avoid them altogether.
    I also don’t agree with confession the way it’s done in the Catholic Church (which historically had been to spy on the people) nor “Hail Mary’s” (which are totally not biblical as it is). I don’t agree with the theology of purgatory, as it doesn’t jive with my understanding of the bible. I don’t see the purpose of praying for someone who’s already dead, as their eternal destination was determined the moment they died. Now “when” the souls end up where they do is a matter of debate.

  • KirbytheAgnostic

    I’m not catholic because truthfully I don’t see any religion who has enough proof to confirm their beliefs as true. I’m just the sorta guy who doesn’t believe in something without concrete evidence. However I do not dismiss the possibility. Truthfully I think Theists have just as much truth in their claim in their belief as any Atheist. This is why I have settled on agnosticism ( specifically agnostic atheism). The criticism on my viewpoint is usually presented a bit like this. ” Oh so you might believe in the possibility of unicorns, or Bigfoot.” Which in my case is actually true. It may sound ridiculous but until someone is to completely prove or disprove the matter with some evidence i choose not to take a stance. As an agnostic atheist however I lean a bit more on the atheistic side. Why? They simply have a bit more stuff to back up what they believe in. Scientific laws have been proven. Gods of any sort have not. Does that mean that they aren’t there? No. It just means the possibility for each side of the argument to be true, exists. And that is why i am not catholic.

    • Guest
    • Joshparrish

      Kirby – I bring you good news! You don’t need to choose between science and theism. They’re not mutually exclusive. There have been many great scientists of both the theist and atheistic persuasion. (The first scientist to theorize the Big Bang was a Catholic priest, for example.) It’s true that science can’t prove scientifically that there is a God ( just like I can’t prove mathematically thatShakespeare was a better poet than William Carlos Williams) but it also can’t prove there is no God. It’s confusing that you seem to think science offers evidence in support of atheism because there can’t be positive evidence of a negative position. E.g., there is no evidence that Bigfoot doesn’t exist, only evidence that specific claims of its existence are false. Kirby, be of good cheer! The ocean that seemed uncrossable is but a trickle of a stream you can step over.

      • KirbytheAgnostic

        I understand what you are trying to say, and for the most part i agree with your points, and I’m not specifically stuck between theism and science,as much I just don’t believe the way theists believe. I also am aware of theists who propose scientific law and work in positions that relate to science, (e.g those i’m a scientist and a moron adds you see all the time), I’m also confused as to your comparison of not being able to prove the existence of god to mathematically confirming opinion… Anyways, i don’t think that unless it can be scientifically proven that a god exists of any form, that i can put my faith or belief behind the idea of one, opinion is not the same as faith. Also i may have misused a couple of words in my last comment. I did not meant that science proves atheism as much as I meant that atheists believe in scientific law which has been proven, as apposed to religious beliefs that have not. There’s no proof a god exists so they don’t believe on is there, which is the main point i disagree on, just because there is no proof does not mean there is not one there, it simply means that for me the lack of sufficient evidence fills me with doubt of one’s existence, as apposed to disbelief. (to sum it up, god: Maybe but eh i don’t really think there is)

  • RJ

    I am a historian with roots in conservative Protestant churches. My particular branch, the Stone-Campbell Movement, places a heavier emphasis on baptism and the Lord’s Supper than many Protestant fellowships. As a historian, it has always troubled me that for the vast amount of Christian history when we say “Church” we are talking about the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. There have been times when I have felt powerfully drawn to join in that historical tradition. Honestly, though, I cannot see why it should be Roman Catholic instead of Eastern Orthodoxy or one of the other Eastern bodies. Both scripture and tradition, in my opinion, do not establish papal supremacy as it is proclaimed by Roman Catholic teaching.
    But here I am, still Protestant. I cannot bear the exclusivist rhetoric of either the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox traditions, even though I get it. I have a lot to wrestle with. Maybe I’ll find my way into the Roman Catholic Church eventually, but I’m not there yet.

    • Angela P.

      RJ… if you want to learn a bit more… try out Scripturecatholic.com. John Salza is a Catholic Apologist and he gives you the scriptures pertaining to the Catholic faith and why we believe what we believe.

      Peace to you.
      Instaurare omnia in Christo+
      Angela P.

    • BlueOak619

      I was in a similar situation to you. I was raised in the free church of Scotland which is extremely puritanical. I had so many reasons for not leaving but the more and more I read the more I found myself unable to resist returning to the One True Church. I also struggled with the great schism and which one is right. I don’t want to tell you anything about history since I imagine you’ll know it but I’m sure you know yourself that the major issues of the schism were political, and there was a great resentment in the East for the Primacy of Rome because they had there own Patriarchs in between them and the Pope, whereas in the West, the Pope was also their Patriarch. I also can’t help but notice the swiftness with which the Muslims overthrew the other Apostolic sees though.

  • Vrshabhanunandini

    I am not Catholic because I am a member of a different tradition that I believe in and which affords me intimacy with God and experience of His Divine Mercy, in a way that I have not been able to access through any other religious tradition. My religious beliefs and practices afford me great joy and comfort, and they help me understand my place and purpose in the Universe as a servant of God and mankind. Peace! -v

  • Jack Heron

    I am not a Catholic because I have difficulty with the *extent* to which the Church claims ideas. Often those are ideas that, in and of themselves, I have no problem with, but which are taken to an extreme I find no justification for.

    For instance, I have no difficulty with the concept that Jesus intended His Church to be founded with Peter as the keystone – but I fail to see how that translates into ‘One True Church’. ‘We inherit from the apostles’ I enthusiastically endorse; ‘We alone inherit from the apostles’ I can’t see a convincing argument for.

    This is often the common thread in my disagreements. Catholic friends will point out the many marvellous things found within the Church (which Marc expresses himself with some eloquence). But so far I have come across none that are *exclusive* to the Catholic Church – no one has ever explained to me how the obvious beauty of the Catholic Church is somehow of a wholly different order to the equally obvious beauty of the Orthodox or Anglican churches. (Well, not without resorting to some variant on ‘they don’t count because they do it differently’, which an Anglican could quite reasonably say back to the Catholic in the same words)

    • Pfm11

      Christ thought unity was crucial -no pun intended

      • Jack Heron

        So come join us in Canterbury – for unity’s sake!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-A-Carlson/100001401488797 David A. Carlson

    I am not Catholic because I was raised Baptist, simple as that. I dont really consider myself Baptist, just plain and simple Christian, and thats good enough for me. I believe that God and Jesus will accept me in His place of worship no matter what the name outside the building says, or what the man (or woman) at the pulpit is called (be it Deacon, Pastor, Priest or what have you). I studied other forms of spirituality before, such as wicca and magical practices, all the while keeping my faith in God and Jesus, knowing that He is the one true God and other forms of spirituality are merely other ways of thinking on morality, actions, and thought. Learning from these other spritualities what I found best in them while still honoring Gods wishes. I am sure you would like to know how one could practice wicca/witchcraft or any kind of magical practice while still being Christian. During any rituals, I called upon God and Jesus as my “patron deities” (as such forms are called in these practices). When performing magic, I, mostly but not always, prayed to God first. For His protection and blessing as well as what actions I should take or whether I should take such actions as I was planning n taking. I did these practices in a way that did not twist or corrupt either Christianity or any pagan beliefs (if you have ever studied the mystical sides of Christianity, you understand what I mean). Essentially, I am Christian, no matter what spirituality I practice (though I no longer study the magical practices. Its so much easier to let God handle everything) and thats good enough for me. And I believe thats good enough for Him. At least I hope so.

  • Avida_Lectrix

    As raised in the Reformed tradition and currently attending an Evangelical church, I honestly admit that the reason I am not Catholic is social pressure. My parents are Evangelical, my (somewhat) large family is each Protestant in some way, I’m married to an Evangelical who is the son of Evangelical missionaries. Though all of the above are respectful to Catholics, I think that I can characterize the general attitude toward the Church as just ‘not-quite-Christian’, with a skepticism of transubstantiation and an incomprehension of papal/hierarchical authority. What I know of Church doctrine, I believe to be true, and my study of history combined with my views on contraception are what drove me to even consider the Church in the first place, but I am just not brave enough yet to face the questions and ‘evangelizing’ which I fear would ensue were I to join the Church.

    • Jocelyn

      I was there, before I converted. Then I read, Rome Sweet Home, Scott and Kimberley Hahns conversion stories. They were reformed Presbyterian and their stories were amazing.

      • Angela P.

        This is to Jocelyn and Avida Lectrix… I am a convert to Catholicism and have read my way into the Church more than anything else. I too have read Rome Sweet Home many, many times. In hearing Kimberly’s conversion… one of the things that she said that really hit me to my heart… because I am from a protestant home. When asked by her father, what she would say to God if she stood before him today she would say, “I have loved You at great cost and I have been obedient to all that I have understood.”

        Avida… God is calling you home to Rome. I pray you won’t ignore Him.
        Instaurare omnia in Christo+
        Angela P.

    • Josh

      Avid Reader – I was in your position too. I come from a pretty anti-Catholic Evangelical family who was displeased at my “swearing fealty to Rome.” But time and love heal many wounds (ultimately all wounds, but we’re often not given enough of either to see the full fruition of this in this world). The _only_ reason to be part of _any_ church is because you believe it teaches the truth in its fullest expression. Combining history and theology is very dangerous if you’re determined to remain non-Catholic–all roads lead to Rome. And, if I can offer some advice: just skip the “I’ll be Episcopal/Anglican” phase. It didn’t work for me and I bet it won’t work for someone who uses “avid reader” in Latin as a screen name.

    • BlueOak619

      I was in the same situation, and before I returned to the Church, my family were very unfavourable about the Catholic Church. They felt it wasn’t Christian, but once I was confirmed the softened to the idea and they’re starting to slowly realise that the Catholic Church is the true Church. Remember many Protestants have a completely false understanding of the Roman Catholic Church. I would advise you to muster all your bravery, and remember that you would be not only saving your own soul but allowing your family that same opportunity.

  • Aaa

    Raised Catholic, went to Christian elementary school, Catholic middle school, Catholic high school – and I was an ardent believer, too, I prayed every night, went to confession, convinced my family to go to Church, thought of God often. It took me until my senior year to actually critically view my faith – I’d had doubts about certain teachings before, of course, I’m willing to bet everyone does – but it was senior year that I realized my faith in God was an assumption – I could not justify faith in a creator being with logic. I was taught all the “proofs” of God’s existence, but I had never analyzed them; when I did, I realized they all fell apart quite easily. Why did I believe in the Catholic God, then? If there was no rational justification for my belief, did I simply believe what I was taught, and assume it to be true? If I was born to a different family, would I be a Buddhist, Muslim, what-have-you on the same grounds? And ultimately, wouldn’t that mean Catholic Christianity was in all likelihood no more true than any religion? At that point, I resolved to figure things out, so that I didn’t end up believing in any false assumption. I discovered that I could not justify the existence of a god or godlike being with reason. So, not Catholic. Willing to argue, though.

    • Guest

      Being an Eastern Catholic, you eventually realize that there are certain things that are a “mystery.” We have a funny joke in our church where we say “it’s a mystery, veil it and incense it” haha, while this obviously does not answer your question, it does give a little humor to the situation. However, you’re looking for logical reasoning, something that makes logical sense.

      I think that is the beauty of the Catholic Church. Whether you knew it or not, there are some 23 or so Catholic Churches that are all in communion with Rome, the Roman Catholic Church is not the only Catholic Church who is in communion with the Pope of Rome. However, we have all of these different beautiful expressions of the same faith. All of these different churches believe the same exact doctrine and teachings, but they all have their own spiritualities and expressions of it.

      What does this have to do with your question? The Catholic Church is the only Church in the world where when I have a question and I look it up, there is a logical answer that makes sense to me. Now, as a “proof for the existence of God,” other than God coming down himself and telling you “I exist” it’s going to be hard to get an easy proof of that. I would have to say that prayer would be one thing to try, and to look at your life. Has God blessed you? Think of times that had gone bad, was God really there even though you couldn’t see Him? These are all things that rely in the ultimate end, with Faith. Without Faith, you are right, proofs fall apart. However, one of my favorite phrases is, “God wasn’t stupid” that’s why he gave us all of the sacraments and the Church to help us to believe. He gave us sacraments which are real and involve His ordained ministers who through Him do His work, so that we may believe.

      Try prayer, try maybe another expression of your same Catholic faith, try Faith. It’s hard, but it works.

      P.S.: If that doesn’t work, look at the lives of Saints, especially modern day Saints. What works for them? I find this helps me personally, especially some talks from the Servant of God, Fulton J. Sheen. Look him up…

      • Aaa

        Why should I “try faith,” though? This is the real issue for me. I agree with you in saying that it’s difficult to justify the Christian God without faith – but is there any reason at all why I should have faith in the first place? Is faith something justified, or an assumption? If it’s an assumption, it gets you nowhere – then your argument is “God exists because I believe God exists.” There has to be a justification for having faith.

        As for prayer and the circumstances of my life, both of those I don’t find convincing justifications for faith. Would you accept this definition of prayer – to feel an emotional connection to what you believe is a transcendent being? In which case I don’t want to base my understanding of the universe, which exists a certain way regardless of how I feel about it, on something so easily misled, transient, and fickle as what I feel – or can convince myself I felt. The circumstances of my life, also, have nothing to do with the existence of a transcendent godlike being. There are things that happened to me that I am glad about, and other things not so much, but there’s no reason to assume that any of those things were caused by some benevolent or malevolent being.

        • GingerinYork

          Dear Aaa,
          When I grew tired of the lies and then threw out everything my church had taught me to be true, there was only one thing I could not refute: IF “God” exists, then God must love us, for here we are.

        • Claire

          Review the five proofs of St. Thomas Aquinas: they’re pretty irrefutable. What is the chance that a random bunch of atoms could form a sentient being. Even if they could, how could this being possibly discover that is was created by random atoms? Anyway, what created those atoms?

    • Feeneyja

      I too went through what you describe.  I was a Senior too.  I went through college with no God.  Then I joined the Peace Corps and went to Niger, West Africa.  That was the beginning of my transformation.  It was in a Muslim country that I saw the love of God.  In the deaths, the new lives, the starving, the poor I felt the sacrifice and gift that is Jesus Christ.  I had no explanation.  I earnestly heard the voice of God.  I had amazing conversations with Muslims about the crucifixion of Jesus.  It rocked me to my core and I realized that while I questioned God away, He never left me.  Upon my return to the states, I felt the same presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Now, here I am, so blessed to be Catholic!  

      I have found that reason has nothing to do with faith.  And when I let go and let God, I was filled.

    • Cdoran

      All matter is finite. Matter, in order to be, must have contingency on something outside of itself in order to exist. Something other than matter must have created matter ex-nihilo(out of nothing) this thing must be immaterial and eternal because if it was anything else it would be bound by space and time. This being we call God. He is not contingent on matter and he is the creator of all that ‘be’s.’

  • Perplexity

    I suppose I am not a Catholic because I believe that the theistic God doesn’t exist. But, the Abrahamic religions are merely theological elaborations of the theistic God. So, in rejecting theism, I cannot accept Abrahamic-theism, whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic.

  • Caine

    Hi Marc, love your writing– an amazing blend of mirth and dead on seriousness. Though you may protest, you may very well be a budding Chesterton.

    Why I am not a Catholic? I would dive in probably whole hog, as sometimes the most mature, incise, commentary I read today is written by Catholics (even if a lot of it was written centuries ago–or in current blogs like your own). However, I have two major issues. I read the Catholic explanations/reasons for these doctrines/practices, so don’t thin I am ignorant. I just don’t buy the answers given.

    1) The major elevation of Mary. Now I think Protestants diss Mary or ignore her way too much (for which, after all, it IS Jesus Mom). But I don’t see the major elevation being in the Scriptures either. The whole thing makes me uncomfortable, and despite what Catholics write, I see it practically as a diminishing the place of Christ Himself.

    2) This one is related to 1 (so maybe I only have one real reason). I am uncomfortable with bowing before statues of Saints or even of Jesus Himself. I don’t object to those being in Churches (again, unlike most Protestants), but I object of people bowing before them. I read the Catholic defenses about the difference between “latria” and “dulia” (and can even apply them to bowing before people in the flesh in terms of respect). But the Scriptures don’t make that distinction when bowing before images; it just says don’t do it. Period. It certainly says don’t do it in a worshipping (of any definition) attitude.

    Just can’t get around that. I can work with a lot of the doctrines re: salvation, works, etc.. I can work with the Social Theory (even agree with most of it). But in terms of Mary and bowing before images.. just can’t agree.

    • Guest

      I once heard someone compare Catholics’ use of religious images (statues, etc) in home and Church to keeping photos of your family & friends in your wallet….cherished reminders of those you love, not objects for adoration.

      Keep in mind, too, that the Catholic Church has an ancient tradition of presenting Her teachings and history in a multi-media kind of way, going back to the days when the overwhelming majority of Her flock was illiterate.

    • Angela P.

      I’m not sure about bowing before statues. That is something as a Catholic… I have NEVER done. I do however bow to the Tabernacle, which is the home within the santurary where our Lord resides. I have also bowed to the ambo before I step up to lector because what I am proclaiming is God’s word. And… I have bowed to the altar because that is where the Body of our Lord becomes REAL during the consecration. Though these things may not be written in Sacred Scripture (Bible), these are part of the Traditions that we were instructed to “Hold fast to” and we received these words either in writing or by word of mouth. This IS in Scripture.

      Now… as far as Mary being assumed into Heaven… the Scriptures are quiet on that, but those who were still living with Mary at that time… her assumption is their general belief. This is one of those beliefs that are held because of Faith. St. Paul says in Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I will walk by Faith even when I cannot see.

      Peace to you!
      Instaurare omnia in Christo+
      Angela P.

  • billybagbom

    I am a cradle Catholic who left the Catholic Church because I wanted to be a hedonist. I tried atheism, but found that it was only attractive when you didn’t think about it too deeply. It offered no real answers to the perennial philosophical problems of the human race; its deeper ethical implications didn’t seem to lead to anything true, beautiful, or good. I stuck my toe back into the water of Christianity (actually, dived in headfirst, being reborn, re-baptized a sectarian). I studied some Church history and became convinced that the one holy, catholic and apostolic church of the historical creeds was a real and identifiable historical entity. I was reconsidering Catholicism when Eastern Orthodoxy popped up on my radar screen. Its liturgies and mystical wisdom seemed more catholic than what the western Church was offering; it was like tasting apostolic Christianity again for the first time. Truth be told, I guess I am becoming more convicted that the Petrine ministry is valid and necessary to the fullness of the Church, whereas I had once rejected the papacy out of hand. If there were an Eastern Catholic parish close to where I live, I would seriously consider coming back into communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and might yet anyway. God bless you for all you do in the cause of Christian unity.

    • guest

      I am Byzantine Catholic, if you need help finding an Eastern Catholic Church near you let me know.

  • Guest

    I appreciate your question. I am Catholic by sacrament, but not in practice. I left the Church because I found it to be an institution that was unable to nurture the people within it. I plan on returning to it once I have found the ability to care for myself and the strength to be there for those around me. The culture of guilt runs deep within this community, and I don’t want to be a part of it until I can speak and behave without feeling coerced by shame. I believe that the Church’s teachings about conception and abortion are correct, but I also believe that the way it preaches those beliefs has become a modern day inquisition that does damage to the souls of both those who are preached at and those who do the preaching. On a more minor note, I believe that the entire concept of NFP is misguided and laughable. I often feel like I learned more about morality and good living from Boy Scouts than I did from my religion. I miss my relationship with God. I will admit that I have almost actively ignored the practice of prayer and reflection. I miss adoration. But I don’t understand a community of people that would both at the same time publicly deny the Eucharist to those who have a simple struggle with doctrine but privately allow men who are committing concrete and serious sins against the most vulnerable among us to continue to practice Mass.

    Those are my problems with the Church. But this also wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t express my problems with myself. I would feel like too much of a hypocrite. I have spent the past few years of my life doing very un-Catholic things. And I don’t currently don’t know how to reconcile all of it.

    • Angela P.

      You know what? Reading your post convinces me that God is truly calling you home. He has created within you a restless heart and as St. Augustine wrote… “My heart is restless until it rests with the Lord”. No matter how far you run… it only takes one step back and there God is… holding out His hand to you. You have already made that step… now it’s the follow-thru. I urge you to go to Confession. I can assure you… no sin is so great that you cannot be forgiven. The only unforgiveable sin is the sin not confessed. Please be assured that God is BIGGER than all the controversies that surrounds some of those in His Church that pervert His word. God is so much bigger than those in His Church that pray upon the weaker. The Church, herself, is beautfiful beyond description, but those of us who make up her body… well, we are not always so pretty, but God loves us all. I will pray for you.
      Instaurare omnia in Christo+
      Angela P.

  • Valtarov

    I’m Orthodox. The Eastern Church has managed to far better maintain Holy Tradition, and has not made the rationalist mistake of trying to understand God by reasoning about God, rather than becoming like Him. You now have some traditions that are in no way justifiable through Scripture. Also, the whole idea of the papacy gives far too much power to one pope.

    There’s a reason you call yourselves the Roman Catholic Church. We say we’re catholic too, except that we’ve actually followed it. Despite having many autocephalous congregations across the world, we’ve managed to maintain unity, whereas Rome’s church split and continued to split again and again and again.

    • Joseph Kurian

      I think you misunderstood the Catholic Church!!…Catholic church is a fellowship of 23 individual churches. 22 of these 23 are Eastern rites / churches. I am from India and I belongs to Syro-Malabar catholic church (It is one of the 22 Eastern catholic church). We also have Syro-malakara catholic church in India. Both are the part of universal catholic church. Like different flowers in a garden, this diversity makes us more beautiful than being alone.

      From your post I think, you misunderstood catholic church as Latin catholic church / Roman catholic (Which is the bigger one compared to other rites). And this is the reason, we call ourselves Universal church / Catholic church. (If you want to know more about these Eastern rites. google it)

      I think there nothing in trying to understand God by reason!

      At last something about division; Church is made by Christ but divisions are bought into it by evil, he always had tried to destroy the true church, but at the end the church will be victorious by the mighty hand of Christ.

      “Hell shall not prevail against my church” ……………

    • Claire

      Concerning the papacy, Jesus Himself gave as much power to Peter, and Peter has passed it down through the ages to Pope Benedict XVI. If you have a problem with it, talk to Jesus.

  • Valtarov

    I’m Orthodox. The Eastern Church has managed to far better maintain Holy Tradition, and has not made the rationalist mistake of trying to understand God by reasoning about God, rather than becoming like Him. You now have some traditions that are in no way justifiable through Scripture. Also, the whole idea of the papacy gives far too much power to one pope.

    There’s a reason you call yourselves the Roman Catholic Church. We say we’re catholic too, except that we’ve actually followed it. Despite having many autocephalous congregations across the world, we’ve managed to maintain unity, whereas Rome’s church split and continued to split again and again and again.

  • Josh Young

    As I study more theology and come to view the Catholic church more and more as allies and less as what my protestant upbringing taught me (ZOMG the politicized medieval church!!1!), it’s really boiling down to the borderline hagiolatry.

  • Carrieannebetts

    Why? Couldn’t do RCIA this year because I was expecting a baby and would miss too many sessions to care for him. Easter 2013!!

  • Lily

    There are a few reasons why I am not Catholic. I was, in my childhood… well, I was a nominal Catholic, I wasn’t a believer back then. My mom is Catholic and my dad is an atheist, and even though one my parents believed in God, my sisters and I were raised in a not-so-religious home. The topic of God or the bible was not brought up in our house, mainly because my parents had agreed early on to not discuss religion, to avoid spending the rest of their lives arguing over their differing beliefs.

    My mom tried to regularly take my sisters and I to church, and we did go through first communion, confirmation, and all that… but all I saw was “religion” or people going through the motions. I saw people going to church on Sunday, then acting like everyone else the rest of the week. I didn’t see any truth attached to it, so I grew up thinking that religion was just a cultural thing, just a lot of rituals and reciting prayers by rote, but not something that was actually true and relevant to everyday life.

    So when I got old enough to make my own decisions, I stopped going to church, and was VERY far from God, throughout my 20′s. I wouldn’t say I was an atheist, I just was a very apathetic nonbeliever. God or religion wasn’t even on my radar, for many years.

    I became a believer in my early 30′s which was the biggest turning point in my life. But I didn’t become a Christian until 2 years later, and at that point I gave my heart to God, and made the conscious choice to go on a new path, and follow Jesus. As a brand new born again Christian, I wanted to find a good church, but I had no interest in going back to the Catholic church. I remembered that growing up, no one, as far as I can recall, EVER told me about the need for salvation, and no one ever encouraged me to read the bible, or grow, or have an actual relationship with God. So I had no desire to return to a church that showed no interest in my spiritual condition at that time.

    To sum that up, their emphasis on religion/ritual, instead of the reality of following Jesus and the importance of spiritual growth was one of the main reasons.

    The other reason was because I simply disagreed with the Catholic church’s position on a few different doctrines. For example, Purgatory, salvation, baptism, Mary, praying to the saints, to name a few. And I especially didn’t agree with how the Catholics I knew would almost blindly believe what they were taught by their priest, rather than do their own research and study of the scriptures, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit… and utilizing their own God-given intuition and common sense. I could give some examples, but this post has turned into a novel, so I’ll stop here.

    There are a couple things I miss about the Catholic church, but the things I disagree with far outweigh those positives. I feel very blessed to attend a truly fantastic, beautiful church. It’s a non-denominational Christian church that focuses on the bible and discipleship. I love it, and I believe it’s a healthy and anointed church.

    I’m sorry if this sounded too negative towards Catholicism. But you asked, so I wanted to share my experience. Thanks for reading it!

  • billybagbom

    Hi, Mark. As a member of the Orthodox Church in America, I do believe myself to be Catholic. But I have not yet reunited with the Bishop of Rome for several reasons, some more worthy than others. I was reared in a Roman Catholic home, and although we certainly attended Mass and said our prayers, there was a chasm between our piety and the way we really lived (except for Mom). I have only vague memories of the Latin Mass, and my family generally welcomed the Vatican II changes; Mass became more intelligible (if somewhat shorter and dumbed down), and we could sleep in on Sunday morning if we went to McChurch on Saturday night. Since we had thought that the Church was infallible, we wondered why we could now eat meat on Friday when it had been a terrible sin just a short while ago. This was happening as my teenage years were approaching, and I quickly abandoned a morally restrictive but (as I saw it) increasingly discredited Church for a life of drug abuse and moral deviance. Long story short, I crashed and burned, “got saved” Protestant-style, married a preacher’s daughter (our 35th anniversary is around the corner), and had a family with all kinds of problems and complications involving our children and grandchildren. Later, my wife and I found the Eastern Orthodox Church with its rich liturgy, ascetic and spiritual wisdom, apostolic doctrine and authority — all this, and no Pope! As ex-Protestants, this appealed to us (more to me than to my wife, who loved John Paul II). In the meantime, I’ve picked up some old bad habits that I am finding hard to give up, so even though I am still attending Holy Liturgy, I haven’t been to Confession or Communion in a long, long time. Even so, my more recent studies and experiences have been urging me back toward Rome. I know I need to go back to the holy mysteries of the Church for repentance and spiritual healing, but now I am in a pickle: the liturgical and ascetic life of Eastern Christianity far surpasses what I have seen in the Post-Vatican II Catholic Church and yet I am increasingly convinced that the Pope is indeed “the Pope” (if you know what I mean). So the “fulness of the Church” seems to me more experientially evident in the Eastern church, but more historically and doctrinally evident in communion with Rome. A Eastern Catholic parish would solve the whole dilemma, but there isn’t one close enough for us to be part of, in a practical sense. I have several fish to fry, and “where we go to Church” might seem trivial compared to some of the other issues in my life, but I found spiritual life and power in the Eastern Orthodox church for as long as I truly practiced the Faith. I’m intellectually convinced of the truth claims of the Catholic Church — but could I find the spiritual power and life there that I so badly need? I know I’ve rambled. Thanks for your patience.

  • Anonymous from Virginia

    Very well, although the question I’m answering isn’t so much “Why aren’t you Catholic?” but “Why haven’t you signed on to any particular spiritual/philosophical ideology, including atheism?”

    I understand the theological explanations concerning free will and of God reaching humanity rather than vice versa, but for a world where people must reach an exclusive understanding of God the world itself seems rigged. Much like the gay person who is created with a need to love and be loved that is verboten, the person born into a non-Christian faith tradition (or even a strong anti-faith tradition) is given a disadvantage, and the person born into the “right” tradition has a massive advantage. “South Park: The Movie” put it best when it shows new arrivals in Hell, who are all confused because they were devout believers in their own religions, but are only to be told, “I’m sorry, but the correct answer was Mormonism!” (I know, I know, Mormons don’t even believe in Hell, but the point still stands).

  • 4bstaples

    Just found this post and it’s probably too late to start a conversation, but it’ll be a good exercise anyway. Peter Maurin and clarification of thought and all that.

    - I’m not Catholic because I hold to the Anabaptist belief that humans can never be certain that they’ve got something right; that humans are fallible. That means I can’t hold to any text I don’t believe to be inspired by God, such as the creeds and the papal bulls. (Which doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with much in the creeds and bulls. Just that I don’t believe they have the authority Catholics – and even most Protestants, in the case of creeds – believe they do.)

    - I’m not Catholic because I believe that Communion/Eucharist as taught by Christ and practiced by the early Church consists not only of the Bread and Cup but of the Love Feast (Agape) and the Washing of Feet. The Catholic church no longer practices this at every Communion/Eucharist.

    - I’m not Catholic because I have all sorts of theological problems with Catholic clergy, from the distinction between clergy and laity to the requirement that Catholic clergy be celibate. Honestly, this is the facet of Catholicism that I disagree with that I probably understand the least.

    - I’m not Catholic because of the Crusades and the Inquisition. While there is much that I believe and would die for, and much of it that overlaps with Catholic teaching, I can’t imagine joining an organization that has officially messed up so badly that it calls for the murders of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or more, largely over what they believe. I realize that there have been apologies. The true Church of Christ, headed by a man who can issue infallible teaching, could not make this kind of mistake. If I won’t ever consider joining the Southern Baptists because they formed over chattel slavery or any expression of Anglicanism because they formed over “no-fault” divorce and killed Catholics and Quakers – all as *official* positions – I can’t consider joining the Catholic church either.

    Hmm. That’s probably enough for now. I love your stuff (Naked Men!) and I love much of Catholicism. Catholic Social Teaching is amazing and the general robustness of its teaching compared to Protestant teaching is wonderful. I expect to continue to delve into Catholicism… but these are four reasons why I don’t think I’ll ever become Catholic. I know I’m coming very late to this discussion, but I’d be extremely interested in your responses.

  • Sara

    I grew up in a very liberal Episcopal church and I grew up believing God did not exist Then, as a college student, my worldview was challenged by some evangelicals and I started reading the Bible and after several months had God reveal himself to me as I was lying in my bed considering confessing Christianity. At that point, I became overjoyed that God does exist and started following him: I joined a Bible study at school and attending church. Fair or not, I associate Catholicism with the church I grew up with (I’ve gone to Catholic services and the routine is very similar), which never preached being born again. So that, combined with having done Bible study over the years with a handful of Catholics and being shocked at their lack of knowledge of the Bible, plus not ever having someone make a good case for Catholicism is why I wouldn’t go there.

    I don’t understand your relationship to Mary, it does not make any sense to pray to saints now the curtain is torn, and I don’t see a reason to follow the Pope. And why are priests celibate and not marry? Peter had a wife. I’m not trying to challenge what you believe, just asking you to make a case.

  • Jade Parreño

    Im not a catholic because… “Many are called, but few are chosen”.