How Do You Leave the Catholic Church?

How Do You Leave the Catholic Church? July 10, 2015
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Robert Cheaib
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Robert Cheaib

How can you leave the Catholic Church?

I ask this question and give my answer at the National Catholic Register.

How can you leave the Catholic Church?

The question was rhetorical, not literal. I asked it of the air, more or less, as my husband was driving the car. At the same time that I asked it rhetorically, I meant it absolutely.

I recently talked to someone I know who told me that she’d “left” the Catholic Church. She’s now attending one of those smorgasbord mega-congregations where they serve you Jesus-as-you-like-him. I felt as if I was listening to a person who’d told me that they had decided to give up eating balanced meals and ingest nothing cotton candy and donuts.

I get as aggravated with the Church as the next Catholic. I don’t mind at all saying that I think this bishop or that has gotten it wrong. I’ve been very outspoken about the failure to stop child sex abuse by priests. Very. I’ve been equally outspoken about the failure in some quarters to take a strong stand on basic Church teaching, and the propensity of some bishops for throwing hapless underlings under the proverbial bus so the bishop can pander to the crowds. I just recently wrote a rather strong series of posts on the question of the Church and rape.

Our wonderful Church gives us great freedom to think and let think, and I exercise that freedom.

But … leave the Church?

I mean, how does one do that?

Read more:


"I didn't state that very well, sorry. Nothing wrong with the link, I just couldn't ..."

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."
"You don't remember Lyndon Johnson doing any such thing because he didn't do any such ..."

Dr Christine Ford in Hiding Because ..."
"I haven't had the opportunity to read the FBI investigation. I'm not in the habit ..."

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."
"Was there something wrong with the link?"

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

8 responses to “How Do You Leave the Catholic Church?”

    • That’s an excellent post Manny. Thanks for sharing it. I like the “that’s like a fish leaving the sea” comment. Great stuff.

  1. I don’t think people leave, so much as fade away. Sometimes over the course of a lifetime or even multiple generations, until there is nothing left but a ghostly glimmer on a wall. Whole societies, all together, slowly fading.

  2. People have been breaking fellowship with the apostles for 2000 years. I’m less concerned with those who leave than with those who deny critical aspects of the Faith and stay. They are uniformly anti-hierarchy and uniformly authoritarian when it comes to their own beliefs.

  3. I think St.John said the last word on this issue twenty centuries ago. “They went out from us, for if they had belonged with us, they would have stayed with us.” First letter of John 2.19.

  4. One more thought: Catholics continue to identify as Catholic long after they cease to practice or believe. The dissident Catholics I referenced before get downright testy. “Who are you to say I’m not really a Catholic! ”

    And the truth is that the lapsed Catholic calling for a priest on their deathbed is a staple of Catholic lore. I’ve seen it twice myself. So maybe you can leave the Church, but it’s really really hard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.