Catholics Leaving Church Over Abuse Issue


Click here to read: “A Decade Later, Catholic Anger, Defections Over Abuse Not Letting Up,” by David Briggs, writer Association of Religion Data Archives, for Huffington Post, March 12, 2012

Important facts from article:

  • In a 2011 survey of American Catholics, more than three-quarters of respondents said the sexual abuse issue has hurt priests’ ability to meet the spiritual-pastoral needs of parishioners.
  • In an online survey, anger at church leadership for the sexual abuse scandal was the No. 1 reason cited by people who left the church and are not coming back. Nearly two-thirds of respondents who are not even considering returning to the church listed the abuse scandal as a reason for leaving.
  • The scandal led to a loss of 2 million Catholics, and generated more than three billion in donations to other faiths from those Catholics who joined other groups, economist Daniel Hungerman of Notre Dame University estimated in a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Negative publicity from the scandal explains about 5 percent of the decline in the number of Catholic schools in the past two decades, researchers Angela K. Dills of Providence College and Rey Hernandez-Julian of the Metropolitan State College of Denver estimated in the journal Economic Inquiry.
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70 Responses to “Catholics Leaving Church Over Abuse Issue”

  1. “Catholics are losing patience” …Thank You Jesus!

    • Afghanistan is our nation’s longest war. The evil in that country has been going on for generations. The US tried to fix things (nation building?) for over a decade, and nothing has really changed. The Mullahs still run the show; and our troops keep getting killed.

      The same is true with the RCC. The evil has been going on for generations. The laity tried to fix things (Church building?) for over a decade, and nothing has really changed. The Prelates still run the show, our children keep getting hurt.

      “Catholics are losing patience.” You bet we are, and we’re pulling out of both situations.

      • drwho…good analogy of EVIL. Hadn’t thought of it that way but it’s certainly true. This has been going on since St. . Paul recognized the evil that was infiltraiting into their small home groups.

        We”ve been out and blogging for over ten years and I’m finally finding prople who “really get it” This blog is extrodinary!. The people who write here are smart and using the brains God gave them, unlike the people who are still making excues for the evil in their very midst. “Hood winked and foolish” should not be their mantra but it seems to be, once they see the light. ” Stupid is as stupid does” to quote Tom Hank’s character.

  2. 2012 Pew report….10% of US Catholics have left yhe church..I know some of them and the sex abuse situation was the primary, though not the only reason.

    Another example of the dynamism of the American religious scene is the experience of the Catholic Church. Other surveys – such as the General Social Surveys, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago since 1972 – find that the Catholic share of the U.S. adult population has held fairly steady in recent decades at around 25%. What this apparent stability obscures, however, is the large number of people who have left the Catholic Church. Approximately one-third of the survey respondents who say they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic. This means that roughly 10% of all Americans are former Catholics.

  3. I have officially left- my family of 5 now going to the Episcopal Church. In fact that church is now getting many other new people like me- leaving their local catholic church in the chester county PA area. One woman just moved into the area from Boston. Her son was abused up there by clergy and she left and moved down here to restart their lives. She is trying to sheild him from the AD Philly trial news now! She says she cannot get away from it.

    • How are you finding the adjustment to the Episc. Church? – Do you ever feel it’s a bit too painfully similar to the RCC?
      How sad for that woman and her son. Praying for them!.

    • My family has also officially left.

    • We too are considering the local Episcopal Church (Southern Chester County) I can not bring my young sons back to our Catholic Church until I see some changes being made in the hierarchy. I am feeling so conflicted, but also I feel a great sense of relief. We have not been to another church, since I still “feel” Catholic and am just not sure where to go.

      • Michelle, how very sad that this thing has left so many good people stumbling around in the dark, looking for a place to worship. I hope you find just the right “home.”

  4. Am having some communication challenges this am, but thought this quote from the posting was particularly important, as it adds to the abuse horror and the responsibility of priests AND bishops.:

    “In an article in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, the Rev. Joseph Guido of Providence College states clergy abuse in the Catholic Church is a unique betrayal because the priest is regarded as an alter Christus, another Christ.

    Bishops have even greater responsibility.

    “A bishop must act in personae Christi — in the person of Christ — and care for his flock even at a price to himself (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, nos. 894-896). When he fails to do so, his failure constitutes a betrayal of the sacramental meaning of his authority and leaves his flock … spiritual orphans.””

  5. (Fr.) Emmett Coyne Reply March 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Kind of ironic that the loss of Catholics is not registered on the global scale where Catholics continue to grow! (cf. below) How? Once baptized with an indelible mark one is always a Catholic.

    One can requests, as in Germany and Austria, that the state remove them from state registers for church taxing purposes, but they remain on the baptismal books. Currently, a man in France is requesting the government to have his name expunged from the baptismal register. Separation of church and state? Not every state interprets the issue the same.

    Catholics in the world are just under 1,196 million, while they were about 1,181 million in 2009. That is, an absolute increase of 15 million faithful, representing 1.3 percent. Moreover, over the past two years the presence of baptized Catholics worldwide has remained stable at 17.5 percent. As regards geographical distribution, Catholics have decreased in South American and especially in Europe.

    • As Catholics, the indelable mark of Baptism never disappears ever.
      It’s what’s done in the name of that indelable mark that’s the issue.

    • (Fr.) Emmett Coyne you stated, “Once baptized with an indelible mark one is always a Catholic.”

      Perhaps I was not paying attention in seminary, but my understanding is that with the indelible mark of baptism one becomes a Christian, not necessary a Catholic. The RCC recognizes Protestant baptism as valid, but at the same time the RCC does not consider that baptized person Catholic.

      Furthermore, according to RCC teaching, “In case of necessity, baptism can be administered lawfully and validly by any person whatsoever who observes the essential conditions, whether this person be a Catholic layman or any other man or woman, heretic or schismatic, infidel or Jew.”

      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/b.htm

      • drwho13 – that’s my understanding of baptism too. In baptism, we die with Christ and become a Christian.

        How about this?: I read in a parish bulletin, that if a Catholic person leaves the RCC, for another Christian religion, then he or she is no longer allowed to be a godparent at a Catholic baptism –whereas, a non-previously Catholic, presently Protestant person WOULD be allowed. Now WHAT is that?—” thaz jes nasty” (as my would kids say.lol)

      • drwho –

        You are correct – at least what you learned tracks with what I was taught. Baptism – properly administered – matter, form and intention – is universal – Thank God!

  6. After leaving, many have said there is a sense of loss, guilt and confusion. It seems that the church has a pre-planned attack against those would dare leave in the form of what it calls an INDELIBLE mark it leaves on you at baptism, so you can never get away. It seems to be a rather deep internal form of psychological control to prevent one from feeling free.

    • We felt no sense of loss but a huge sense of relief. We had been catholic Charismatics, which allowed us to stay longer than we should. But when we knew, in 2001, we knew it was the only way, we had to go and still keep our relationship with our Savior.

      Ex priest Paul Shanley had retired from Boston to San Diego where we kept our boat to get out of the summer heat in Az. He had registered with the SDPD as a retired priest to be volunteer at a local playground. They loved the idea of retired priest, what could be better? Well, he was found out to be recruiting an 8 yr. old boy by the police for his favorite pastime…”the boy man club” . Fr. Paul had bought an old motel in Palm Springs with a group of his buddies in the Hillcrest area of SD. Lovely, lovely man…..

      This was the straw that broke the camels back for us. We knew that everything we’d heard from our realtives who were in religious orders had told us were true but we’d never believe them.

      They had since died, way too soon of broken hearts but we knew now for sure what they had told us was ture. It’s gotten so much worse since then. Nothing seems to change. It’s still going on and the fools keep listening to the HIERARCHY’S EXPLANATIONS. OH WELL,THEY’LL JUST GO TO HELL WITH THE REST OF THE RCC.

      • glorybe1929, I would have thought that would have been very hard for you. I know many charismatics, and with “words of prophecy and wisdom” always being spoken: fortunately, discernment is also one of the gifts and not all have it.
        In Australia, so much was going on “under the power of the Spirit”, and it certainly wasn’t too holy.

      • Ever hear of B4U-ACT?

        http://www.b4uact.org/misinfo.htm

        Is this another group promoting child-abuse. They met in Maryland last year – the state that the Diocese of Wilmington hides their abusers. Also, has anyone tried to access their list(Maryland) . Seems that Maryland is making it difficult to check where these predators are staying – and yes from this website(C4C) I learned a priest is receving his check not far from the vacation area of the Eastern Shore – won’t be on the MD website – not convicted..

        People still don’t get it. Several cases of child rape 5 to 9 years old receiving short sentences or probation the past few months in PA. At least they pleaded guilty and are on the list, Aclu just threaten this area with a lawsuit when we tried to extend the boundary from 500 feet to 1500 feet for offenders – trying to keep them away from the schools. How can small towns protect their kids and finacially fight the ACLU?

      • Ed, I’d never heard of B4U- Act until now… Very interesting. I don’t know anything about their track record but keeping my mind open to learn more about it.

        I’m glad this effort is made to reach out and help minor-attracted people. Their mission statement gives no indication that they promote pedophilia or predatory sexual behavior –rather they seek to help or support those people at risk for falling into these behaviors.

      • crystal

        Don’t know myself, figure let people know about this group and maybe I would get some info. Remember a ministry that was trying to rehabillitate priests but from what I read he actually protected priests that abused. I like the founder and know he believed in his work, but several authors claim he was an enabler. If we could find the off switch it could prevent some of the abuse.

  7. Father, it’s my understanding that the explosion of new Catholics is occurring in third world countries where the educational attainment level, the rule of law, the preponderance of church power and the style of media are vastly different from the US, Western Europe, et al.

    Asian bishops are quite concerned about potential erupting molestation scandals.

    • http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/05_06/2007_05_15_Miller_AccusedPriest.htm

      “explained in a May 10 letter that O’Neill was “on assignment” in the Diocese of Upington-Keimos in South Africa, filling in for a priest who had to leave the field to tend to his dying brother”

      this guy was in Wilmington,Philly,NC. Molested one person over 900 times

      • Molested over 900 times??? This is really very hard to believe –

      • knew this priest personally. – this principal personally tutored this kid for years.

        I beleive 7 to 14 years old would allow 900 times as he did it in his office and family’s home..

        http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/05_06/2007_05_25_Miller_SalesianumSex.htm

        Killion, O’neill, Grant, Mcdevitt – follow the trail.They and others have some common assignments.

        Hard to believe a priest would do it one time. This guy did it mutiple times and treated him (Mr. Eden) as a toy. Could you believe that a religious congregation would have both a principal and his assistant who abused assigned to the same school? Yes, I had to watch one of them when he went out.

        4 years of 180 school days easily gives over 700 days.

        There are reasons people are supporting this site – they have experienced this and know others who have. There are sick people out there – like the Elizabeth Smart case. We just don’t want the church protecting them.

      • Hi Ed.

        Wow, if this is true, it’s awful beyond belief.

        I’ve been reading this site for some time now and would like to extend my sincerest sympathies to those who have actually suffered from sexual abuse from whatever source.

        What I’m trying desperately to understand, however, is how someone could allow themselves to be abused over a long period of time by more than one perp. I just can’t wrap my brain around this one. It seems to me that after a while the victim would stop acquiescing and start protesting and the ultimately just flat-out refuse.

        I can understand falling into the abuse ‘trap’ with one perp, be it clergy, coach or whomever. But more than one perp, and over a long period of time – this just defies reason.

        For some time now, the topic of ‘sexual abuse’ has been a hot one on the talk shows. For example, one prominent female celebrity stated that she had been sexually absued repeatedly as a youngster, and I think that even the wife of a recent president mentioned that he had also suffered abuse.

        In the backdrop of this media attention, do you think that it is possible that at least some of these claims may be exaggerated to garner sympathy and perhaps some monetary compensation if the SOL’s are ever modified???

        Is this not a possibility?

      • Joe B. – at a distance and lacking the information necessary to understand the dynamics of sexual abuse… I can see where one could be doubtful… It takes some reading about it, to fully comprehend the complexity and evil of it. I’d suggest you read many of the AD cases -as in the DA’s report, or maybe on Bishops Accountability.org.- for case files nation-wide.

        These victims were minors (young people who are still developing physically and mentally.) Minors do not have an adult’s ability to adequately judge what is harmful to their being.
        The abusers were PREDATORS who worked to gain control of their victim’s trust and emotions for the purpose of controlling them and eventually having sex with them. Once in control, a sexual predator can convince or coerce a minor into doing all kinds of things, for all kinds of sinister reasons, and for ANY LENGTH OF TIME. These predators take full advantage of a minor’s immature judgement.

        It isn’t until later in a victim’s life when he/she matures mentally that the full realization of the harm imposed is understood by the victim. Some victims have not the courage or power to blow the whistle on their abuser. It can take a lot of time and courage.

      • Hi Crystal,

        Thanks for taking the time to offer some insights. I will prayerfully ponder them.

        Yes, I had previously read all of the material from the Grand Jury Reports. Many of the allegations made were truly sickening.

        I can understand how a young, emotionally undeveloped person might become a willing victim to repeated sexual abuse.

        To be perfectly honest – though – I have a very difficult time comprehending how this abuse can be delivered by more than one perp well into a victim’s adult years.

      • Joe, I’d add a footnote…about abuse.

        At the top of this page in the RESOURCES link, the very first items noted are the Grand Jury Reports for 2011 and 2005. Just highlight ‘the final Grand Jury Report’ for 2011 and start reading..you will better understand what the Lynn trial is all about….

        You can also highlight the 2005 Grand Jury segment…Bishop Accountability did this in segments. And you willy really understand the pattern of behaviour relative to abusers and their victims.

        The first time I read it,it made me sick.

        A final thought, there victims so damaged they take their own lives.

      • Joe I have to question the term “willing victim” Often when children are victims of sexual abuse they are threatened and petrified. I would not call that willing.

      • Joe B?

        I know victims who were molested and/or raped everyday of their lives. I know two women who were sexually abused from the time they were infants. INFANTS! Their abuse continued until they were adults. Multiply that by 365 days per year and you come up with a number far higher than 900.

        The truth is Joe B, you’re arguments are pointless and anybody that takes up for this church, these priests, and all the other scum who abuse kids are just scum themselves.

        I was sexually abused well over 1,000 times, easily! I’ve also been abused so many times as an adult, because I live with the constant horrible memories of what happened when I was a kid. It’s just as if the abuse is happening over and over and over. Crawl inside my head for awhile and see how sane you’d be.

        My biggest problem with so many of you people is you think this type of abuse is a thing of the past. Even if no child were to be abused from this day forward, the past abuses are far from a thing of the past for me. They are with me everyday. I remember what happened. My mind replays it over and over.

        The only thing that actually keeps me going everyday, that keeps me alive, is that I might someday find the justice in being able to protect other children from my experiences. I believe that if I can save some kids that maybe I can be healed and I’ll know that at least I could find some purpose in the aftermath of something so horrible.

        I BELIEVE every word of everyone of my fellow victims. How could I not? Their stories are so similar to my own. It’s as if they taught priests how to rape kids in the seminary and those priests followed that playbook exactly.

      • Joe B? “How could someone allow themselves to be abused by the same perp?” So it’s our fault because we “allowed” it?

        300,000 sperm and you were the fastest? Sheesh!

      • Joe,

        As stated by others it is shocking. Heard the stories about abuse in the 60’s in high school. Still became a religious, hoped to stop the abuse I heard about – figure the RCC didn’t realize the extent of the problem.

        Know incest victims and they had 900 in less than 3 years so at that level it isn’t shocking. Because of the SOL, many cases are not known. I am a little memory challenged as one lawyer puts it – stroke,so I can’t remember names of those who told me of abuse, but I remember assignments and the incidents that happened.So I could understand that being a high number, but some of the victims on this site have experienced the pain and that number is real for them. From what I have been told – there are many victims and I know the number of kids these priests had access to.

        May God bless you in your journey.

      • Hey Rich, VictimsFor Justice, gotta be patient with Joe B. – He’s at least being open-minded and trying to understand this thing! You know well that this has been a covert tragedy. It took me some time and education too to understand and believe what I saw.

        It’s not that easy to grasp! Especially when one doesn’t want it to be true. One puts up emotional defenses to keep the horror of it at a distance.The entire ugly clergy sex abuse reality is so pervasive and deeply entrenched in the Church because of how strange and unfathomable it was to the unsuspecting laity. Well-meaning people do not necessarily “get” this at first glance.–I know a lot of these!!

      • Joe, you said

        “at least some of these claims may be exaggerated to garner sympathy and perhaps some monetary compensation if the SOL’s are ever modified???
        Is this not a possibility?”

        Anything is possible. But some thing that you have to remember is for every CREDIBLE claim there are at least 5 people who have NOT come forward. To come forward and make an accusation takes a special kind of courage and fortitude. It is by no means an easy thing to do. The accusations that people make are thoroughly scrutinized by everyone involved. If they were making false accusations, they would be found out pretty quickly. That is why people who WERE abused, do NOT come forward and remain silent. These priests or any pedophile, do not stop at one child and they often have a network of sick, like-minded, accomplices. So the fact that a person who is GROOMED from a young age can be the victim of multiple perpetrators. Victims of childhood sexual abuse, as children, their minds are damaged, their souls are strangled, their voices are silenced. As adults it takes years to repair this damage and years before they are able to feel complete enough to have the courage to make the claim of abuse.

        So before you question the victim, before you are quick to believe that the claim is false, think of all the silent ones who will never be able to say a word. Think of all the silent children who are being abused today who will benefit from the healing adult who can speak for them NOW.

      • Joe B,
        Sexual abuse is all about invading personal space and violating boundaries . After these boundaries are violated in childhood repeatedly many adult survivors struggle with boundary issues the rest of their lives. Many times they need to learn where healthy boundaries are after having been taught the wrong type of boundaries. I read about this in college but now that I have experinced this first hand in people close to me that have been abused while it is foriegn(not being a victims myself) to me it all makes sense.

      • Joe B.
        I also have to add you are thinking like an adult I am assuming not having been abused as a child yourself. Many times the survivors of sexual abuse are not thinking as adults but as wounded children that have been sexually abused. Many things that helped them cope as children during the abuse dont work now that they are adults. Again this was hard for me to understand til I experienced it first hand thru my husband who was abused and it was so sad and upsetting. This is something they carry the rest of their lives subconcsiously or consciously. If you want to understand the adult you must understand where the child has been. When I got even a glimmer of what my husband went thru it devastated me and pretty much shut me down it was horrible. The sense of despair I felt and it came as I confronted my husbands abuser it was horror and isolation…..despair..panic, urgency and oh my God all wrapped up into one. That was after a glimmer of the evil I can’t even imagine the horror our survivors deal with everyday.

      • Hi Ed,

        Many thanks for your supportive comments.

        Hi Beth,

        Thanks for your input as well. I’m truly sorry that your husband experienced this abuse. It must be very difficult for him to relive these experiences as – I assume – he probably has very unpleasant flashbacks, nightmares, etc. However, he does have your support which undoubtedly will help him through this. May God Bless You!

        Hi Kathy & Crystal,

        Sorry about the term ‘willing victim’ which was apparently an insensitive way to put it. All I was trying to figure out in my own noodle was how this kind of abuse could persist in one’s life with several perps. Due to Beth and Crystal’s comments and after reading some related information on other websites, I think I can see how this could possibly happen. I’ll keep reading.

        Hi Michelle – thank you as well. I will remember what you said.

        V4J,

        Your poetry is more understandable to me now in the context of your experience.

      • Joe , The best thing to do is keep reading and maybe talk to victims to understand better. The most important thing I have done was to sit quietly and really remember what it was like to be a child. Then I thought of all the adults in my life as a child, and tried to put myself in the place of a victim being abused by a trusted adult -that is when it clicked for me. I can understand the terror,confusion,the reasons to not speak up, when I really try to remember what it is to be a child.

  8. There is a difference between the number of Catholics exploding in third world countries, and the degree to which they are Catholic or the depth of their Catholicity.

    When I lived and worked in Sierra Leone, Catholic Church membership was exploding. Poor men were becoming priests in hordes (much like poor Irish, Italian, Polish, etc. men did decades ago in the U.S.), providing them with stability, food on the table and automatic respect. I worked with hundreds of Catholic Sierra Leoneans who, the minute their lives were challenged in any way (and the challenges were relentless), reverted to animism or indigenous forms of faith and belief. Catholicism went out the window. Catholic identity was skin deep.

    • No argument Hadit….that was my point…not nearly so well stated.

      I know SNAP is really very concerned about rampant abuse in these areas as well…where the church has the power to cover it up, the local cultural norms discredit women and children, and the media and law enforcement are complicit.

  9. It’s interesting and not surprising that 5 percent of the decline in the number of Catholic schools is due to the abuse issue. Of course, this is never acknowledged as a reason by the hierarchy. They blame the low school enrollment on everything else, but never bring that up.

    • I completely agree, Jackie. I have been saying the same thing for years. It really irritates me when excuses are given, all blaming the people, for dropping enrollment in the schools and dropping church attendance. How dare the heirarchy put the blame on the people and not an ounce on the scandal that they have allowed to continue?

      One of their excuses that always makes me laugh is “shifting demographics.” Well, those demographics did not shift overnight. Their lame excuses either depict a heirarchy who are extremely poor planners or who think they are adept at doing a little side step.

  10. Maureen, Last year I joined the Episcopal church too. It certainly was the right decision for me – I’ve found it to be very fulfilling spiritually and so similar to the RCC in many ways that I didn’t have a huge adjustment to make. It sure was a hard decision to come to though – I thought about it for months before I actually joined. Well, I hope you are as happy there as I am.

  11. I believe that no one has suffered more than Christ when he died for us on the cross. A close second would be our Blessed Mother who was forced to watch her son suffer and die. After that, my heart goes out to the clergy sex abuse victims.

    I’m 60 years old and have come to the conclusion that prayer is mankind’s only answer. For me, that prayer is done in my car, back porch (sometimes sipping on a beer), while on a leisure stroll alongside the bike trail, but I don’t forsee the day it will ever take place in a catholic church. I have never felt more at peace in all of my life.

    Mike Ference

  12. Those who have left the institutional church, have not “left God”.
    We are made up of spirit and need to be fed, the heirachy are aware of this, but no longer can they count on the emotional ties.
    Canon Law can and does for expediency, deprive legal rights, even civil rights when they over lap, but never spiritual rights.
    God honours them who honour Him in spirit and in truth.
    As a mother, how thankful I am for my non-Catholic upbringing, it has sustained me, when refusing to be compromised for the “common good” as a Catholic.

  13. Perhaps it is time for an American Catholic Church and cut ties with Rome.

  14. Joan
    I find your comments.
    To be so thought provokiing…you are a dellight to read.
    you do your homework. plus you are a spiritual thinking,
    compassionate, woman I,m so proud of, you along with,Kathy and Susan.

    • Glorybe…thanks for your kind, if somewhat embarrassing words.

      I value C4C and want it to succeed. My way of helping is to try to substantiate any comment I make. Don’t always succeed, but do try.

      Sadly, there are plenty of ‘facts’ to cite relative to child molestation, and institutional church behaviour.

      One of the strengths of this site is that there so many very thoughtful contributors. I am especially grateful to the victims and survivors. I have learned so much from them! I am also very grateful to Susan and Kathy.

  15. There isn’t an element of surprise anymore, anywhere…
    My function in society is dead, almost.
    Still… My only preoccupation is in creating,
    And I’ve given up all that once mattered.

    The Earth will continue to spin,
    The Oceans will crash onto our shores,
    But I am Free, almost…
    And I am Artist with a vision.

    Time could never heal all wounds,
    Not for me anyway.
    The rupture in my heart is too deep, the weight too heavy to carry, and the tears that drowned me through the night.
    Scared as I once was, today I am far from content, but I’ve found a balance to manage me through the long dark nights.

    You can leave your churches and protest your religions and everything you read in holy books and the songs you sing on a Sunday morning and the ecstasy you claim to fill you from a god’s presense, and you can wallow in the temptation to believe in humans when so much more is so very important.

    You can ignore the children and a childhood and speculate someday they will be productive adults.

    You can sing to your heart’s delight, while I clench my lips tightly in silence.

    You can praise be to god, while I wonder how there could be a god.

    You can stop to smell the roses, while the thorns wedge themselves into my side, always being a constant reminder that “thorns” never go away.

    Your arguments give you reason to debate amongst yourselves and search for a better glory. I just know what happened to me when I was a little boy, and no argument could ever supplement peace of mind.

    You can agree to disagree with me, or pump your fists in anger to approach me on a platform and deny my truth, but you’ll never really take away my truth, because it’s all I’ve got.

    I can tell you about terrible days, but you will never really understand the reality because you didn’t live them.

    I could scream from the rooftops of injustice, but you’ll never understand the certain justice I seek because you think it is measured in silver and gold.

    If it is considered righteous to adore men of your god while you ignore a child of innocence, what does that make you?!

    The congregations are dwindling in size, not because of your lies, but rather because of MY TRUTH!

    That’s the justice I seek…

  16. Leaving the RCC is easy for many. But, one of the good things about this blog is that many who contribute do not WANT to leave their church. The people who write here are struggling to find a way to get the RCC to change: to become more open, more egalitarian, more honest, more like the church that Jesus began.

    Alas, with growth in number coming from Africa and Asia, it does not look as if the RCC is going to change; why should they? I fear that those of us who consider ourselves precious and unique, are just another number to the powers that be in the RCC. So sad…

    • Elizabeth, I am stuck for a few days in a location where my Internet service barely exists or I would be citing some articles about the situation in Africa, et al. Which I will do. When I return to civilization.

      But I think if we care about abuse and innocent children, we should be especially concerned for these third world kids.

      Whatever the many limitations are that apply to US children, they are nothing compared to the reality for third world children. These are poverty ridden countries that do not respect women or children, often led by warring tribal factions, whose ‘rule of law’ is a joke, whose governmental structures are corrupt, whose media is suspect, and often places where the Church has far too much power.

      The phrase, ‘and Jesus wept’ comes to mind. That doesn’t mean that we should not fuss with it.

    • Elizabeth T.

      Repeatedly, I have read over the years that the RCC will become a smaller, poorer and more orthodox Church before its “rulers” acquiesce to the demands of “progressives” (anyone interested in any aspect of change). For many years, I believed that, especially considering the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict.

      However, over the course of the last year, I have changed my opinion on the viability of such a scenario. Between the global sexual abuse conspiracy, the meltdown in Ireland, the suit brought before the International Court, the situation in Philly, the ongoingness of the Finn debacle, etc., there is no doubt in my mind that, eventually, “senior” members of the hierarchy will be removed and/or will be doing time. The priesthood is imploding. Its dwindling numbers is one indicator. The Vatileaks is another. Silent yet hadit priests abound. The likes of Dolan, and their authoritative voices, are falling on deaf ears. Same sex marriage is legal in 8 states. Catholics ignored their birth control mandate decades ago. There are innumerable indicators that the priesthood’s arrogant, inappropriate and criminal reign of terror is on life support. The scenario is ripe for the evolution of a new and holy Church. However, it will not be easy wrestling the sick Church out of the hands of the madmen represented by legal dream teams. But, together, C4C-like people and the justice system will prevail. Why? Because modernity does not permit broken, criminal institutions to wreak havoc on humanity.

  17. Hadit, a 24/7 media cycle helps!

    • Amen!

      Modernity reigns.

      • Hadit, I have a couple additions to your litany.

        Post conciliar Catholics practiced birth control and stayed. I think the ground shifted on that fact. No longer endless confessions, everyone went to communion, including non Catholics, folks exercised some more cafeteria choices, the world did not end.

        There was an effort to ‘reform the reform’ which did begin to separate folks, but it wasn’t until the abuse crisis hit that you got a major exodus. The notion that institutional church was protecting itself, not innocent children was and is the mother of all scandals, ALL OVER THE WORLD and many many responsible people couldn’t stomach it and moved on. The second largest religious denomination in the US are the 10% of US citizens who have left the Church.

        Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you have a discredited hierarchy…and a political fight over universal health care. The bishops lost that one, and Network (nuns social justice lobby), more nuns and catholic hospital and health care groups were effectively on the other side.

        Which brings us to the present contraceptive debate. The bishops are vigorously pushing a position in terms of contraceptive use that somewhere between 85 and 98 per cent of sexually active Catholics simply don’t support. All inthe name of religious freedom …and the bishops support individual business owners (based on their own personal philosophy), determining the type of contraceptive or other health care made available for their employees….can Sharia Law be far behind?

        You want implosion….you got it!

  18. Isn’t a group correctly known as a cult if the rulers claim you can never leave?

    • Janet,

      I read about the “indelible mark” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I don’t see where it says the baptismal mark permanently makes one Catholic. It seems to say that the permanent mark empowers a person, in a number of ways, to be a Christian. Can Fr. Emmett or Fr. Mark (or anyone) tell me where, exactly, it says it imposes permanent Catholicity on a person? Unclear, here.

      No doubt about it, Janet. The priesthood is a cult.

  19. I left the Roman church over many issues, like most people who have gone in a different direction over the years. I have never, however, given up my faith, or the general precepts of the catholic church (note lower case “c”). My faith has never been stronger, nor my mind clearer. As for an American church, if one looks hard enough, one can find like-minded people of faith in small groups all over this country. As an ordained priest, I have a small chapel in my home, and minister to a small group of friends and neighbors.

  20. Wow! being FED on all the above blog replies. Thank you, one and all, Also, in response
    to Fr. Mark >
    You don’t need a building
    to be part of a church …
    (altho ’twas the first place most went after birth),
    So gather together, and,
    “break bread” at home …
    where 2 or 3 gather >
    a far cry from Rome!

  21. S. Reid Warren, III Reply March 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Joan,

    Just to quibble in my irreverent way – it wasn’t the “mother” of all scandals – it was the FATHER of all scandals – Father Murphy, Father Louigi, Father Frederick, Bishop Murphy, Cardinal Anthony………………

    I admire your writing and your advocacy – whatever the final outcome.

    Reid

    • Reid, I admire your input! …’Fathet’ it is!

      • Kathy…we are close to 300,000hits on C4C…it wasn’t that long ago that we hit 200,000?

        Are you up for some stats? How long from the beginning of C4C to, 100,000….same question for 200,000 and 300,000?

        I bet it it’s taking a lot less time to reach those benchmarks?

        Thanks, Joan

  22. I keep thinking there is a better way to say that ‘Catholic’s are leaving the church”
    .
    We are not leaving OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST or the group we belong to, that is called CHRISTIAN

    We are leaving an UNBELEIVING INSTITUTION ,THAT HAS HARMED OUR INNOCENTS IN A WAY OUR GOD IS CRUCIFIED AGAIN AND AGAIN, DAY AFTER DAY, UNTIL WE DO SOMETHING TO END IT!

    GOD ALMIGHTY, PEASE HEAR OUR PRAYER AND SEE OUR ACTIONS THAT WILL ENERGIZE THE WORLD TO DEFEAT HIS EVIL.

  23. Word should be,please……lord!

  24. Kathy……we are 185 hits from 300,000. Good job, everybody!

  25. Please excuse all my mistakes…I recv’d a Kindle Fire for Christmas and i’m just now learning how to use the stylus to write with. I have a nail problem and they don’t work…. so bear with me thanks…”g”

    Congrats on the hits!! They’re coming from all over the world. Good work ! We’re getting people to at least listen to us,( after 10 yrs for me) .

  26. With a teacher in a secular school or a cleric belonging to another religion; the victim of sexual assault or long term abuse has a chance that they will be believed and not face ostracism.

    However, in the methistophalian cult known as Roman Catholicism the unconditional trust given to all priests by all, the repeated mantra that states if you have a gripe against a priest, take it God and keep your mouth shut as well as finally, the twin deceptions of viewing a priest as a beloved “Alter Christus” even if his very body has been soiled by assaulting a child, or saying blame the bad individual, not the ‘Holy Church’ as if some invisible men are running around perfoming religious duities are the factors that oppress and persecute the victims of Male priest (non Gay) outright sexual child predators.

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