Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Friday, March 30, 2012

I guess I'm not the only one ....

... with these concerns - 7 reasons Catholics leave church (in Trenton, #1 is sex abuse crisis) - CNN. The article at America magazine on the study is really worth reading, but here below are the reasons given by people in the study that especially resonate with me ......

1. The sex abuse crisis

Byron and Zech asked ex-Catholics to cite their main reason for leaving: “If you could communicate directly with the bishop, what would you say?”

The most common answer: the church’s inadequate response to clergy sex abuse. “The bishop’s refusal to list pedophile priests on the diocesan Web site and his non-support of the effort to lift the statute of limitations for bringing sexual abuses cases forward in the courts” did it for me, one man said, according to the report.

Several respondents said they had been victims of sexual abuse by church leadership.

2. The church’s stance on homosexuality

The second most cited reason for leaving the church was that former worshipers felt homosexuals were unwelcome in the church.

As recently as March 9, Pope Benedict XVI denounced what he categorized as the “powerful” gay marriage lobby in the United States. In the same speech he noted these views would be seen as “countercultural” to young people, but told bishops to not back down to “powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage."

When those surveyed were asked if there were any religious beliefs in the Catholic Church that troubled them, a number cited views on same-sex marriage. “The church’s view on gays, same-sex marriage, women as priests and priests not marrying, to name a few,” said one respondent, explaining her departure from the church.

“Hypocrisy,” said one person. “History of discrimination against women, anti-gay stance, unwelcoming attitude.”

William D’Antonio of the Catholic University of America recently published a study called “Catholics in America: Persistence and change in the Catholic landscape.” found that even though the church and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has come out against homosexual relationships, only 35% of Catholics surveyed said the church’s opinion on homosexuality is “very important.”

The same survey found that 86% of respondents believe a Catholic “can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church."

... (snip) ....

5. Perception that church hierarchy is too closely tied to conservative politics

Politics was a mixed bag, according to the survey.

Though some people wanted the church to become more conservative – “change the liberal-progressive political slant to a more conservative,” said one person – others responded differently.

“Eliminate the extreme conservative haranguing,” said one person. Another respondent said politics and the church shouldn’t mix: “I feel the church should stay out of politics; it should certainly not threaten politicians.”

... (snip) ...

7. The status of women

With the political debate over religious conscience and contraceptive coverage, women’s rights and the church have come to the forefront of debate in American politics. According to the Trenton study, a number of people who have left the church cite a “history of discrimination against women,” as one reason for leaving.

Respondents also took issue with the fact that while other churches allow women to become ordained priests, the Catholic Church does not.

“If the Catholic Church does not change its archaic views on women, it is going to become a religion that survives on the fringe of an open-minded, progressive society,” one person who was surveyed said.

I wrote in a comment to a post at someone else's blog that as far as I could tell, the church hierarchy, and many Catholics too, seem completely disinterested in those people who do have concerns .... they just really don't care if people leave the church or stay. No one responded to my comment, which is an answer in itself, I suppose, and it's mirrored here in my blog - all the Catholics I once knew no longer visit. I hoped belonging to a church meant you were a member of a community, a family - that you might have disagreements but that you would care enough to discuss them, that you would care about the other members. Makes me sad.


Anonymous Richard said...

Hi Crystal, your perspective so often mirrors my own there is usually little to say. And then there is sloth, writing and thinking are hard, I don't know how you manage it so consistently, but your hearting little blog has had much to do with my becoming and remaining Catholic. I think things will improve. I suspect you have more fans than you realize.

3:01 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, Richard - very kind of you. That cheered me up :)

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto for me Crystal. I haven't been commenting lately but that doesn't mean that I don't pray for you daily my friend. I know that we disagree on many things but we've both been "possessed" by Christ - and that's the best starting point for a relationship based on the actions of an Other who loves us unconditinally.

I do stop by the blog every once in a while to see how you are doing! Have a blessed Holy Week.


2:08 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Henry,

Thanks - I pray for you too, that your diabetes will get better. It's good to know you visit even if you don't comment. Happy Holy Week :)

4:58 PM  

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