This Week: Top Five Reasons You Should Leave The Catholic Church

Image by Sky Thompson

That is, if you are unfortunate enough to rank among its numbers.

by Ben Kritikos

Many people don’t realise that when the Vatican boasts of its one billion believers, many non-believers are included in that figure by virtue of their baptism.  I reckon a good chunk of that billion don’t believe in religion at all; they may even be atheists.  Nonetheless, a decision made for them before their birth will continue to empower what is decidedly a nasty, parasitic institution.

It’s unfortunate, but true: unless you actively leave the Catholic Church by issuing the diocese where you were baptised and confirmed with an Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica, you will still be counted among its members.  I’m guessing you haven’t done that.

Here’s the good news: an Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica is nothing more than a formal act of defection from the Catholic Church.  You can basically write one yourself, or use the help of this website if you live in Ireland, and this one if you live anywhere else.  It takes a whole ten minutes to write the Actus, find your diocese’s address, and be done with it.  These are my top five reasons you should actively do so.


Reading the Wikipedia page about the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse of children, I came across this line that Catholic supporters use in defense: […] only 4% of Catholic priests have had a sexual experience with a minor, half the rate for the adult male population.

Only 4%!  That’s rich.  I suppose it’s all a bit overblown then, eh?  I mean, Catholics priests are still at least twice as good as the average man when it comes to raping children.

Priests are people, too.  Normal people know this.  It’s the Pope and the College of Bishops that can’t seem to get that fact into their heads.  Normal people have minds composed of a delicate mental balance, complete with hopes, fears, dreams and desires.  If you go messing with them, ignoring some and sublimating others, you get unbalanced individuals.  Unbalanced individuals usually have a hard time adapting to social norms; they can be known to do unhealthy, even horrible things to others — like raping children, for example.

The Catholic Church as an institution has repeatedly attempted to deflect blame, cover up revelations, intimidate and discredit detractors, and otherwise abdicate responsibility for their actions.


Women are ineligible to become priests — but let’s not hold that against the Catholic Church, because they’re only doing half the population a favour.  That said, Catholic belief basically blames Woman for the sins of humankind.

The Catholic Church has played a vital role in the oppression and manipulation of women throughout the years.  Some countries have had little or no choice but to send their children to Catholic schools, where children’s sex education was distorted and sick at worst, and non-existent at best.  Teenage girls who have become pregnant, even those who were raped, were treated as vile or corrupted by their Catholic “shepherds”.  I have friends who were raped, and were told by representatives of the Catholic Church that they brought it on themselves.

In Ireland, the government’s Ryan Report (2000) discovered Catholic-run institutions imprisoning girls and women against their will — sometimes for their whole lives — in places such as the Magdalene Asylums for “fallen women”.  The last “Magdalene Laundry”, in Dublin, closed in 1996.

Catholicism’s unhealthy obsession with sex contributes to women’s sexual vulnerability to this day, as Pope Benedict XVI — like his cross-dressing loony brethren before him — bemoans the use of contraception.


The Catholic Church’s defining political character is that of burning people at the stake.  Any other political entity with such a past is issued quickly to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.  Nietzsche warned of the Catholic Church that it is not their love for us that prevents them from burning us alive to save our souls, but the impotence of their love.

The Catholic Church is a significant lobby group in most developed countries.  If they could, they would deprive women the right to choose to have safe, legal abortions (if they haven’t already); they would prevent the already limited sex education provided in public schools; and they would reduce the role of teachers, carers and other public servants based on their sexual orientation.

While Nazi Germany systematically slaughtered six million Jews (as well as millions of others) the Catholic Church said nothing.  In Rwanda, which is primarily Catholic, the Church helped foment one of the worst genocides in recent history.  Right now, in 2010, instead of offering unequivocal cooperation and transparency to those who seek to address the international scandal of the Church’s abuse of children — which has already completely humiliated and discredited the Catholic Church — Pope Benedict XVI has the audacity to appear in public aloof and defiant.  His Holiness has recently gone so far as to dismiss the whole child abuse scandal as “petty gossip”.

That such an institution, with such leadership, is still considered a viable, legitimate lobby group whom anyone would lend an ear to is unconscionable.


In response to the number of priests raping children, and the fact that most cases of abuse were priests raping adolescent boys, the Church prohibits the ordination of men with “homosexual tendencies”.  I’m not quite sure what, besides homosexuality, constitutes “homosexual tendencies”; but I’m hardly surprised that the Catholic Church can’t tell the difference between a gay man and a paedophile.  After all, homosexuality is an abomination according to Catholic dogma.

While priests who rape children still have a chance at salvation by repenting before death, a homosexual — inasmuch as the person is homosexual, a fact of  one’s being that one cannot simply alter — is basically doomed to eternal hell-fire.  Fancy that.

The appropriate method for dealing with “homosexual tendencies” is presumably to understand that it is a sin, suppress it, and pray to God to help you “get better”.  I beseech my readers to help me understand how a person’s sexuality can lead them to damnation, but being a really bad person who before they die admit that they were bad gets you straight into Heaven.

The Developing World

Not only does the Catholic Church refuse to endorse safe sex in sub-Saharan Africa — home to almost 70% of the world’s population living with AIDS –they even go so far as to claim that condoms don’t work to protect you from HIV!

The general scientific consensus on the matter is that condoms are the only real useful preventative measure against the AIDS pandemic.

No-one is arguing against the Catholic Church’s claim that abstinence is effective; of course it is.  However, promoting abstinence at the exclusion of any further sex education is not an effective method to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS — safe-sex education and increased access to prophylactics is.

The Catholic Church’s ideological obtuseness , and its stubborn refusal to simply keep its mouth shut in order to potentially save millions of lives is nothing short of shameful, ludicrous and criminal.


Seriously, could you sign your name to all this abominable lunacy?  If not, you’ll have to actively say so.  Go to and follow the relevant links there.  It takes only minimal effort, and if enough people do it, the message will be clear.

I sincerely hope you’ll consider it.


Filed under Global Justice, Religion, Top Fives

36 responses to “This Week: Top Five Reasons You Should Leave The Catholic Church

  1. Here’s my friend Christian. An evangelical preacher for 22 years before he came out and was shunned by the church and ended up working for me in nyc.

    I like how he says “the pope of rome”

  2. Helen

    Hi there,
    I am Catholic, and a part from the very sad and painful wounds that we have to face due to some horrible clergy sex abuse, the shame that it has caused to all of us Catholics, and which unfortunately is not an exclusive problem of the Roman Church
    [ , I don’t feel that any of the other reasons you listed are actually a motivation for anyone to not want to be Catholic.

    Anyhow, I respect everyone’s right to hate or love whoever, whatever they want. But certainly I dont feel like I am an ‘unfortunate’ member, but a proud and blessed one!


    • Ben Kritikos

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Let me start by saying I don’t appreciate the insinuation that I hate anybody or anything, despite whether or not you respect my right to. I don’t believe pointing out the monstrous behaviour of a long-offending institution such as the Roman Catholic Church equates to hate; and I certainly hold no ill will towards any human being who chooses to practise any religion they want to.

      Secondly, I’m not sure I understood your first sentence: surely you’re not suggesting that the “very sad and painful wounds” were endured by practising Catholics, or that their roots are in the “shame it has caused to all of us Catholics”? I hope by “us” you’re referring to those of “us” who were raped by priests, and not those of “us” who were embarrassed by the scandal? Surely you can’t be equating the shame practising Catholics feel with the “very sad and painful wounds” of victims of sexual abuse?

      The link you’ve posted offers little in the way of instruction, and a great deal of indirect excuse for the Catholic clergy’s woeful history of sexual abuse of children and other vulnerable elements of society. The fact is the Catholic clergy has one of the worst histories of abuse in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia, as evidenced by the Ryan Report in Ireland (you’ll find little or no mention of C of E or C of I abuse in the Ryan Report).

      The Vatican’s subsequent mishandling of their self-proclaimed “crisis” has only added insult to injury, as well as reinforced the Holy See’s critics’ belief that they are incapable of meaningful, adult criticism.

      If you don’t believe that the sexual abuse scandals, autos da fé, oppression of women and children, racism, homophobia, war-mongering, conquests, propaganda, lack of self-criticism, and erstwhile inability to adapt to the 21st century are reasons for leaving the Catholic Church, then clearly your faith is such that I won’t be convincing you otherwise! I respect your faith in Jesus Christ, and I have a great many friends and family members — beautiful people — who are practising Catholics.

      However, having a great deal of close friends who have suffered abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church, and witnessed their subsequent struggle to gain even the most rudimentary recognition that their suffering was legitimate, (to say nothing of history’s rap sheet), I can confidently state my belief that the Catholic Church is an institution whose followers would be well advised to reconsider their membership.

  3. Helen

    Hi Ben,

    Sorry for my delay in replying. I did not receive an alert as I had expected to.

    I would like to begin saying that English is not my mother language, which might have compromised the clarity of what I tried to say in my first comment, but hopefully not this one.

    Please allow me to clarify my point:

    I do regret the way the RCC handled some of the many abuse cases that happened in the past and in recent years. I, as well all as all Catholics I know, share in the pain and sorrow that the victims must have felt and still fell about their experience. I would be untruthful, however, if I tried to suggest that I feel as much pain as they do, for I don’t think it is possible to truly share their pain if one has not gone through the same her/himself.

    I was not insinuating that you, or anyone who feels strongly enough against Catholicism to actually write or list reasons to leave the Catholic Church, necessarily hate the RCC. Obviously, I assume that in doing so, they are not expressing their love for the RCC, but that is not the same as hating. What I was trying to say, if you read that paragraph again, is that I, along with all other practicing Catholics, certainly do not feel that I am an ‘unfortunate‘ member of the Church. I am a Christian in the first place, but I also believe in my heart that the RCC is THE Church founded by Christ. Therefore, if anything, I feel blessed to be part of her and I do not feel unfortunate. Regardless of being right or wrong, this only means that I would NOT belong to any Church if I did not think it was the true one. Please consider this, when anyone calls the members of any faith ‘unfortunate’ for believing in what they believe, the receiving end may find it a rather presumptuous and judgmental statement…

    I think I should point out that I do not oppose you voicing that cause of the victims of the sex abuse. I think it would be un-Christian to try and deny their suffering or exempt whatever institution where this might have happen from their responsibility. But I think you took it rather awkwardly the important fact that provided a link to the records of sex abuse case within protestant churches. Why is it so difficult to accept that protestants pastor, just as Catholic priests, are imperfect human beings, who, as the rest of us, are tempted daily and may fall into grave sin? Why do you say that the link I provided is ‘a great deal of indirect excuse for the Catholic clergy’s woeful history of sexual abuse of children’? Lets face it, all there is in that link is an extensive list of protestant pastors who have been accused or convicted of sex offences!! I think it is important to bring up to light that sex abuse is not an exclusive problem of the RCC, even though no-one seems to talk about it, there are as many sex offenders in protestant institutions and we should be just as indignant!!

    As for your comment “If you don’t believe that the sexual abuse scandals, autos da fé, oppression of women and children, racism, homophobia, war-mongering, conquests, propaganda, lack of self-criticism, and erstwhile inability to adapt to the 21st century are reasons for leaving the Catholic Church, then clearly your faith is such that I won’t be convincing you otherwise!” All I can say is that, unfortunately, you are misinformed and although I could easily argue with you point by point, with reputable arguments and facts; I feel that it is not my place to educate you on these misconceived ideas that you seem to have come to believe. I do feel however, that I should encourage you to read more and learn from historical and honest sources in order to form an informed opinion.

    Many critics of Catholicism accept second-hand information and have anti-catholic writings as their main source of information. For this reason, most of their arguments are not taken seriously. What do really know about the Autos da Fé, or the RCC role in the Conquests and so on? When you have an in-depth knowledge of these things, and only then, should you be able to really express an honest and impartial opinion.

    God bless.

    • Ben Kritikos


      Your English is very good.

      I didn’t really want to get into an argument about religion with some one who is religious — I know it can only end in tears, and nobody’s mind will be changed.

      Let me start by saying that I, along with most non-religious people, are aware that priests of many different denominations have a tendency to rape children. Nobody disagrees with you that it isn’t only Catholic priests! Be that as it may, you say that you “think it is important to bring up to light that sex abuse is not an exclusive problem of the RCC, even though no-one seems to talk about it, there are as many sex offenders in protestant institutions and we should be just as indignant!!”

      I ask you, if you’re so indignant about ALL of the sex abuse scandals — not singly, but including, those of the Catholic Church — then why are you defending the RCC on a perfect stranger’s blog? Why aren’t you writing indignantly about specific instances of sexual abuse by members of the non-Catholic clergy? Why waste time writing lengthy responses to my posts? I’m not asking you to agree with me; I’m just stating my case for something I believe in strongly — much like you, I suppose.

      Secondly, I find it laughable when you say that I am “misinformed and although I could easily argue with you point by point, with reputable arguments and facts; I feel that it is not my place to educate you on these misconceived ideas that you seem to have come to believe. I do feel however, that I should encourage you to read more and learn from historical and honest sources in order to form an informed opinion.” Which “historical and honest sources” inform humanity of anything other than the widely-understood truth of the Catholic Church’s brutal, bloody history?

      “What do really know about the Autos da Fé, or the RCC role in the Conquests and so on?” And so on?! Is that the best you can say about homophobia, sexism, racism — and so on? I’ll tell you precisely what I, and the rest of the literate population of the earth, know about them: history. You could make the same argument about what I had for lunch on the 24th of March, 1999 — but you don’t, because, unlike my lunch, the Catholic Church’s role in the above stated offenses is the stuff of history.

      Your attempts at historical revisionism demonstrate the difficulty of absolving the RCC from the real consequences of its own behaviour. At the heart of it, your argument is: Why are you picking on the Catholic Church when others behave just as badly? The answer is simple. You’ll find it in the blog we’re commenting on. Even if you leave off about the sexual abuse scandal, you’ve got the rest of the points I’ve raised to contend with — which you haven’t, because you can’t.

      “When you have an in-depth knowledge of these things, and only then, should you be able to really express an honest and impartial opinion.” You’ve got to be kidding me; talk about the pot and the kettle, Helen.

      If the Church of England told people in Africa, in defiance of common sense, that condoms didn’t work and one shouldn’t use them, then I would be writing blogs about them too, urging people to leave the C of E. But they don’t, so there you go. Anybody can find fault with any religious institution — and many writers, activists and victims of abuse often do! I’m not singling out one group over another because I’m some sort of bully with a personal agenda. I’m calling it like I see it. This isn’t academic to me; it’s a reality I see with my own eyes, in my own life, all the time.

      I’m not trying to take your faith away from you, or refute the legitimacy of your belief. It’s not my intention to be demeaning. Perhaps you are right regarding my use of the word “unfortunate”; you’ll notice that the bulk of my writing on this blog takes a sarcastic tone. Such are the inclinations of a would-be humourist!

  4. Anna Jacob

    Just to briefly address the sexism (as this is something close to my heart, having tits and that). I’m really disappointed that so many Christian churches – not only Catholic – are still so reluctant to give women equal opportunities. The C of E are a little further ahead (though still moving at a snails pace) with women vicars ordained since 1994. The Catholic church seem to be moving backwards on this issue, as you can read about here:

    There are many areas of modern life in which sexism is sadly still rife. If anything, the Church should be a shining example of equality, not re-inforcing the idea that men are superior to women.

    Don’t even get me started on the homophobia.

  5. Hazel

    I’m just responding to your “developing world point”, which is not entirely true. The Catholic Church actually has very little to do with low condom use in sub-Saharan Africa, and there is also very little evidence that condom use has decreased HIV transmission rates in this region. This is largely because in terms of indigenous beliefs and cultural practices, condoms are socially inappropriate in the context of their culture.

    To give two brief examples; among the Tswana of Botswana, there is the belief that bodily fluids must be allowed to flow and escape, or the couple are at risk of a disease called Meila. Therefore, the use of condoms breaks this important taboo, and therefore condoms are not a desirable thing in the bedroom, as it has dangerous consequences. Similarly, the Chewa of Malawi require the mix of bodily fluids in a similar fashion, and as well as this, children provide social, economic and political power, not to mention the fact that a woman may often be abandoned if she does not produce children. In this context, it is hardly surprising that condoms are not used, and it has been shown by anthropologists, sociologists and demographers that these cultural reasons are the prominent reasons for not using condoms. Certainly within marriage in rural Malawi, condoms are almost never used; the over-politicisation of the disease by the Western world has meant that HIV has been strongly linked to promiscuous unfaithful behaviour – therefore if a condom is suggested within marriage, infidelity is strongly suspected and marriages break down.

    These are mere examples of the multiple reasons for non-use of condoms. The ABC campaign was highly successful in America in the 1980s within the homosexual population, because it fitted in with a sexually liberal, procreation-free ideal. Neither of these ideals are present in sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore condoms are just not culturally appropriate, as much as it would be great if they were. Sexual fidelity, education and female access to income and economy are the changes that need to take place. Condom use may prove to be an important part of the process, but it is a huge misconception that the Catholic Church is responsible for their almost negligible use.

    I refer you to Edward Green’s Wikipedia page, who is the director of the Harvard University AIDS Prevention Research Project for his view on the situation. Also, particular papers of interest include:

    Chimbiri, “The Condom is an intruder in marriage: evidence from rural Malawi”, in Social Science and Medicine 2007 64:5 p 1102

    Heald, “An absence of anthropology: critical reflections on anthropology and AIDS policy and practice in Africa” in Learning from HIV and AIDS eds. Ellison, Parker and Campbell 2003 Cambridge University Press

    Forster, “AIDS in Malawi: contemporary discourse and cultural continuities” in African Studies 2001 60:2 p245


    • Ben Kritikos

      Thanks for the comment, Hazel.

      That’s a really interesting point; I’m sure I didn’t know that. It’s always good to keep all the factors contributing to massive social problems in mind. Decisive action can only be taken when all the factors are considered, so I would have to admit, on this point, your opinion is certainly more informed than mine!

      I just want to point out, though, that the issue of cultural norms in the developing world and their impact on the use (or disuse, as the case may be) of prophylactics is certainly, from the evidence you’ve submitted, more likely to be a contributing reason for the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, that doesn’t detract from my point that the Catholic Church’s false claims that prophylactics don’t stop the transmission of HIV/AIDS are unconscionable.

      That’s all I was really trying to say. Thanks for putting me straight!

      • Bob

        there is only one true church. But how can that be true when there are so many ccheuhrs that believe in the same God, use the bible for their study and preach goodwill toward men (and women). Are all those ccheuhrs not ccheuhrs?My experience with priests has been mixed. Some were strict party line and would not deviate from the teachings of Rome even if they were outdated and made no sense. And if you check the record the rules were made by Popes who are men placed in a high position where they have great influence over people. They have the power as has been seen throughout history. Did you ever wonder why Martin Luther left the RCC? Maybe he thought the people were being robbed by some bishop who bought his miter and was now going to get rich with his new found power. Maybe he saw a church that was unbending in its rules. Maybe he thought the people were more important that the priests.I asked a priest one day while he was giving several of us boys the tour of the local seminary why priest couldn’t be married. His answer left me with more questions. I don’t know for sure, but I think the apostles were married. Some were women. Early priests were married. So why can’t a priest be married today? Do you think if they could marry that we would have more RCC priests right now instead of them leaving because they committed that grave sin of falling in love with a woman and getting married? I learned from a priest that I greatly respect that marriage was banned by a pope to save the RCC money by not having to take care of the widows and children when a priest died. I guess that makes as much sense as saying a woman cannot be a priest because the apostles, the first(?) priests were all men. I guess since it wasn’t done before it can’t possibly be done now.Where would we be today if that same logic were applied to flying?

  6. patricia

    I do understand why we, as Catholics, feel ashamed and betrayed by the priests who molested children. The earlier comment from Helen was legitimate. Obviously, the comment did not imply that we Catholics are ashamed of the molested children. Clearly, the comment implied that we are ashamed of the guilty preists. The preists whom we trusted and admired and expected to live within God’s laws. Helen shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for her English. It was very clear what she was stating and absurd to think that she meant anyone was ashamed of the children who were molested.

    ought to really do a bit more homework before going on such a rant.

  7. Hello! God bless you all! I am a cradle Catholic born in the Philippines and now working in Indonesia.I have followed the comments after reading the article as placed in this site. It is not because Helen is a Catholic, but I am fully in favor of whatever she explained and I am happy that she did it pretty overwhelmingly.

    Ben, your 5 reasons does not provide a deeper research to support what you have explained in this site. You have not gone into Catholic articles to also hear what the Catholic Church has to say regarding your claims. You simply concluded that these are the basic reasons why one should leave the Catholic Church which I respectfully say is a very shallow explanation. I do respect your voice and opinion why you believe these are the reasons to leave the Church, but if I go back to scriptures, you are like saying, “I need to abandon Jesus Christ because among his disciples is Judas a sinner who betrayed Him to His death, Peter who disowned Christ times, and the other disciples for fear of being captured because they were followers of Jesus.”

    Helen as pointed out exceedingly well that you only see pedophilia within the Catholic Church, but if you check statistics of rape and pedophilia within Christendom, it is overwhelmingly surprising that most of the numbers are not from the Catholic Church but from denominations outside the Catholic Church. It just so happened that the Catholic Church is the favorite highlight.

    The thing is this. One should only leave Catholicism if it is proven with very sufficient evidence that she falsely teach doctrines accordingly, if this Church cannot be traced overwhelmingly from the earliest Christian times, and if this Church was not the Church where the Bible all Christians presently use was bounded.

    I guess the reason why one should leave a Church is not because of the weakness of men within it but because one is in search of the divine Truth consistent all throughout history until eternity. and follow this by heart and in Faith.

    I respect the 5 reasons why you posted here why believe Catholics should leave the Church, but it’s content is unfair because first and foremost, you didn’t research fair and square before you posted this article.

    God bless you!

    • Hi Patrick,

      With all due respect, this will be the third time I’ve had to defend the fact that this is my opinion to a Catholic writing on this blog, and as it is simply my opinion — not the work of a reporter — I feel I have provided some pretty solid evidence to back up my views. I feel that you and others claiming that my opinion is unfair or ill-informed have blatantly ignored the facts that I presented both in the body of the text, and in the links in the comments stream.

      Secondly, the claim that physical and sexual abuse of children is and has been more rife in other denominations of Christianity is not only fatuous, but disingenuous, and I defy you to provide any evidence to substantiate this claim that comes from research that is independent of the Church itself.

      Thirdly, it isn’t only a question of the child sex abuse, as this is a Top Five article, and neither you nor any other Catholic commentator on this blog have answered for the other reasons — largely, I’d say, because they are unanswerable. You say that I “only see pedophilia within the Catholic Church” when clearly I have made four references (at length) to other reasons why I believe remaining in the Catholic Church’s numbers whilst disbelieving in their ideology and practice is unconscionable. It’s commonly claimed by apologists for the Catholic Church that its critics “only see pedophilia”, which, I feel, distracts people from the panoply of complaints that one may raise against the Church’s behaviour.

      Fourthly, you misrepresent my argument by likening it to scriptural reference, something which I would never do as I don’t have the slightest interest in Scriptural argument, because I don’t believe in a Judeo-Christian deity. You framed my argument thus: like I am saying “I need to abandon Jesus Christ because among his disciples is Judas a sinner who betrayed Him to His death, Peter who disowned Christ times, and the other disciples for fear of being captured because they were followers of Jesus.”

      I make no judgments on the integrity of people’s faith in Jesus Christ, and the point of this opinion piece is altogether unrelated from faith in his teachings. In this piece, I have criticised the Catholic Church as a social institution for its culpability in the matters stated in my “Top Five Reasons”, and the Church’s subsequent handling of these matters when finally they came to light — sometimes after years of conscious covering up. I have absolutely nothing to say on the topic of whether the Scriptures support my argument or not.

      I also believe it is unfair to other Christians to suggest that leaving the Catholic Church is tantamount to abandoning one’s faith in Christ. Your metaphor of abandoning Jesus because there are sinners in his rank presumes a hesitating belief in Christianity which I simply do not share. This piece is aimed at those whose personal philosophy is similar to mine; it is not an attempt to persuade Catholics to abandon their faith.

      Fifthly, I disagree with your statement that “one should only leave Catholicism if it is proven with very sufficient evidence that she falsely teach doctrines accordingly, if this Church cannot be traced overwhelmingly from the earliest Christian times, and if this Church was not the Church where the Bible all Christians presently use was bounded”. Not even the rest of Christendom agrees with what you’re suggesting about the Catholic Church on this point. The Orthodox Church also claims to be the oldest and original church of Jesus Christ; and several smaller, non-Trinitarian denominations challenge the view that any one church can claim universality in the Christian faith.

      Suffice it to say, you are in the minority in believing that one should only leave Catholicism if it isn’t actually proper Catholicism!

      Lastly, please understand that I mean no offence and make no criticism of individuals who profess a faith in the Catholic Church. I strongly support every human being’s right to believe what they will, and to live conscionably by that belief — myself included. The point of this opinion piece was to inform people of a like mind that if they were baptised Catholic — even if they subsequently had nothing else whatever to do with the Catholic Church! — they are being counted every time the Church boasts the largesse of its following. People of like mind whom I’ve informed of this fact have often reacted with horror, as many of them do not even believe in God, let alone support the behaviour of the Catholic Church. I myself was horrified by the knowledge that friends of mine who were victims of the Catholic Church’s many crimes in Ireland, and who even actively campaigned against the Church, were still considered Catholic until they issued the diocese of their birth with an Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica. This piece was intended for such people, hence the tone and attitude of the text.

      In this piece, I had no intention of challenging the faith of practising Catholics. However, as the abundance of comments on the article have been from practising Catholics who seem to willingly misrepresent the piece, there are links to articles to support my argument in this thread. Thanks for your comment, though; I think a lively debate is definitely a good thing.

  8. Rob

    If this is all you’ve got on the Catholic church, then you’ve got nothing. Corruption exists everywhere. If you think that you can escape from homosexual, pedophilic priests or ministers by leaving the Catholic church then you’re only kidding yourself.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      The intention of this piece is to bring to light the fact that people who have been baptised by the Catholic Church are counted amongst the Church’s followers, regardless of their actual beliefs or further engagement with the Catholic religion. It is primarily for the benefit of people who, despite their lack of faith in the RCC — and possibly even in God altogether — count in the body of the faithful until they issue the diocese of their baptism with an Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica.

      Many friends and acquaintances of mine who only relatively recently learned this fact have felt it a duty of conscience to issue the Church with an Actus, not so much because they think such an act will put an end to the offenses I’ve listed in this piece, but because failing to act felt, to them, like silent complicity. None of the people I’ve spoken to who have actively left the Catholic Church have done so because they believed that this is THE solution; but surely, if enough people left the Catholic Church — and did so vocally — such an act would help to bring the Church’s many crimes into clearer light, and under closer scrutiny. And that can’t be a bad thing.

  9. T-Rex

    I’m used to be a Catholic, and after reading this article I became even more glad that I left Catholicism. Their beliefs are, from a biblical perspective, disturbing.

  10. Megan

    I wish you would study more on the REAL catholic faith because you would find most of your answers to be untrue and misleading. Anyone can take a thought/passage out of the catholic church and twist it like you did. Please get your fact straight and learn the real religion and faith before you bag on it to others.

    • So you’re accusing me of twisting the facts and saying things that are untrue and misleading? I’d like to know what facts I’ve twisted to make them untrue or misleading. Let’s look more closely.

      1. Paedophilia. In Ireland, you can read the Ryan Report yourself. See the links to articles above for other examples of the attempts of church leaders to minimize the damage done to the RCC’s image by the scandal of priests raping children. I don’t know what I’ve done to twist the facts here, but if you can point out how, that would be interesting.

      2. Misogyny. This is a simple fact: Eve ate the apple, right? Women can’t be priests. The Magdalene Laundries existed. The Catholic Church, throughout history, in almost every country where it has had a sway over public opinion and the opinions of those in power, has sided against feminism. These are not my opinions; these are facts.

      Please explain to me how, in Ireland and abroad, the Catholic Church has been a progressive force for women’s rights.

      3. Politics. This section is made up entirely of facts, which you can verify on your own with ease. Are you disputing the fact that the Catholic Church is a strong political lobby which advocates a strongly anti-feminist agenda? Are you disputing that they have historically sided with fascist governments over democratic ones?

      4. Homosexuality. Do I even need to go into this?

      5. The Developing World. The first three paragraphs of this section are statements of fact. In what way am I twisting the facts here?

      Please bear in mind that the audience for this piece are the like-minded individuals I have met who have no faith in the Catholic Church though still get counted among the number of believers, simply because they have never submitted the necessary paperwork to be discounted.

      My intention in writing this piece was to alert such like-minded people to this fact, and help them to act according to their consciences. This is not an attack on the Catholic faith — I have no interest in attacking people’s faiths — but simply a rousing call to those who already don’t believe and would possibly need reminding why it’s important not to be associated with an organisation that supports views and behaviours that are anathema to theirs.

      Many of the pro-RCC comments on this post which criticise my views are simply grist to the mill for me; they serve to demonstrate an example of the wilful blindness and refusal to face facts that has got the Catholic Church into the mess that it’s in. The argument has got nothing to do with God or Jesus or the faith that helps people enrich their lives. This is purely partisan. You’re in the FOR camp, and I’m in the AGAINST.

      I don’t blame you for being angry with me; I’m stating boldly what no practising catholic would want to hear. But please, don’t pretend that what I’m saying is untrue or misleading, as we both know it’s not. The fact that the church as an institution is a reactionary force which has caused a great deal of suffering (as well as a considerable amount of good) says nothing about the legitimacy of your faith, which I would never criticise on a blog.

      But to feel as I do about the issues listed above, and still be considered “catholic” is, to me, unconscionable.

  11. Brad

    One of our (Catholics) most famous Bishops said “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.
    Foreword to Radio Replies Vol. 1, (1938) page ix.

    To demonstrate one example, Ben you say “… Catholic belief basically blames woman for the sins of humankind.” This is not what the Church teaches.

    The Cathechism CCC 397 “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

    It further says in CCC 402 “All men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as St. Paul affirms: “By one man’s disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners”: “sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.”

    You have to be careful and not read the literal writing of the Bible and say, sin was caused by Eve eating an apple. Sin was caused by Adam AND Eve turning away from God and basically saying I don’t need you, something most of us if not all of us do everyday with varying degree.

    What you need to remember is the Church has members that are corrupt, deceitful, arrogant, etc. like any other institution on Earth. There has never been any institution that has not had corrupt sinful people in its organization. If one only looks at the wrong an institution has done, then yes I would agree with you it is a bad institution. In my opinion to fairly judge the Catholic Church one needs to judge what the Church teaches now how some carry or rather don’t carry it out.

    The Catholic Church combined with its affiliated charities is the largest most far reaching charitable organization in the world, giving more money, more volunteer work, more hospitals, more feeding of the hungry, more treatment of the poor and bottom line giving of love than any other organization in the world. It’s not even close second. That is the ministry of the Jesus and the Church he founded.

    The mission of the Church is simple: to proclaim the Gospel to the entire world for all generations. Jesus gave us this mission when he said “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…..all that I have commanded you: Mt:28 19-20.

    For those who are believers and Christians we are not following Christ when we tear each other down. I think to have a fair debate on what the Catholic Church teaches we ought to have a debate on what the Church truly teaches, not how some have acted. While a poor analogy, but none-the-less its like saying the NFL is full of child beaters because of a few football players who have hit their kids. That’s not what the NFL teaches even though some player have hit their kids.


    • Hi Brad,

      Thanks for the comment.

      So you’ve just written over 500 words that doesn’t in any respect answer the reasons I’ve stated in this post about why someone who doesn’t consider themselves Catholic, but who nonetheless is counted amongst its numbers because they were baptised as infants, should leave the Catholic Church.

      The only point you’ve contended with was my statement that the Church blames women for original sin. Your interpretation is that I am incorrect. I honestly couldn’t care less about the entirely self-referential argument you’ve made regarding this issue — which, to my mind, is so minor as to be of no importance to the greater meaning of my article. It doesn’t have any bearing on the material examples of how the Catholic Church systematically hurts women and the cause of women’s rights, to say nothing of the other points I made.

      If you need further evidence of the reactionary nature of the Catholic Church, simply open a newspaper from the past month.

      With regards to the argument that the Church is no more corrupt than any other institution on earth, I can say two things. One: governments are accountable to the nation; corporations are accountable to the government and its regulatory bodies — who is the Catholic Church accountable to? If you say God, you’re making a joke, because you’re being asked by someone who doesn’t believe in God.

      The second thing I would point out is, if the Church is no better than other institutions, then what is it for?

      Let me point out that you, like other apologists for the Catholic Church who have left comments in this thread, have not made one single serious contention with the points I’ve raised in the article. I will defy you, like I have the others, to make a substantial argument against the points raised here, and explain to a person who doesn’t believe in the Catholic religion, let alone the greater Christian faith or even believe in God for that matter, why they should remain among the “billion” believers inaccurately boasted by the Church. You will most likely not respond with a substantial argument, and the reason is that you cannot, because the facts are facts, regardless of whatever scriptural quotes you can produce.

      Thanks for the comment though.

  12. Elizabeth

    Regarding homosexuality, the Catholic Church does not teach that homosexual attractions are sinful but rather homosexual actions i.e. sex.

  13. Michelle

    I love this article so much. I’m 16, I go to a catholic school, my parents are Catholic. I’ve been raised Catholic and I can confirm that everything in this post is true. While I have been raised Catholic, I do not consider myself Catholic. This year we are learning theology of the body in religion class and I have never been more offended in my life. I’m bisexual, a feminist, and a female (the greatest sin on that list, lol) and according to the church I exist to have babies and keep my husband comfortable. *sigh* If I try to argue my opinions in class I get a long rant about how the Catholic truth is the only truth and this class teaches the truth! If I do an assignment and voice my own opinion I will most likely get an F. When gay marriage was legalized my priest and teachers called it a tragedy. They told us that gay marriage corrupts children who are raised with same sex parents. If I speak out my opinions IN MY OWN HOME I am punished. The church has no room for the voices of others.

    • Hang in there, Michelle. Hang in there and keep reading books. There is so much wonderful feminist and queer theory in the world, we don’t live long enough to read it all.

      Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Terran Moore

      Much respect to you, Michelle. I also go to a Catholic School, and well, lets just say that sexism is not an issue that’s taken seriously at all by my peers, especially at an all male school … Sometimes i may feel as if you are alone, but you’re not. You’re in a toxic environment, stay strong and as Ben said keep learning!!

  14. Catholic

    You are an horrebndous ignorant liar about the Catholic Church … according to me your ignorance isn’t an excuse … sto the lying vitriole and get a life for God’s own sake .. you will then teap God’s reward not His rebuke

  15. Julian

    I will tell you one good reason not to leave and the only reason that is needed. An objective study of religion without clouding yourself with your passions clearly shows that the Catholic Church has a high likelihood of being the one religion established by God. It does not change its doctrine according to the whims and fashions of the era. Truth is truth no matter where and when. Catholicism is rejected or left unexamined for one main reason, you do not want to feel guilty for your sinful desires.

    Stating the above abuses committed by the Catholic church in the past proves nothing. Humans are naturally frail and weak, and they have difficulty living up to its teaches. You do not judge a religion by those that fail to practice it. The abuses above are nowhere condoned anywhere in official doctrine. The official teaching of the church is what should be examined not what each and every Catholic has done throughout history. Of course people might use a religion for their personal gain or to excise cruelty but this is a misuse of the religion, not following it properly.

    If you do a thorough study of history, you will see that women were basically treated like chattel before the coming of Christianity. It is Christianity that instituted monogamous marriage and made women equal to man in dignity. Before that polygamy was in vogue and women were viewed as second class citizens with lesser dignity then men. Christianity differentiates between the natural inclinations of the sexes and the biological differences between them. Saying this is misogynist is a straw man fallacy. The priesthood is restricted to males because he is supposed to be an imitation of Christ, of which his maleness was an essential part of his character. The Catholic church honors the Mother of God, Mary, higher then any other denomination save the Orthodox churches. High honor and respect is given to women and the gifts only they can bring to humanity. Using misogyny is a favorite ploy to fool the masses into thinking that there was something hateful against women in Christianity while a thorough study of Christian history will show this to be such a foolish statement.

    Here about women and Christianity:

    The problem is the conformist masses only get their views from mainstream media and the liberal indoctrination they receive in their schools and universities. Hardly a sliver of the population reads serious books from all times and places. They have no other source for opinion to counter the misconceptions rammed down their throats. How many books on Catholic exposition has this author read, and if so please name them. Are they all from the same secular viewpoint or have you actually read serious books from the other side? It is all wishful thinking and conjectures. The Catholic church can provide articulate and thorough explanations for each principle it holds.

    The Catholic Church was doctrinally exposed to the Holocaust and Nazism and saved numerous Jews during this period. In fact, Hitler was determined to destroy the Catholic Church because it was Jewish in origin and was the only bulwark standing against Nazi totalitarianism. Do you know how many Catholics were killed during the Holocaust? Pius XII did much to save the Jews but he had to do it in a clandestine fashion because he had to protect the Church as well. A thorough study of history will show this to be a chimera. It is all propaganda that the Church was in line with the Nazis, this is utter nonsense and only a mass of people again that have no other basis for their views will believe this atheist propaganda. Keep reading the same biased information if you wish to continue in your deluded beliefs.

    Here from the Jewish Library:

    “The saddest and most thought provoking conclusion is that whilst the Catholic clergy of Holland protested more loudly, expressly and frequently against Jewish persecutions than the religious hierarchy of any other Nazi-occupied country, more Jews – some 11,000 or 79% of the total – were deported from Holland; more than anywhere else in the West.”

    In Hungary, an estimated 80,000 baptismal certificates were issued by Church authorities to Jews. In other areas of Eastern Europe the Vatican escape network (organised via Bulgaria by the Nuncio Roncalli – later John XXIII) has impressed those writers who have studied the subject, with the effectiveness of the Church’s rescue operation. David Herstig concludes his book on the subject thus:

    “Those rescued by Pius are today living all over the world. There went to Israel alone from Romania 360,000 to the year 1965.”

    The vindication of Pius XII has been established principally by Jewish writers and from Israeli archives. It is now established that the Pope supervised a rescue network which saved 860,000 Jewish lives – more than all the international agencies put together.

    After the war the Chief Rabbi of Israel thanked Pius XII for what he had done. The Chief Rabbi of Rome went one step further. He became a Catholic. He took the name Eugenio.

    The Catholic Church does more charity, healthcare, and education in the developing world and in fact worldwide then anyone else. It has a duty to help the poor and marginalized of all kinds. This is evident if you open your eyes and look or actually go and serve the poor instead of writing polemics against the main organization that does this.

    Yes, ofcourse homosexuality. Again, the Church is rejected not because people have done any intellectual study and found it not to be TRUE, but rather because it interferes with their sexual lust. Homosexuality has been condemned almost universally until the last few decades because it was considered an aberration of Human Sexuality. So let’s say I am born with pedophilic tendencies, does that justify me acting out on it or watching videos? The church shows much compassion and love to homosexuals but it is not going to justify Homosexual Marriage or activity because this is not natural to human sexuality. It is a difficult teaching but so is the teaching on adultery or fornication. What about a heterosexual man who is unable to get married, so does the Church now hate single heterosexual men? What about adultery, many men have wandering eyes and may like to sleep with other women, so should the Church now justify that or it going to be seen as hating married men. These are all loose statements with no logical consistency that you can feed to the nonthinking masses. Think with your head instead of your groin. The church has tough teachings on sexual ethics which are instituted by Christ himself so the Church does not have authority to change it. Homosexuality is a struggle but so are many other afflictions that man maybe born with. You do not make your ethics based on what desires you have, that is not thinking with God’s mind but rather human sinful desires.

    The Catholic Church cannot promote illicit activity in order to save lives. Contraception eventually will lead to greater evil and giving out condoms is not the solution to AIDS. Why don’t you read about the success in Uganda in stemming AIDS because of Catholic efforts. The Catholic Church does not condone using contraception because sexuality has to be open to life otherwise it is sterile. Think about how a natural act is being barricaded by artificial efforts to prevent the intrinsic purpose of it. What is the teleology of sex? Sex has to be open to the possibility of life or it is sterile in nature and becomes hedonistic and crass. Sex is not a game and one look around the chaotic West will give you the consequences of a contraceptive mentality. Sexuality has been moderated by every civilization because people who had wisdom knew how powerful a drive it is in humans. Sexuality has the power to destroy civilizations if not constrained by morality. A church that would alter its doctrines for practical measures would have no respect from someone who looks for truth in religion. Religions should be judged on whether they are true or not, not whether they are easy or useful for accomplishing some practical goal. Logical consistency is not to be thrown out the window for expediency.

    Basically you choose to reject the Church because it has tough teaching that are difficult to practice. Why would you want to have someone telling you that sleeping with anyone you want at anytime is okay. You feel free to satisfy all your sexual desires without guilt. But tough teachings do not make something false. How do you know what God thinks? Are you convinced that God believes in condoms and homosexual marriage? This would be just wishful thinking. Many of God’s teachings are hard including no lying, no cheating, no lusting after other’s wives, giving money to the poor, not being materialistic, and many other things. Just because high moral standards are given does not mean its wrong. In fact, if a religion is man made it is likely to have easier rules. A man made religion will have easier rules so that people would be more likely to join. Why would a man made religion make such tough rules, would it attract you? The serious moral principles of the Catholic Church should make one more likely to consider its claim to be the truth.

    All I suggest is study religions seriously and objectively and ot with wishful thinking. Atheism is an easy temptation, the ability to make all your own morals and rules.

    Here is a start:

    “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried” – GK Chesterton.

    Since the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion. I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery. – Cardinal Newman, convert from Anglicanism.

  16. Julian

    Wow great reply, seems like its not just in religion that you take the easy way out. Clearly not a maniac, I’m a mental health physician so I think that’s my area of expertise. How about an INTP Generalist Intellectual with an IQ in the 150s who has an insatiable curiosity about almost everything and loves a good argument. I am supposed to be studying for my medical boards but that’s what sitting at home and doing boring questions online will do to you. I was just going to answer one claim but got carried away after starting off. But yes, I do rarely get a chance to post but just a pattern of seeing such lies spread by people who have not studied Catholicism at all or only studied it from biased sources struck at the right time.

    • Ok. I’m going to ignore the bulk of what you’ve said and focus solely on what pertains to the original article (much as you’ve ignored the substantive arguments of the article itself—because of course you did, because how could you actually answer the indefensible?)

      I’ll just pick up on two little words you used: ‘fallacy’ and ‘objective’. You’ve constructed this whole tapestry of nonsense on fallacy—which, just to point out, is a thesis constructed upon one or more false or unstable premises, which constitutes the entirety of your argument. ‘Sinful desires’ do not exist, except in the cultural construct of Christianity. They are notions, not facts—much as your value-loaded notions of masculinity, homosexuality, history, etc. are interpretations and not facts. You apply these notions, as values, after the fact of the existence of the behaviour you’re talking about. Though you obviously disagree, even theologians understand this (I was once a catholic, mate—which explodes your claim that I don’t know about catholic doctrines and practices). So I would argue that you’ve let your bias get in the way of clear thinking. Another false or unstable premise in the construction of your argument is the number of assumptions you’ve tried to pass off as facts, e.g. equating homosexuality with lust. You speak smugly about a thorough reading of history, simply assuming most people agree with your definition of the terms you’ve used, that they share a common cultural lexicon—which demonstrates that, despite your wholly irrelevant IQ having a large number attached to it, it hasn’t translated into critical intellectual engagement.

      Which brings me to ‘objective’. As this entire argument you’ve made is constructed from assumptions and falsehoods, backed up with (surprise!) catholic apologia (I like this ‘liberal indoctrination’ you’re talking about—it situates you nicely with the neo-fascists and Islamic fundamentalists who share a large number of your views), I’m going to hazard a guess that you think objective means something it doesn’t. If you’ll put your insatiable curiosity and sizeable IQ aside for a moment, you’ll perhaps forgive an analogy of the kind of cyclical argument you’ve made: you think that you’ve procured proof of the deliciousness of a theoretical cake by providing evidence that you ate it.

      The funny thing about you as an internet presence is that you’ve swaggered your way through this ridiculous argument, using half-truths, flat out lies, distortions and culturally embedded assumptions to defend what isn’t even being attacked. I don’t care if you are catholic—I didn’t write this for you. If you’d read the article properly, you’d see that it is aimed at people who ALREADY DON’T BELIEVE but who didn’t realise they are still counted as catholics because they were baptised as infants. Are you suggesting that non-believers would heed the arguments you’re making? (To say nothing of your implication that all non-believers only disbelieve because they’re indulgent or selfish, which as an argument is fatuous and lazy.) Do you think my gay friends, my friends who were abused by priests, my feminist friends are really going to be swayed back into the fold by your bar room theology? Do you really think I’m going to read your self-referential arguments about religion and think, ‘hang on a minute, he’s right’? The whole article is actually pointless now (at the ripe old age of six), as the church has changed the rule and it is no longer possible to defect with an Actus Formalis. (Interestingly, it’s now not possible to leave the RCC bar excommunication.) But what intrigues me about you as an internet presence is the swaggering attitude you take to history, as though you know all about it and I’m just here spouting off nonsense—an ideological interpretation in itself—imparted, no less, in conjunction with the notion that your profession and your IQ lends you an air of authority. Seriously? IQ? Who measures intelligence in IQ anymore? Certainly not people who work in education and academia. Your response is uncritical and reflexive, and you should check it, because it undermines, rather than bolsters, your argument.

      And the funniest thing about your intellectual posturing is that the history of Western thought—a substantial, maybe defining, proportion of which is liberal thought, as well as Christian—is characterised by a challenging of assumptions and a thorough interrogation of discourse and inquiry, which you have patently failed to engage with. So yes, you sound like a maniac.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s