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Hocus Pocus: Life and Times of a Roman Catholic Apostate


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“She said, ‘I know that there will come a time
When I get nothing from the blood and the wine’”

 – Me and the Devil, The Fratellis




I'm seriously considering leaving the Roman Catholic Church and was wondering if anyone had any constructive advice as to what I should do next, support, or general help?


I'm considering this for a few reasons, and I'll go ahead and list those because I feel they are relevant.


Reason 1. A couple months ago my consortium (they consolidated my county's parishes into one administrative entity) hosted a weekend long paid conference. Mass was only offered at this conference in my county so effectively you had to pay to attend mass. In order to go to a different parish, I would have had to drive at least an hour to attend due to the geography of the region. The conference didn't cost much to attend but the fact that you had to pay to attend mass didn't sit well with me. There was no one to appeal to about this either as everyone up to the Bishop was involved.


Reason 2. I asked one of my consortium's priests, with whom I had a good rapport with, if I could confess somethings to and talk about something with sometime. It didn't have to be right then and there. I planned on scheduling something with him. He told me, in no few words, that he didn't have the time to talk with me or even schedule something further or much further out. In a post on the Catholic Answers forum, I asked for help and I was told that canon law pretty much favors the priest in this situation, the grass wouldn't be greener anywhere else, and that I was being unreasonable. I thought that a priest was "legally" (as far as canon law was concerned) to hear a penitent's confession due to what was candidly said during my catechesis and a video Bishop Robert Barron did when the California confession bill was being discussed and debated. According to my RCIA classes and Bishop Barron, a priest should (is obligated) to hear a confession even if it leads to personal harm or death of the priest let alone minor inconvenience. 


Before all this, I was pretty happy with my faith. Sure, there were little things but nothing a person couldn't deal with. I guess initially, I just lost faith in the ministers of the Church and not the Church itself but then I got to thinking, “what is the Church without its living ministers?”  Also, the way the Church ties everything together makes one consider how much else should be brought into question when something does go wrong.


It is true that I haven't been confirmed too long (2 years) but I was a closet catholic for more like 7. I don't do things lightly and when it comes to things like this; I don't think anyone does.


In the couple of months between the paid conference and now, I've been sort of drifting, mourning the loss of my faith, trying to figure out what everything means now, and trying to decide how to best separate my beliefs from the belief system of the Church.


If anyone is in a similar boat and wants to vent or has advice, feel free. Also, I apologize if this is the wrong spot for this kind of thing. Feel free to move or remove it.



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37 minutes ago, knighterrant said:

..... but then I got to thinking,


.....In the couple of months between the paid conference and now, I've been sort of drifting, mourning the loss of my faith, trying to figure out what everything means now, and trying to decide how to best separate my beliefs from the belief system of the Church.


hey, knighterrant, you are on a road (I still refer to my journey as a pilgrimage, not wishing religious people to hijack the word). You have hit the nail on the head, ISTM, when you say you are thinking! Keep it up. Read, read, find like-minded people. By all means chat with Christians who are open-minded but keep your own counsel.

But be prepared, once you start on this pilgrimage it is never-ending, thank goodness. And it is exciting and joy-giving.

All the best.

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Many protestant ministers are like-minded. Some are in it for money, some for power over others (or both), some are not even believers, they just took it as a job and now can't leave because they have no other life-training. They will try and sell you their latest video or book about subject __, they will have a lackey listen to any complaints and recommend that you would probably be happier elsewhere, just as many abusive preachers as we've heard about priests in the news, others have very questionable "discernment" practices where they simply proclaim that you have a demon of ___ because you watched a movie with a sex scene or some horror scene and then pray in tongues and make you feel like shit for bringing anything up in the first place. All of these sorts of things are common in any religion or denomination. 


Are there some valuable lessons in the Bible? Yes, but they in no way require belief or ritual. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sharing from abundance with those who have nothing, showing compassion and empathy instead of building monuments to religion, choosing kindness over cruelty or apathy. All of these make humanity a better overall species. Just recognize when someone is abusing it, draw good boundaries and do what you can rather than expecting a god to reward you. Being kind isn't being a doormat, and we don't need to "take up a cross and die daily". 


When I recognize qualities, emotions, thoughts, desires, etc in myself that I find shocking, I take time to explore them, to find out what attracts me to them, why I find them bad, why there is a disconnect, and sometimes just leave it alone for a while. Introspection is valuable for understanding ones motivations, and sometimes things pop up that I had no idea were there. Sometimes I have dreams that cause me to start asking myself questions. This is a valuable practice and carries no judgment, sin, confession, or appeasement of deities. I ponder what it is I think I am, what I want to embody, what I want to become, and then take tiny steps in that direction. None of it requires that I spill my guts to anyone. Besides, they are all on similar journeys whether they know it or not. And if they think they have a pat answer or judgment ready for me, they can keep it. There are things inside them that would horrify others, so they know to keep their own mouths shut. 


I follow the same practice for things that delight me, that I find attractive or wonderful. Again, I wonder what the qualities are that draw me and if they are what I feel like I want to be or embody. This way seems to work for me. 



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Welcome, Knighterrant. You are in the right place here. What Nontheistpilgrim and Fuego have written is well put. I’d add that you might ask yourself what it is or was about the Catholic church that you found valuable. Could you find that in another church? Do you need a church to supply that, or could you get it some other way, either on your own or through a social group of some sort? Did you have a social connection there that you will lose? If so, what might you do to replace that?


It might be worthwhile to work out these issues on paper, as a list or in narrative form. That helps to crystallize thinking and prevent vague, cloudy thinking that misses the target.


As to beliefs, Fuego addresses those well. Most of what Christianity claims as “Christian values” are universal values. Even animals have been observed to show caring and compassion to others. So I guess I’m saying that a formal church structure isn’t needed unless there is something there that a person finds personally worthwhile.


(By the way, if you haven’t noticed, many members here are atheists and although spiritual people are welcome, the atheists can be rather strident at times. If you remain spiritual, don’t let those folks bother you. We hope you'll keep the dialog going.)

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Welcome to Ex-C, @knighterrant.


There are a number of reasons to leave any religion as they are man-made and, unless you really NEED the feelgood aspects that some can gain from them, there is no reason to practice any of them. Sounds like some research is in order on your part and I recommend the authors Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, David Fitzgerald, Casper Rigsby, Bart Ehrman, Christopher Hitchens, and Marlene Winell.


Of course the best work for seeing Christianity for what it is would be the Bible. So many inconsistencies and contradictions.  So much blood and hate. So many obvious indications that this collection of fictional works were written by man and not by any deity - supposing they exist.


As far as your ass-hat Father what's-his-name - this just shows to go 'ya that religions were mainly created for profit and to control the masses. Charging $$ to attend a church service? Really? The Catholic church has always been the fore-runner of for-profit religions but this says they don't give a hoot who sees that for what it is because there are plenty of other sheep to sheer. Nothing against making a profit but doing so, and doing it so blatantly, indicates they have other motivations than administering what the truly believe to be the otherwise right thing to do. Perhaps Attorney's General should look into revoking the Catholic church's tax-exempt status.

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knighterrant: I would recommend Atheism for Dummies by Dale McGowan. An easy read, comprehensive. Not strident but factual. The sort of book, IME, that can be read straight through by anyone exploring issues and looking for answers.

Hope you are OK

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Thanks everyone for all the help and advice so far.  There is certainly a lot to think about and it seems like I'm in a good place to start asking those questions. What I'm taking away from most of your comments and suggestions is that I have a lot of homework to do when the emotional/psychological stuff allows. 


@nontheistpilgrimI'm doing better everyday. Baby steps. I'm going to attend mass at a pretty liberal Episcopal church this Sunday and hang out with them afterwards to broaden my view of things. If nothing else, it might act as a step down from religion. Also the ____ for Dummies series is surprisingly helpful on a variety of topics. I'll probably be picking that one up. 


@Fuego That sounds like a solid way to live. Very practical stuff there. I like the view of doing good but don't be naive and a doormat like you said.  That kind of reminds me of Epicurus's attitude toward things, not in regards to pleasure in the way people seem to interpret him but how he saw God. I'd almost call him a practical atheist. I think you would like him. Here is my favorite letter that he wrote to someone and I think it really shows his philosophy.


@older Those are good questions to ask. Putting pen to paper, so to speak, could really speed up this process instead of just sitting on ideas until they form. lol. Also thanks for the encouragement. As of now, I'm still open to a prime mover concept of a god so that could go either way.


I picked up my old copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. I figured Nietzsche might be a good place to start critiquing Christianity and religion in general.


@MOHO Thanks for the insights and author recommendations. I already happen to have copies of Dawkins's Selfish Gene and God Delusion somewhere around here. I had to read those for a comparative religion class in my undergrad. I didn't care too much for them at the time (God Delusion more so than Selfish Gene) because of some of the straw-man arguments and Dawkins personality seeping through but perhaps things will be better this go around. 


Thanks again. I'm glad I found this place

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WELCOME!  This is a great place to do what you are doing.  Look through the testimonials to see how others have gone through the process.  In my testimonial there is quite a bit about the Catholic church.  In my opinion, in it's history, one of the most corrupt and deceptive organizations in history, except for a few good, honest, brain washed people along the way.

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Thanks @Weezer!


I'll give your testimonial a look. I'm thinking similar things more and more every day.


Like tonight for instance. Apparently there used to be a formal process to defect from the Catholic church and formally become an apostate. That is until 2009 apparently thanks to Pope Benedict XVI who put a stop to it. I think do to the people applying for it en masse to protest various scandals but for the reason that PBXVI says was weird marriage situations. I made the mistake of posting on the catholic answers forum on the not catholic subforum to discuss and learn about the canon law surrounding this and if anyone had ever done it/what their experiences were. To put it bluntly, people are starting to show themselves. 


I thought officially having it on the record that I wanted to distance myself from the RCC would be cathartic, give closure, and possibly put me in a better light as far as history is concerned. 

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I got about a third into Dawkins Delusion and gave up. He, in the end ISTM, is attacking one section of Christianity and does himself no service. And too strident for my liking.

As for formally defecting from the RCC....you will know best what to do. But it reminds me of an incident at the birth of one of our children (many years ago). The local Anglican priest visited her during which visit she told him that she was a Congregationalist. His reply was revealing: 'Never mind, dear'.😮


An aside (is it?!): just read about a man being raised from the dead and another having 17000 demons cast out of him in a pentecostal meeting. You see? What craziness and manipulation some churches are into. 🤣

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