After Catholicism – Now What?

Someone wrote me last week asking if I knew of the “perfect church” for ex-Catholics. She had found this site by searching for those keywords. She said she had tried other religions, but missed the ceremonial aspect of Catholicism. I’m cyber-friends with another Sort-of Catholic who said she had the same experience, tried other religions, and finally ended up returning to the Catholic Church. Sort of. A childhood friend recently told me that she misses nothing at all about the church, but she left at age 18, whereas I and these other women were in our 30s.

I wrote back, and told her that there is no such thing as a perfect church, because religion is man-made and therefore differs from spirituality.

At least that is my opinion. Then again, I do not miss the ceremonial aspects of Catholicism at all. Mass was hard for me to sit through. I found its repetitiveness to be mind-numbing. Otherwise, I had little objection to most laws and philosophies of the Church. I didn’t delve deep into understanding much of it, either. What I do miss about Catholicism: the homily, going on retreats, community, opportunities for volunteer work, the lovely church building itself that was my parish and holds many wonderful memories. I also miss not being divided from my family on the subject of religion.

For any former Catholic, inevitably there is the question: Now what? I left the church two years ago and am still somewhat uncertain where to go from here. I still mourn the loss sometimes and in the beginning I had trouble separating God from Catholicism.

See, another reason there is no “perfect” solution to the “What now?” question is that we all became former Catholics for different reasons and at different times in our lives. I’ve tried to find out where most people go when the leave Catholicism, and found this:

While those Americans who are unaffiliated with any particular religion have seen the greatest growth in numbers as a result of changes in affiliation, Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes. While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic.

Bishop John McCarthy writes on his website:

Why do these people leave? One of the most common reasons articulated is that they do not see the Catholic Church as a loving community of faith striving mightily to bring truth, justice and love into the world.  Rather, in their opinion, they see a very large organization in which most individuals become isolated and this organization is controlled by a group of leaders that are insensitive to the needs of the people, who are seen to be more concerned about exercising power and control than a generous concern for all.

Further down in the post he quotes Father William Byron, who states:

If they really believed in Jesus’ presence, a misstep of this or that ecclesiastical leader and a failure at good communication within the Church would not motivate departure.  If they really believed in the presence of Jesus, they would hold on through thick and thin and pray that a restructuring in the Church may soon come to reflect with much greater clarity the continued presence of Jesus of Nazareth.

Yes, McCarthy is disagreeing with Byron here.

And he uses that sentiment to bring home the central reason that all former Catholics—regardless of the circumstances surrounding our departure—leave Catholicism. We do not see the church as being the sole path (or for some, a path at all) toward truth, love, and justice. Whether we believe in Jesus’ presence or not, we have been able to separate that presence from Catholicism, at least partially, and in some cases view the church and Jesus in direct opposition.

The perfect church cannot be found here on earth. This isn’t to say there are not good churches that may be a better fit for some of us. We can, however, weave the missed aspects of our former faith into our lives in other ways, while growing in our spirituality and embracing the one quality that Jesus taught over and over in the bible: compassion.

What spiritual path, if any, have you taken since leaving the Catholic church?


Anonymous said...

I am formerly Catholic. Recently, I've become interested in exploring the Quaker faith. They testify with SPICES: simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. Their meetings are brought together with silence, punctuated by spiritual thought. I find this way of communicating with God and others very appealing.

Henry said...

Thought you may find this article interesting. One in ten Catholics have left the church. That would make exCatholics the third largest denomination in the United States. Here is the link: http://ncronline.org/news/hidden-exodus-catholics-becoming-protestants

Lisa said...

I have also been delving into Quakerism. I recommend Catherine Whitmire's books.

Anonymous said...

I am still a Catholic although I often wonder why I stay with the church whose teaching I don't fully agree with. I think a large number of Catholics are in my shoes. The conservtives call us the "cafeteria catholics". If we all leave, where would the Catholic Church be?

Anonymous said...

It's the hypocrisy of the church that drives me crazy. With all the sexual abuse they have caused, and all the sex among priests they tried to deny for decades(centuries I assume) it is hard to want to be part of that. You go to mass and you feel as you stand there that you are saying "yes, these things are all ok with me". But they are not. How come we don't hear of such things going on in all the other Protestant churches across America I ask myself.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I (he a cradle Catholic and I a convert 39 years ago) have really been struggling with the CC for several years. We disagree with the church's "rules" on
contraception, women becoming priests, confession, priests marrying, etc. A few years ago when the church's sexual abuse scandal broke wide open, I remember sitting in the pew feeling so ashamed that I was a part of an organization that allowed something of that magnitude to happen to the most vulnerable among us. Sure, there is sexual abuse in schools, protestant churches, universities (Penn State), Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc. but not on as large a scale as the scandal within the CC. I remember feeling that I just needed to hear something from our priest and our bishop that made me feel that this was truly a tragedy and a crisis and must be prevented, at all costs, from ever happening again. Somehow, there just never seemed to be the same level of passion about this issue as there was about abortion. I believe abortion is wrong, but I get really tired of getting hit over the head with that topic week after week, while I am quite sure priests are still molesting little boys. The perception I was left with during the whole sex abuse scandal was that the CC was sorry, but they were sorry they were caught, not that it happened. Last week after the whole contraception issue (CC rebelling against Obama admin. "forcing" them to provide contraception to employees through their health-care plan), we just decided we had had enough of the hypocrisy. Our priest said this was a crisis in the Catholic Church. He did not use the word "crisis" when reading the obligatory letter from the bishop after the sex abuse scandal. That was not a crisis. This is. We are going to join an Episcopal Church. I'm tired of sitting with the other drugged sheep week after week at Mass going through the motions and pretending that the CC isn't an evil criminal organization.

Anonymous said...

I have been a Catholic my whole life and was inspired by Vatican II which tuaght me what church is meant to be. Sadly, in past 20 years or so, the Catholic Church has moved so far from Vatican II that I can no longer feel a part of it. It is as if I have been abandoned by the Church I knew and love. I am explorint the Evangelical Lutheran Church which has the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, believes in the real presence, has rituals but does not call them sacraments for reconcilliation, marriage and ordination. I am enjoying the "fresh air" of inclusiveness (women, all laity, and gays, lesbians, transgendered), the emphasis on God's grace rather than on our sinfulness, and the atmosphere of being treated as an adult rather than a second class citizen or a child.

Anonymous said...

I left the RC church 2 years ago. I became disillusioned with it as no one cares when you need help. I
did not know until 2 years ago that I
was supposed to believe that the mass is a literal sacrifice of Jesus happening over and over again
except it is not a bloody sacrifice. This I cannot accept. This just perpetuates Christ as a victim. I believe when Christ died he died once and for all. I reckon I have been Protestant all my life and did not know it.

Anonymous said...

I find Mass to be mysteriously refreshing, I love my Parish Church, the quiet congregation, even the crying babies. But I am sick and tired of reading about all the horrific sex scandals. I am seriously thinking of leaving because of this, I am disgusted with the Hierarchy, the male dominance. I am angry and sad about this, I don't know where to go...

Anonymous said...

I'm an active Catholic, but like many others, am sick and tired of the hypocricy and of being hit with the exact same three homilies week after week (chastity, gay marriage, abortion & birth control). I miss the parish I used to attend, run by Dominicans who preached to ALL aspects of our lives, whether or not it would offend people. I miss being able to have a serious conversation with a priest or fellow parishoner who actually cared about how our actions impacted others. I've found what made me leave the church as a college student: that most Catholic leaders don't really care, and most Catholics either don't care or are silent. I haven't left yet, but am motivated to find a different faith or start driving the 120 minutes round trip to the old parish.

Anonymous said...

Catholic authorities hate women but my lot , the evangelicals they hate women too ! I met a catholic lad when I was 17 and they pressurised me to stop seeing him I'm so embarrassed now that I wrote him the letter (they stood over me ) explaining that he wasn't a proper Christian
Judgy Judgy and when you put the reading in it collapses- god as authority sky male infantilised us
No religion get in touch with nature or Buddhism . No more "god "/ authority SkyMale just an open heart and an appreciation

Anonymous said...

I thank God that I left the Catholic Church. I am from Africa and for the 40 years of my life, I was a devout Catholic. My journey began when I joined the Catholic Charismatic renewal 20 years ago when I was introduced to the Saving Word of God. Over the years, I have to discover that while the Catholic present themselves as Christians, they do not actually believe in the entire Bible. They have a number of doctrines which are not in lime with the Saving Word of God:

1. Salvation is by faith and good works are only a manifestation of one's salvation. The Catholics believe that doing good works brings to the doer salvation.

2. The Catholics claim that their priests and the Pope are representatives of God on earth, which is very blasphemous. For the Bible says that all have sinned (of course, including me) and therefore, sinners cannot be representatives of God who is the MOST HOLY.

3. I could not remain in religion which curses (what they call anathema) people who do not agree to their doctrine. Please read the Canon Law of the Trent Council. Can you imagine, Jesus Himself forgave those who crucified Him. Besides, the Bible says you cannot bless at the same time curse.

4. The Catholic religion is man-made and only use God's Word and many times out-of-context, to justify their false teaching.

Yes, there is no religion that is perfect since we have all sinned. But what is the creed of the church you are choosing to join. It is one thing for one to fail to do God's will, when that person knows God's clear will, but it is another issue if God's Will is being changed by those who claim to be articulating it to the rest of the congregation.

Choose to read the Saving Word of God, the BIBLE all that you need to find the right church is there. Ask God for discernment and the Holy Spirit will guide you. We should participate in reading and doing what God has created us to do.

47of74 said...

I finally sent a message to my former Catholic parish stating that I was leaving and to stop the automatic withdrawals from my account. I feel a bit lighter having done that now. I haven't attended in several months and was in fact attending area Episcopal services. But I had trouble working up the courage to formally sever ties until this weekend when the bulletin my parents brought home from Mass was full of that "religious freedom" propaganda. Then there was a nasty letter to the editor from a conservative Catholic in the local paper and I decided I was done with Rome.

Anonymous said...

To the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America. It is inclusive and most churches meet in homes or small settings. The services are still Catholic in nature and comforting to those who were comforted or uplifted by RC masses.

Anonymous said...

I was raised Catholic, and left the church when I turned 18 and moved out on my own. I think I knew from a young age that there was too many man-made rules that I did not agree with. Their anti-gay and anti-women views are un-acceptable to me, and I could not continue to be a part of it.
I also recall a specific instance when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, being told by my church teacher that Catholics are "better" than the rest of the world. It struck such a nerve with me that it is one of the very few things I remember from those church classes.
Since leaving the church, I have not explored any other religions, and just believe what I choose to believe, without anyone telling me if it is right or wrong. And I wont ever turn back.

Anonymous said...

As an adult I have gone to the Catholic church (in which I was raised) for help on a few occasions. I also went to a nun for psychological counseling. The nun and another nun at a church and priests have been very mean spirited and angry. I can't deal with that. I am a hurting person due to some traumatic events I had nothing to do with and to be treated with anger at church is truly discouraging and enough to send me packing. I don't fit in with the Protestant scene either and have tried. I was a lifelong Catholic I thought..until I experienced abuse from their employees. Nuns and priests!

Anonymous said...

I left Roman Catholicism many years ago. I have written of my "exodus," you might call it, in a recent post on my blog. If you are interested, here is the site. Blessings to all.


Phyllis Nissila

EJK said...

I was a catholic,but left the church last year after many years struggling with belief system.Was Peter the first Pope,really,He died as an apostle and not a pope,what about the bad popes,all catholics should read that,what about the inquisition,Is the pope infullible,is the pope Holy father,we have only one Holy father which is in heaven,Mary mother of God,was she,she was mother of Jesus,Jesus is the midiator between God and man,you pray to God thru Jesus not any other saints,transubtiation,bread and wine turning into real body and blood,Jesus said do this in memory,I can go on and on.Catholics should read the Bible,but the church doesn't incaridge that because we may get the wrong view,all answers are in the Bible.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the exact same thing today, minus the episcopal church part. I recently did some research on Jehovah's witnesses bc I have a friend who is a former witness. There are striking similarities, not in the beliefs per se, but in the control methods, used by JW and RCs. Ask a Catholic to defend something and they will break out the Catechism. Catholics have been discouraged from reading their Bibles lest they discover they have had the wool pulled over their eyes

Unknown said...

I was born and raised in a Catholic family. I was an alter server, and a Eucharistic minister. I always questioned the moral issues, and wondered if I was in the right place. For example, people who are gay are allowed to be gay, but are not allowed to be with people of the same sex. Another example is that my husband and I chose not to have children due to health reasons: He has a hereditary heart condition and I suffer from Bipolar 2. Yet I was told by our Deacon that not having children went against our faith, and that we are not God, so we don't have the right to make those decisions. Then the final straw was moving out of state, and experiencing a real fire and brimstone type of church. My husband and I attended 4 churches and didn't feel comfortable. I found a fifth church, but found out that the priest at that church had been sued several years ago because at somebody's funeral he stated that because they married outside of the Catholic church he would go to hell, and God would "vomit him out" even if he had apologized on his death bed. What happened to last rights? What happened to forgiveness? I have always know God to be loving and accepting, but for the reasons above and many others, the church has driven me away.

Anonymous said...

I started to lose faith inCatholicism when my son "failed" 3rd grade CCD class because his teacher did not check off that he knew the Lord 's Prayer. The dir. of Faith Formation called me in July (a month after classes were over) to ask that I bring my son to her office to make him recite the prayer and only then would she allow him to move up the next school year. I refused to make my very shy son go thru that and reminded her that he attended every class, he knew the prayer and that she had ample time to have him recite the prayer during the semester. She also refused to admit my younger son into the program for first Eucharist because he was never enrolled in FF class the year prior. She said it was a required class and would have to be completed first. We left that church and found another that happily took him. So much for prerequisites. Each parish has its own rules and they seem to be made up by the Pastoral Associate who thinks she can dictate who is worthy of participating. I cannot force my kids to go to Mass when even I am not drinking the Kool-Aid anymore. The rules, the changed responses, the kneeling, bowing, standing, sitting-- its all ritual that has nothing to do with understanding Christ. I have several friends who were molested by priests as children. The priest who baptized my son was defrocked for past sexual impropriety. Its flat out embarrassing to be associated with an institution like this. Why is it so hard for Rome to figure out why no one wants to be a Catholic?

Anonymous said...

I too struggle with finding a religious outlet that is suitable. I don't attend any service. Some feel so different that I feel uncomfortable and I'm craving similarity. I stopped practicing because I felt hypocritical. The sex abuse was minimally apologized for in my opinion. Priests all the way up to the Pope are servants and instead act as if they are royalty and above the rules. How can I stand up and have my daughter baptized while wondering if the priest that is before us is safe around children? Even before the scandals broke I disagreed with many doctrines that appeared to be man-made (male only priests, anti-gay etc). I am looking for a group that is interested in living by the 10 commandments and keeping it simple. No "interpreting" of script; there-in lies the opportunity for mistake. Instead 10 simple rules. Why do we have to make it more complicated? If anyone knows of a group like this please reply so that I can find a new spiritual home.

Anonymous said...

I just left the Catholic Church a month ago. I found that I didn't agree with their teachings and I couldn't tolerate what I saw as corruption in the Church.

Two things that I have noticed since declaring my intended defection:

1. Radical Catholics immediately question whether I'm a Christian or not. That tells me that they tie their salvation to the Church alone and not to God.

2. I have been going to an awesome Weslyn Church, but it's more like a non-denominational church. As much as I like that church, I will never join. I never want to get that Hotel California feeling in a church again.

I am, very happy to have left the Catholic Church. All of my friends are going to a Holy Day of Obligation tonight. I'm sitting at home with a heating pad watching tv.

Anonymous said...


What finally made it complete for th 43 people is the following utter Insantiy of Benedict


To saynotheing of how the church let its celibate priests rape children , probably from the beginning of its time, and even worse covered up these vile crimes.

EJK said...

Catholic-Most do not question anything, just do what church tells you what to do. Bible is secondary, Mary is elevated to heaven without proof, I think most of catholics pray to Mary then Jesus or God. Must have statues so you can bow or kneel like a pagan, God told Moses to distroy idols, but we have them, I have seen even Pope bow to Mary's statue, it's pagan. Mary died a virgin? Bible states that she had other children but the Vatican says no, how come all the protestants agree that she had other children ? Was Mary mother of God, no she was not,she was mother of Jesus, she did not create God. Was she special? of course she was, she was chosen by God to have Jesus.

Anonymous said...

I was raised Catholic with most of my education (prior to college) in Catholic school. I left and returned when I had a child. I tried to fool myself that I could live with all that I disagreed with, illogical positions on birth control, the annulment cash mill, elitism among the lay in power, total disconnect of the priests from the reality of parishioners lives, absolute control of EVERY aspect of the church by middle age to old men, (mostly white and European), OK, so I could go on and on. When I began to realize there wasn't much I DID agree with, I had the dilemma of OMG, now what do I do? I could never imagine myself as not being Catholic....until I broke the hold. I can breathe and do what I have always done....but without everything I can't endorse. I can actually live a moral, rational life and continue to teach my son the same. Oh, and by the way....no more irrational guilt!

Anonymous said...

That's a good question, I quit Catholicism because of theological disagreements, and fear-mongering which broke free in polish church in past years. More exorcists preaching about Satan, magic, harry potter, "how hello kitty is hidden demonic symbol", etc than about Jesus, love, compassion... it was simple idolatry of fear, and I couldn't participate in that.

I didn't really find any other church or religion yet, but not missing catholicism, I never was church goer or pious catholic. Besides it's hard to pick up another hot cup when you burnt yourself once.

Anonymous said...

btw. did you guys ever wonder to go to Orthodox church? For me it's a lot better theologically than catholicism, closer to feeling faith than rationalizing it (thomas aquinas school is considered pretty much heretical there since you can't really reason into faith, which is mystery. I'm not orthodox but their masses have magical atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

I asked my local parish (ccd or GIFT program) to be a part of my support for me and my young children after finally leaving an alcoholic and abusive spouse. I was turned down. The irony here, the program is Growing In Faith Together. My youngest (who had already done the first year program), was not in second grade so he could not do the eucharist or holy communion according to diocese even though catholic law does not dictate an age for that. I and my kids are no longer associated with the catholic church.

Anonymous said...

I moved to the Church of England which I think offers a sort of Catholicism-lite. Having been brought up as a Catholic, it's hard to leave but I just couldn't believe or put into practice what the Roman Catholic church expected.

Yag Avaryu said...

I was brought up in a very devout Catholic home. We said the rosary every night and we each took turns in leading the prayers. I married a girl who was a member of the Full Gospel churh, yet agreed that we could bring up our children as Catholics.

After my first son was christened as a Catholic, I began to read the bible and study the scriptures seriously. I came to understand that we are saved only by grace and not works nor tradition. I eventually left the RCC and started attending a "pentecostal" church.

For a long time I remained ambivalent about the Catholic dogma but eventually, I became curious and then suspicious of the focus on Mary as The Queen of Heaven. After much study and prayer (genuinely, I still focus my prayers on asking only for wisdom, since everything follows on this) I realised that the RCC has hijacked faith.

As an ex-Catholic, I expect that all sincere believers will have the true grace of God revealed to them, just as He did for me. I do not bear any resentment to 'nominal' Christians, wherever they attend a church - it's the best place for them to be.

I hold the Vatican responsible for the fallacy of the pope's infallibility and the dogma of works. The devout will be rescued from any significant error, as a result of their good intentions.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the post of 3/3/13. The hypocrisy is really becoming so clear to me. I went to an adult CCD class, years ago. The priest was one who I respected. He said this, "..when you take communion in the Catholic Church, you are accepting the church and everything it stands for." How many Catholics do you know who take the communion and then proceed to pick and choose which beliefs the agree with? Or, live their lives completely differently from what the church dictates? How about, 98% of them.....that is sad. If I live a good and generous life, I will go to Heaven. I don't think going to Catholic Church every Sunday has anything to do with it.

Anonymous said...

I left the Catholic Church because I don't believe it's doctrine. I am referring primarily to it's understanding of God, Christ, Mary, etc etc.

It has the right to make up whatever rules and regulations it cares to for it's priests, and members. As exclusive or misguided as I may find them, it has every right to do so, so I found no point in arguing that or wringing hands. I really think it is as simple as this, if you believe the Church is the Bride of Christ and the only means of salvation, you stay and do as you are told because those things are then the path to salvation, if you don't believe it, you leave and worship elsewhere. If what they teach is the eternal truth, then it will never change. If it's not, then it doesn't matter if you leave now and follow another path.

I understand that simple is not the same as easy, and there is the loss of tradition, things that one does love about the Church, family issues etc. But having made the change myself, it is worth it. The spiritual growth and honesty gained from moving, living and celebrating what one does believe, and one's relationship with the Divine is worth it.

If you don't believe the teachings of the Church, then live what you believe and feel your spirituality blossom as you live an authentic life.

I am a Pantheist.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised Roman Catholic; and as a youngster, didn't question anything. It wasn't until adulthood that I started to find that many times when I turned to the church for help with faith-related questions, I was looked at with disdain and/or given ridiculous sarcastic answers. While attending some classes with my husband before we could re-marry in the Catholic church, the "monsignor", actually started talking with perversion about sex matters. In retrospect, we should have just got up and left; but we sat there, stunned. After the scandal of molestation became public; I realized what had been going on all the time. Most of my nun teachers were very mean and a lot of corporal punishments were dished out, as well as public humiliation in front of the other students. I do not agree with their six precepts and a lot of other "Catholic views". I still want to worship God and I am seriously looking into the Lutheran church. It has been twelve years since I stopped going to a catholic church. During that mass, I felt myself becoming angrier by the minute and couldn't wait to get out of there. I also happen to have many "super Catholic" friends--you know, the ones who can out talk any subject you bring up with threatening your soul with the devil and his works. So be it!

Anonymous said...

God led me to leave the catholic church when my children were young - I was walking out after Mass and clearly remember it. Then AG for 9 years, Charismatic for 4 (bad for teens, big on false teachers), charismatic bible college, 5 years Baptist, further graduate study through a charismatic church, now I follow an online church because the minister is anointed to pray for the sick and I need healing. I considered returning to being a catholic, but the priest would not meet with me to discuss protestant views unless I attended Mass and introduced myself! Catholics are not open, not friendly, not inclusive. Now the AG church is even ecumenical in its associations, so I avoid it. I believe God leads me in everything now, and knows I would prefer fellowship with like believers, I've just been "over-churched", and tired!

jan said...

I was baptized Catholic in my 30s, was very devout. There are a lot of things that have made me leave. A dysfunctional parish, a petty priest, rules that don't make sense. Finally, after church one day my 14 year old daughter said that the church seemed dead. That was the last straw. The Catholic church is too bureaucratic. I would go back sometimes, but I really disagree that missing Mass is a big sin, that rule irks me the most.

Tony Beasley said...

I have just come across this site have just a few minutes to post a message to all.

I was brought up a Roman Catholic and come from a large wider family in the Catholic faith. I am no longer a practicing RC, but my Polish wife and I walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and our lives are so blessed to be “in Christ” our Sovereign Redeemer.

There is much discussion on the site about which church everyone belongs to ..... yet the question of salvation should dominate these discussions ..... for which church saves??

That should be self evident ...... no church saves .!

No Protestant church saves and yet neither does Rome save .... we should all be acquainted with the fact that the Lord Jesus alone saves.

“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”. Acts 4:11-12

Remember that in Luke 2 - Simeon had waited for the ‘consolation of Israel’ verse 25 and he called out to the Father “mine eyes have seen thy salvation” meaning God made flesh - the Holy babe.

The ground of salvation is always Him and our relationship thereof through faith.(Ephesians 2:8-9) and it is needful for each of us to come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus while He gives us breath.
But how? That is the quest of the hour.

Some are born once and die twice ......
While others are born twice and die once

It is the second that we MUST become, not the former ..... He who has ears to hear let him hear.

Jesus said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” John 3:7

Does this help anyone? .... I must go but you must seek Him while He may be found by you.

Tony Beasley - London

Mac61 said...

I converted to Catholicism from Protestantism and am fully satisfied that it is a full Christian Church and that the teaching of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is both Biblical and historical. However, it is the chilling effect of clericalism that has me ready to leave. The underwhelming response to the pedophile priest sex abuse crisis--while at the same time remarried divorced Catholics are excommunicated without the permission of a Roman tribunal of clerics who grant annulment. Not to mention I cared for my mother for 7 years as she died of Alzheimer's and not one Catholic friend was there, despite my many requests for help. The Catholic Church knows nothing of fellowship; casts the remarried into mortal sin -- yet priests and bishops do not face charges for their felony crimes. If everyone was like Pope Francis it would be awesome. He stands out because he is not like the bureaucrats and cold doctrinal police who make up the bulk of the hierarchy. I believe in the Eucharist. I guess that leaves Eastern Orthodox, for the most part.