Home Discussion Forum Why Can't I Bring Myself to Leave the Catholic Church?

Why Can't I Bring Myself to Leave the Catholic Church?

I’m posting this here with the hope that others out there are troubled by the spiritual “crisis” I’m going through. I was born and raised Catholic and attended Mass regularly into early adulthood. At that point, it was almost like I hit a wall – I was still going to Mass but stopped receiving anything from it. I realize that worship isn’t intended to serve ME – we are there in an effort to serve God – but it was like I began going through the motions. At that point I began attending services with other Christian denominations – Baptist, Episcopalian, non-denominational, etc.. I have to say that I ENJOYED those services much more because, at least at the time, I felt they SPOKE to me in a more personal manner. I felt they were more prone to preach and teach Scripture and the atmosphere was more conducive for spiritual fulfillment. However, when I was attending those services, it almost felt like I didn’t belong. I enjoyed them and felt like I began to understand the Word more clearly, but something inside of me felt a little bit of…guilt (yes, “Catholic” guilt, perhaps) at being there. I know I’m not the only Catholic, “lapsed” Catholic, etc., to go through this. I just feel that I would be HAPPIER if I could break free of the Church in pursuing my relationship with God, but why is it so difficult? And should “happiness” really be my barometer here? I don’t want to get into a doctrinal war here (Catholics v. Protestants, etc.), but should I be focused on happiness if Catholicism was my foundation growing up and could potentially be my foundation in the future? Am I being selfish in my thinking here? I appreciate everyone’s input! God bless…


  1. Catholic is not Christian. Catholicism leads to eternal torment in hell, because catholicism teaches works for salvation, and that is a false gospel of works (Galatians 1:6-9) that is against JESUS’S free gift of salvation!
    And catholicism will not give anyone a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.
    So, you need to get away from catholicism, and instead, believe in JESUS for His free gift of salvation!
    Jesus is God, and Jesus loves you so very much! πŸ˜€ And the Trinity is true!
    The truth about Jesus is that the only way to be saved and to get into heaven and avoid being sent to hell, is by believing in Jesus for His free gift of salvation, believing in faith alone that Jesus, who is God, died on the cross for all our sins as FULL PAYMENT for all our sins, and then Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Believe in Jesus for His free gift of salvation, and you will be in heaven, no matter what!
    Salvation is a FREE GIFT that happens in a split second when you believe in Jesus alone to save you! It is impossible to lose or “leave” salvation (John 6:39-40, John 10:28, 1 John 5:13).
    Please pray now: “Jesus, I believe that You died on the cross to pay for my sins and that You rose from the dead, and I thank You for eternal life!” You will be in heaven with Him forever when you die! πŸ˜€


  2. It’s difficult because, as you alluded, the catholics have mastered guilt like no one else on earth (with the possible exception of Jewish mothers)
    If you want to continue in your faith, then personal satisfaction has to play a part.
    Otherwise, like being caught in a bad marriage, you will resent the faith, and not just the particular sect you are involved in.
    You could try talking to your priest, in the role of spiritual guidance counsellor. He might suggest you change your church, instead of your sect. But if you do decide to join another sect, you’ll have to learn to let the catholic guilt go, and embrace a whole other kind of guilt. (Protestants have their own)

  3. Honestly, I don’t think it’s the church that’s bothering you but the parish. As a Catholic, I’ve found some parishes arent as good as others. If I were you, I’d switch parishes and go to several until you find a catholic parish that works better for you. The Catholic Church was directly instituted by Christ, those protestant religions can’t say the same thing.
    @ David. Catholicism is a form of Christianity. It is through many sad differences that there were splits. You are wrong. Do your research before making such statements.

  4. I feel allot better since i left Baptist. Christians are so into other peoples Business. Legalistic, judge mental. that there isnt who i want to be so i decided to walk away. i still go but now i actually feel free. i listen to the Music i want, the movies i want i dont do drugs or kill so i think life’s better for me now.

  5. Catholicism is the only Christian Faith . They are lead in worship By the Pope The Bishop Of Rome for those People who say the word Pope isn’t in the Bible, who was given the Keys to Heaven From Jesus . Through Apostolic succession From Peter the First Pope they worship Jesus, And thru The Holy Tradition Of the Saints formed the Bible , Biblical doctrines, Such as the Trinity, Sunday service, Easter, And Christmas teach Grace alone for salvation, Did not remove books From the Bible but preserved the writings of the Jewish Old testament which the protestants threw out , Catholics want to worship Jesus with all 5 of their senses .
    Music for the ears,
    Incense for the nose,
    Statues and art for the eyes,
    Please pray a sincere prayer with all of your heart admitting to Jesus you are a sinner. Have full faith that His blood pays off all of your sins and accept His gift of everlasting life. And give your confession to a Priest Jesus never said to confess your sins to either him Or to the Father pray that God blesses you with peace. Amen
    The truth is that Jesus is God, and Jesus loves you so very much! πŸ˜€
    Say this Prayer
    Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    and where there is sadness, joy.
    O Divine Master,
    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
    as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand;
    to be loved, as to love;
    for it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

  6. Remember only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the truth while admitting that all other religions possess the truth to some degree. But you must be true to your honest conscience. Feelings are great, but conviction is the key to true belief. So keep this in mind, the real Truth, as in the Catholic Church, is very very highly idealistic as it should be. This means it will always be difficult to follow in many ways. But God only asks to to keep trying and does give us the sacraments; especially the eucharist and confession, for this struggle. May I suggest you read the Catholic catechism now and then and pray for guidance to follow a sincere, honest and informed conscience. God bless.

  7. I felt the same way you did when I visited other churches. If there is one God he understands. My needs were better met by a Presbyterian church. I am a former Catholic now.

  8. I went through a not dissimilar process when I left the Church. It took me several years to admit that I had done so.
    I don’t really have any insight to add, just some advice. Don’t worry about it. Your psyche will work through it in its own time, whatever’s going on.

  9. I was away from the Catholic Church for a number of years, and like you, I tried many other denominations. And like you, I found something to enjoy and learn from in all of them, but I never felt truly at home in a Protestant church.
    I finally figured out what bothered me about them, and that was the cavalier attitude so many Protestants have towards Communion. They talked up until time to receive, some were chewing gum and only took it out long enough to partake, and many acted like it was just one more thing they had to do before they could go home to their pot roast and Sunday football game.
    You will not find the peace and joy of receiving our Lord in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist if you leave the Church to “pursue your relationship with God.” God is in the Sacrament because God IS the Sacrament. So if you can’t find God as a Catholic, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find Him anywhere else, either.
    I’ve returned to the Catholic Faith, and by God’s grace and mercy, I will never leave the Church again. I suggest you do one thing before you make a decision you are very likely to regret as much as I came to regret my decision to leave, and that is ask our Blessed Mother to lead you closer to her Son. She brought me back to the Church and helped me find a deeper love for Jesus than ever before, and she can do the same for you.
    Feelings like ‘happiness’ are a barometer to measure your emotional status, not a roadmap to guide your spirituality. The great saints were seldom happy, but they chose to follow God and not their feelings. That’s a lesson we can all learn to our great spiritual benefit.

  10. I am a former Catholic, born and raised. I went through exactly what you are going through now, plus a good deal of anger and resentment toward the way the Catholic Church treats women. I still consider myself a Christian (although I’m beginning to question that, too).
    Having said that, go back and read John F’s answer again. It is spot-on. I have nothing to add to it, except that if you explore other Catholic parishes (kudos to the girl who said that, sorry I don’t remember your name), other Christian churches and maybe even some non-Christian religions – and then decide that the Catholic Church is right for you after all – you will be welcomed back.
    Good luck.

  11. wow, awesome question,
    I was raised ELCA lutheran , today i go to other churches, basically cause of the same reasons that you don’t want to go to the catholic church, THere is NOTHING wrong with you going to other churhces, “as long as they are following the word of god” and for the most part the episcopal and baptist churches as well as many others are doing just that.
    just find a church that more suits you and go to that one,
    BTW, there is this one foursquare gospel church that i sometimes go to, like 50% of the people i talk to there were raised catholic, and the rest either were not rasied in the church or were from some other denomination,
    God Bless

  12. I know what you mean it is easy to get in a “Rut” and just go through the motions, do the minimum. It is easy to fall in this trap.
    My solution, get involved more. Attend a Bible Study, join Knights of Columbus, and most of all, take some time every day for Prayer and a couple times during the week seek some formation, EWTN on TV has a lot of good programing. Another good idea is to volunteer to help with RCIA, a great way to get a update on the faith now that you are older.
    Also, if it is available in your area, attend Crusillo, a weekend retreat that will help give you direction in your faith and in your life.
    The Catholic Church can be every bit as vibrant as any Protestant Church, it depends on these 3 things.
    1. What you put into it.
    2. The Parish that you go to.
    3 The programs available in that Parish.
    So many people, (not saying this is you) are so afraid of getting involved, so afraid they will miss out on their favorite Reality show that they don’t volunteer for anything going on in the Parish. This is a big mistake.
    There is also a book, you might google it, about the meaning of the Mass, I can’t recall the name. Some study of the Mass itself might help you understand what is really going on and make it more meaningful.
    But I think I know what you sense is missing is the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. That is what I realized I was missing and why I left my Protestant Church and became Catholic.
    Not bashing Protestants here though, there are many great people at my old Church and I am thankful for the faith that they gave me.
    Seriously, google Crusillo, great program.
    I might also add a shout out to http://www.Catholic.com, they have a discussion board there that you might want to look into.
    Peace and God Bless!

  13. Hi friend, I know where you are coming from. I too am a cradle Catholic and never fully comprehended the true meaning of the Holy Mass until recently. I never fully understood the reasoning behind the motions of the priest or just how Biblical the Mass is. Every time we go to Mass we take our seat at the Last Supper of Christ our Lord. Every time the priest says ” This is my Body” ” This is my Blood” and “Do this in re-memberance of Me” he says these words in unison with Christ and in the person of Christ. From the preparation of the gifts all the way until the priest holds up the Body of Christ and says “This IS the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world happy are those who are called to this supper” we bear witness to not only the Last Supper when Christ gave us this Holy and Living Sacrament, but also the Crucifixion when the Pascal Lamb takes away the sins of the world. Our Mass just isn’t a study of sacred scripture, which we have from both the Old and New Testaments, but also a complete re-enactment of the Last 2 days of Christ’s human life on Earth! When you are at Mass you sit in the presence of all the Saints and Angels, but most importantly in the True Presence of Christ our Lord, God and Redeemer. If being in the presence of God doesn’t make you happy, I honestly don’t know what will. Unfortunately, when you are raised Catholic, you know your are SUPPOSED TO, but you never fully comprehend why. To be honest Catechism never ends and we should strive to be students of our faith every day. I think you may have found enjoyment in those other services because they were explaining to you what you were already practicing. I also think the reason you can’t leave the faith is because you know in your heart and more importantly in your soul, it is the Truth and I capitalize that because as we all know Christ was asked by Pilate “What is truth” and the only answer to that is Christ is the Truth. Through the Catholic Church you can receive that Truth daily! Awesome, isn’t it? Anyway, that’s all I’ve got so. I will pray for you and I hope you find your way.
    Love and God bless you,

  14. I am a former Catholic. I held on to my Catholic upbringing like a sinking man clings to a life preserver. However, I came to a disaster in my life that changed my life (what a blessing it was). I have a daughter with Spina Bifida. My wife and I found out at the 15th week of the pregnancy. Now I will admit that I had not been regularly attending church for some years (and I know Catholics are going to say – If you kept going…..) and yet I still believed in the God that Catholic schools had taught. Back to the change….
    During this time, I was searching for answers and guidance from nearly every angle and then I stopped and said to myself, go see a priest. I did and poured my heart out and sat in tears grieving. My life was spiraling out of control. I really thought that he would be able to comfort me and give me some sort of assurance that all would be ok. The only thing this priest could say is “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
    This was 12 years ago. Three years later, while my life was continuing to come apart – battles at home, feelings of depress ion, resentment, and so on – I made the statement “we are getting back to CHURCH”. So like a good Catholic, I searched for the nearest Catholic church and my family and I went. The service was very orderly and as I looked around, I saw that nearly every face was expressionless, like sitting in a mandatory briefing that you really didn’t want to attend. When the service was over, an older couple sought us out with clipboard in hand and they wanted us to fill out the information and so I did. They began asking some of the blanks that I had not filled in about job, salary and such and it seemed they were more conserned about what I could give to the church than what we needed spiritually. No one asked why we hadn’t attended before, how our lives were doing, how could the church reach out to us….no, the question that was important to them was how much money do you make.
    My wife, who was born and raised in a Baptist church, drug me to the Baptist church and in 2-3 weeks time, I learned more about who Jesus is than I had ever heard. It was then that I had recieved my salvation.
    I have been studying the Word of God for 8 years now, and I have a great respect for those who have devoted their lives to preaching and teaching God’s Word. I have also come to realize that not all who preach and teach, do so correctly or completely (meaning they leave out important truths). I am not going to say that you should seek out a Baptist church. There are a great many Baptist churches that have lost the intent of what God’s will is for them along with many other Protestant denominations, including many Catholic churches.
    My advice is this – Be in prayer and ask God for His wisdom and His understanding as you read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). When you are finished with these, let God lead you where to go next.
    A statement that I used to make is this, “All Catholics are Christian – Not all Christians are Catholic”. I was so wrong, as I know that as a Catholic, I was not a Christian. I was relying on the acts of my parents and the church, which can not bring you salvation. Salvation only comes to those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus. (That means to make Him Lord of your life) As a Catholic, I was a major adulterer, blastphemer, and the list goes on…..and all this was part of my life and there was no desire to repent (turn away from sin). When I finally heard of who Jesus is and what He did for me, I then repented and believed in Jesus and He made me new. This is why I serve Him today, because He first loved me – a depraved sinner – and He died in my place.

  15. If you don’t mind going to EWTN.com listen or watch some especially Fr. Benedict Groeschel he is wonderful you do not always feel spirituality I am Catholic myself so i suggest you see our side of it mabey get a new parish or talk to the priest nobody is perfect except God. the important thing is to get close to God The Catholic Church is a beutiful institution set up by Jesus and it offers the beutiful sacraments. Yes protestant churches can be more welcoming and warm Catholic Churches may not feel like this because its not just about YOU its about EVERYONE and we can all be strangers but we are connected by God good luck in your search i hope you find God it would be wonderful if you stayed Catholic but if you are close to God and go to heaven thats what matters (thats all the church is doing trying to make saints) as for some of the ruder comments i hope you will see what we actually believe because hey we are doing our best no we arn’t perfect but we are trying
    well i hope i didn’t bore you or make the situation worse
    my contact is bitterherbs94@gmail.com
    God Bless you all

  16. Hi,
    Since you have said that it is not about you but about God, what you feel and what makes you happy is nothing. Only truth matters. So study the all debate and go where truth is.
    manuchon1 @ gmail.com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here