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Wed May 30, 2012, 06:20 PM

5 Questions Before You Leave the Catholic Church

Author Anna Quindlen has been in the news lately, promoting a new book called Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. She recently spoke with NPR's Terry Gross about a wide range of topics she covers in the book, including her recent decision to leave the Catholic Church. She summarized this decision by telling Gross:

The pedophilia scandals, the church's reaction to them, and their constant obsession with gynecology -- taken together at a certain point, it was probably two or three years ago, I said, 'Enough.' Every time I sit in the pew I ratify this behavior, and I'm not going to ratify it anymore.

I'm sure that Quindlen's words resonated with many. She's a gifted writer, and has undoubtedly put words to what others have thought when they make the decision to leave the Catholic Church. Like Quindlen, many people who abandon their Catholic faith still believe in God and still strive to be good, moral people; they choose to leave because they think that they will find these things they desire -- God, freedom, equality -- outside the walls of the Church. Such a move certainly fits in with popular cultural beliefs. Common wisdom states that the Catholic Church is a corrupt organization that places oppressive, unnecessary rules on its members. The way to find freedom, the thinking goes, is to ditch the institution and create a spirituality and moral code that works for you.

To modern ears, this all sounds right. But is it true?

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/5-questions-before-you-leave-the-catholic-church#ixzz1wOUO7w9R
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Funny that she never mentioned the ever-increasing clericalism and outsized influence of batcrap crazy, exclusivist cults like Opus Dei and the Legion of Christ on the Vatican leadership.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply 5 Questions Before You Leave the Catholic Church (Original post)
meow2u3 May 2012 OP
cbayer May 2012 #1
HockeyMom May 2012 #2
AnotherMcIntosh May 2012 #3
dimbear May 2012 #4
meow2u3 May 2012 #9
Starboard Tack May 2012 #5
Historic NY May 2012 #6
laconicsax May 2012 #7
daaron May 2012 #8
ButterflyBlood Jun 2012 #10
edhopper Jun 2012 #11

Response to meow2u3 (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 06:28 PM

1. The Terri Gross interview is excellent and recommended.

Not only a good writer, she speaks very eloquently as well.

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Response to meow2u3 (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 06:32 PM

2. I left at 15 years old

while in catholic school. I am 63 now. There is no way I would ever go back. Everything that has happened in the last 50 years, just confirmed my resolve.

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Response to HockeyMom (Reply #2)

Wed May 30, 2012, 06:43 PM

3. I left at age 5, after being punished for playfully spashing some girls with holy water.

 

They were tattle-tales. Finks. Squealers. Loud squealers.

My father said I didn't have to go back if I didn't want to. I didn't want to. That decision save me a whole lot of trouble and participation in mind-games.

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Response to meow2u3 (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 07:13 PM

4. Those aren't the 5 questions I would have chosen.

Try these:

1. Do you prefer your church be a rigid gerontocracy, strictly ruled by aged individuals all of whom are men?

2. Do you prefer your church be ruled in the main by the third world?

3. Do you prefer that your church have close ties with the mafia?

4. Do you prefer that your church maintain a rigid, unchanging, and harsh moral code mostly applicable only to the laity?

5. Do you prefer that your church cloak its activities in thick secrecy?

If you answered yes to all these, your course is clear. That little white clapboard Protestant church down the street will look toward you in vain.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #4)

Thu May 31, 2012, 08:53 PM

9. I'd ask these question, in addition

Let me pick up where you left off:

6. Do you prefer that your church is influenced by a secretive cult originated and inspired by fascism, whose leader openly praised a dictator who murdered 13 million people, 6 million of them Jews--the first people to hear God's word?!

7. Do you prefer your church impose oppressive burdens on the laity that the clergy won't lift a finger to help you bear?

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Response to meow2u3 (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 07:28 PM

5. Great interview, as per usual on Fresh Air

But I'm surprised it took so long. I have a friend, now 70 years old who was molested by a priest as a teenager. She first told me about the incident over 40 years ago, when we were both living in Rome, of all places. I bumped into her again after 30+ years in Los Angeles and she got to talking about the pedophilia scandal in the RC church and how surprised she was that it could be happening in her church. I reminded her of what she'd told me in the past and she said "I thought it was just me. I never thought there might be other victims".

This tells me that, first of all, pedophiles are very skilled at making their victims believe they are "special". When those same pedophiles are in such a position of power over their flock, with no oversight, we have a recipe for abuse on a massive scale. Catholics need to clean their house if they want to retain or regain any semblance of respect.

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Response to meow2u3 (Original post)

Wed May 30, 2012, 08:25 PM

6. The church left me.....

I may have a reservation in hell but there are more practicing so called Catholics heading there before me.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/125141597

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Response to meow2u3 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 02:37 AM

7. It started out weak and just went downhill.

 

The first question and explanation is little more than a paltry excuse for the hierarchy's active role in protecting the child rapists in the church.

The second gets a bit silly:
Keep in mind that leaving the Catholic Church means leaving the sacraments -- sacraments with real power, which are not available outside of the Church that Jesus founded.


Real power? I thought Quindlen may have meant to say "no real power" and there was a misprint, but she quickly delves into madness by suggesting that the wafer really does turn into Jesus bites, and talking about the "time-tested prayers of the Church."

It was in the third part that she lost me completely. The question, "are you sure the Church's teachings are wrong?" ends up with Quindlen proclaiming not only that the Church's misogynist stance on women's reproductive rights is correct, but that the idea that those teachings are correct
seemed crazy simply because our culture has it so wrong, and the Church is the last institution left that's willing to proclaim what's right.


After that, I wasn't terribly interested in what she had to say on the subject of whether the Church's doctrines are divinely inspired, but read what is perhaps the weakest apologetic drivel I've seen in a while. Apparently, it's important to believe that Church doctrine is divinely inspired because if it isn't, then there's no good reason to follow it.

Yes, Anna, that's absolutely correct. There isn't a good reason to follow Church doctrine. I wonder if she believes that the Church's geocentric doctrine was divinely inspired...

The fifth question can be answered with a simple "no." The notion that the Church is needed is pure drivel. People got on just fine for the hundreds of thousands of years before the RCC, non-Catholics are doing fine without the RCC, and humanity will manage to continue long after attrition slowly kills the Church.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #7)

Thu May 31, 2012, 10:46 AM

8. Hard to argue -->

 

at this point that the eventuality of "attrition slowly kill(ing) the Church" would be a bad thing. Reform seems profoundly unlikely. The next best thing is Ye Old Dustbin.

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Response to meow2u3 (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:44 AM

10. I'm long gone and have been for well over a decade, but let me answer her questions anyway:

1. Are you sure members of the Church hierarchy are worse than anyone else?
Due to the fact of it being a single, unified organization under one hierarchy, yes. Her point about non-denominational churches is irrelevant, even if it is true they have equal rates of sexual abuse, one can't be held accountable for another's, they aren't connected. This is like arguing a Mafia boss isn't necessarily any worse than anyone else since more murders are done by lone individuals combined than the organized crime organization.

2. Are you sure your faith life would be better outside of the Church?
Considering that it unquestionably has been, Yes. Catholic sacraments always struck me as pointless, I'm getting far more joy in the church I'm going to now.

3. Are you sure the Church's teachings are wrong?
Yep. To change my view on this would basically me a different person, and I've had plenty of time to think about it.

4. Are you sure the Church's doctrines aren't divinely inspired?
Yep. Quite ironic I'm now going to a charismatic church which advises people to look for divine revelation within, we don't need to rely on some old man in a funny hat.

5. Are you sure we don't need the Church?
Well it's tough to say that any good its done the world couldn't be done without it or outweighs, and her own example is a little amusing considering how collaborationist much in the Church were in it. So I can say, yes.

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Response to meow2u3 (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 08:57 AM

11. You are not leaving the Church

you were never part of the Church. You were the flock the Church oversaw.
The clergy is the Church, a small group of mostly men that live among themselves and protect and serve their group to the exclusion of everyone else. They protect the priests over the congregation.
They protect child rapists rather than the children.
You are not leaving the Church. They don't consider you the Church. You are choosing another venue to follow your faith.

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