Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm Taking a Break from Religion! What Should a Catholic Say?

Q. I'm giving up religion for awhile (BTW, I'm a convert to Catholicism from Fundamentalism). Going to church isn't "bearing any fruit" for me. I'm getting nothing out of it! And I still have my same old problems. I suppose becoming Catholic wasn't the answer to my problems after all. I still love Jesus, but I'm done with religion (at least for awhile). I guess you could say I am "taking a break." Maybe I'll eventually try some other religions and see what I like. I dunno. I guess you'll condemn me to hell? 

Man walking out of a church alone

I must admit to feeling sorry that you're deciding to knowingly reject Christ's One Holy Church and thereby reject He who is the sole source of salvation for us sinners. I know you said you haven't rejected Christ, but rejecting His Church (His Body) is a de facto rejection of Him because you can't reject someone's body without rejecting them - just imagine saying to your wife, "oh honey, I still love you, its just your fat, disgusting, ugly body I can't stand to be around." It doesn't make anymore sense with Christ. 

I think you might be leaving Catholicism because you're confused over what it is supposed to be doing in your life. You say being Catholic hasn't "born fruit"? In what way? Has it failed to make you "feel" a certain way? It doesn't exist to make people "feel" anything. Has it failed to magically solve all your problems? I wonder why you thought it would? God has, after all, equipped the Church with everything necessary for His sons and daughters to grow closer to him, to become holy. Have you decided to give your life over to Him? Are you striving to enter the narrow gate (see the top of this blog)? In other words, are you cooperating with the graces God is pouring over you? Or are you sitting back waiting for the "magic" to happen without you? Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. My Italian ancestors had a saying, "Aiutati che Dio ti aiuta" - loosely, "help yourself and God will help you", which follows from the Church's teaching "gratia perfecta nature" (grace perfects nature). God isn't in the habit of transforming us without our consent or as St. Augustine said, "God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us" (Sermo 169,11,13:PL 38,923.) 

Will I "condemn you to hell?" No, I won't (I lack such power), but I will allow "Vatican 2" to speak (and remember these are the words of Christ Himself, who you "still love" cf. Lk 10:16),
"Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved." (Lumen Gentium, 14).
Are you "invincibly ignorant" of Catholicism? It doesn't sound likely in a convert, but I'm in no place to tell over the internet. I'd hope your RCIA instruction wouldn't have been as poor as that. Such knowledge would seem to qualify you as one of those referred to in Lumen Gentium (i.e. not some aboriginal tribesman living in some remote location who has never heard of Jesus or His Church). If such is true, you've decided to risk much in exiting the "ark" - diving headfirst into the flood waters of sin that drown this world. Do you think you'll fare better out there? Will leaving God and the Sacraments behind make your problems go away? Will it "bear fruit?"

As you ask about hell, maybe you ought to worry less about what I (or any other man) thinks about where you might wind up and ask yourself what would be the state of your soul if you died before coming back from your "long break" from religion?  I can't say that - only you and God know for sure (and maybe not even you), but I wouldn't play so fast and loose with my eternal life if I were you. Which reminds me of this...

Should you try defective "other religions" until you "see what you like"? Maybe, just maybe, religion isn't about what we like - maybe it is about what God likes. Perhaps meditating on that will cause some of your confusion to waft away.

You'll have my prayers. 


  1. What an awful, prideful, assuming and sanctimous answer. How dare you condescend to someone in enough spiritual pain to leave the very Church they joined with joy.

    You don't speak to their feeling of loss, their disillusionment,...this is just an opportunity for you to be "right" at their expense.

    You utterly shame me and this example only solidifies my own decision to break from the Church. You can love the person and understand that the Body is cancerous, hating the cancer.

    And I don't want to be associated with ideas like this any longer. You disgust me.

  2. There's only one reason to believe anything, Columba, that it is true. Not that it gives you joy upon entering, not that you don't want to be associated with others professing the same beliefs, etc.

    If you think Catholicism is true, you ought to stay. If you think it false, the only honest thing to do is leave.

    It's a simple choice and only one you can make.

    God bless.