Are you aware that the Catholic Church has always taught the
necessity of being Catholic for salvation? For more information, click
If you have left the Catholic Church for any of the following
reasons, please visit the 'Helping Your Fallen Away Loved One'
here) in the Coming Home section. Although this page is
designed for Catholics to assist those who have fallen away from
the Church, you may find that the information that it contains is
nevertheless beneficial. To use this page, simply click the link above and scroll
down to find the reason(s) you have left the Church. Then click on
the applicable links to the right of this reason (or reasons).
Please take some time to reflect on the various points that are
Your Falling Away From the Faith Due To...?
to sin or a 'lifestyle choice'?
examples of other Catholics?
hurt by / having a bad experience with a priest, religious, or
belief that any faith (or any 'Christian' faith) is good enough?
about Church teachings?
of interest in religion or failure to see importance of religion?
marriage outside the Church?
at a parish?
rejection of authority?
or other evil in the Church?
spouse or other relative or friend?
in with a 'bad crowd'?
indoctrinated into some other so-called "Christian" (or
'mad' at God?
poorly educated in the faith?
unable to attend Mass or receive other Sacraments?
unwilling / ashamed / scared to confess a certain sin?
belief that being a 'good person' is good enough?
belief that being Catholic does not matter?
belief that you should be accepted 'just as you are'?
finding some other religion or 'spirituality' to be more 'fun',
'fulfilling' or 'spiritual'?
finding the Catholic Church to be outdated / irrelevant?
no longer believing in the Catholic Faith?
no longer believing in the existence of God?
rejection of 'organized religion'?
thinking that there is no objective truth?
other faith related or non faith-related reason?
How is it that you can walk away from the Holy Eucharist - Christ Himself?
Nothing - no matter how bad (or seemingly good!) - should
be enough to make you give up this precious gift!
How can you ignore the fact that Christ established only one
Church - the Catholic Church?
How can you ignore the fact that Christ has given the power to the
Church - alone - to forgive sin (cf. Jn. 20:23)? How do you expect that
will be forgiven outside the Church?
How is it you can give up doctrinal certainty - that is, truth?
[Note: If you still claim to be 'Christian', please consider
all applicable questions in the non-Catholics section (click
Did you leave the Church because of sinful prelates or lay
persons? Would you also abandon your country if there was a bad president
or if some of its citizens did something bad? Why do you only look
at the sinners, but ignore the saints?
How is it you can turn your back on the Church - your
Do you think you are pleasing Christ by turning your back on His
Church [called His body in Scripture! (cf. Col. 1:18, 1:24)]?
Does it not concern you that by the very fact that you were once
Catholic, there seems to be no chance that you would be considered
If you do not do the will of Christ by remaining in His Church,
how do you expect to be saved?
* If you were once Catholic
and now you are a Protestant (or otherwise call yourself
'Christian') who rejects the Real Presence of Christ in the
Eucharist, do you consider Catholics to be idolaters? It follows
that you would have to. If so, do you believe you were guilty of
idolatry before you became a Protestant? Do you also convict all
the Apostles and early Christians of idolatry for believing in
the Real Presence? If you
were to see someone do evil things to the Holy Eucharist, would it truly
not bother you? You would, in fact, even think it was good? In fact, you
positively desire that Host be desecrated?
If you still do believe in the Real Presence, what
on earth could make you leave the Church? What in the world could
make you leave the only Church which truly and lawfully dispenses
the Holy Eucharist? The freedom? The companions?
The 'good music'? What is that you traded Christ for?
What are your biggest objections concerning the Catholic Church?
Were such objections put in your mind by anti-Catholics? Were they
put there by your worst enemy, Satan? Do you take other people's charges
against the Church without an unbiased study of them? Can
you not see how so many arguments against the Church are
illogical, or are based on errors, falsifications, misconceptions,
and even lies?
Do you not see the huge difference between the Catholic Church and
all other religions? Do you seriously put the only Church founded
by Christ on the same level as sects founded by men? Do you not
realize that those who reject Christ's Church reject Christ (see Lk. 10:16)?
Is it possible that you left the Church because you didn't really
know what she teaches? This can be easily rectified by a good
instructor! Keep in mind the following...
worst of poverties is the ignorance of divine truths, because it
would make a man poor and miserable for eternity" (Gueranger)
many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of
religion!" (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905
matters of religion, the majority of men in our times must be
considered uninstructed." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo
Nimis", 1905 A.D.)
above all, know that many evils generally arise from ignorance of
divine matters essential for salvation. Hence, you will understand
that it behooves you to use every care and diligence that so
detrimental a condition be prevented." (Pope Pius IX,
"Quanto Conficiamur Moerore", 1863)
declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal
punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance
of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in
order to be numbered among the elect." (Pope Benedict XIV, as
cited by Pope St. Pius X in "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)
man who walks with open eyes may, indeed, turn aside from the
right path, but a blind man is in much more imminent danger of
wandering away. Furthermore, there is always some hope for a
reform of perverse conduct so long as the light of faith is not
entirely extinguished; but if lack of faith is added to depraved
morality because of ignorance, the evil hardly admits of remedy,
and the road to ruin lies open." (Pope St. Pius X,
"Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)
Think being a 'good person' is good enough? Click
For Coming Home Reflections, click
What happened that made you leave the Church? Did someone hurt
you? What will it take for you to forgive that person (or
persons)? Remember that Christ says we must forgive others in
order that our own sins may be forgiven (cf. Mt. 6:14-15, Mt.
18:35, Mk. 11:25).
Are you 'mad at God'? If so, is it because you have been hurt or
are experiencing some great suffering? Do you not know there is
meaning in suffering and that it can be of great value? (Note: Try
here for more on suffering). Did you have problems at a
parish? Why not try another? Are you too attached to a particular
sin? If so, spend time thinking about the last things (e.g.
judgment, death). Don't allow yourself to think that you can
continue unrepentant in mortal sin and expect to be saved.
Were you troubled by changes since Vatican II? Although you are
far from being alone in your concern, this is no reason to leave
the Church. Do you not realize that Catholic dogma can never
change? [For more information, click
here.] Do you not see that by walking away from the
Church, you are not helping her, but becoming part of the
If you were dying, would you really not want the Catholic
priest to dispense the life-giving Sacraments to you?
Not sure what to do? Why not make a Eucharistic visit or attend
Mass. Don't neglect prayer and the rosary. And, don't forget to
commend yourself to Mary and the saints. Spend some time thinking
about the great blessing of God's mercy, of receiving absolution,
of partaking of the Holy Eucharist... Why not read up on the
saints or read good conversion stories...
Do not forget that you can always come back to the Church - your loving
mother. Remember that the door of the Church is always open
for you - that you are always welcomed back with open arms, no
matter how many or how grave your sins may be. As long as you are alive
you may still repent. But, do not delay - remember that there is no
repentance after death.
here for 'Must I Be Catholic To Be Saved?'
here for 'Do You Believe That Your Non-Catholic 'Christian
Church' Will Gain You Salvation?'
"If he refuses to
listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile
or a tax collector." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 18:17)
listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And
whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Our Lord
Jesus Christ, Lk. 10:16)
"Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves."
(St. Paul, Rom. 13:2)
"They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number."
(St. John, 1 Jn.. 2:19)
said to [Peter] in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly
Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I
will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not
prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of
heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and
whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" (Mt.
"For if they,
having escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge
of (our) Lord and savior Jesus Christ, again become entangled and
overcome by them, their last condition is worse than their first.
For it would have been better for them not to have known the way
of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy
commandment handed down to them. What is expressed in the true
proverb has happened to them, 'The dog returns to its own vomit,'
and 'A bathed sow returns to wallowing in the mire.'" (St.
Peter, 2 Pt.
"Why do you
call me, 'Lord, Lord,' but not do what I command? I will show you
what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and
acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug
deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the
river burst against that house but could not shake it because it
had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is
like a person who built a house on the ground without a
foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once
and was completely destroyed." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk.
"We should not
stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but
encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day
drawing near. If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of
the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a
fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to
consume the adversaries. Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is
put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three
witnesses. Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due
the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the
covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit
of grace? We know the one who said: 'Vengeance is mine; I will
repay,' and again: 'The Lord will judge his people.' It is a
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Remember
the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a
great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to
abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves
with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those
in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. Therefore,
do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has
promised. 'For, after just a brief moment, he who is to come shall
come; he shall not delay. But my just one shall live by faith, and
if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.'" (St. Paul, Heb.
indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no
one at all is saved..." (Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)
turns his back on the Church cannot be near to Christ." (Pope
Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891 A.D.)
actually think that Christ is with them in their gatherings, when
they gather outside the Church of Christ?" (St. Cyprian of
"The Church is
like the ark of Noah, outside of which nobody can be saved."
(St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest
theologian in the history of the Church")
therefore, did you, already dearest in Christ, wander away from
your portion, or what hope did you have for your salvation?"
(Pope Pelagius I, 560 A.D.)
"The branch has the
same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what
profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the
(St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)
every case, fallen-away Catholics begin the process of moral
disintegration by questioning the need for the Sacrament of
wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith;
unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will
without a doubt perish in eternity." ('Athanasian Creed')
know that salvation belongs to the Church alone, and that no one
can partake of Christ nor be saved outside the Catholic Church and
the Catholic Faith." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the
submission to Mother Church, a submission as honorable as it is
salutary, and know that we have here below no keener desire than
that of your salvation." (Pope Benedict XI)
we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary
for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman
Pontiff." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302
heretics appear to have Christ, for none of them denies the name
of Christ; yet anyone who does not confess all that pertains to
Christ does in fact deny Christ." (St. Ambrose of Milan,
Doctor of the Church, c. 389 A.D.)
universal Church proclaims that God cannot truly be worshiped save
within herself and asserts that all they who are without her pale
shall never be saved." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of
the Church, 6th century A.D.)
led away from the path of the true faith and changed into another
faith, his whole journey is an apostasy; and the farther he
travels from the Catholic light, the nearer he comes to the
darkness of death" (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the
"It is known
that all men of Noah's time perished, except those who merited to
be in the Ark, which was a figure of the Church. Likewise, they
cannot now be saved who will have turned away from the Apostolic
Faith and the Catholic Church." (St. Gaudentius)
as long as you remain outside the Church and severed from the
fabric of unity and bond of charity, you would be punished with
everlasting chastisement, even if you were burned alive for
Christ's sake." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)
Catholics who fall away from the True Faith do so gradually. They
do not jettison the precepts of the Church all at once; they
usually become progressively lazier in one area and rationalize
their behavior. Once they adequately justify a particular sin of
omission, it is simple for them to excuse others." (Clowes)
who have not obeyed will not be found worthy to possess the good,
and will receive deserved punishment; for God did kindly bestow the good upon them, but they did not guard
it carefully, nor regard it as something precious, but were
contemptuous of His most eminent goodness" (St. Irenaeus, 2nd
shall have separated himself from the Catholic Church, no matter
how praiseworthy such a person may fancy his life has been, yet
for that one crime of having cut himself off from the unity of
Christ he shall not have eternal life, but the wrath of God shall
abide with him for ever." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the
Church, 5th century A.D.)
indeed, who belong to God and to Jesus Christ - they are with the
bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church -
they too shall be of God, and will be living according to Jesus
Christ. Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he
will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk with strange
doctrine, he cannot lie down with the Passion." (St. Ignatius
of Antioch, a hearer of the apostle St. John, c. 110 A.D.)
"A man cannot
have salvation, except in the Catholic Church. Outside the
Catholic Church he can have everything except salvation. He can
have honor, he can have Sacraments, he can sing alleluia, he can
answer amen, he can possess the gospel, he can have and preach
faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit; but never except in the Catholic Church will he be able to
find salvation." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 418
in the true faith, and make your life firm on the rock of the
Church; that is on the confession of the blessed Peter, Prince of
the apostles, lest all those tears of yours and all those good
works should come to nothing, if they are found alien from the
true faith. For as branches dry up without the virtue of the root,
so works, to whatsoever degree they may seem good, are nothing, if
they are disjoined from the solidity of the faith." (Pope St.
Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)
to the words of Saint Augustine, who takes up an image dear to the
ancient Fathers, the ship of the Church must not fear, because it
is guided by Christ and by His Vicar. 'Although the ship is tossed
about, it is still a ship. It alone carries the disciples and
receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea, but, outside it,
one would immediately perish.' Only in the Church is salvation.
'Outside it one perishes.'" (Pope John Paul I, 1978)
who is outside this Church, which received the keys of the kingdom
of heaven, is walking a path not to heaven but to hell. He is not
approaching the home of eternal life; rather, he is hastening to
the torment of eternal death. And this is the case not only if he
remains a pagan without Baptism, but even if, after having been
baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit, he continue as a heretic." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe,
6th century A.D.)
pleasing to Him whose soldiers you are, and whose pay you
receive. May none of you be found to be a deserter. Let your
Baptism be your armament; your faith, your helmet; your love, your
spear; your endurance, your full suit of armor. Let your works be
as your deposited withholdings, so that you
may receive the back-pay which has accrued to you. Be
long-suffering with one another and gentle, just as God is with
you." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)
Holy Roman Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and
proclaims that those not living within the Catholic
Church...cannot become participants in eternal life, but will
depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and
his angels' (Matt. 25:41)... [N]o one, whatever almsgiving he has
practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can
be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the
Catholic Church." (Council of Florence, c. 1441 A.D.)
there are branches in the vine, not that they may bestow anything
upon the vine, but that they may receive from it the means by
which they may live; so truly the vine is in the branches, that it
may furnish vital nourishment to these, not take it from them. And
by this it is an advantage to the disciples, not to Christ, that
each have Christ abiding in him, and that each abide in Christ.
For if the branch is cut off, another can sprout forth from the
living root; but that which has been cut off, cannot live without
tile root [John 15:5 ff.]." (St. Prosper/Council of Orange
II, 529 A.D.)
'Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of a bondwoman
shall not be heir with my son Isaac.' And the Church says: 'Cast
out heresies and their children; for heretics shall not be heirs
with Catholics.' But why shall they not be heirs? Are they not
born off Abraham's seed? And have they not the Church's Baptism?
They do have Baptism; and it would make the seed of Abraham an
heir, if pride did not exclude them from inheritance. By the same
word, by the same Sacrament you were born, but you will not come
to the same inheritance of eternal life unless you return to the
Catholic Church." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c.
5th century A.D.)
"What the soul
is to man's body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which
is the Church. The Holy Spirit does in the whole Church what the
soul does in all the members of one body. But see what you must
beware of, see what you must take note of, see what you must fear.
It happens that, as in the human body, some member may be cut off
- a hand, a finger, a foot. Does the soul follow the amputated
member? As long as it was in the body it lived; separated, it
forfeits its life. So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he
lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a heretic - the life
of the spirit follows not the amputated member." (St.
Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)
"The Bride of
Christ cannot be defiled. She is inviolate and chaste. She knows
but one home, and with a chaste modesty she guards the sanctity of
one bedchamber. It is she that keeps us for God, she that seals
for the kingdom the sons whom she bore. Whoever is separated from
the Church and is joined to an adulteress is separated from the
promises of the Church; nor will he that forsakes the Church of
Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is an alien, a
worldling, and an enemy. He cannot have God for his Father who
does not have the Church for his mother. If anyone outside the ark
of Noah was able to escape, then perhaps someone outside the pale
of the Church may escape" (St. Cyprian of Carthage, c. 251
call very lovingly to Ourselves those who had once been
enlightened, and had tasted the Heavenly Gift and had been made
partakers, nevertheless, then erred most miserably and follow
those sects whether they are engaged in their inferior or abide in
their superior degrees. For, the one standing in the place of Him
Who has professed that He has not come to call the just but
sinners, and Who has likened Himself to a Shepherd, Who, when He
has left the remaining flock behind, carefully seeks the sheep
[that are] lost, We exhort and implore them to turn back to Christ. For
although they have defiled themselves exceedingly with crime, they
ought not despair of Mercy and Clemency from God and Jesus Christ
Who has suffered for them also, Who will not despise in any way
their repentance, but certainly like a most loving Father, who a
long time ago was waiting for his prodigal sons, will very gladly
receive it." (Pope Leo XII, "Quo Graviora", 1826
"Perhaps until now aiming at the greater perfection
of Christian virtue, and searching more devoutly the divine Scriptures,
and redoubling the fervor of their prayers, they have, nevertheless,
hesitated in doubt and anxiety to follow the voice of Christ, which so
long has interiorly admonished them. Now they see clearly whither He in
His goodness invites them and wills them to come. In returning to His
one only fold, they will obtain the blessings which they seek, and the
consequent helps to salvation, of which He has made the Church the
dispenser, and, as it were, the constant guardian and promoter of His
redemption amongst the nations. Then, indeed, 'They shall draw waters in
joy from the fountains of the Savior', His wondrous Sacraments, whereby
His faithful souls have their sins truly remitted, and are restored to
the friendship of God, are nourished and strengthened by the heavenly
Bread, and abound with the most powerful aids for their eternal
salvation." (Pope Leo XIII, "Apostolicae Curae", 1896 A.D.)
to Augustine (De Civitate Dei xxi, 20,21), there have been some
who predicted a delivery from eternal punishment not for all men,
but only for Christians, although they stated the matter in
different ways. For some said that whoever received the sacraments
of faith would be immune from eternal punishment. But this is
contrary to the truth, since some receive the sacraments of faith,
and yet have not faith, without which 'it is impossible to please
God' (Hebrews 11:6). Wherefore others said that those alone will
be exempt from eternal punishment who have received the sacraments
of faith, and professed the Catholic faith. But against this it
would seem to be that at one time some people profess the Catholic
faith, and afterwards abandon it, and these are deserving not of a
lesser but of a greater punishment, since according to 2 Peter
2:21, 'it had been better for them not to have known the way of
justice than, after they have known it, to turn back.'" (St.
Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)