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Non-Catholics Section: Former Catholics

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Former Catholics

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Have You Left the Catholic Church? / Are You a Former Catholic?

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Have You Left the Catholic Church? / Are You a Former Catholic?

Consider:

* Are you aware that the Catholic Church has always taught the necessity of being Catholic for salvation? For more information, click here.

 * If you have left the Catholic Church for any of the following reasons, please visit the 'Helping Your Fallen Away Loved One' page (click 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 made.

Was Your Falling Away From the Faith Due To...?

Attachment to sin or a 'lifestyle choice'?

Bad examples of other Catholics?

Being hurt by / having a bad experience with a priest, religious, or other Catholic?

The belief that any faith (or any 'Christian' faith) is good enough?

Confusion about Church teachings?

Lack of interest in religion or failure to see importance of religion?

Laziness?

A marriage outside the Church?

Problems at a parish?

A rejection of authority?

Scandal or other evil in the Church?

A spouse or other relative or friend?

Being in with a 'bad crowd'?

Being indoctrinated into some other so-called "Christian" (or other) religion?

Being 'mad' at God?

Being poorly educated in the faith?

Being unable to attend Mass or receive other Sacraments?

Being unwilling / ashamed / scared to confess a certain sin?

The belief that being a 'good person' is good enough?

The belief that being Catholic does not matter?

The belief that you should be accepted 'just as you are'?

Your finding some other religion or 'spirituality' to be more 'fun', 'fulfilling' or 'spiritual'?

Your finding the Catholic Church to be outdated / irrelevant?

Your no longer believing in the Catholic Faith?

Your no longer believing in the existence of God?

A rejection of 'organized religion'?

Your thinking that there is no objective truth?

Some 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 your sins 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 here)]

* 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 Mother?

* 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 "invincibly ignorant"? 

* 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...

"[T]he worst of poverties is the ignorance of divine truths, because it would make a man poor and miserable for eternity" (Gueranger)

"How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion!" (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"In matters of religion, the majority of men in our times must be considered uninstructed." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"You, 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)

"We 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.)

"A 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 here

* For Coming Home Reflections, click here

* 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 problem? 

* 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.

* Click here for 'Must I Be Catholic To Be Saved?'

* Click here for 'Do You Believe That Your Non-Catholic 'Christian Church' Will Gain You Salvation?'


Some Closing Quotations...

"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)

"Whoever 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)

"Jesus 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. 16:17-19)

"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. 2:20-22)

"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. 6:46-49)

"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. 10:25-38)

"One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved..." (Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)

"[W]hosoever turns his back on the Church cannot be near to Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891 A.D.)

"Do they actually think that Christ is with them in their gatherings, when they gather outside the Church of Christ?" (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"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")

"Why, 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 root?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"In almost every case, fallen-away Catholics begin the process of moral disintegration by questioning the need for the Sacrament of Confession." (Clowes)

"Whoever 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')

"We 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 Church)

"Return to 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)

"Furthermore, 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 A.D.)

"Even the 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.)

"The holy 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.)

"Whoever is 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 Church)

"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)

"Indeed, 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)

"Most 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)

"Those 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 century A.D.) 

"Whosoever 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.)

"Those, 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 A.D.)

"[P]ersist ye 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)

"According 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)

"Anyone 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.)

"Be 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.)

"[The 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.)

"Thus 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.)

"Sara said: '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 A.D.)

"Finally, We 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 A.D.)

"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.)

"According 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) 

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