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The Ex-Catholic – Reflecting on Life After Catholicism

Hi, I’m an ex-Catholic who is blogging thru Lent. Lent, a process that I started as a Catholic many years ago and have continued as an annual practice.

Here are my thoughts on moving on from the Catholic religion and now life as an ex-Catholic.

It was routine. We would go to CCD each Sunday morning when I was a child. My parents would go to mass. As I got older, I went thru each Catholic sacrament. It started with confession and first holy communion, around second grade. I was then confirmed in middle school.

Catholic Sacraments

When I was in middle school, I remember expressing concern about being confirmed Catholic. I wasn’t sure about the whole Catholic thing. I had only been introduced briefly to the Baptist religion, and that was only because we had gone to vacation bible school at various Baptist churches.

catholic confessional

My church leader told me to just go thru with confirmation, as it’s what my parents want. So I did, and here we stand over 25 years later as an ex-catholic. 

Formality of Catholicism

The formality of the Catholic religion is something that is like home to me. I think that’s why I like going to Methodist church services so much – there is a sense of formality. The church is typically gorgeous, it welcomes you in and sets the stage that you are in the house of the Lord

catholic lent

That said, the whole Catholic church in general at this point just irks me. I feel like there are so many secrets and so many unknowns.

Ex-Catholic Honoring Lent

Though I am an ex-Catholic, I still do practice lent. I started participating in Lent as a child and in the last few years, I’ve gravitated back to honoring these 40 days in some form or fashion. 

I think fondly of my time at the Catholic church, but it isn’t for reasons of faith. The Catholic church I grew up in had an amazing youth group. That group helped keep me grounded. Yes, we were wild. I don’t know how our youth minister didn’t just up and quit – thinking back to the hell we brought… All that said, there were many wonderful memories, but none of which included God. 

No Connection to Jesus

As a Catholic, I didn’t feel a connection with Jesus. I had to pray to Mary for my sins. Jesus was just the man who was bleeding and hanging on the cross that I bowed to after dipping my fingers in holy water. There was no encouraging of a relationship with God. To me, as a child – Jesus and God were just scary. 

catholic church

It wasn’t until I left the Catholic church officially and became a non-denominational Jesus follower – that I realized the weirdness of not being introduced to Christ as someone I have a connection to. In the Catholic church, my sins are professed to a priest. The taking of communion was only for those who had gone thru the motions to be eligible to take communion. That right there just says so much to me. Does one really need to be official to take communion? Well, in the Catholic church yes. 

So Many Questions

While I don’t want to sit here and bag totally on the Catholic church, as I know there are respectable aspects to the religion – there is so much that I just can’t wrap my head around now that I’m an ex-Catholic.

So many questions in regards to the church as a whole – but doubtful there will ever be answers.

New York City Cathedral

When in New York City this past week, I was with my sister and my sister-in-law. As we passed by a gorgeous old New York City cathedral, I was drawn in. I found a peace in being in that ancient church. As I looked around and saw that holy water, kneeling altar for praying, gigantic stained glass and lit candles, I was taken back to the church my siblings and I were raised in. 

catholic prayer alter

Being present in that New York City Cathedral was like visiting an old friend that I had a falling out with. It was good to catch up, but at the end – it’s best that we don’t remain friends. 

Are you an ex-Catholic? When did you leave the church and why?

Day 28 of Lent – The ex-Catholic – when finding my religion meant losing the one I was raised with.

Want to read more on Life, Faith, Culture and Lent.

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Gail H.

Sunday 17th of April 2022

I’m Sorry that you weren’t properly taught the Catholic faith. If you had been, you would not want to leave. Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Look up miracles of the Holy Eucharist to see true stories of His True Presence. A few years ago, when a past Pope decided to make an unannounced or impromptu stop to visit a seminary, they got out the bomb sniffing dogs to make sure that it was safe for the Pope to visit. One of the dogs surprised his trainer when he stopped in front of the small tabernacle and gave the signal which meant, “Man behind the door”!!! There’s no way a man could fit inside the tabernacle. However, the dog knew there was a man inside, Jesus, true God and true man. Ask God to show you the one, true Church founded by Christ. God bless you. 🙏🏻✝️

Dennis Gannon

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

Thanks to the internet, we may finally see some major changes with both Protestants and Roman Catholics. Both have been talking past each other for 500 years. Protestants have to read the book of James again and quit saying "faith alone". Try living faith, working faith, fruitful faith. Plus, add some art work. Atheists and Communists must love the empty Protestant churches. Pictures, statues, etc are not idols. Eventually, both streams with merge after some changes. It will be Unitarian also. The Trinity heresy was through power politics and not Bible research or discussions. This merger may be hundreds of years from now, only God knows