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Fighting the Church may lead you right out of the Church

Anger over long periods of time can change people and drive them away from things they previously believed and loved.

(Image: fancycrave1/

I did not know until a Rod Dreher column this week that Catholic pugilist Steve Skojec is now ex-Catholic pugilist Steve Skojec. Dreher says Skojec is now an agnostic. He didn’t even slow down and join the Orthodox, like Rod did. He went right out the back door into disbelief. Skojec says he has not attended Mass in a year.

Skojec explains how he got a very raw deal at the hands of the Legion of Christ and its lay movement Regnum Christi. I have no way of judging his charges. But he was very involved at the same time the Legion founder abused boys, fathered children, and plagiarized. Such a culture can only result in the abuse of the rank and file. Skojec describes psychological abuse; he says he was brainwashed. When he tried to leave, he says the Legion went all Saul Alinksy on him: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy.”

Skojec spent part of this college years at Steubenville as a “Legionary counter agent.” Over the next several years, Skojec was quite obviously and seriously vexed about issues in the Church; sexual abuse by priests, the liturgy, changing of doctrine, Francis, the Bishops, Covid, and much else. He fought like hell. He fought and fought and fought. And then he left.

Long ago, I figured Skojec would leave the Church.

His story reminds me of Rod Dreher’s who spent years looking into the abyss of priest sexual abuse. I have gone on record that Rod was right about all that and I was wrong. But maybe where Rod did go wrong was spending so long looking into the abyss and feeding his anger, which led him to question the theological claims of the Catholic Church. He left for Orthodoxy.

Their stories remind me of Joseph Sciambra, a man I deeply admire. Joe spent years living in the homosexual abyss and came out of it quite damaged. He looked for succor from the same Church he accuses of encouraging his behavior and abetting his abuse. Understand that Joe is the guy who tries to save gay men by going to the most sexually perverse San Francisco festivals wearing a “Jesus Loves Gay Men” tee-shirt and handing out rosaries.

Sciambra tried for years to convince various Churchmen that the Church was allowing the rise of homosexualism in the Church. He pointed to openly homosexual parishes in San Francisco and New York. He tried to convince Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles that Fr. James Martin ought not be featured at the annual education conference in L.A. No one would listen. I think the only Bishop who formally met with him was Cardinal Burke, a meeting that I arranged.

It seems to me that when you set yourself up to fight the institutional Church, you run the risk of walking out the door. Make no mistake, Rod’s fight was just. Joe’s fight was just. I am not sure exactly what Steve’s fight was because it seemed so immense and multi-faceted, but without a doubt, he believes it was just. Even so, when you set yourself up to fight the institutional Church and you never give up, you run the risk of allowing your frustration and anger to lead you right out of the Church.

I fear the ongoing strike by the Vatican against the Traditional Latin Mass may lead many into this kind of anger. Thirty years ago, I watched similar fights and similar anger lead men out of the Church. I knew Gerry Matatics and Tom Droleskey when they were still Catholic. There is a good chance most of you will not know their names, but both were deeply involved in traditional Catholic issues back in those indult days.

My friend Ken Wolfe believes this cannot happen in the current day because the efforts to defend the immemorial Mass will happen among friends and fellow parishioners. For most, this will certainly be true. But I know for a fact that anger over long periods of time can change people and drive them away from things they previously believed and loved.

My advice, for what it’s worth, is for people in these fights not to be so concerned about wins and losses. Do not care quite so much. Forgive this string of platitudes: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. And then you keep trying but without the fretting over the box scores.

I know, I know. We are fighting over eternal truths that can save. True enough. But we must live to fight another day. We are made for the Beatific Vision but on this earth, we are made for fighting; maybe not so much that we are driven the wrong way across the Tiber.

Here’s the thing. Dreher is out of the Church. Sciambra is out of the Church. Skojec is out of the faith altogether. I just think it would be better if they were still here with us.

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About Austin Ruse 6 Articles
Austin Ruse is the author of four books including Under Siege: No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic (Crisis Publications, 2021). He is president of C-Fam, a New York and Washington DC research institute in Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council and with the Organization of American States.


  1. Good for him. I left almost 15 years ago (I’m 36). Best decision of my life and I have never looked back. I will go to my grave utterly fearless of what comes next, because I have ironclad conviction that nothing comes next.

    • Your “utterly fearless” gives you away. Those are the words of someone whistling past the graveyard. Go ahead with the bluster, but you aren’t likely to find comfort in it in thirty years’ time.

      • “Go ahead with the bluster”. You are spot on, Karl.
        People use all sorts of blustering statements simply to justify themselves. It does not work.

      • Karl Keating, I believe that your statement contains an implicit rationale for your own subscription to faith:

        “you aren’t likely to find comfort in it in thirty years’ time”

        That’s precisely what this is and why you invented it, and that is all that it is. But I don’t care about comfort, I care about what’s true.

        Do you know why many young people in their teens and twenties could care less about religion/faith and abandon it only to return later in life, say thirties and onward? It’s because when you’re young, all of the stupid, frivolous, material, and hedonistic things in life are still novel, exhilarating, and satisfying, so you may have no need or use for God, but this fulfillment is ephemeral and tends to fade by middle age. At that point, the individual seeks something more. I am in that place right now at 36. For many people my age, this is the part where they invert their mental hierarchy and put their logic and reasoning modules in a subordinate position with respect to their emotions and fears and longing for something more modules, and are then able to tacitly convince themselves that there is nothing so strange about “invisible but wants to be your buddy” after all, and voila, God is their new purpose in life. I have watched several people I know fall into this trap. Not so with me. In fact I double down on my conviction because now I understand religion even more thoroughly than I did in years prior.

        After relentless introspection and real-time analysis of my own exhaustion from the material and the ephemeral, I can see through it more clearly than ever before. I can see into (y)our minds and hearts. I can see why you need this. But ultimately, from my perspective, it has no value, because it has no truth. I would rather wander the desert alone, never finding an answer, for a century or more or less, until I collapse, than surrender my mind to a mirage.

        So let me try again since you did not hear me the first time. I will go to my grave utterly fearless of what comes next, and absolutely certain of what comes next: eternal dreamless sleep.

        • “I can see into your minds and hearts”???— for real, man?! “Ironclad certainty” at 36 over a decision you made at 21 on unprovable metaphysics, a negation of things beyond the highest mortal intellect, yet you admit you are still obsessing— to justify yourself. And now you claim to be superior to all other 36-year-olds by not reneging on your youthful conclusion. You sound like you just need attention! And here I just gave you some more. But really, you want from GOD, asap!! Sigh. I don’t blame you. But It’s humility that finds its way to the Truth. Truth has a low doorframe. Requires the littleness, simplicity of a child, not the childishness of one. That might be one of your deal-breakers. It sure was Lucifer’s. *Shrug.* My intellect isn’t threatened by it.

          But if God loves me, He loves you too. Stay open, my ironclad friend. If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.

        • You’re seem to be talking religion when the issue is faith. When anger and/or hatred are the motivating factors the result cannot be good. As much as we are encouraged to pray for the poor souls in purgatory I believe we need to be praying just as fervently for the blind and walking wounded here on earth. May God have mercy on all of us and bring us to everlasting life with Him in Heaven.

        • Andrew,
          I am an old man more than twice your age. I have seen many people die.
          My advice is this: Make your peace with God
          I shall pray for you. My earnest prayer will be that God in His Mercy forgives you before you die.
          God Bless & keep you

          • I was away from the Church 20yrs. And had no reason to live. Yes there is evil in the Church. There is evil everywhere. Keep your eyes on Jesus. It’s his Church. He knew Judas heart. He picked him to give us hope by showing us reality and that we have a choice. Choose Jesus and live.

        • “ why many young people in their teens and twenties could care less about religion/faith”

          Possibly because they take seriously the feeble arguments of people who don’t even know that it’s “couldn’t care less.”

        • As one who spent decades as an atheist, a pro-life atheist and a physicist, and as one who studied the thought of many prominent atheists, I will say yours is a rather cliché ridden rendition of atheistic platitudinous desperation masquerading as self-assuredness.
          It is clear you know little about science or psychology but need to pretend you do to use as a bludgeon of condescension towards beliefs you like to think you understand but trivialize as a defense mechanism.
          When I began my conversion process, observing the intelligent design in nature in my work with particle accelerators, observations that the invincibly and desperately shallow call “creationism,” that alone convinced me that God, if He exists, could not be an idiot. I can be an idiot. You can be an idiot. But God cannot be an idiot. The second formative event of God managing my life was meeting my future wife, a kindhearted saintly woman. My education was far more comprehensive than hers. Mine even included philosophy, having read much more from figures like Aquinas and Augustine than her practicing Catholicism accomplished, and in an early argument I had with her against her faith, I was being foolish in a manner to you, invoking all the dumb cliches of atheistic desperation, a stupid cult of self-worshiping superiority. I drove her to tears, and that act of hurting her was a Damascus Road experience for me. A non-idiotic God does not and can not reward human smugness. This would be impossible. God responds only to the better angels of our nature. Angels that come to the fore when we see the face of God in others. My future wife won the argument by her tears.

          • Leslie, you’re right it’s “couldn’t” and there are a few additional typos in my other comments as well. I consider it a win if you’re more focused on superficial things like than actually debunking what I’m saying. You can call the arguments feeble but if you do then you should come prepared to explain how you are able to break them.

            Edward Baker, the “design” doesn’t seem very intelligent actually. Wisdom teeth? Appendix? Useless genes? Are you sure these are not biological vestiges from a long and blind and natural process of trial and error? Oh but you were talking about particle acceleration. Can’t wait to hear your explanation about how smashed particles exhibit intelligent design. You talked about your observations without providing any examples that suggest design.

            Why does the term “creationism” bother you? This is your actual belief, which is that everything is a “creation” because it was “created” by a “creator”, even though there’s no evidence for that belief. Does the word make it all seem a bit silly? Seems apt if so.

            “a stupid cult of self-worshiping superiority.”

            Ahhh this tired old assumption/fallacy in need of a long nap. I do not worship myself. Nothing in any of my messages here should come across as arrogant as I am intentionally structuring them as objectively and matter-of-factly as possible. Introspection is not arrogance or self-worship, it’s an attempt to understand one’s own thought process so as to catch potential errors or bad judgement.

            I also drove a girl to tears once while explaining how little sense her Catholic beliefs made and then all of a sudden she exclaimed “WELL I DONT CARE WHAT YOU THINK, THIS STUFF IS REAL!!” and started crying. It was not a Damascus Road experience, but it was certainly memorable. If anything it made me just the slightest bit MORE skeptical. My interpretation was that it’s evidence that any believer can be cracked if you “bludgeon” them with relentless sense and skepticism, even if for a brief moment, until it’s time for them to wipe the tears and pretend again.

          • The lack of a REPLY button at your response requires that I tag one here:
            You don’t have to prove your ignorance of science with each alluding pretention. Neither do you have to project your belief in the sneer term “creationism” onto me, which reflects your spineless refusal to take responsibility for your cliched disparaging implication of religious faith as mindless ideology.
            I need not present a professional paper to validate personal intrigue over non-accidental quantified measurements of balancing forcefields from energy that comprise the entire universe at the micro and macro level. Nor, in a small comments section, do I have to rebuke pretentions so ingrained as to lack awareness of the long discredited notion, among non-ideological biologists, of “trial and error” evolution. Functional changes in organisms as simple as single cells have an exponentially greater complexity than what was thought a mere sixty years ago prior to the use of electron micrographs. Observations have revealed cellular structures so complex that their spontaneous chance occurrence is the equivalent of a tornado passing through a junkyard and creating a functional 747. And this identical accident would have to reoccur, identically, in close proximity, trillions upon trillions of times in a row to affect any meaningful variation of type, and this is just cellular life. Countering your materialism would require volumes. The “proof” you ask for is like a four-year-old asking for ice cream. Like I said previously, when God provides evidence, He is not idiotic enough to reward human idiocy with every rebuke to every twisted contrivance they create from human pride.
            Regardless of your willful ignorance of those mythologies that seem to make religion hatred plausible, your lack of self-awareness of what got you there poses a threat to those you encounter in life who might well be in need of a less desperate soul, though given the cold-blooded experience you recounted, it will require a level of non-cowardice.

        • For someone who left 15 years ago and has never looked back, it’s pretty interesting that you are hanging around this obscure corner of the internet, finding plenty of time to argue with those you have left behind so long ago… Perhaps you want to enlighten the rest of us, but, why so much zeal? What’s in it for you? Those who really leave and don’t look back do not do what you are doing. Think about it.

      • Karl Keating, I believe that your statement contains an implicit rationale for your own subscription to faith:

        “you aren’t likely to find comfort in it in thirty years’ time”

        That’s precisely what this is and why you invented it, and that is all that it is. But I don’t care about comfort, I care about what’s true.

        Do you know why many young people in their teens and twenties could care less about religion/faith and abandon it only to return later in life, say thirties and onward? It’s because when you’re young, all of the stupid, frivolous, material, and hedonistic things in life are still novel, exhilarating, and satisfying, so you may have no need or use for God, but this fulfillment is ephemeral and tends to fade by middle age. At that point, the individual seeks something more. I am in that place right now at 36. For many people my age, this is the part where they invert their mental hierarchy and put their logic and reasoning modules in a subordinate position with respect to their emotions and fears and longing for something more modules, and are then able to tacitly convince themselves that there is nothing so strange about “invisible but wants to be your buddy” after all, and voila, God is their new purpose in life. I have watched several people I know fall into this trap. Not so with me. In fact I double down on my conviction because now I understand religion even more thoroughly than I did in years prior.

        After relentless introspection and real-time analysis of my own exhaustion from the material and the ephemeral, I can see through it more clearly than ever before. I can see into (y)our minds and hearts. I can see why you need this. But ultimately, from my perspective, it has no value, because it has no truth. I would rather wander the desert alone, never finding an answer, for a century or more or less, until I collapse, than surrender my mind to a mirage.

        So let me try again since you did not hear me the first time. I will go to my grave utterly fearless of what comes next, and absolutely certain of what comes next: eternal dreamless sleep.

        • ‘I can see into (y)our minds and hearts.’

          ‘I would rather wander the desert alone, never finding an answer, for a century or more or less, until I collapse, than surrender my mind to a mirage’

          ‘Not so with me’

          Haha! The immortal prophet Andy speaks. You’re no philosopher; you’re just full of yourself.

          • trad, rad or otherwise

            Did you actually have anything to say? Your reply is a perfect match for one of the typical/known patterns of skeptic dismissal (#6 but it’s not some official list).

            1. you’re just lazy
            2. you’re just not searching hard enough
            3. you’re just immature
            4. you’re just selfish
            5. you’re just want to be your own god
            6. you’re just arrogant
            7. you’re just not praying enough
            8. you’re just doing it wrong

            I’ve heard them all before and each one is false. The actual/true reason is much more simple: faith makes no sense whatsoever. In an environment of multiple competing/contradictory religions (we know they can’t ALL be true at the same time), one must:

            1. recognize that even if we assume that ONE is true, we must also admit/conclude by necessity that the others are false and so therefore we can see that humans have a tendency to completely fabricate gods and religions. this puts us in a precarious position because ALL of them being fabricated is now a real and even likely situation.

            2. have a skeptical mindset in order to successfully find the correct religion/god and weed out all the other false ones, because we already know that most are false.

            But wait a minute, we already have enough info to conclude that they’re ALL false now. How? Because if skepticism is not only reasonable but also necessary in order to successfully identify the correct religion, that would mean that being held to a standard of “faith” would be unreasonable. In other words “blessed are those who have not seen but have believed” immediately becomes obviously terrible advice, because it does nothing to filter the noise. If the bar for belief is that low, then anything meets the bar.

            This is just one of many contradictions with no escape. I have more. And because there’s more, that means that absurdity of the whole is greater than the sum of all its absurd parts.

          • That’s a pretty weak argument, Andrew Williams.

            “recognize that even if we assume that ONE is true, we must also admit/conclude by necessity that the others are false and so therefore we can see that humans have a tendency to completely fabricate gods and religions. this puts us in a precarious position because ALL of them being fabricated is now a real and even likely situation.”

            Try that again but replace “religions” with “scientific theories that have been accepted at some point.” And then consider the implications for a while.

        • sorry for double reply. this message board is low quality it was not apparent whether my message had been blocked by mods, the thread was locked, or something else. also cannot delete the duplicate. lol

          • Gnu Atheists are intellectually and mentally inferior. If no gods exist the Gnu Atheist didn’t reason his way there. He merely made a lucky guess. Yer low brow Gnu Atheism is tedious.

      • Don’t you dare not be afraid of being judged, damned, and burned alive forever in hell!

        Wielded like a true pro Karl, nice work.

        • @Greg Bower

          Jesus was a nice guy who died a long long time ago. Some people say that he and his father and a “spirit” all created the entire universe, but this is obviously false.

          @Brian Miles

          I had a good laugh at your comment. I do dare not be afraid. There exists no possible threat, that could ever be made by a human being, around something bad that will happen to me, after I’m dead, that will EVER make me afraid. Here’s why… human beings are engines of falsehood. Fake news, lies, misinformation both deliberate and accidental, false beliefs, myths, etc. The notion that a benevolent superintelligence leaves us with this sort of dubious proxy in lieu of itself along with a book that contains nothing to suggest it couldn’t have written by the dubious proxy, is a good laugh.

          You seem like the kind of guy who would be afraid if he saw an email in his junkmail folder which said “due to suspcious activitey on your account it has been suspended. please to login to verify your informations” (with the misspellings, etc) and then you would click the link without inspecting it and fill in all your personal information on the page you were directed to without question.

          Jokes aside, think before you believe someone who tells you about a problem you have, and who conveniently ALSO has the solution, which happens to involve doing what they tell you. It’s a scam every single time.

          • well I guess that last thing I said was dumb and worded very badly because your doctor could tell you about a tumor problem and you should do what they tell you hahaha, so the rule is not universal. What I was trying to get at though… Perhaps it needs the qualifier that if it’s an “incredulous-sounding” problem, perhaps one that can’t be verified, and they ALSO have the solution, conveniently, and you need to do what they tell you for the rest of your life, or send them your money, it’s a scam every single time. Something like that.

            Anyway this is lost on you anyway so I don’t know why I’m trying.

      • Bingo, pegged him perfectly. The tropes continue in those like you think they know more than they do but refuse to humble themselves. Ultimately it always comes down to faith. If you have it it’s great. If you don’t, it’s pitiable but understandable. Andrew’s contradiction is thinking he’s at the end, when he’s another guy following well trod path worshipping himself or finally repenting and returning to what’s he refuses to leave because he fears it’s actually right.

    • Well Andrew, those sorts of decisions made when you’re young might deserve a review later on. It’s not always the ideal stage of life to decide eternity.
      Eternity is a very long time. God bless!

    • Andrew for what it is worth, my faith is not in the church, nor is it in other people or a person who may be important. My faith is based in who I have come to know Jesus to be, both historically and through faith the implications of what the ‘historical Jesus’ means to my life now and my relationship with others including the Church.
      What I know is if there is a God that God is Love and that it is entirely possible to attend church and not come to know or understand Jesus for who he really is. There is a journey we are invited to go on from childhood faith to the faith of an adult and I am of the opinion that in some respects or in some cases, the Church does not facilitate this journey of faith all that well. So at your disposal you have truth and reason and for the choosing you have faith.
      I said to myself as a young man, If I’m going to reject this church I was born into then what I replace it with will need to be better. So my journey began. I looked at many things but won’t go into detail suffice to say I read the New Testament as a collection of writings and thought about what Jesus was doing in the context of his time, Roman occupation, the Essenes and the zealots with inference to some of the political dynamics of the day, the Pharasees, Gamaliel and the Sandhedrin, the wacky bunch of individuals who responded to the call to follow this bit of a mystery man. I can tell you this man is like no other and he smashed my reality in the most articulate and profound way. I have never been able to be as I was before. I had been to mass every Sunday as a youth and know a lot about Jesus but that’s for me a small insight into knowing Jesus.

      • Well written! Knowing about someone and knowing someone are vastly different experiences. He smashed your reality and replaced with the true and only living reality, who is Jesus Christ. I grew up attending Mass and knew about Him as did you, but only after “a long and winding road” came to KNOW Him. Coming back to the Church He built has been such a joy, but only because I now know Him. My spiritual eyes are open to the fact that the Mass is the most beautiful and glorious event on earth, whether it is celebrated in a cathedral or the most humble of altars.

        • May the Lord grant you His Grace to come back to fold+++ through the intercession of our Mother Mary help of Christians. Amen

      • The interior life brightly lit by the warm light of the Living Christ makes all the difference. When Jesus becomes real and you open your soul to welcome him to live in you and to relive his holy life through you, all doubts will melt away. Then indeed will the Mass you had once seen as routine or staid come alive as a vessel to convey the very glories of heaven.

    • If you left and never looked back, why are you here and why do you care to read this article?
      I ask myself this question, and the answer of course is that I haven’t left and I guess a part of me still cares.

      • Kathryn, fair question. I’m here because religion has been a lifelong obsession of mine, and perhaps philosophy is secretly my unofficial side hobby. I am ex-Catholic and read these Catholic websites constantly so as to know my opponents better than they know themselves.

        • Too bad you think that your brothers in Christ are your opponents. By posting your innermost thoughts, by your reasoning, you’re giving your opponents knowledge about you and what to avoid..

        • Andrew so you monitor Catholic websites since Catholics are your opponents. I think you needed another hobby. May I suggest you take up Golf or if you really want to have fun go to a Detroit Tiger website and state your allegiance to Alex Aliva, the Tiger GM.

          • The ‘Hound of Heaven’ is on Andrew’s trail, with the result that he has an uncontrollable urge to frequent these Catholic sites.

        • If you want Andrew, but it seems to me that you are allowing a corrupt cabal to live rent free in your mind. Honestly, I thought about writing the Diocese and asking for a Declaration of Nullity of my Confirmation, but why bother if the Church is fake?
          I agree with GR Mike above: you need a new hobby. He suggests the Tigers. I’ll suggest the Red Wings

        • “Atheism is not the knowledge that God does not exist, but only the wish that He did not, in order that one could sin without reproach or exalt one’s ego without challenge. The pillars upon which atheism mounts are sensuality and pride.” Blessed Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

        • Gee Andrew and if Creater creation of power over us Exist ? its looking at your total honesty and Courage to not let go to no matter what any program sopposed to be Granted by God or Saving Jesus who also builds the lake of Fire if we can’t. you remind me a bit of Moses who said who is this God on the mountain ? i shall have to visit him. one problem is you did not get the chance to be in the writing scripture . Moses was a atheist before he found God was his creator. but we get a book and the lake of fire if we can simply comply. May be a intelligent Creator who is truth full non Manipulating but every time humans screw it up we must be patient till after Death and watch the truth and true Honest Humans explain why they could not agree with some thing that did not quit match there human understanding and You could be one and as i will still be Shocked not at all. Romans explains a bit about how we are Saved and other books. Power Creation see a smart intelligent Man in you Searching one would think. i asked the Great Creater to give us more knowledge of our Freedom of Speach.

          • Well my crummy Grammar lack of education do to abuse shrinking Concentration deciding to drop out.being pulled back and fourth beaten by disfunctional debilitating believing Family of 10.

    • I personally would prefer Hell to a void of nothing getting ready to consume and destroy all you are leaving nothing. If there is nothing after and you become nothing then objectively there is no practical difference between you existing once and then not existing anymore vs never having existed in the first place.

      Because in either case there is no “you” to know or notice it….a soul burning in Hell is that much more than a mere corpse rotting in the grave. I would rationally prefer Hell to nothing….

    • But why then read Catholic World Report articles? There are food and bad examples of anything in our world, yet we seem to know what the ideal is. There are good and honest car mechanics, contractors, police officers, judges, lawyers, and any other job or profession – and others that are corrupt, petty, downright evil and cruel. That doesn’t change the truth. No one would seriously argue that because *some* police officers are criminals, or some judge accepted a bribe of got a DWI, the entire system of justice is bad, unnecessary, and we don’t need it and don’t need to believe it. Until recently, that is, thanks to a crass media looking for more drama and conflict to drive its numbers, and the self-interested grifters who need 5 gated houses. Then we look at the utter chaos and dystopian he’ll scape without it.

      The Catholic Church is the reason we have Western Civilization, science, art, music, hospitals, charities, and the highest callings and meanings of our shared – and broken – humanity, straining toward heaven and to our perfection in Christ.

    • “Ironclad conviction” says it all. Is it not pride that is unforgivable? When we know everything, we know nothing.

    • The soul is a gift immaterial eternal free. Perhaps because you are a creature, you might traipse around within and look at the effects your Cause has unmistakably bestowed upon you. The soul is also free.

      All human progress is a matter of forgiveness and suffering. That’s the life of Our Lord in three words; forgiveness and suffering.

  2. Faith requires trust in Christ’s words that he will not leave us orphans. He will send us the Advocate. Life in the Holy Spirit is life in Christ and the Father. We participate by grace in that Trinity union of the theological virtues beginning with charity, and by necessity the cardinal virtues beginning with Justice, which in its fullness incorporates the other three Prudence [deliberation of a good act], Fortitude, and Temperance. That balance imbues our life in the Church, whether we speak out when indeed we must, but as Austin Ruse suggests we temper it [I’ve noticed very fine men and women of faith and exceptional knowledge in constant angry protest that doesn’t bode well], remain steadfast [fortitude] in the faith.
    As such we are able to fulfill a needed obligation, I as a priest when error abounds in speaking candidly, sometime with fire, in the end with moderation or temperance, being willing out of humility as Ruse also suggests to accept what appears, or is defeat, a faith nevertheless strengthened as the Apostle gives account that in his weakness, of which he boasts, the power of God may rest upon him. It’s really a life of contemplative action.

    • Paradox and mystery de Lubac sits poorly with the idealistic, rings true in reality. Mystical Body is a mystery. Why many leave is that imbalance between desirous ideal and at times sordid reality. Satan has planted bad seed since the beginning from bottom up to the top. Devils in clerics. Miraculously the Deposit of Faith, Christ’s imperishable legacy remains the same today, yesterday, as it will tomorrow. That miracle is not the work of man. All the filth, sordid reality that exists, many of us contributing then repentant, within the net of sinners who comprise the Church is the work of men. Always done in practice, suggestion, appointments, peripheral to the revealed Deposit. If a man, a pope, were to attempt a formal, definitive reversal of that doctrine God would strike him dead [a personal conviction].
      This ground, this sacred ground, the Church, Christ’s Mystical Body is where the fight is. Our standard bearer led the way with his blood. We are called to bravery, to respond to his call to arms with the weapons of war [I will die with the weapons of war in my hands St Therese of Lisieux]. If they crucified Christ, what would they do to those of us who stand and fight for the truth of our faith? [Since Christ raised the standard of the Cross we must all do battle in its shadow, my heroine, Therese of Lisieux].
      It’s not our intellect, our self satisfied predilections that we battle for. All that must be jettisoned. Our nothingness, its recognition, is all before the purity of God. Those who have left return to your true home. It’s not the world, or your manufactured legacy. What matters more? To spend every breath, every heartbeat, every drop of blood in response to him who loved us unto death, and for the salvation of souls.

      • Amen Father Morello.

        We worship God alone.

        We love his Church, because he who is ALL, loves his Church, and loved it first.

        As to all faithful Christians, whose faith is known to God alone, be they Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, and all people seeking the Truth, I believe as Ratzinger and perhaps V2 documents declare, that these all subsist in Christ and his Church.

        And I have great respect for Rod Dreher and Joseph Sciambra, because they have not abandoned or betrayed Christ, though they were betrayed by wretchedly corrupt men and women parasites inside the Catholic Church.

        And I have respect for Steve Skojec, and I pray that The Hound of Heaven hunts him down and brings Steve S to him, because he deserves to live in the truth, after so much falsehood first in the LC, and then in the toxic-trad-pathology.

        For them, and for all, I wish this gift, from the mind of the great and brave martyr Edith Stein:

        “In the Heart of Jesus, which was pierced, the Kingdom of Heaven and the land of earth are bound together. Here is for us the source of life. This Heart is the Heart of the Triune Divinity, and the center of all human hearts…. This Heart, it beats for us in a small tabernacle where it remains mysteriously hidden in that still, white host.”

    • Dearest Father, thank you but I have to disagree as to how empty I feel about the whole thing. I do feel like an orphan and I do feel that I’ve asked for bread and got a stone. I can’t shake it. The hierarchy objectively hates me. They would annul my marriage if my wife (God forbid) asks for one. If they catechized my children I would object to their beliefs about faith.

      But here’s what I can’t shake… the nuns. We had 100,000’s of beautiful nuns all destroyed through obedience and pushing through psychologists who explained away their vocations. Men have a duty to protect women and here I don’t see how God protected them. So many of their innocence was robbed by monsters who destroyed their convents. I can’t shake my pain. It haunts me.

      And I don’t think it’s Skojek or anyone in particular. I would say most all of us are questioning things we were told could never happen. It happened so the question remains what is the Church we were taught? If it’s just a being of the mind and not in reality what is the function of that reality? To torture us? To think of beautiful miracles that don’t exist anymore or saints that couldn’t exist in the current climate? I mean imagine St. John Vianney today in a church. He would be kicked in the curb in no time flat. His sermons are “extremist” (sarcasm). I don’t know the answers anymore and it hurts.

      • Mike I will pray that the truth you search in vain is the actual realization of what exists. That in a moment of grace you will acknowledge this.

  3. We forget that while the Church may have been established by Christ it’s administered by broken people just like ourselves.
    Every other church and institution has the same kinds of issues .
    I think St.Thomas More said something about the duty of not abandoning ship but staying on board to help right it in a storm. I suppose that cost him his head but to be martyred is to witness to the truth.

    • There was an article some time ago (I can’t remember if it was in Catholic World Report) and the question was posed on what would make the reader leave the Church. Well, if the Church does give the green light to contraception (and let us be honest, the hierarchy/Pope is poling that bear with a very sharp stick), I’ll know the Church is simply one in a long line of false human endevours.

      • The Church, as rightly understood (the gift of communion with Jesus Christ through his Body and Blood, and with his life and lessons as recorded and disseminated by his Apostles) is the ONLY “long line” that counts, and it persists in spite of the sins and (less frequent) lies promoted by some of its members, never more noticeably than when they are among its leaders. The Church is not a “human endeavour”, it is God’s endeavour to re-embrace us after the sin of Adam and Eve, which many among us tend to repeat endlessly.

        That we seem to be living in a time where there is perverse thinking and perhaps demonic influence among the highest of the hierarchy is profoundly disturbing, even frightening, but it does not diminish the gift left to us by Christ and entrusted to his faithful companions to feed us. All one has to do is read the Gospels and Epistles to realize the ways in which Satan is always furiously active in the work of corrupting and destroying the souls of human beings — he tried it with Christ Himself!!! How much a easier a task it was to try it with Judas, and succeed.

        The Church is not the Pope or the Bishops. There have been a number of weak or even bad Popes, as well as Bishops and priests, and we have survived, though it’s fair to say that until the present day most of those who were personally corrupt did not stand before the congregation (now aided by microphones and reporters) and proclaim that sin is no longer sin, and that the good faith we held to over the ages is suddenly divisive and in need of suppression — they did not proclaim that pretty much whatever you want to do is A-okay with Jesus, and we can “accompany” you right down the road to hell. This element of the reign of Francis is quite novel.

        But we, and the Church, will survive Francis, just as we survived Judas — and we must take note that by far the greatest sin of the latter was Despair. It is, as we were taught in our catechism in the old days of faithful nuns, the ONE unforgivable sin, because it says to God that we don’t believe He has the power to forgive us. When Jesus taught the Beatitudes, including the precept that those among us who are insulted, persecuted, or slandered will gain reward in Heaven, he didn’t specify, but he did not EXCLUDE, the possibility that those doing the insulting, persecuting, and slandering would be the wolves in sheep’s vestments, standing at the pulpit or at the press conference and spewing heretical crap about same-sex unions, exceptions to the sanctity of human life, or the divisiveness of Latin. The Christian clings to the teachings of Christ, and the Catholic also clings to the Sacraments validly handed down from the Apostolic Age. There are roughly 1.3 billion Catholics on the planet today — Christ did not guarantee that at the end of time there would be enough to fill a stadium, but he did guarantee that he has left us an Advocate, and that through the Church we would be given all that we need to be among that final crowd.

        It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between people who have been genuinely and pitiably wounded by those who formally represent the Church but are actually puppets of Satan — Joseph Sciambra is certainly a prime example of those wounded who deserve the strongest of our prayers and sympathies. I don’t know all the private circumstances of some of the other notable names in the article and these comments, so I find it impossible to distinguish them from among the many who have kicked the Catholic dust from their sandals because they could not overcome their anger or disgust with the present generation of Satan’s puppets, and can’t understand why the puppets won’t heed intelligent and informed arguments against them. So, whether in sorrow or high dudgeon, they leave, slam the door behind them, and expend considerable ink trying to justify their exit. O ye of too little faith in the things that matter: the words of the Scriptures and the real Church Fathers, and the Sacraments they handed on to us (as well as the written sources that permit us to verify Sacramental authenticity). In the end that’s all there is, but it is more than enough. Some of us will probably outlive Francis, but our children will be left to wrestle the Church back from the ledge of apostasy. In the meantime, we know what we have to do, and we know that it is what Christ asked of us for his Church.

        • And how am I to know that “[T]he Church is not a “human endeavour”, it is God’s endeavour to re-embrace us after the sin of Adam and Eve….”
          Because the hierarchy of the Church said so, just as they said so about which books were/are in the Bible. And what Jesus taught–you did not hear that yourself; you are relying on the hierarchy to tell you what he taught.
          So if the Pope (the person who is infalliable in faith and morals) signs off on contraception being a moral non-issue, that’s a big issue with me, because I happen to think that contraception is wrong–not just morally, but just…not workable. Like if I decide to put my Boston fern in full sun and not water it for a week, that just isn’t going to work.
          That really opens a door for a mess

          • I don’t believe Bergoglio has ever been pope–not for even ten seconds. But he has obstinately taught heresy for years, proving that, if he ever was pope, he long ago ceased to be.

            All of which says that nothing Bergoglio says or does has anything to do with the Catholic Faith or the Catholic Church. No more than anything Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Wilton Gregory, or Blase Cupich says or does.

    • “To Whom would we go, Lord? You alone have the words of Eternal Life.”
      Calls me home every time the devils start knocking.

      • For Steve Skojec: Steve I recall the catalyst event that froze whatever love you had for Christ and Church, and my following you for some time om 1P5 that love, to me, was evident. It was when that young priest refused your kids baptism, or was it confirmation because you didn’t show at Mass for a lengthy time. It was at the latter period of the Covid crisis when services resumed. You had legitimate reason because of your condition, and concern for your children. You appealed, he refused to relent requiring you show regularly at Mass for a year and wait for the following year for their confirmation.
        That would have upset, with righteous anger many of us. It seems that’s when a process of self denial [of actual sentiments] and self convincing began. No one with your zeal, willingness to suffer for so long would have endured that and remain faithful without grace. That was the evidence of God’s love that you convinced yourself wasn’t there.

        • The priest is obliged by Can. 868 §1 no 2 that there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.

          It does not appear he was wrong in this concern.

  4. My issue was that I was fighting for the preservation of an illusion. When I realized that’s what I was doing — fighting for something that wasn’t even real — I also realized I was doing it because I had been brainwashed from infancy to see it not just as real, but as the most real thing. I didn’t believe in God because Christianity made sense to me. I believed in God because I was told from the youngest age a child can understand anything that I must do so. I understood that to make any other choice was to lead to eternal perdition. I understood, too, that the Church was his instrument and proxy, that her authority was supreme, and that to leave her was unthinkable.

    So I didn’t think it. Yes, doubts would crop up from time to time, and I’d indulge them a little before ruthlessly suppressing them. “You mustn’t think such things.” Never question the institution. Never betray the brand.

    Of course, the only way to really fight for the thing I was raised to believe in was to safeguard the rules and regulations, the doctrines and the laws. To fight for orthodoxy was to go deeper and deeper into an ever-narrowing spiral of “doing more for God.” More reverence. More sacrifice. More observance. The Church was an idol, and her web of legalisms her sacraments.

    At some point around 2018, I started realizing that the Church took herself way less seriously than she claimed to want us to take it. That her protestations about never contradicting herself were silly. That some of her dogmas — like papal infallibility — were at best useless and likely false. And as the veneer of unassailable authority began to dissolve, as the eschatological gun to my head that was the hell that awaited me if I ever deviated from the True Faith™ started to look a great deal more like a powerful but ultimately irrational manipulation, it fell apart.

    I didn’t love God. God never showed up in my world of rubrics and reverence. It was a monologue, a soliloquy, a one-way street of worship and admiration directed at a father who never came home, never protected his own children from the things that, if the Church was to be believed, his children were supposed to protect each other from. As heresy and scandal inextricably intertwined with the allegedly divinely-given authority structure of the Church herself — and history shows this wasn’t exactly something new — I realized that I needed more than the word of a bunch of untrustworthy messengers that the things I was commanded to believe on pain of hell were actually true.

    But there is no way of knowing. No way of verifying. God does not speak to me in any way I can perceive, and ignored my many pleas to help me see what I was missing. My “brand” has never really been Catholicism. It’s pursuit of truth. And since I can no longer say with sincerity that I believe Catholicism is true, I am unwilling to simply pretend.

    My entire religious life was lived out of a sense of fear and obligation. Not love. How can I love someone I don’t have any way of knowing is even real, or cares about me whatsoever?
    I continue to pursue the answers to the questions of “does God exist” and “what is God like” and “does any religion have him right” because I think those things are very important.

    But the Catholic Church made clear through her institutional structures that she no longer wishes to be taken seriously, and so, I have obliged her.

    And I’ll add this observation from a friend: “Why live to fight another day for an institution that promotes men who don’t believe in it? Why fight for something that it’s agents don’t even believe in?

    You shall know them by their actions.”

    If anyone is curious to know more about my thoughts on this weird journey I never could have imagined I’d take, I write about this semi-regularly at my Substack.

    • Mr Steve,
      You are in my prayers and I know you will be in the prayers of everyone reading your comments. God loves you and cares about you.

    • I am sorry you have never felt God, or loved him. I converted to the Church from being raised as nothing, when I was a college student. When I first read about God, everything I had ever experienced in my life of the universe clicked…what I had called the Universe or Providence or Karma…all that I had ever felt, was God.
      So even now as I wrestle with all that is wrong in the institutional Church, I haven’t lost my faith. I have so much to fall back on, so many of those “still quiet voice” moments. I do not know what my relationship to the Church will end up being, but I am not concerned with leaving Christ.
      I will pray for you to experience that yourself. In my childhood, I’d experience them alone in the woods, in the middle of the night, when I’d sneak out of the house to escape the chaos and abuse. I hope you find your quiet wood, to escape your difficult memories, and you can hear the voice of God.

    • To Skojec and some others here: might I suggest a wholly different orientation to your internalized ecclesiology? Instead of focusing on the “legalisms” of the Catholic Church (and, yes, I believe that there are absolute right and wrongs), that you focus, instead, on “mystery.”

      The Mass is mystery; the Sacraments are mystery; the incarnation is mystery; eternal life is mystery; God is mystery; the resurrection is mystery; sin is mystery; salvation is mystery; the Virgin birth is mystery; the Ascension is mystery. You want some hard and dastardly answers to all thing, you want to nail everything down. Forget that; it doesn’t work. Everything that matters is mystery.

      Now, concentrate on some of these mysteries, pray about them, immerse yourself in them, submit to the mystery and you won’t be spending so much wasted energy about all the perceived deficits in the Church. Then get back to me about what differences you notice in your spiritual well-being.

      • I did NOT intend, “You want some hard and dastardly answers to all thing, you want to nail everything down.”

        Spell check is NOT mystery; it stinks when it’s uninvited.

        I meant to say, “You want some hard and fast answers to all things; you want to nail everything down.”

    • Although you understand your decision to leave a church and a savior in which and in whom you have never believed as a turning point in your life taking you away from faith in God, this may in fact be your first step to true faith and true acceptance of God’s love. God really and truly does move in mysterious ways! But one thing he does not do is abandon us, particularly when we are deep in sadness and sinfulness. As several people have already said, the Catholic Church is inhabited through time by a group of sinners who gather together with various ends in mind. The one and only right end, the true end, is found in the Eucharist. Here we sinners cannot prevail. Before the sacrament we are without power, our self-satisfaction notwithstanding. Jesus himself through the power of the Holy Spirit with the ordained priest as his instrument, offers himself for us and to us. No human error or sin has power here. God will find you.

    • A very honest comment. But please don’t lose hope, because clearly you have been clinging to the wrong thing. Fear is absolutely the wrong thing to cling to, as Scripture points out. It’s curious, but I know with a conviction beyond my ability to understand that I will never leave the Church, no matter how many hypocrites don bishops robes, because I love Jesus very much, and I trust Him. I don’t have faith in the pope. I don’t have faith in men. I have faith in God. I feel very much as you do in one sense, but I am at peace with it all because I trust Jesus to be truthful, that even our sins and the sins of others will find a purpose in His providential hands. I don’t think I could find one saint that wasn’t led to a trust in Our Lord in one way or another – and many who had more excuse than you do for leaving because of evil men running the visible church. St. Athanasius certainly did! Faith is a gift, if must be sought as a gift, and accepted as a gift. All of the “doubts and contradictions” dissolve in the glow of love and trust. Trust is not what we have when things are going well. It is what we have when nothing makes sense.

    • My dear tired friend perhaps Jesus is missing. Church is man, Jesus is God. The New Testament beyond the Gospels is all about man messing up. If The early Church could not get it straight how can we expect better today? We must keep our eyes on Jesus and allow the very imperfect Church to help us on the pilgrimage of life. We are all sinners and we can’t expect the Church to be better than we are. The simple “Jesus I trust in you” is a good start. God bless you fellow damaged one.

      • Your comments James made me think of this old gospel hymn. You are right, if we keep our eyes on Jesus & the rest of the world’s commotion will fade into its proper perspective:

        “O soul, are you weary and troubled?
        No light in the darkness you see?
        There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
        And life more abundant and free!

        Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
        Look full in His wonderful face,
        And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
        In the light of His glory and grace…”
        Helen Howarth Lemmel (1922)

        (Alan Jackson sings this beautifully.)

    • You could have resolved, by God’s grace, to be the Catholic Christian that you think others should be. May saints have done exactly that. In doing so they have aided in the reformation of the Church in times of scandal, to the great glory of almighty God.

      Consider: there were many, filled with self righteousness, who said to Christ “this saying is hard, who can believe it?”(John ch.6)…whereupon they smugly walked away, convinced in their own mind of the rightness of their judgement. Our Lord didn’t chase after them begging them to reconsider. Neither is He likely, IMO, to do so for you, though by God’s grace may He do exactly that.

      Our Faith has given us the sacraments. They are valid whether confected by saints or scoundrels. You had no just reason for leaving the faith. Repent. And turn around.

    • Steve: Start with “rocks are hard and water is wet” and proceed from there. Francis Bethel’s biography of John Senior, “Restoration of Realism” might also prove helpful.

    • Your first paragraph alone, contained the word “I” 12 twelve times. Fallen human nature gravitates toward blaming the other, rather than taking personal responsibility.

      There is nothing novel about the sin of pride.

    • Steve,
      As you probably know, I’ve been an admirer of your brilliant apologetic writing for a number of years. What went wrong? Your comment doesn’t explain convincingly. It sounds like a rehash of the modernist indoctrination crap teachers were trying to feed us Catholic high school and college students back in the 1960s and 1970s.
      But maybe, when you were growing up, that’s all you got.
      I pray for you and for your family.

    • I feel for you man. Your realization and what you did aren’t easy. You fought a long time for your an idea you realized you hadn’t ever believed in. And the very people whose behavior showed you what you were doing, were actors. Posers. I can empathize with regret of how much time you wasted and how many years you spent toiling away, and seemingly for what. I especially appreciate your baring your soul here. I was really excited when I saw your name on one of the replies to Austin’s article. Did not expect to see that, and I read what you wrote from beginning to end.

      Two stories of betrayal similar to yours come to mind. Imagine the despair and anger of an Israeli warrior in David’s army on learning what David did to Uriah. Or the feelings of betrayal in one of the skilled knights in service to Priam the king of Troy, when witnessing the systemic corruption in going along with Paris’s lusts when he returned with Helen. Your king, princes, and all your generals went to their deaths for this insanity, and they stubbornly sacrificed the entire city – its inhabitants, buildings, agriculture, language … for one man’s lusts. It is easier to forgive David since he repented. But I shudder to think for people who were not allowed to think for themselves.

      Post-fanatic life kind of seems like a theme of an epoch a person would experience, coming from a past similar to yours. I’m playing out how you got into being a fanatic in the first place. You said there was some brainwashing and that you also as an adult would suppress your own questions. Did you ever struggle with the pleasures of pride? The dopamine it pumps a person full of when he feels he is right without knowing? I can see that trapping a person into fanaticism. And on the other side of that, see the relief that comes from what appears to be the humility you’ve experienced of late, where you started telling a scary truth that may have cost you a lot socially.

      But being honest about your role looks to have brought you onto a path that is personally more satisfying, saner, and healthier. You could’ve maybe kept on keeping on at your old ‘job’, making whatever money you made by parroting the same dogmas yet not believing them. Fitting in and all that. I’m reading between the lines here, but it seemed to me you abandoned ship because you were looking for truth, and saw that the people leading you didn’t believe in what you said you did. And you didn’t believe it either. Did you come across Catholics who DID believe it? Good people, smart and articulate like you (although human and like you too), but good nonetheless? Did you listen to them? Did you let them talk to and engage with you?

      Now that you’ve started to think for yourself and living a post-fanatic life (pardon the adjective hehe), what is it you’re looking for? What matters now? You said explicitly that it’s truth you seek, so presumably one of the things you’re looking at is what helps unravel all the lies you told yourself and the destruction and waste they caused in your life. And beyond lies, what actually IS true. Because there are at least two truths going on here. One is the truth about yourself, that involves two sub-truths – one about your past which you expounded on, and another on your future which is important because your story isn’t over. This sub-truth involves the second major truth, which is whether God is really there and you just missed Him. If I were you, what you did about telling the truth about disillusionment and disenchantment would be necessary. You’re saying what you are. But abandoning the Church and God is a separate category of thought and another question. So what matters to you now? Do you care about that question?

      Because the stakes are pretty high for how you run with that, if you run with it at all. If all your life you’d believed in leprechauns or aliens and gotten into a career as a UFOlogist, then detected reality and quit, it’s no big deal dropping questions about whether they actually exist. Like who cares. But if God does exist, the implications on us are crucial, and that topic is something I’m sure a thinker with a clearer head now could appreciate.

      You said you never knew God. But what if the time wasn’t right? I was raised in going to church and had a lot of bad things that went on as a child, but I never heard from God. After coming to know Him in my adulthood, every now and then I’d still wonder why He didn’t intervene earlier the way he did later in my life. But one thing that I think could be true, is that back then I was the hero of my story. I was drunk with pride, and believed in my own self-righteousness and had been wronged, and that even the bad things I did were justified. I didn’t really start to hear much from God until I acknowledged my role in destroying a relationship I’d cared about a lot more than I thought I did. Only I realized that after it was over, and was racked with regret. It was then when I stopped being convinced I was not the hero anymore and was actually a Gollum that I started to interact with Him.

      I bring this up not to vicariously out you, without even having met you. That would be rude. But I wonder if you were drunk with the same pride back then. If you weren’t looking for God with a sincere, contrite heart.

      Because the God of the Bible is not bad. He is goodness itself. Imagine all the good things about a person you could ever feel. They just radiate off of and from Him. Even in Scripture, God is not against truth. Doesn’t it say in John that “… an hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth”? He wants us to be sincere. And like you (and many of us) He is not a fan of clerical corruption either. Look at Jeremiah 5, 14, 23, and 27. Micah 3. Hosea 4 and 5. Ezekiel 22:26. Zephaniah 3. People are corrupt and it’s been going on a long time. Look at the Sanhedrin and Pharisees and what they did to Jesus. Look at politicians today. What I’m saying is that this God of the Jews then of the Christians, the God in the Scriptures and the God who founded the Church, is not a fan of corruption.

      (And lest we argue about whether God exists at all, the general fact that God exists is not hard to miss: To mistake DNA and the complexity of a person as happy accidents of Chronos and Gaia – the marriage of time and dust of the earth, and probability by extension – is foolish. There is a God. Someone made this.)

      So I encourage you to seek God. Keep seeking Him, and tell Him about your disillusionment. Tell Him the realest truth about yourself. Share with Him what you’re experiencing. I wonder if part of your story is parsing what is God and what is the Church, if you worshipped the Church and not the God who founded it.

      Now you’re starting to see that some of the leaders are actors. And you got really indignant about their behavior and hypocrisy. So angry you left it altogether. But is your departure appropriate? Are you letting this poisoned well that these corrupt clerics represent, are you letting this keep you out of the Church and out of faith in God? In Christ? Is what you’re doing really helping you as much as a life in the Church with the same you, now a thinking and aware you, could help you?

      Do you remember that parable in Matthew 13 about how an enemy came into a man’s field and sowed tares among the wheat? You’re waking up and seeing there are tares. But did you miss the wheat and the farmer, and leave because your eyes were so red you could only see them? Is pride keeping you from coming back and approaching these questions again? Because if you’re committed to truth then you will follow it, and you go where it goes. That’s what philosophers do. God is truth. He is much more than fact. Life, reality, everything that is healing and right and ordered and good and whole flows from Him. Look for Him.

      The agony in this world from its lies, corruption, and general mortality can be a means of seeking out God rather than rejecting Him. I think you pretty much said you never knew HIm. And if you didn’t and I’m reading between the lines, forgive me, but I’ll still assume that. If you did know Him – and I mean truly know Him not just that He exists or facts about Him – and still left, there’d be no arguing with someone that evil. God is that GOOD (and I don’t know you but I’ll assume you aren’t that evil).

      What I’m implying is that pain can expose us for who we are and what we want, because we all do something with it. For example, the presence of injury or sickness leads many to seek God and find Him. We learn of His mercy and His ways on this journey. A search for truth or meaning leads many to God, too. Some reject Him, but I don’t think they reject God but rather who they think He is, which I think in your apologia you would recognize as a projection of some ghost of the past (maybe a father figure). What matters to you now? What are you going to do with your pain? Will you let it lead you to God? Will you take it to Him? I am not trying to speak to you foolishly or childishly. These are questions that are ongoing for me, too. But I have experienced God, His touch, and God is good. He is good, and there is not denying that. And God cares about everyone, since He cared about me.

    • ” To fight for orthodoxy was to go deeper and deeper into an ever-narrowing spiral of “doing more for God.” More reverence. More sacrifice. More observance. The Church was an idol, and her web of legalisms her sacraments.”

      Well there’s your problem. This isn’t how the Catholic faith works, friend. And the idea that the Church doesn’t take herself seriously, is only true if you think “the Church” is “the men who run the Church”.

      I hope that, in time, you have the humility necessary to allow yourself to question your questioning, and the wisdom to see it through. God bless you. I’m very sorry to hear about your journey into the dark.

    • Dear Steve, I’m sorry you’ve lost your faith. I will be praying for you. I’ve always admired your honesty in your writing, and you’ve lived up to that once again with your comment. Please do keep searching for the truth.

      I’m sad to hear that your relationship with the Church was one of legalism and fear. That is certainly no way to live. My own faith has been buttressed by the fact that whenever I have gone deeper in the Faith, i.e., making sustained commitments to mental prayer, asceticism, spiritual reading and lives of the saints, and more dependence on the sacraments, it has always resulted in growth in virtue and growth in love, both for God and those around me. In contrast, whenever I find myself slacking in these areas and seek comfort and ease, my pious practices become more legalistic and I find myself becoming more selfish and less virtuous. It’s no wonder the great spiritual writers emphasize the need to keep moving forward in the Faith. If we stop moving toward God, we soon backslide away from Him. My faith is also consoled in the obvious truth in the Gospels themselves, the beauty and beautiful lives (and keen thinkers) they inspired, and the many miracles and apparitions (the Our Lady of Guadaulupe story strengthens my faith whenever I read it each December) that God has given us over the centuries to buttress our faith. Of course it’s hard to pinpoint and explain all the reasons one believes. As Chesterton so eloquently put it: “The difficulty of explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” I hope your search for truth once again leads you back.

      A last thought: Today is the feast of St. John Vianney. My parish men’s group has been reading and discussing his “Instructions on the Catechism.” It’s available for free here: Reading these short homilies from Vianney is a tonic. Where did this relatively uneducated man find all this wisdom? Not from books, but from prayer. His wisdom and very life is truly a miracle. And here was a life not animated by fear or legalism but by love.

      I pray and hope that you again find your faith. In the meantime, keep vigorously pursuing the truth. And may God bless you and your family. St. John Vianney, pray for us!

    • It seems that Steve was indoctrinated by parents or guardians to treat the church more like the communist party than the community of faith in God. God should have been first and foremost.

    • Gil, you are spot on.
      “To Whom would we go, Lord? You alone have the words of Eternal Life.” Those words of a weak mortal man, beloved and chosen by Christ to feed His vast flock, echoed in my heart as I knelt before the ornate golden tabernacle at —- University when all the temptations of doubt and destruction raged against my own feeble faith, love and intellect at 19. All my intellectual friends scoffed at the mystical love of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. “I don’t see any evidence of the Real Presence in the Catholics I know.” Evangelical Bible Protestants told me with their heartfelt Christianity that they “didn’t need” the Body and Blood of Christ to be “the church” …so I searched His Word on their word and His own Word in John 6 refuted them, any child could see. Perhaps that is why I was able to see it so clearly.

      Thank you, Austin, for this warning essay. I knew Gerry and his family too, once upon a time, as faithful abiding converts to the Catholic Church beleaguered and assaulted from within since the beginning. So help me God, may we rebuild His Church from within with our own poor materials. I pray for all the consecrated souls, for more consecrated souls, for the souls who do not feel God’s immense love and fall away, for those lost in pride or their own wounds. May they be edified by the humility of those who, in their immense suffering— like the faithful living martyrs of Communism and other persecutions— stay the course.

    • Oddly enough, your comment well demonstrates much of the cause of the Novus Ordo. Sacrosanctum Concilium aimed to provoke Catholics to understand the “why” and “Who” of the rubrics, not only the “what”. Vatican II sought to simplify the Mass, to better focus on Christ’s present in the Eucharist, not so much on “lesser” symbols.
      They overdid it in many cases.
      They reduced the rigidity with…rigidity. Our Church tried moving away from “what must always be done” toward “what may never be done”; from “traditional” to “modern-day”. In the process, they over-emphasized “feeling”; they abandoned the intellect. Too much emphasis on what “relates” to a given worshipper, …undermined the Church’s logical coherence.
      Your commentary indicates that last part created serious problems for you.

      Another problem the Church has induced in recent decades has been…too many now don’t know how to pray. Too many before Vatican II had focused on one prayer, the Rosary, almost exclusively. In seeking to “broaden our horizons”, by “giving freedom” from the Rosary, we learned about too many options as replacements. In consequence, …nobody could focus well on any one given prayer, …so they ceased praying at all.

      I would encourage you to try again with the Rosary with all it’s mysteries. Many other prayers–the Liturgy Hours (modern-day Divine Office), the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and spontaneous prayers–can certainly bring you to God in their way. Yet the Rosary provides the greatest exposure to Christ, Mary, and the Holy Trinity. Five mysteries each day, five Our Fathers and 50 Hail Marys (in the decades), and 5 Glorias address Our Lady (our mother in faith), Christ, and the Holy Trinity rather directly. They provide us with vigorous reminders of Christ’s teaching.

      In our days, it’s very difficult to maintain faith in anything, never mind Christ and His Church.
      Don’t give up yet.
      From your commentary, you don’t quite seem to me as though you have, though certainly you have some serious struggles to contend against.
      Though it may sound trite, God truly does allow suffering for His final greater glory.

      It’ll take a good deal of sorting through the mess that God has allowed to break out in His Church these past decades before it all begins to make sense.
      Just know that God doesn’t give us burdens too heavy to handle. Ask for His grace, He will give it. Do not fear when it feels as though the Church has begun to directly contradict Herself.

    • Frankly, Steve, the fact that you are roaming around this Catholic site tells me you might be overstating your disbelief to convince others to believe (in) you. May I suggest that you get yourself out of the way to discover where you need to land. Checking out who is talking about you, how you are being received and heard … it’s all distraction. I think you need some distance from yourself, brother. You’re not going to discover eternal truths by navel-gazing. One more thing, you’re going to land on something to believe in; everyone does, (even atheists who are fanatical believers in atheism). I hope it’s not just believing in yourself; that’s the great lie of our times.

    • Steve asks this question: “Why live to fight another day for an institution that promotes men who don’t believe in it?”

      It is possible that Steve’s Legion experience plugged the notion that the Church ‘promotes’ people. From my perspective of faith, that perspective thoroughly negates the Divine element of the institutional Church. The idea of ‘promotion’ is secular. It makes sense then that some human elements within the institution would see the next rung of the hierarchical ladder as ‘promotion.’ The strictly rationalistic human will see promotion.

      Against such a human understanding of the Human element in the Church, Jesus Christ called the greatest among his disciples the servant of all. Jesus called his disciples his friends and warned that they would face trials and crosses just as He. When Peter opposed Him (saying “God forbid” that Jesus would suffer and die), Jesus likened him to Satan. Because Christ’s disciples would suffer persecution, and for this and other similar reasons, Jesus called them ‘blessed.’

      The Divine Element should hold sway. Did any man ever speak as Jesus? Try as I may, I cannot envision that a ‘Father’, ‘Brother’ or ‘Spirit’ and their Justice, Reason or Eternal/Natural Law failed to give more than a brief or fleeting appearance in the heart of another. It calls to mind an Image of God in a soul whose eyes are blind. Such a soul is surely lost in a vast material universe. That such a vast space and time fail to suggest hints or hopes of spiritual essence is a grand pity.

    • Steve Skojec, whoever you are, congratulations to you. You have arrived at the truth – this stuff is all pretend. Note that the actual truth does not feel the need to capitalize its letter T as though it’s a proper noun, or “extra true” (no such thing), as it is sufficiently confident just being its humble, true, self (with a lowercase t). Side note: this is one of my favorite yet subtle clues that this crowd is trying too hard to be truthful.

      You are speaking my language here:

      “But there is no way of knowing. No way of verifying. God does not speak to me in any way I can perceive, and ignored my many pleas to help me see what I was missing.”

      This is exactly the problem. Why can’t we KNOW? What is the point of faith? Well, think about it a while, and then you’ll see that there is no point. It’s a meaningless test, and anyone who “passes” the test by believing in this undetectable superintelligence is not a hero or virtuous, they’re someone who won a game of deity roulette because they could have just as easily believed in any number of other undetectable gods that have existed (correction: been fabricated) throughout history. Faith is not even a virtue at all, contrary to religion’s dishonest branding of it which swears to you that it is. Faith is a privilege that the person or thing you are having faith in MUST EARN. Being undetectable does not earn the privilege of your faith. I am all-in on the bet that a supreme intelligence of a merciful nature is not going to think to himself “I want to see if they believe in me while I remain undetectable the entire time, and if they don’t, it will make me upset”. This is absurd. In fact, it’s so ridiculous, that I am going to laugh when someone tells me I’ll face an extreme punishment for not buying into that, because this is already contradicting “merciful” or “loves you”. The claim that “faith matters” is the proof that faith is nonsense.

      Again, congrats, and welcome to the land of reason. In this place, we fearlessly and tenaciously and relentlessly pursue the truth. We preserve our dignity in this one and only life, by refusing to be conned, even if it might feel good to pretend to be the center of the universe. Feelings don’t matter, only the truth.

    • Jesus is still with us, Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity. Sit with Him every day in front of a Tabernacle and ask the Master to speak to you. Adore Him who loves us so very much that he suffered and died for us.
      Remember that the enemy wants to destroy the Church because Satan knows it is the Truth and he hates it.
      Jeus weeps for His lost sheep but I fear for His lost shepherds. I pray for priests more than any other intentions.

    • Steve
      I appreciate all of the points you make about what are essentially the shortcomings of the people who make up The Church, at the individual level, yet which have a cumulative affect, some of the worst being what happened to you through the Legionaries of Christ…this cult like tendency that any group can have a tendency towards, religious guise, or secular, even with legal provisions. So, too, Rod Dreher’s description of his experience rings true, and is a good way for all of us to examine what we are doing in our participation in The Church. Yet, Dreher wrote a very beautiful, spiritual, and analytical book summarizing important points of Dante’s spiritual journey, and applying it to himself and his relationship with his family, and dealing with dashed hopes and trust in institutions. Thus, one can apply Dreher’s lesson that he learned and reconciled with his family, as one can do so similarly with The Church.
      The way forward, as we say in the Creed, is as One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. The greatness, yet broad statements of Vatican II, and the conflict of different interpretations that has arisen since, has been clarified by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger at the time putting together the Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church, and also Pope John Paul’s encyclicals that address the modern questions, and Pope Benedict’s clarifying liturgical principles, the emphasis on reverence, the sacred worship that unifies us especially in the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass. As a result of our authentic, humble worship of our Lord, our then response of charity to those in need, around us, and those we have ignored. Christ will illumine us to see the way

    • In your substack, you talked about almost the exact same situation when were in the Legion’s orbit and how you were having the exact same prevarications and doubts with the Legion when you posted about being in love with your high school girlfriend and how you became a problem for the other seminarians. What was that, 20 years ago?

      Has it occurred to you that it’s presumption in thinking you were fighting for the Church when you fight about everything including politics and this was just another aspect. However much you dither on sophistry, you won’t find peace until you stop lying to yourself. You just gave up on the Church because you couldn’t humble yourself to accept the possibility that your pastor was right and you were wrong.

    • Dear Steve:

      What you ask is important. The comments generated by your post express empathy and a desire to help. If some people have not done as they might have, it takes nothing away from God. People try, fail and make mistakes. Yet, asking questions is what God wants us to do. Interestingly our faith is in His hands. Some broad based scripture for you to reflect upon. God doesn’t mince words with us and this is best:

      Romans 1:18- For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, …

      1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

      Romans 1:28-32 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

      2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

      If you have a question, lets discuss it. It would be my honour to share God’s answers for the questions you pose.

      Blessings of peace, discernment and understanding.


    • Hi Steve,

      I’m so sorry to hear about how churchmen have treated you and your family. I did read some of the accounts you wrote of it a few months back. So much evil has been done in the name of God, it is despicable.

      I am puzzled though. If someone was raised to believe for fear of perdition or solely on the authority of parents and teachers etc. and not on intellectual grounds that predisposed one to the gift of Faith, but was NOT deeply wronged as you were, it seems that when doubt strikes that the natural response to that newly found doubt would be for someone to dive deep into the intellectual tradition of their ancestors – thereby giving it the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty. True until proven false etc. (you do agree that there is a deep Catholic intellectual tradition that has wrestled with the big questions of God’s existence, the person and claims of Jesus etc.? Have you thoughtfully engaged that tradition before giving up on the Faith?). From what you wrote, it seems you have skipped that most natural searching, seemingly because you were so scandalized by the way you and your family (and so many others) were wronged.

      I would suggest a humble, and thorough, deep dive into the problem of Evil and the cosmological proofs for God’s existence. Philosophers Eleanor Stump (on the problem of evil) and Edward Feser’s “Five Proofs for the Existence of God” would be great starters – (to establish classical theism). From there doing a deep dive into the person of Jesus and proof for the Resurrection (to establish Christianity) and then from there the early Church and it’s Catholicity (to establish Catholicism). Great Youtube channels or podcasts to follow are Michael Lofton at Reason and Theology and Trent Horn at the Counsel of Trent, both of whom I’m sure you are aware. As a lover of truth, give your intellectual tradition a chance.

      Please remember that Catholicism itself allows for such failures in the human element of the Church. It is not like the Church claims x and y has happened. The Church claims x (that there will be terrible clergy – look at the Arian crisis! or the deep problem of clerical sodomy that St. Damien fought against or the corruption the Protestants rightly pointed out – if all that didn’t make you disbelieve the Church, why should today’s crisis be any different? It seems the only difference is that you are personally affected and are living through THIS crisis. Go back to what you knew 10 years ago. What would you have said then to a similarly scandalized Catholic during the Arian crisis? Or to someone about to become Protestant in 1517? Now say that to yourself now.

      As hard as it is, you need to be able to step back and look at the greater picture. I wish you well and be assured of my prayers.

    • Steve, as you can see, there are many, many comments here. You had a great following. I too was a follower. In fact, your website was one of the first to convey the difficult truth about the state of the Church today. Thank you. However, I do not believe, nor do I think it possible that all the good I received from your works was accidental. Even if your beliefs were not perfectly pure, and whose are, God was still at work in you. For this, again, I thank you. I am reminded of Fr. John Corapi. How we all miss his voice today. The devil is far more intelligent than we are and he works overtime to trip-up those doing the most good. May God bless you and your family.

  5. I’m very sorry to hear this. Skojec deserves our prayers. May God keep us from further such losses, even our own.

  6. “Dreher is out of the Church. Sciambra is out of the Church.”

    All 3 left communion with the bishop of Rome because RC ecclesiology is believed to be dogma, when RC ecclesiology is the problem and offers no solution to RC clericalism. Are they out of the Church? Only if RC ecclesiology is actually true. And yes, some Chalcedonian Orthodox opinions about what is the Church can be as exclusivist as RC ones. Doesn’t mean that one set or the other is right

  7. A critically useful historical perspective? … In the early 5th-century the Donatists maintained that bishops who had apostasized under persecution were no longer empowered to perform the sacraments. Wrong…

    Among the Donatists of all ranks, in addition to their own apostasy, were to be found widespread drunkenness and “the most disgraceful immoralities.” Catholic bishops were sometimes murdered or mutilated.

    At the A.D. 411 Conference in Carthage (more than a synod, because of the subject matter), some 286 Catholic bishops met with 279 Donatist bishops from all across North Africa. Typically, there were two competing bishoprics within each diocese (but most dioceses were equivalent to parishes today). The Conference discerned decisively against the Donatists and for the permanence of ordination, and for the validity of performed sacraments despite the many and even serious failings of the ordained.

    So, in our blip in turbulent history—and recalling the Donatist outcome—we are not to walk, but to cling to the sacramental Real Presence (CCC 1374). At each Mass always together mystically and truly with the entire universal Church down through history, and here and now however mutilated, and surely including the saints in heaven.

  8. I left. It was hard. But now zero regrets. The universal church is bigger than the RC Church and I found Jesus elsewhere. Haters gonna hate but I’m quite happy.

    • I have not left, but I also don’t think the RC (or the Byz Rite, or Coptics, or Orthodox) necessarily have a lock on Jesus. And I agree with Skojek above: some of the claims (as I understand them) of the Church seem pretty silly, and it does seem clear to me that a large portion of the hierarchy does not believe the things I believe.

      • The claims of the Roman Catholic Church are not silly, they just have no basis in truth. Beginning with the Filioque Clause of the Creed, which was promoted by the Frankish Bishops who stole the Church from Rome and turned it into a political machine, the church at Rome has continued to invent dogmas that the Early Fathers would not recognize, understand, or agree with. This is why the Orthodox Church has not reunited with Rome for a thousand years, and this is why I left because after investigation, I could not stay in communion with Rome as a Byzantine Catholic in good conscience. Rome will keep driving out conscientious people like Steve, and at the same time they will keep pointing to the fact that there’s 1.3 billion people who are Roman Catholics. That means nothing. The majority of Roman Catholics I have met are stupid as dirt when it comes to theology, and their religion is something that they do out of either social pressure or cultural influence. Anyone who is serious about the Christian faith and does an investigation will become Orthodox. They have maintained the faith of the Apostles. Rome has not.

    • The bigness of the Church is of no importance. It is its nature and reason for existence. If we try to understand who established this Church, how and why He did so, that will be a good beginning for the development of wisdom.
      Some people see the faults and weaknesses of the human members that make up this special family (the Church), but fail to see its divine plan, the spiritual gifts, and the love of the Father who planned it, of the Son who implemented it, and of the Holy Spirit who is forever protecting and guiding it.
      Not only did God make us in His likeness, but He has done all He can (except take away our free will) to give us a beautiful eternal life.
      If it was not for God and His grace-filled Church, life would be empty or worse.

  9. ‘ Reject, renounce, rebuke .. ‘ – spirits of pride , anger , apostacy , rebellion, greed, lust ..
    know of one person who has been attending the zoom session mentioned in above primarily to help her mother in law and seems to be helping .

    Good to hearin the above , Rev.Fr.Jim talk about the Green Scapular as well as the benefit of the Precious Blood prayers in the above , how the latter can help with addictions as well as depression – anger turned in ward as cause of depression ..

    The Divine Will revelations and readings – another area of hope and new Light in seeing how much good God is pouring into lives , esp. in the Sacraments, as indulgences etc and we blessed to love God with His own Will and Love as is worthy of Him , even a tiny taste of same in this life as worth giving up those areas that we are asked to in the wisdom in The Church .

    Rev.Pacwa on EWTN mentioning how the Jerusalem temple was destroyed both times on Aug 9th ; The Assumption of bl . Mother takes place on 15th – 7 days later , ? to tell us how Mother Church is meant as the means to lift us above the chaos and confusions of our times .
    Glad that CWR has published this article as a warning .

    The Holy Father chose to ask apologies for ‘genocide ‘- intentional destruction of cultures / persons who are seen as inferior ; he has seen the need to embrace the field hospital image instead , in seeing cultures and persons as wounded in need of healing ..hope that those who are staying away would see that their presence and prayers can bring healing to many others too , even across generations ..
    Blessings !

  10. The post-baptismal denial of a dogma of the Church falls into the technical category of heresy. Heresy is a mortal sin. Sin darkens the intellect. The Indefectibility of the Church is a dogma: she cannot teach error in matters of Faith & Morals. The documents of an Ecumenical Council, that is, a council where all–or virtually all–of the world’s bishops are present is protected by the Holy Spirit from theological & moral error in its documents. The documents themselves may be poorly written, ambiguous and even address matters outside the realm of Faith & Morals. The council itself, to quote Benedict XVI may even turn out in retrospect to be “a waste of time.” I think one can fairly argue that the above criticisms may be leveled at Vatican II. Still, the documents themselves cannot explicitly articulate moral or theological error even if written so poorly as to admit of a multiplicity of interpretations. Endeavors done in the wake of an Ecumenical Council, it’s supposed “spirit,” etc., do not enjoy this divine protection. This is “Ecclesiology 101,” first principle stuff. Skojec has for a long time argued & held to heresy, to wit: the documents of Vatican II contain moral/theological error. It’s therefore unsurprising that he has rendered himself unable to see the truth that, 1) God exists & 2) He founded the Catholic Church, guaranteeing that she would lead us into all truth (cf. Jn 16:13) and the gates of hell would not prevail against her (cf. Mt 16:18).

    • I think it is possible for Vatican II documents to contain error, especially on Ecumenism. If VII documents are read on their own and not along side other council documents such as Trent or Vatican I then once can be mislead. It would be like reading only one history book on WWII written by an American then believing that you understand everything that happened during WWII. The Catholic Church did not begin in 1965 despite what many Bishops and theologians would have us believe.

    • Did this piece ever hit some raw nerves! Could it be as simple as: there are 2 kinds of Catholics today, some still honestly self-identify with Catholicism as a religious subculture while finding many if not most of its beliefs irrelevant, religion without a long list itemized beliefs that are said to be necessary and affirmed without any doubts or even any “mental reservations”; and those who say that one cannot honestly call oneself Catholic unless all beliefs are affirmed. Not only must one act like a Cathlic, one must think what the institutional church says one must think. Those of us who are “faking it till we make it”, it being firm belief, and the rest (surely a minority) who can recite the Nicene Creed with full understanding and full affirmation, those who have made it, no longer faking it.

  11. People who resolve to kill themselves often feel at peace with their decision. Doesn’t make it the correct on BTW. Leaving the Church for emotional reasons likely comes from the Devil. I don’t usually meet people who claim they left for rational ones. Because I don’t find they have any rational reasons.

    Catholics suck but that is original sin for you. Papal Infallibility works but nothing will prevent the Pope short of that from doing a lot of damage. But this has all happened before (crisis in the Church) and it will sort itself out.

    I am convinced because history always favors the Church. She always buries her undertakers. She will survive Francis and Thrive.

  12. Brian Davies book The REALITY OF GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL taught me God is not a moral agent in the univocal sense a maximally virtuous creature is moral agent. God is compared to creatures analogously not univocally. God has no obligations to us His creatures.

    Job 41:11 & Rom 11:35-36.

    God need not have made us. So any good act of His toward us is an act of gratuitous good not obligatory. All of God’s good acts however small are acts of Charity. They are by nature act of supererogation on God’s part.

    Charity by definition is not owed but given from the goodness of the benefactor. I know rationally from this God owes me nothing and I owe God everything. So it is irrational to expect or demand things from God. You can trust God to give you sufficient Grace because God said He would give it. But you cannot expect life will be more good then you want it too be. It is not owed to you.

  13. “Why live to fight another day for an institution that promotes men who don’t believe in it? Why fight for something that it’s agents don’t even believe in?”

    Why live to fight another day for an institution when some of her professional apologists like Steve Skojec cut and run?

    Because “when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”

    I cannot abandon the Christ who has never abandoned me.

    • Yes. My dear dear Lord. May we all know and all love Him like we are St. Mary Magdalene. Or St. Peter. May we continue to find Him even when all the other shepherds run, like in Henry VIII’s England, or like Walter Ciszek, SJ with God in Siberian Russia.
      To Whom would we go, Lord, you have the words of Eternal Life? -John 6

  14. “Whether I be in the temple or in the balcony, in the camp or the flower garden, I tell you truly that every moment my Lord is taking His delight in me” – writes Kabir.

  15. I was received into the Church in 2014. I did not convert to Catholicism because of Pope Francis, Brokeback Martin, the Germans, etc, and I am not going to leave the Church because of them (even though that is almost certainly what they would want).

    But I do often wish that they would leave.

  16. The “immemorial Mass” didn’t exist for the first 1500 years of Christianity. You guys are at least as unreliable as the extremist “progressives.”

    • Old fallacy. The ‘Tridentine’ Mass wasn’t created out of whole cloth by Pius V. He merely codified the ancient Roman liturgy that had gradually developed over the centuries.

      • BEAUTIFUL, Resurgam! I feel so sad for God that Steve Skojec says he never loved Him, because God as his Father was never there. I have offended God so much during my life, and I’ve been inconstant and lukewarm, but I could never say that I didn’t love God, even though my love was so imperfect. Because I knew that God always loved me, and I want to return His love. It breaks my heart to hear a fallen away Catholic-turned agnostic-treat our Father with such disdain.

    • Those two and three thousand year old redwoods in California weren’t two and three thousand years old for the first one and two thousand years of their existence. So?

  17. Every day I feel the presence of God in things that happen to me. Most of the time His angel makes things easier that they could be. Other times things are bad for His purpose. At any rate this is the same for the Church. But not to worry ! God is always in control.

  18. The only thing perfect “on earth” is Christ. Which should take the burden off the rest of us. And yet, we do not have to settle or disregard wrongs. Many of our declared saints are examples of how to “be perfect” on our walk as Christians. Often that included battling injustices, heresies, persecutions, and giving rebukes, or writing and teaching to restore truth, beauty, and goodness. I pray that Steve and others rest and do not disregard any good people, great conversations, surprising moments of peace or awe, or the tiny whisper that can fill the perceived void. Ask God to help them want to begin to want to forgive the people who have harmed them. To love as a verb. To be still and know… .

  19. I posted a comment that may be up later:

    There are good and bad examples of anything in our world, yet we seem to know what the ideal is. There are good and honest car mechanics, contractors, police officers, judges, lawyers, and any other job or profession – and others that are corrupt, petty, downright evil and cruel. That doesn’t change the truth. No one would seriously argue that because *some* police officers are criminals, or some judge accepted a bribe or got a DWI, the entire system of justice is bad, unnecessary, and we don’t need it and don’t need to believe it. Until recently, that is, thanks to a crass media looking for more drama and conflict to drive its numbers, and the self-interested grifters who need 5 gated houses. Then we look at the utter chaos and dystopian hellscape without it.

    The Catholic Church is the reason we have Western Civilization, science, art, music, hospitals, charities, and the highest callings and meanings of our shared – and broken – humanity, straining toward heaven and to our perfection in Christ.

    Skojec’s makes good and painful points and you can understand his sense of betrayal. This seems a natural consequence from placing faith in man, not recognizing our place in God’s world, and in not experiencing Jesus. My worry is that personally experiencing Christ myself, seeing plenty of miracles personally, how do I still fail him? I take some heart that even those disciples who walked and lived with Christ himself failed him until the end when they were tried and proven, having learned and persevered through painful personal failings and persecution.

    The words He said to Peter, “Do you love me?” – three times for each of Peter’s denials; and His words often to those He healed, “What do you want?” (as if He didn’t know) and “Do you want to be healed” really strike me to the core. Do I? Really?

    I take some heart by looking at WW2. Many bishops and priests abandoned their flock or turned everything over to the Nazis. But you still had Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, Franz Jaegerstatter, Fr. Gereon Goldmann (the “SS priest”) and many examples. They all had this radical surrender to the Will of God without scorekeeping or outcomes. They just did their work, and kept the blinders on to all around them that they could not directly influence.

    This is something I struggle with. There’s the voyeurism of the news, and the despair of where we all are. It’s like the Matrix, “Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.”

    I often say my reason for practicing law is the same reason the guy has for beating his head repeatedly against a brick wall. When asked, he said, “Because it feels so good when I stop!”

    But that’s hardly true. I still get to see miracles. I can still make a big difference in families and disabled people in the worst situations. And anyone who has seen some of this stuff sees the beauty of broken people (who know of their brokenness) helping other broken people through that as we all stumble to Calvary under rough and heavy crosses. It’s the entire purpose of the priesthood, both before and after Christ, as explained in Hebrews. I heard one colleague describe our profession as a “civic priesthood.” I like the idea of that, and the attitude. I need to do it better.

    So I guess I need to keep going. Some days are harder than others ..

  20. My dear tired friend perhaps Jesus is missing. Church is man, Jesus is God. The New Testament beyond the Gospels is all about man messing up. If The early Church could not get it straight how can we expect better today? We must keep our eyes on Jesus and allow the very imperfect Church to help us on the pilgrimage of life. We are all sinners and we can’t expect the Church to be better than we are. The simple “Jesus I trust in you” is a good start. God bless you fellow damaged one.

  21. What happens though when the Church fights you? You will be marginalized and persecuted by large swaths of the hierarchy and clergy for simply believing what the Catechism of JP2 teaches. For example, imagine being an orthodox Catholic in Germany right now?

  22. Moreover, can someone please explain to me what being in the Church or “in full communion” means anymore when we have bishops and priests openly denying Church teaching, but are still in “good standing” and “full communion” all with the Pope’s wink and nod if not outright blessing.

    I think the author needs to answer these questions before pointing fingers at others.

    Lastly, if someone becomes Orthodox have they truly left the Church? If you believe so, explain how the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Orthodox are Sister Churches, with valid sacraments, apostolic succession etc. At best I would argue that they would be in a state of impaired communion (whatever that means anymore).

    As for Steve Skojec, I don’t think we should judge him at all. He seems like a good man who’s been deeply hurt by the Church. God knows his heart. He may be “outside the Church” (I don’t think he is) but he’s not outside God’s love. God is bound to His sacraments but He is not bound by them. God can work in people’s lives in ways we can’t see. That’s why it’s best not to judge him. Personally, I like his honest writing. I pray he finds peace and God in the end.

  23. Hi Steve,
    If as you say “I didn’t love God” and now you don’t believe in Him, it is no surprise that you don’t hear Him speaking to you … since you don’t believe in Him.

    I would suggest and invite you to listen to the U-Tube video, “The Hound of Heaven, A Modern Adaptation.” It is only about 10 minutes long. It sounds like a story many of us go through in life.
    May God bless you,
    I know He will never stop inviting you to come back.
    Thank you

  24. Focusing on the institutional aspects of the Church is fraught with peril. Church history shows us that there are times when the Church is simply a mess. Men are sinners and they can really mess things up badly. We see this in the history of Israel as well. Judas was one of the twelve. Yet the Church is still here. Somehow grace survives.

    Do not focus on the institution or the men who are seemingly in charge. Focus on Jesus especially in the Eucharist, on the Blessed Virgin Mary especially her rosary, and on a life of prayer according to the great spiritual masters. We cannot have much effect on the macro Church, but in our family and local parish we can. Reform begins with the individual. Seek holiness, seek God, live faith, hope, and charity. Eventually after this chastisement there will be revival. We may not live to see it, just as some in the past did not. Sometimes our job is to suffer in difficult times. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the belief in things yet unseen.”

    I pray for those who have left and hope for their return. I know God understands their pain and true motivations. He is merciful. May God bring about reform in the Church and a true renewal of faith in Christ.

  25. I’m curious why you say Gerry Matatics is no longer Catholic. While I don’t know him personally, many of my friends do and his FB page declares him to be Catholic.

    • I could be wrong, but it appears that Gerry Matatics thinks he’s the only Catholic left. He even questions the validity of the SSPX’s sacraments. When you’re more hardcore than the SSPX then I think you’ve gone down a rabbit hole that leads to a very dead end.

  26. Another article posted on CWR yesterday deals with how Biden plans to use Medicaid to help pay for out-of-state abortions. This monster continues to call himself a devout Catholic, enjoys the support of the Pope and the Cardinal archbishop of DC, and receives the Eucharist anytime he chooses. The anger that this and similar scandals incite is intense and entirely justified. It is not directed against the Church as an institution, but against her corrupt and evil human leadership.

  27. Whether you fight on the wrong side or the right, you can’t keep taking it on the nose. Nose is neither shield nor sword.

    If you’re coming back in watch out for the Mal guy, it’s like walking on mossy rocks in the shallows and if you slipped there you land on rocks.

  28. “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” Peter would go on to deny Christ 3X after saying this. Men are sinful! Men are weak! Men do really bad and scandalous things. Christ and His Holy Bride, the Church, are not sinful! We do not put our faith in men, but in Christ and His Church, Whose soul is The Holy Ghost, Who is Truth and Love. THIS is why She’s infallible in Her teachings on faith and morals and THIS is why She’s indefectible. Yes, it is the job of the Hierarchy, the men of the Church, to protect, defend and promulgate these truths, and often, unfortunately these days, they FAIL, just like Peter did in his denial of Truth (Jesus) and the truth (that he knew Jesus). But their failures, errors, scandalous tongues and sinful actions do not change the truth. Truth is primordial and Holy Mother Church has all truth, because Christ as Her Head instituted Her, gave it to Her, and the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost to guide and protect Her and these God-given truths. When Her visible head denies truth or speaks error, he is Peter on Good Friday. Becoming Pope, Bishop or priest doesn’t make the man infallible or sinless. Becoming a mom, doesn’t make me the Blessed Mother or even a good mother. We are fallen, concupiscent men with free will. I beg you, look to the fact that Christ was abandoned, even by the Father, on the Cross! He didn’t feel good up there. He was obedient even unto death! He gave of Himself completely to save us from sin and death. He paid the price for OUR debt. He gave Himself fully as our expiation. His own mocked Him, rejected Him and killed Him! Since Christ asked us to take up the Cross and follow Him, why do we expect anything different? Other people’s sins, one’s battered emotions or truly hurt feelings by others should not alter one’s faith in Christ Our Redeemer, and His Perfect Sacrifice.
    Did Mary say at the Presentation, “This is crazy! They’re just going to reject Him, torture Him and kill Him. And now I’m in the mix. I’m out of here!”? She knew Her Scripture; she’d spent 11 years in the Temple (since 3 years old). She knew even at the Visitation what was coming when She humbly said yes as God’s handmaid; She just didn’t know how it would all play out. So, the answer is, No! She did not leave. Our Blessed Mother stayed. She followed. She remained at the foot of the Cross. She knew, as do all of us, that Christ is the ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth and THE Life. That’s it.
    The father of all lies and trickery, who wants to be God, confuses, perverts and disorients. Do not leave Jesus like so many did when He declared His Flesh and Blood our true Food and Drink for everlasting life. Do not let the prince of this world chain you to his lies and his hatred of God, His Holy Bride, the Church, and man, God’s creation.
    Yes, sinful man is a mess and makes a mess; he has concupiscence and free will! – But all the more reason to cling to Christ, Who is THE Truth and His True Bride, Who has all truth and GRACE! Otherwise, your confusion, dismay and disappointment will only lead to further despair – which is right where the prince of darkness wants you. Listen to your Mother, “Do whatever He tells you to do.” Follow Him and His teachings which are all found in the Catholic Church, regardless of its structural mess and scandals. Wasn’t Judas a huge scandal right from the start?
    Let us all remember: For without God, we can do nothing.

  29. I admire much of the work of the three of men mentioned in this piece. Most of their criticisms of the Church leadership are legitimate and serious. There are a few less praiseworthy strains I detect in some of their writings, however.

    First, there is a seeming lack of gratitude for all the blessings that have been bestowed on them. A little reflection on all the unmerited goods that I have received, not the least of which is the gift of life itself, tends to temper the sense of rage I feel when thinking about the problems in the Church and the world. Related to this, I also notice in the pieces I have read, a lack of any acknowledgement of personal responsibility for the unhappy situations in which they may find themselves. Finally, the focus on all the troubles roiling the Church today is the reason proffered for bolting, while the great achievements of the Church throughout the centuries are minimized. This is no time to recount all the marvelous deeds performed by the Church and her members throughout the centuries. They have been amply documented here and many other places. Suffice to say the good that has been done has far outweighed the evil. Overall, I think the three gentlemen would benefit greatly by taking a step back, breathing deeply and keeping matters in perspective.

  30. Fight for the church. Fight for truth, the promises God makes, plus blessings and peace.

    Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

    Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

    2 Peter 1:4 By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

    Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

    2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

    In the love that is Jesus.

  31. For me, it’s taken about three or four years. I’m virtually gone at this point. After seeing the lies and the corruption, I’m just not sure it’s savable. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. The thing I am now sure of is that God doesn’t require me to submit to the Catholic hierarchy to receive his grace. Much of what the church does is simply not of God. I hope it gets cleaned up and saves itself, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Dear Kyle:

      You are battling for righteousness. Sometimes it is lonely and discouraging. Stay in the church and rally others.
      Where change is needed, pray and from time to time, gently rebuke. You are needed and appreciated in your efforts to improve the church and make her more Christlike.

      1 Timothy 6:11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

      Romans 9:1-I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. …

      John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.



  32. Lot’s of categories for reasons for leaving the Church. I think a favorite one is an exchange of the faith for a similar one not based on the truth claims of the Church but on the behavior of individuals in the Church that don’t adhere to the truth claims of the Church. Seems like a waste, but, whatever…

  33. Steve Skojec, a man whose faith, intelligence, and tenacity I admire greatly, writes: “My issue was that I was fighting for the preservation of an illusion.”

    Steve Skojec is correct.

    The institutional Catholic Church is an illusion.

    We were warned of this at Fatima.

    “We saw, as in a mirror, a bishop dressed in white.”

    That which appears in a mirror is an illusion. The bishop dressed in white, Jorge Bergoglio, is an illusion. And he heads a church that is likewise an illusion. What it appears to be it is not.

    This is a truth most commenters, including, Austin Ruse, have yet to fully grasp.

    Benedict XVI understood this to at least some extent when at his Wednesday audience on April 22, 20092 he told us Tyconius is “a great theologian.”

    Tyconius wrote in the 4th century that ““The bishops do, under the guise of a gift of the church, what advances the will of the devil.”

    Do people who condemn Steve Skojec for “falling away” really believe that by obeying Cardinal Cupich’s orders to stop celebrating the TLM priests are somehow obeying Jesus Christ? That is insanity. Cupich is advancing the will of the devil. Obedience to him cannot be of God. Rather, to “fall away” from Cupich and Bergoglio is a sign of integrity and intelligence.

    Tyconius offered a profound solution: “Only in the falling away will God’s true people, the right part of the Lord’s body, be revealed.”

    This great “falling away” that precedes the Second Coming is not, as most imagine it, the action of worldly, faithless people who leave the Church. It is rather that the true Church pulls away from the evil antichurch that lies hidden within her. The “falling away” is the action of the good, who escape into the desert.

    Tyconius, a great theologian, invites us to reconsider what it is that Steve Skojec has “fallen away” from, and what it means today to persevere in Catholic belief. The antichurch of Bergoglio, McCarrick and Cupich cannot be the thing we have to “cling to in order to be saved.” Full stop.

    Steve Skojec deserves more than patronizing comments from people who have not thought things through as deeply and logically as he has.

    Tyconius, a great theologian, invites everyone who has commented here to do some “recalculating.”

  34. I do not – would not – accept that Fatima would be an endorsement of Tyconius/Ticonius. Further Tyconius’ composing of the subject of last times “falling away” is deficient. I would follow the Lord and what He says and assures.

    Yes, bishops can indeed POSITIVELY do bad; and when it happens, what is so bad is that it is coming from the leader. The Church has been dealing with it for centuries.

    “As through a mirror” – Sr. Lucia may have been communicating that attempts to undermine the message of Fatima, itself, are to be expected. And I take heart, in that our Lady at Fatima is not at odds with anything and we have it from her!

  35. Glimpsing through the comments came across the one that talks about The Church being an ‘illusion’ , the prophetic vision interpret etc : ; suprised how the reality that there are Churches , a Church – headed by a Patriarch ‘dressed in white ‘ , from whom many have been falling away .. that those who are seeing illusions might very well be afflicted by similar spirits for whom the Heart of The Father ever waits in compassion .
    Mercy !

  36. When facing questions about the truth of God and the historicity of Jesus as a teenager in earlier days of the internet, I found myself on AOL message boards where “ironclad” atheists presented their opinions as fact. I checked out Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” from the county library and hid it under my bed, and racked up a fine waiting for a chance to return it when I was not with my father.

    By the time I got to university I joined the “rationalists and atheists” club. I remember we held a debate with two faithful Catholics who happened to live in my dorm. The misfit band of atheists openly mocked, laughed at them when they professed that faith in God was true and reasonable based on divine revelation. Their evidence for God was, to us, inadmissible precisely because of its divine origins. The framework of atheism and so-called rational skepticism precludes exactly the kind of proofs needed for belief in God. Assertions made here by some commenters that “God never revealed Himself to me, therefore He doesn’t exist” are sad expressions of this reality that I also lived: when we reject the means by which God can speak to us, namely, in sacred scripture, times of quiet, receptive prayer, and embodied reception of the sacraments handed down to Christ’s holy, universal Church, we cut ourselves off from precisely the avenues of divine communication (communion) that we claim to seek.

    Like Andrew, I was also 21 when I decided the Catholic Church was phony and all religion merely a comfort to weak-minded people. As soon as I made that choice, I set myself on a path that only led farther and father away from God. I promptly entered into a homosexual relationship with a fellow Catholic– we even went to Mass together for a time, but were both grasping for something that we felt we could never truly enjoy because of “the Church’s position on gay people.” Once we made the decision to get married– late fall of 2012 just before DOMA was to be overturned– I remember our last attempt to attend Mass on Christmas Eve. Nervous to enter the house of God but still desiring what we knew of Him from childhood, we made it only to the Creed when I was overcome with what I can only describe as the overwhelming desire to FLEE. We both looked at each other, mouthed “do you want to leave?”, and exited to a still-packed, silent parking lot while those inside knelt for the consecration and received our Lord. Knowing what I know now about the nature of sin and the real, efficacious power of Jesus over evil spirits, I have “ironclad conviction” that the evil spirits attached to us by the foothold our sin had given them could not stand to be in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

    Long story short, this visceral experience of being expelled from the house of God led me to believe that it was the Church, indeed Christianity that was the problem. Certainly not me. Definitely not my own sin, pride, lust, and immaturity. I spent all of my twenties searching for that capital-T Truth (it DOES exist. The notion that there is no one truth, all truths are true therefore no truths are true is in fact, in itself, an assertion of capital-T Truth. Such persons claim to have hold of the ultimate Truth that there is no Truth. Still making a singular Truth claim there.)

    I studied eastern mysticism and meditation in both Buddhist and Hindu contexts, spent several years attempting to genuinely practice poorly reconstructed European and, later, Native American paganism, embarrassingly adopted way too many New Age practices and world views… my last gasp before a fit of despair brought me face-down at the foot of the cross was a fervent attempt at self-discipline and growing in (misguided) virtue through the methods of kundalini yoga. Halfway through my searching I divorced my wife, which brought immense relief, but the spiritual path I had begun because of that first unrepentant sin was much more difficult to leave.

    All of these things periled my soul, and for at least a decade I vociferously denied God and especially my Savior Jesus Christ. It wasn’t until I was faced with utter, soul-crushing emptiness after years of earnestly creating my own “Truth,” cobbling together a spirituality and understanding of the nature of reality that suited my tastes and disposition at various times that I realized I had been chasing lie after lie. Atheism didn’t last long for me because of the indelible imprint of God on His handiwork– even and especially those who claim to have “arrived,” ironclad, at atheism seem always to exhibit this inexplicable urge to continue justifying their conclusion because it never quite feels at rest in their hearts.

    It was the long and winding path through various flavors of Christianity (first stop for gay Christians is usually some form of progressive Protestantism, Unitarian Universalist was my short-lived choice) and into world religions of varying degrees of integrity (I never engaged in out-and-out Satanism as that was so clearly a modern invention; internet-sourced, sanitized old-world witchcraft, however, did ensnare me, as well as the perceived historical legitimacy of the Hindu pantheon) that ultimately brought me back to the faith which I had been gifted by my father and his fathers. The spiritual anguish, fleeting ecstasies, and constant searching that characterized my inner life before my return to the Catholic Church stands in stark contrast to the supernatural peace I now experience as a redeemed child of God, held and nurtured by the sacraments and Christ Himself.

    It wasn’t until I had sinned in the most selfish, miserable, deplorable ways for long enough to see the rotten fruit that they bore, that I truly understood my deep, human need for the depth of God’s mercy. I felt real and healing power come from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I immediately recognized the active force of grace that FLOODED me once I stepped into the Confessional for the first time in 13 years and received absolution for my long and tearful account of mortal sin after mortal sin. For example, a 15-year pot habit that I had tried and failed to quit many times evaporated into thin air. My lifelong struggle with lust became a complete nonissue, my desire now rightly ordered to union with God. It was only because I had become so empty and broken after years of living away from God and, quite unacknowledged by me, alongside Satan, that I finally opened myself to receive the mercy freely offered to those who throw themselves at the foot of the cross. I expected nothing, but hoped for and received everything. My very soul was returned to me.

    If you do not accept the reality of God, consider the ample evidence of the reality of evil. Evil spirits are a commonality among world religions and Jesus Christ is the only one who had (still has) the power to command them, to make them flee. I experienced this first hand ten years ago in that Catholic church on Christmas Eve, but only came to fully understand it when Jesus freed me from the demons that had led my soul astray in so many ways. Despite having “created my own reality” and “manifested my desires,” I was overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts and a persistent unhappiness that left only when I begged Jesus Christ to help me, to comfort me, poor and miserable sinner.

    Come to our Lord full of true contrition, sinful and sorrowful, and He WILL reach out to you. As others have said, leaving the Church is not the end of the story. I pray daily for fallen away Catholics to return home to the incredible GIFT our parents, and, for many, our ancestors going back centuries, have given us. We are truly BLESSED to be Catholic, despite the many failings manifest in the human members of our Church. I have known the despair of severing oneself from God by walking away from the fullness of Truth held in the Holy Catholic Church. Despite all odds and surely the least worthy among us, I am profoundly grateful to have been welcomed back.

    Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.

      • Thank you Gail. God Bless you and let us continue to pray for all God’s faithful children to join us again in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

      • Linda, you have given us a beautiful example of our Lord’s parable: The Prodigal Son.
        Your “pigsty” was of your own making. You could not blame anyone else for it. And you did not. You choose to return to the Father who was waiting for you. His ever-forgiving nature enabled you to experience the joy of reconciliation.
        Thank you for sharing.

        • Thank you for reading, Mal. I want to encourage anyone who has prodigal children/siblings/loved ones to continue praying for those who have drifted, no matter how far. My dad shared a moving prayer experience with me recently, when he prayed (alone) at Mass while visiting me and my partner in sin in San Francisco: “God, I don’t even know what to pray for anymore.” He told me that after receiving the Eucharist, he felt like God put His hand on my dad’s shoulder and said, “Do you really think anything is too hard for me? Be at peace.” A year from that prayer I was out of my attempted marriage and 5 years later I was back in the church. God is truly merciful and wonderful indeed.

    • Linda A G

      Alzheimer’s patients need a cure, I need a duffel bag full of a million dollars in cash to poof into existence in my living room considering my bills as of late, and man needs God. What do all of these facts have in common? Just because you need something, doesn’t mean it is A. owed to you or B. available. One thing I have come to realize recently is that man ABSOLUTELY needs God, or more generally, a friend, ideally with superpowers, available on-call 24/7, who loves you even if nobody else does, reads your mind, answers your questions, etc. Admittedly, who doesn’t need that? But again, see my prior statement. More on the need for God in a moment, but in addition to the need for God, man knows of his imperfections and failings and seeks forgiveness and perhaps above all else, self acceptance.

      The story of your kaleidoscopic forays from one thing to the next and eventually landing right back where you started is one I’ve heard a thousand times over. It’s not a success story, it’s a story of literally going in circles. This is why you must set the belief bar high, and leave it high. No matter what kind of pain or suffering you are going through, you must NEVER lower the bar such that bad ideas evade your skepticism by tricking you into thinking they are good ideas. Every flip-flopping, circle-running, gone-and-back believer has a story identical to the one you told about some powerful ah-hah moment(s) where they were flooded with grace, could “feel His presence”, “just knew” it was true, were overwhelmed by “spiritual” whatever, saw the error in their ways, etc. and therefore this “proves” that it’s real. Nope, that’s not proof and that doesn’t meet the bar for the rest of us who reasonably refuse to lower it. It’s just a story about how in your darkest and most vulnerable hour you sadly lowered the bar for yourself. What you are essentially saying is “my truth” which is a phrase I despise with intensity because it insults the intellect by implying there is some amount of plasticity around what is true or not. Absolutely not! The truth is, obviously, something that is singular, universal, actual, outside and also inside of you, and doesn’t even require your awareness or agreement. This is axiomatic fact not open for debate. You hold the common misunderstanding that atheists think “there is no truth”. I don’t know any atheist who has ever said this, but I see devout Catholics/believers constantly putting these words in our mouths. What moron would say that there is no truth when the statement itself can only be made with an implied truthfulness attached to it? Instead, what I was saying is that a truly confident person never feels the need to capitalize the letter T so as to give it more punch. I hate it when people say “my truth” as though it’s something subjective. Wow… just wow.

      I resent the term “fallen away Catholic” because A. I never even believed it for a second, and B. anyone who leaves is reasonable, so it’s not so much falling away as it is ascending above. I was raised in a Catholic household that went to mass every week but I never even began to think about what the heck was going on with this practice until I was 13 or so. So began my investigation which continues to this day. The more I thought about it, the less sense it made. This in and of itself is perhaps the biggest argument against it of all… if logic and reason and common sense is a barrier for belief, then any god who arranged such a reality could only have been acting out of malice or mischief or the desire to construct a bizarre sort of reality TV show with a certain amount of hazing built it. I’m supposed to be “thankful” to God… is that a joke? Thankful for what? Literally every other thing in the universe is trying to kill you. Guilt is hereditary and therefore we’re all guilty of something we didn’t do and must apologize at birth for it? Utterly preposterous perversion of justice and fairness. I reject the “hyper guilt” mentality of Catholicism – yet another paradox. If we were designed imperfect and with the ability to do evil, this blame ultimately rests with the designer. You’re going to say “bro, free will” (doesn’t exist btw) as though that makes it make sense; no it doesn’t. Same problem. If I design a bridge that might collapse if you put cars onto it, it’s not the bridge’s fault.

      So as I said above, man NEEDS God. This may be a puzzling statement coming from a nonbeliever but it actually isn’t because not only does it explain exactly why “faith” got started, we can also see this timeless need still present to this day, in real time, right here on this discussion board. This fact admittedly makes my endeavor of talking sense into people somewhat futile or circular. As someone pointed out to me recently, I have nothing to offer you in its place. Guilty as charged, because I can’t tell you what your purpose should be (though I believe its up to each of us to find our own) and I don’t know why the universe exists, but I know that “some invisible guy made it and btw he loves you and wants to be your buddy” belongs at the bottom of the list of theories, if even on the list at all. We should all be extremely doubtful of the theory considering the fact that history tells a story of man repeatedly making one false anthropomorphization after the next for some aspect of nature that he does not understand, only to discover later that the sun is just a ball of gas not a god, disease is caused by tiny pseudo-living particles not evil spirits, thunder/lightning is an electrical phenomenon not angry gods, etc. I belive that God is the ultimate false anthropomorphization.

      The reason I am here right now is because I am fascinated but also alarmed by this ancient yet modern mass delusion which inflicts untold suffering upon the world in the most insidious way possible. At first glance, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the (good) angels, saints, many other heroes from the stories, love your neighbor, and all this stuff, can only be described as adorable and morally unassailable. But upon further inspection, it is a noxious cancer which frightens children, preaches hatred of gays while arguing semantics so as to claim to not actually be preaching hatred of gays who btw never even chose to be gay, tells you that suffering is a good thing, tells you that you need to apologize for being born, tells you that you need to always be in fear of Hell, etc. I’m no Dr. Phil, but this is clearly toxic and unhealthy, your need for answers and purpose notwithstanding. And this is just ONE religion. Need I remind you about Aztecs ripping people’s hearts out as human sacrifices to gods? This is all deeply troubling stuff, no matter which religion is under the microscope.

        • The logic is: the more I write, the more I’ll be able to:

          1. Rationalize and justify this line of thinking to myself, even though I am defending the indefensible in the process.
          2. Bait people and pull them into needless debates.
          3. Earn more money. As a troll, I get paid by the word, so I will pull out all the stops.

      • I believe my story of full-circle return to the faith is especially common among raised-Catholics because Catholicism is true. Accepting reality as it is is the highest bar for us to jump in this day and age, when so many distractions and deceptions are available for us; most especially the tunnel-vision of materialism that insists the seen world is all that matters, indeed, is all there is. I did not lower the bar for myself. The only thing I lowered was my pride. I know my study of so many different religions could sound flighty and surface-level when recounted in a few sentences, but all my searching was characterized first and foremost by a sincere desire for and orientation toward truth over a period of a dozen years. Nothing stuck because it did not contain the fullness of truth. Jesus revealed Himself to be True not only to me but to hundreds, thousands, millions, now billions of people across time and space. You are free to reject Him. That does not mean He is any less True.

        I want to emphatically state– as a (formerly) gay person inside the church– the Church does not preach hate against gay people. The Church gives sound teaching that homosexual behavior– like all lustful action–separates one from God in the same way all sin separates us from God. To use a less-politically charged example: We recognize that people can have the inclination toward gluttony, yet we do not cast out all gluttons from the church and condemn them to hell. Neither do we hold up gluttony as a healthy lifestyle to be celebrated and indulged in (This used to be true in culture at large as well; now, not so much. Now it’s called body positivity and self love. Great sounding concepts; not so great for long term health of body, mind, or society). In both cases, from the Catholic perspective, individuals are encouraged to grow in virtue and turn away from sin– not to uphold arbitrary rules imposed by an external authority, but rather to foster a healthy soul and rightly ordered interior life. Namely, toward God. In 2022, plenty of people do freely choose to be gay. The idea that we are all born this way is a handy slogan used to garner false compassion. Just because the dominant cultural mores have become so distorted that we can no longer recognize what is good and healthy not only for society but for individuals doesn’t erase the reality of what is good and healthy. I lived the gay lifestyle to its fullest extent, aping marriage. The promise of happiness and fulfillment if only I gave into my desires and identified proudly with my sin, was a lie.

        You are mistaken that logic and reason preclude belief in God as revealed in the Catholic faith. Drop the hermeneutic of skepticism, which appears to be your god, if you are sincere in seeking truth. If you think the ground which you trod is “above” God, you are walking with Lucifer. I say that not to dismiss you, but simply to call our influences by their name. And for that reason, I’ll end our discourse here. Thanks for reading my account of God working in my life and bringing me back to His Church. I am grateful!

        Saint Dominic, pray for us!

      • Who exactly are you trying to convince here? No one is buying what you are selling. Your long posts read like you have a particularly sharp axe to grind, but that’s ultimately on you. Either that or you are simply trolling.

        To CWR readers: Don’t take the bait!!

  37. You must have a certain amount of detachment! Looking into the abyss of wickedness and evil and the cesspool in the Vatican will damage you. There are demonic forces at work, there are FMs and sodomites in high places (very high). But we cannot attach ourselves to the men but to Christ and Our Lady and frequent the sacraments where they are valid. Pray! This is chastisement. There will one day be a restoration and the Church will once again be One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. At present that is hard to see.

  38. If you want to believe in a supreme being that’s fine, but organized religion is just a con to take advantage of vulnerable people and a pox on humanity.

  39. What a great piece. I knew Joe Sciambra was on his way out of the Church, too. He was so hurt by being unheeded that he couldn’t take it. I understood, a little anyway, because when my family faced its very lowest point, we received no help at all from our parish or the Church. I didn’t expect much, but I did expect more than nothing. But I am not a Catholic for what I “get out of” the Church. I took my cue from the late Dr. Jack Willke, who attended the same parish. No one there seemed to know he was, and there was no pro-life group or activity at all. He and his wife had begun attending years before, after their former parish (just a few main streets over) moved the tabernacle from the altar. He did not come for the pastor, or for the architecture, or for the parish activities, but for Mass. I think there’s a lot to that attitude.

    • “They went forth from us, but they were not of us. If they had been of us, with us they would have stayed.” Since they are not of us, what are they doing here? Why should we listen to their self-justificion and unbelief? How Catholic or Christian is that?

  40. There’s value in becoming more process Catholics (using all of “what’s wrong” to become holier, more virtuous) than “product/outcome focused Catholics (if only we had a less queer leaning Church; no more banjo/dunking booth, scooter riding priests Masses!).

  41. I will keep you in the Lord’s prayers anyway. My Father served I WWII. He suffered extreme PTSD when He came back. God got him through it. Our generation hasn’t seen what they saw. My hope is that devestation isn’t being hinted at in the future both either super natural disasters or from man. I wish you well. I drifted from Him and yet the call was always there. I answered. I trust in Him more so.

  42. From what I gather in private rev. And we aren’t obligated to follow it, they are building a parallel church (I use “parallel church.” A different terminology was used by the Saint who saw this. Satan is behind it of course.).

  43. I entered Catholicism at the height of the clerical srx abuse crisis. Ironically, my wife and I were living, at the timr, on tne property of one of the most gay affirming parishes in the country.

    It was, though, a move of desperation. The parish where we were at was steeped in moral and spiritual chaos: even as its liturgical life was utterly, overwhelmingly beautifu, its membership large and overflowing with young families. Still the place was very sick and unhealthy.

    Upshot, I entered the Catholic Church without giving serious thought to its dogmas and doctrines- or its ancestral memory.

    That was 2002. Much belated, I dedicated these years of Francis to that neglected reflection. In our pandemic year of 2021 discovered that, not being able to assent to a shortlist of dogmas (headed by the decrees of Vatican 1), I can no longer remain with Rome.

    The doctrine of the Development of Doctrine is a pernicious doctrine. (The canonization of Newman in October of 2019 – irony of ironies- is pudding proof.)

    Though must confess, the words and deeds of Francis (including the anticipated rethought on homosexuality) hastened the exit. As did witnessing Francis place a bowl of greens offered to the Pachamama on the High Altar of St Peter’s. That ordained decision of his severed any loyalty I once had towards Rome. At that moment God withdrew his hedge of protection from her. I had once been a Satanist; I understood only too well the intent and consequence of such an act. I waited for Francis’ public repentance and correction. None came.

    Reading St. Maximus the Confessor & St. John Damascus read me out of Rome; just as, years ago. reading The Gulag Archipelago read any lingering Marxism out of my soul.

    My wife remains Catholic, though unlike Lord Marchmain I join her at her prayers.

    • Although I take issue with your comment on the concept of the development of doctrine, your story resonates in any case. The history of the Church, the history of some popes and their behaviors in particular, is enough to turn the stomach and, of course, might cause one to turn away altogether. (Some of the Renaissance popes are particularly egregious.)

      My personal approach of late has been, for better or worse, to “ignore” as much as possible the misdeeds of the clergy of the recent past–and present–and the divisive pronouncements of current papal regime. It is not so much ignoring altogether as just not focusing on these things. For there is really very little I can do about them. It behooves me, rather, to focus more on my own failings and what (little) I can do about them. Grace abounds in and through the sacraments even if the priesthood is rife with moral turpitude and theological incoherence. (See St. Augustine’s position against the purist Donatists.) The winnowing will not come in our lifetimes, but presumably it will come in God’s own time. The rest here and now is corrective perhaps. Important in its own way but not definitive.

      Unlike you, I essentially read my way into the Church, or at least so I thought at the time 40 odd years ago. I cannot imagine reading my way out. I stay not so much from inertia as to stay close to–and in–a Body founded by the Incarnate Word. (Either it was or it wasn’t. And if it was, it makes all the difference in the world.) Again, the sacraments are a sign of that Word made flesh still living among us. To separate from the Body is to risk loss of life, that is, the life that is true (I Tim. 6:19).

      On the assent to doctrine: I would hazard to say that many of us do about the best we can in that arena. That is to say, we are obligated to believe certain dogmas, and in good faith we try to do just that. Perfectly? Likely not. But love will surely cover a host of failings.

      Finally, one more point about popes. They come, they go. Some don’t go soon enough, and some don’t stay long enough. It is the way it is and has been for a very long time.


  44. We are about 30 months into a three-layered genocide: deliberate suppression and denial of early treatment–to build terror); Remdesivir for organ destruction, ventilators for lung destruction (to build more terror); bioweapon shots to finish off tens of millions–or billions.

    Between the following brackets is every word of life-saving warning or condemnation uttered by every pope and bishop in the world (excluding Viganò). Ready? Here come the brackets: [ ] See that giant red heart, also in the brackets? (The pure in heart are able to see it.) That big, red heart represents the value all US bishops place on the lives of the people living in their dioceses.

  45. There are many verifiable miracles, Eucharistic miracles, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fatima etc. for anyone with any openness. The Church is bloody and bruised right now, as Christ was on the way to the Cross – unrecognizable. It is hard to believe that the Church is divine right now, just as it was nearly impossible to believe that Christ is the God-Man as he was being nailed to the Cross with his flesh torn to shreds.

    There will be a Resurrection, eventually.

    The mistake is in viewing things from a purely human perspective. The weeds are choking the wheat right now, as they have been allowed to grow, unchecked, and are towering over the humble wheat. The harvester is on his way…

  46. I think we all must remember the words of Christ not to separate the weeds from the wheat until harvest time. Weeds will be with us till our Lord comes back. I think we should not only focus on Church teachings but also the countless miracles the Lord has enabled us to witness through his holy saints: the Eucharistic miracles, I’ve Lady’s apparitions ( approved by the Church), specifically Our Lady of Guadalupe( To me this is proof of one one the greatest miracles) saints levitating, miraculous healings… We need to quit focusing on the weeds of our time and focus more on the saints who have come before us over the last 2000 years.

  47. But what if you are wrong?
    Yeah its a gamble but why not go fearlessly the God way?
    What if all three of you guys….agnostics, atheists and lost suffragents are wrong?

    • Wilt, that’s a good question and I have a good answer. There is no margin for error to be wrong here, as there is an unacceptable cost either way, so we need to get it right. We need to get ahead of “faith” and instead KNOW what the correct answer is.

      Indeed, this appears to be a high stakes game. This was the conclusion I came to at age 13 and is why I have spend the last 20+ years investigating the validity of religious claims because if the stakes are high, it’s absolutely critical that we pick the correct answer. To do that, we need to adopt a sort of militaristic or tactical approach to this situation.

      The outcome in either “got it wrong” scenario has an unacceptable cost:

      Atheist but got it wrong. What’s the cost? Hell, either potentially or certainly, depending which theologian you ask. An endless and extreme torment beyond description.

      Christian but got it wrong. What’s the cost? Well, the two main things would be #1 your time wasted, which was even more valuable in hindsight now realizing that there is no afterlife, and #2. your dignity. You are a sucker because you got conned.

      So as we can see, it is critical that we pick the correct answer. So which one is it? Wait… IS this really a high stakes game after all? Only if there is a nonzero probability of “Hell”, but consider that a threat needs to be credible. One of the oldest tricks in the book that a scammer uses to con you is to instill a sense of urgency so as to taint your judgement with fear which may cause you to act brashly and ultimately do what the scammer wants, when all you really had to do to win, was nothing.

      My principal argument against faith is simply faith itself. It’s a highly bizarre situation; an invisible merciful superintelligence who loves you has placed some nonsensical and meaningless but nevertheless substantial emphasis on whether you believed in him while you were alive but unable to verify, unable to KNOW, but then once you’re dead (once it’s too late), then you get to KNOW that it was real.

      Hmmmmm…. does this sound like a credible threat?

      In my mind, this alone is sufficiently contradictory and ludicrous to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the threat is not credible. But the paradoxes and contradictions don’t end there, there’s a long list of them (out of scope for this reply). To that end, we can say that the absurdity of the whole is greater than the sum of all its absurd parts. And now, we KNOW what the correct answer is.

      • [no edit option so I want to revise/expand this part a bit]

        My principal argument against faith is simply faith itself. It’s a highly bizarre situation; an invisible merciful superintelligence who loves you has placed some nonsensical and meaningless but nevertheless substantial emphasis on whether you believed in him while you were alive but unable to verify, unable to KNOW, but then once you’re dead (once it’s too late), then you get to KNOW that it was real, and if you hurt this superintelligence’s feelings by not having believed in him during your lifetime, there will be literal Hell to pay, nevermind the fact that he was undetectable the entire time which would make disbelief a completely reasonable position anyway.

        Hmmmmm…. does this sound like a credible threat?

        • Eh – if there’s no afterlife, it’s all basically meaningless and hopeless anyway and I’d still be glad I chose wrongly and hope that I successfully imparted false hope to my kids so they’d be happy during life.

          The point is that God has given us plenty of evidence that He exists. I can’t even fathom having enough faith to think that the universe….just is, and that the universe just happens to be fine-tuned to allow life, etc. And then there are public miracles like Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fatima, Eucharistic miracles, etc. And then, there are the little personal miracles that remove any remaining 0.01% of doubt.

          Try having some openness to God. He really will show you that He exists if you are truly open. It may not happen immediately. He may have to lead you through some stripping of biases first. But it will happen, if you are open and truly seeking.

          • Dave Mueller, I don’t agree that it’s all meaningless and hopeless but it is your option to hold that cynical and pessimistic viewpoint if you choose.

            “I can’t even fathom having enough faith to think that the universe….just is,”

            Then why can you paradoxically fathom that God, a thing of even greater complexity, “just is”? Not only have you failed to remove the big question mark, you replaced it with an even bigger one and then called it a day. You moved the needle, backwards.

            Consider this… wouldn’t it be completely unsurprising if the biggest question of all is one that we don’t have the answer to (yet)? Not only is this exactly what you would expect, but also the prevalence of failed attempts, out of impatience and frustration, to close the gap with bad (false) ideas; bloodletting for whatever ailment, ivermectin for covid, “creationism” to explain life, etc.

            What we are observing from a young species chipping away at the very top of the knowledge iceberg is exactly what you would expect – a tremendous amount of clumsiness and foolish behavior.

        • Well, your arguments are all very intelligent and rational, but one assumption underlying them seems to be that the whole matter can be settled–as you have done for yourself–by logic and reason (and, of course, knowledge or its lack).

          Pretty compelling, I suppose, but not enough for some. It was not enough for Paul, Augustine, or even Pascal and C. S. Lewis.

        • ‘ The essential formula of the faith, the Pope explained, is to be found in the Creed, in the Profession of the Faith, whence develops “the moral life of Christians, which there has its foundation and its justification. ….. It is the Church’s duty to transmit the faith, to communicate the Gospel, so that Christian truths may become a light guiding the new cultural transformations, and Christians may be able to give reasons for the hope that is in them. ‘

        • But Andrew, SOMETHING has to “just be”. Either the universe or God. The universe is actually more COMPLEX than God. God is utterly simple. Not that simple means comprehensible. The complexity of the universe and its contents is staggering. I would never believe that, say, a sprinkler I come across is a product of chance…but yet we do that for organisms that are dozens of orders of magnitude more complex!?!

          While I admit it seems to me that there “should” just be nothing, and that I cannot understand God or how “outside of time” even works, it makes much more sense to me that a universe of staggering complexity was made by an omnipotent (or at least staggeringly intelligent & powerful) being, compared to the notion that the universe just is.

          The good news is that God allows trial purchases. If you seek, you will find. He is more than willing to make known that He exists, but He won’t do it just to satisfy a person’s curiosity. We have to seek with a heart that is open to all that He asks and wills.

          • Outside of time DOESN’T work, it’s interesting that you brought that up. I spent a lot of time pondering that exact issue. For example, here’s a problem: verbs. If you say God DID this, or THOUGHT that, or KILLED this firstborn Egyptian child, all of these sentences contain verbs which describe actions which can only occur within time. So when someone says God is EXTERNAL to time, and then in the same breath say that God DID something, they have just created a paradox. There’s more to it than that because they’re also saying our “soul” is external to time which doesn’t make sense because it’s inseparably linked to events that DO occur within time… such as you being born. So this is another similar paradox.

            I agree that it seems like there should be nothing rather than something, but I disagree with “SOMETHING has to just be” or at least it’s unclear what the basis for that assertion is. Nevertheless, we indeed have lots of stuff with no idea where it all came from.

            Speaking of stuff (material), faith wants to have its cake and eat it too here in the sense that it says “science can’t answer everything” and “science doesn’t disprove religion” and “creation of the universe is not a scientific theory”. Now wait a second, that last one is definitely a scientific theory because you’re talking about the origins of MATTER and ENERGY. So in other words you want to simultaneously own the explanations for the material while excusing yourself of the burden of evidence typically required for claims in this domain because it’s magically “not a scientific theory”. I don’t think that works?

          • Why doesn’t “outside of time” work? It’s the same concept as a movie-maker intervening in the movie. Probably doesn’t make sense internally to the movie characters, but it makes perfect sense. Our soul is linked to our body, which is subject to time, but it is not necessarily intrinsically linked to time.

            Anyway, I’d suggest reading Stephen Meyer’s book, “Return of the God Hypothesis” and/or watching this video:


            “A common sense interpretation of the data suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology.” ~ Fred Hoyle

  48. If Andrew Williams was really certain about what he believes, he wouldn’t even be reading Catholic World Report. He certainly wouldn’t be wasting time commenting here. Surely he can see what a fool’s errand it is to try convincing us of his point of view. Maybe he could ask himself why some notable scientific minds were believers. EG Louis Pasteur famously prayed the Rosary daily while riding the train on his way to work.

    • And while on the train, and when challenged by another passenger, Pasteur responded: “The more I know, the more nearly is my faith that of the Breton peasant. Could I but know all I would have the faith of a Breton peasant’s wife.”

      Then there’s the Jesuit Fr. Georges Le Maitre, who corrected a mathematical error on his own way to discovering the Big Bang and the expanding universe–which is why it is now called the Hubble-LeMaitre Law (a recognition conferred in 2018 by the International Astronomical Union, IAU).

      On the fit between science and faith, Pope Benedict gives this insight:

      “Christianity’s claim to be true cannot correspond to the standard of certainty posed by modern science, because the form of verification here is of a quite different kind from the realm of testing by experiment—pledging one’s life for this—is of a quite different kind. The saints, who have undergone the experiment, can stand as guarantors of its truth, but the possibility of disregarding this strong evidence remains” (Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, 2003).

      Too bad the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is a once-only event at the center of all human history and, therefore, in its singularity is not accessible to the scientific method of laboratory replication…except in the lives of the saints and through the living relic which is the Catholic Church itself, indwelled as it is by the Holy Spirit conferred at Pentecost.

  49. My spiritual director made clear to me many years ago where the “real fight” is in the church. While sitting in the pews with him alone, he said “pay no heed to what those who sit in the pews next to you do or don’t do with respect to the faith”. Then, he looked up at the crucifix and pointed to the one on the cross saying “He is the measure of what it means to be a Christian and He alone”. Then, looking at me he said, “How do you measure up”? I have never forgotten that basic message. Too many of those that attend church find it easy to cast aspersions, lay blame, compare. We take our eyes off the real and true Christian. We seek perfection in others and not ourselves. In the end, above every other concern, we must be faithful to Him. We must Love, Serve and Adore Him in the best, most edifying manner possible. We must be spiritual ‘day laborers”. Deo gratias!

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