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30 million American ex-Catholics can’t be wrong, can they?




In a recent Pentecost sermon carried in the National Catholic Reporter and re-published on this blog, Bishop Tom Gumbleton wrote:

As we gather together as the church, as God’s people, to celebrate this Eucharist, there is a heaviness in our church today that is felt by many, many people. You could know this by the fact that, as I have mentioned before, 10% of the people in the United States are people who have left the Catholic church — 30 million people. The second largest Christian denomination in our country now are those who used to be Catholic in a practicing way.

With the national debt at $13 trillion and the annual US budget deficit projected to be $1.26 trillion (these are ballpark figures), 30 million doesn’t seem like a big number. Yet compared to the number of Catholics in the US, the percentage is striking. The handy online Wikipedia says, “There are 68,115,001 Catholics in the United States (22% of the US population) according to the Official Catholic Directory 2009.

The cost to the Institution of 30 million Americans leaving

I’m no sociologist or theologian. Nor am I a financial analyst. But a few back of the envelope financial calculations might be instructive. Suppose the 30 million who have left have an average yearly salary of $40,000. Suppose further that each gave 2% of their salary to the church. That’s 30 million times 40,000 times .02. The product of these numbers is 24,000,000,000—that’s 24 Billion dollars of lost revenue per year. That’s $24 Billion, billion with a capital B! Use your own assumptions and calculations and let me know what you come up with.

No matter what assumptions you make, that’s a heck of a lot of money. And that’s just in the United States. What would the numbers be if you added in those in Western Europe who have left the church?

Why is it that so many Americans who started life as Catholics now call themselves ex-Catholics?

I recall a retreat master once saying that whenever Catholics get together and talked about their faith—unlike born-again Christians who often discuss what the Lord is doing in their lives—Catholics talk about church authority and sex. I’m no sociologist of religion, just a software engineer/consultant turned blogger in his retirement, but I do have some opinions about why so many Catholics have left “the flock.” It’s about authority and sex, yes, but it’s much more than that. It’s also about the clergy sex abuse scandal—heinous crimes by sociopath priests against innocent children and cover up of the crimes by bishops and popes. It’s about the church’s teaching and practice about women. It’s about the legal ownership and iron-fisted control of church assets by the clergy. And last, but not least in this writer’s judgment, it’s about dogma.

Authority

Authority of the bishops and its hierarchical organization, the church steadfastly insists, comes directly from Jesus Christ and the mind of God. No American-style democracy here. Papal infallibility is a core Catholic teaching and a stumbling block for many—Protestants, ex-Catholics, and Catholics, too.

Sex

Discussions about sex, and sex-related issues, seem to go on and on forever among Catholics. Everyone knows the topics and has an opinion, often a strong opinion, on them: abortion, pre-marital sex, artificial birth control, homosexuality, priestly celibacy, and on and on.

Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

The basics of the scandal have been reported by both secular and religious media: heinous, violent crimes by sociopath priests against innocent children and cover up of the crimes by bishops and popes. A major if not the most important part of the abuse story that has been grossly underreported by the media is the Institutional church’s response to victims. The Institution treats them like the enemy, who “just can’t get over it,” portraying them as loathsome money grubbers who hire greedy lawyers who sue the church to enhance their obscene bank accounts. Whatever happened to the Good Samaritan and basic notions of justice? Another underreported part of the abuse story is the great amount of monies paid by bishops to lawyers, public relations firms, and lobbyists to defeat campaigns in the states that would reform outdated and unjust statutes of limitations on sexually violent crimes against children and would allow victims to find justice and redress through the civil justice system. Finally, what of the pew Catholics who continue to contribute donations to their sinful church and passively await the salvation promised—guaranteed?—to them by their bishops and popes? I maintain that many of the 30 million have left because of the Institution’s response, or non-response, to the scandal.

The Church’s Teaching About Women

The Institutional church would have us forget the gospel story that women were the first to discover the empty tomb, would have us dismiss scholars’ contentions that women deacons and priests were partners with men in building the early church, would have us turn aside the equality gained, progress made, and the power achieved by women in the modern world. No uppity women shall share the power and perks of the Roman priesthood proclaims the Roman pontiff and his brother bishops. How many of the 30 million have left because of the Institution’s teaching about and policies toward women?

Ownership of Church Assets

Church assets—property, stocks, bonds, cash—are legally owned by the pope and the bishops. When lay folks cry foul and say that it’s our money in the first place, they face implacable pastors and the legal firepower of the legal owners in the person of their highly paid lawyers. How many of the 30 million have left because of their sense of powerlessness over ownership of church assets and the other accoutrements of Institutional power?

Dogma

Some church reform groups press for change to the Institution’s governance structure yet are loathe to, or are fearful of, challenging the “Faith of our Fathers” given in creeds and councils. Yet many members of these groups have great difficulty with the “essential beliefs” of the Nicene Creed and are challenging, in many cases silently, the “Faith of our Fathers.”

Michael Morwood, author, adult Christian educator, and Associate Director of Adult Spiritual Renewal & Empowerment, Inc., of South Bend, Indiana. asks in a recent Voice from the Desert blog post, How much longer are “reform” groups in the Catholic Church going to hide from the fact that the issue of doctrine must be addressed [the emphasis is Morwood’s] for any reform of structures or governance to occur?

Morwood argues that

Catholic doctrine on revelation and salvation is top-down from start to finish: A God in the heavens reacts, has a “plan,” intervenes, grants unique access to “himself” to chosen groups, has definite opinions on a host of human issues, sets up “His” Church and guides it into all truth by selecting popes and bishops who know with utter certainty that God wants them to protect the institution “He” has established.

Until the doctrinal mind-set on revelation and salvation is publicly questioned and replaced with the awareness of the divine working within and through the patterns at work in the universe, from the ground up, as it were, then no significant change is going to take place in Church governance and structure.

Isn’t it obvious that Vatican II got blocked by the Vatican’s refusal to allow public questioning of the theology that gave men in the Vatican supreme power and authority?

The fact is, the Vatican uses doctrine based on “God’s plan of salvation” to establish its authority, its power, and the Church’s identity. The Church’s present system of governance is locked into the mentality of this doctrine. We should not be surprised that any Catholic theologian publicly stepping beyond the boundaries of this theological mind-set is silenced.

How many of the 30 million would agree with Morwood? A significant number would be my guess.




    22 Responses to “30 million American ex-Catholics can’t be wrong, can they?”

  1. Michael McGreevy Says:

    30 million Americans can be wrong. Very wrong.

  2. Michael McGreevy Says:

    As John Allen responded to the assertion: “The Catholic Church is Shrinking”” in this 2008 piece for Foreign Policy Magazine:

    “In fact, the church is in the midst of the greatest period of growth in its 2,000-year history. The world’s Catholic population grew from 266 million in 1900 to 1.1 billion in 2000, an increase of 314 percent. By comparison, the world population last century grew by 263 percent. The church didn’t just hitch a ride on the baby boom; it successfully attracted new converts.

    Yes, Catholicism is getting smaller in Europe, and it would be losing ground in the United States, too, were it not for immigration, especially among Hispanics. A recent Pew Forum study found that fully 10 percent of Americans are ex-Catholics. These declines, however, have been more than offset by growth in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, the number of Catholics grew a staggering 6,700 percent in the past century, from 1.9 million to 130 million. The Democratic Republic of the Congo today has the same number of Catholics as Austria and Germany put together. India has more Catholics than Canada and Ireland combined.

    What’s happening is not that Catholicism is shrinking, but rather, its demographic center of gravity is shifting. What was once a largely homogenous religion, concentrated in Europe and North America, is now a truly universal faith. In 1900, just 25 percent of Catholics lived in the developing world; today that figure is 66 percent and climbing. In a few decades, the new centers of theological thought will no longer be Paris and Milan, but Nairobi and Manila.”

    The late 20th and early 21st century – the time after the Second Vatican Council – has turned out to be a time of tremendous growth for the faith as well as a time of decline in the west.

    We need to remember that as we seek to discern what God is doing in our generation.

  3. Elizabeth Sarfaty Says:

    Frank, I appreciate your skill and abilty to create the well formed and thoughtful outline contained in
    your concisely shaped article that allows anyone who takes the time to read and digest it an easy
    approach to understanding the answer to your great question! Bravo, my friend! Who taught you such fine writing skills – or are you just one those “born poets”? Thanks for sharing this. Cheers!
    Love/peace, Elizabeth/Malone, NY

  4. Mary Says:

    Thank you, Bishop Gumbleton, for summarizing the reasons 30 million of us have left. My reasons include all those you list. It’s against my conscience to contribute money or my presence to an institution, even Sunday Mass, which would imply agreement with it’s policies. Many of us have known for a long time that those governing the church are deliberately perpetuating a self-serving system — serving the institution instead of the people. Walking away from it was the only way to register my absolute disagreement when it was clear that the bishops were not going to listen to the laity, informed, intelligent, educated, capable people who also loved their church.

  5. Elizabeth Sarfaty Says:

    Ooops, forgot the word “as” on the second line, third to last word… “digest it as an easy approach…”
    Hard to catch an error to change it once the ‘submit’ button is clicked!! Ahh, more careful reading FIRST, you say!! OK!! EHS

  6. Mary Says:

    I’m sorry, Frank, for attributing this post to the bishop instead of you! It’s a great summary! Congratulations! You continue to inform many of us still interested in the Church about the important issues for reform — a much appreicated service!

  7. Lorraine Ferrick Says:

    This is a great and honest report…some still don’t get it….No way, will the Catholic church
    be reformed, trying to do so is a lost cause. The dogma is too ingrained from womb to tomb. As the article says: It is all about the “church” and not about the Lord. It cheapens Christ’s death on the cross and all Christ did for all of us – not any particular denomination. No
    denomination has the only “key” to heaven and one’s relationship should be with The Lord
    not controlled by an organization. The X-Catholics are full of guilt when they leave the
    church as they are taught it is the only way. We need to show love and concern and
    try to understand and help these people to really trust in God and His Son alone. We need
    to help the victims of sexual abuse…many destroyed for life. We do not judge…that is
    God’s place to do so but be ready to help those in need.

  8. Thomas Doyle Says:

    Tom Gumbleton is definitely to be believed. He is most probably the only validly consecrated bishop in the U.S……Why? Because he is committed to the compassionate and honest Jesus…and not the monarchy and the pope.

    Frank did a great job picking up on Tom G.

  9. Kathy Says:

    Frank, this is a fabulous piece. It’s so well written. And so true. On a personal note, my husband received an official notice and a copy of his baptismal certificate from the Diocese for the Military. He has officially “defected from the faith”. I’m still waiting to hear from the archdiocese of Philadelphia. We figure they shouldn’t be able to count us in their numbers once we defect. Mr McGreevy may think we’re wrong. My conscience knows we’re right.

  10. Joey Piscitelli Says:

    No matter how you “spin” the true results, what is happening is that Catholics in the US have been disgusted with the clergy abuse crisis for a decade now. Spinning the result to say that the demographics have changed, which is dancing around the facts, does not change anything, Nearly half of Catholics in the US, 30 million out of 65 million – have departed from the faith.
    That figure is mind boggling.
    By the way, most Hispanics are Catholic Michael, so your theory is flawed. Even though there are millions more Hispanics here now, that would increase the Catholic population, not decrease it.
    I anticipate as the child abuse crisis becomed more open in Europe and other continents, as it is now happenning, Catholics will defect more globally also.

  11. Michael McGreevy Says:

    http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=15830

    USA: Latino migrants boost Catholic population
    Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 9:05 pm
    Email Print

    USA: Latino migrants boost Catholic population | Latino population in United States, Trinity College, Hartford, Connectecut

    Trinity College Chapel, Hartford, Conn
    The growth in the Latino population in the United States from 1990 to 2008 has helped the Catholic Church maintain its position as the nation’s largest religious tradition, a new study by researchers at Trinity College, Hartford, Connectecut shows.

    Over the 18-year period, the influx of nine million Latino Catholics accounted for most of the 11 million additions to the US Catholic population and, as a result, Latinos comprised 32 percent of all US Catholics in 2008 compared to 20 percent in 1990.

    Even so, the Catholic Church still lost ground, albeit proportionally, among the 31 million US Latino adults as their identification with Catholicism decreased from 66 percent in 1990 to 60 percent in 2008.

    Similar to the general American public, Latinos have become less identified with Christianity – down from 91 percent in 1990 to 82 percent in 2008. But other religions and faiths have failed to attract Latinos.

    Mirroring the overall national trend, there has been a significant jump in the number and percentage of Nones, the no-religion population. Nones increased fourfold among Latinos from 900,000 or 6 percent in 1990 to nearly 4 million or 12 percent in 2008, making it the fastest growing segment. Religious traditions that tripled their number of adherents in the past 18 years were Protestant Sects, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventists, and the non-denominational Christian Generic tradition. During that same time, the number of Pentecostal adherents doubled but merely kept pace with Latino population growth.

    These findings and more are revealed in a new report, US Latino Religious Identification 1990-2008: Growth, Diversity & Transformation, which also sheds light on significant religious trends among Latinos by age, geography, education, gender, marital status, language and political affiliation. The study, which is an outgrowth of the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) 2008, was conducted by Juhem Navarro-Rivera, a research fellow at Trinity’s Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC), and Trinity Professors Barry A Kosmin and Ariela Keysar.

    Navarro-Rivera observed: “Over the past 18 years, there are probably few phenomena that have changed America and American religion more than the growth of the Latino population. The adult Latino population doubled from 14.6 million to 30.8 million to become the largest US minority. This immense growth of more than 16 million people has inevitably had a major impact on the religious profile and trends at both the national and state levels.”

    ARIS 2008 is the third in a series of landmark studies analyzing the religious beliefs and patterns of Americans in the 48 contiguous states. The earlier studies were conducted in 1990 and 2001.

    Other highlights of the study:

    * The longer a Latino has lived in the United States, the less likely that he or she will be Catholic. Moreover, those most proficient in English are less likely to identify themselves as Catholic and more likely to self-identify as a None or affiliate with conservative Christian traditions.

    * Latino religious identification shows a gender effect, as in the general US population. Two traditions at opposite poles of the religious spectrum exhibit the largest gender imbalance: the None population is heavily male (61 percent) while the Pentecostal is heavily female (58 percent).

    * Marital status reveals distinct patterns. The percentage of unmarried persons cohabitating with a partner and therefore outside of civil or religious marriage varies from 15 percent among the Nones to 11 percent among Catholics to 7 percent among non-Catholic Christians. In addition, Latinos who claim to be separated are overwhelmingly Catholic women, suggesting that Latinas are more loyal to Catholic Church prohibitions against divorce and remarriage than Latino men.

    * There are over 1.1 million married male Latino Nones but fewer than 400,000 married female Nones, suggesting that many couples and many Latino homes are not religiously homogeneous.

    * Considerable age differences exist between adherents of the various religious traditions, with the larger proportions of Nones and Protestant Sects under age 30.
    These are the fastest growing traditions among Latinos.

    * Class differences are also in evidence. The most educated major group is the Nones (25 percent possessing a college degree), while the least educated is the Protestant sects (8 percent who are college educated). Mainline Protestant Latinos have the highest household incomes and sectarian Protestants the lowest. Meanwhile, the non-denominational Christian Generic tradition is the most suburbanized.

    * Latino political party preference and voter registration varies by religious tradition. The study reveals that Latino Catholics and Nones are most likely to prefer the Democratic Party, while Republican Party preferences are more common among the non-Catholic Christian traditions.

    Keysar suggests: “distinct Latino religious communities and profiles are emerging in different parts of the country which reflect differences in socio-demographics and country of origin.”

    * The most striking geographical change is the shift of the Christian Generic tradition towards the South, almost tripling its Latino population in the region. In Texas, Latinos grew from 8 percent in 1990 to 20 percent in 2008 of those in the Christian Generic tradition. The percentage of Latinos among Catholics in Texas dropped from 73 percent to 66 percent over the 18-year period, while Latino Nones rose from 15 percent to 28 percent of all Texans without a religious identification.

    * Latinos went from being 51 percent of all Catholics in California in 1990 to 56 percent in 2008, while Latino Nones in that state climbed from 10 percent to 24 percent of all Californian Nones.

    * The proportion (though not the number) of Nones has dropped among Latinos in New York. However, Protestant Sects tradition, such as Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, gained ground in New York and in Florida to become one-tenth of the Latino population in these states.

    Kosmin stated that “whereas Latino immigrants are contributing significantly to the stability of American Catholicism, the younger generation and the US-born population are tending to polarize between those moving away from religion and those moving towards conservative Christian traditions.”

    In sum, the report shows that Latinos are undergoing a transformation by becoming more religiously diverse even as they are transforming the American religious landscape.

    To download a copy of US Latino Religious Identification 1990-2008: Growth, Diversity & Transformation, see: http://www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org/latinos2008.pdf.

  12. tomassotucson Says:

    I wonder how many Catholics, in my age bracket, have left the church. I’m over 80. I kind of think that many in that age bracket are in the fewest number of Catholics leaving the Catholic church. My reason is based on the number of gray hair and bald church goers that I’ve seen in church. My age group, for some reason, can’t hear too well or see to well and I guess you have to throw in, can’t think too well. It’s difficult for that age group to fully comprehend that their bishops and their priests have been doing all the nasty things that are being printed about them, no less a pope. The Church is a sea of old people. Another reason I believe that older people are not leaving the church in large numbers is because all they read is the Sunday bulletins and the Monthly Diocesan News Paper. The Tucson bishop Kicanas, the most photographed bishop in the world, would rather cut off his right arm before he would allow anything printed in the monthly Catholic paper that reflects badly on anything Catholic. I know this for a fact. He told me that reflecting on bad news slows the healing process. So, he keeps 350,000 Diocesan Catholics in the dark. This is the guy that has a fund drive for $18 million and raises 40 million. this is the guy that still allows the name of one of the 10 worst bishops in American ( the late bishop Manuel Moreno) to remain on the public address of the Tucson Pastoral Center and Tucson diocesan letterhead. Since he will be the next President of the USCCB’s organization, he will be he most powerful bishop in America, if not the world. A bishop soooo powerful, he doesn’t have to answer his mail.

  13. Deanna Leonti Says:

    Yes, I agree…. 30m x-catholics can’t be wrong.
    :)

  14. Deanna Leonti Says:

    How many can actually call themselves “Catholic?”.
    A “true” Catholic, practicing the whole rules, regulations of Dogmas & Doctrines aka (Roman Catholic Faith) and Papal infallibilty thing for when P16 sits on the chair of Petre?.
    How manyyyyyyyyyyyyyy??????????
    because Catholics should know that if they don’t hold all of these rules & regulations of the RC “faith”,
    they by their “own” law (canons) be “ANATHEMA” aka “EXCOMMUNICATED!”.
    Again I ask;
    HOW MANY ROMAN CATHOLIC really practice their RC faith????????????????????
    And can they actually answer
    YYY?

  15. ClevelandGirl Says:

    Those 30 million “recovering” catholics are not wrong.

    Oh, and guess what? Just because the Latino population is up here doesn’t mean the catholic population is up too. Latinos are no longer lock-step catholics. Evangelicals (not much better than RCC Inc., IMO) have been “stealing” them away from catholicism for at least a generation now – in their *home* countries, not just here. We have a huge Latino population here, and there are at least as many Latino-oriented storefront christian churches as there are catholic churches that offer masses in espanol, probably more. Give Latinos another generation, and they’ll be just as disaffected as Anglos from RCC Inc.

    Kathy, congratulations on your defection. I defected two years ago, not even knowing what it was called – I just requested that my baptism be rescinded. I made my request to the diocese where I was baptized, gave parish and approximate date. They forwarded the request to the archivist, who then forwarded it to the parish. A week later, I got a sealed copy of the parish register (they had even screwed up our wedding info in 1980, recording it as if I had married outside of catholicism when I had married a Ukrainian Byzantine *catholic*, spelled his name wrong, got the date wrong, etc., so who wants to be connected to an organization that can’t even get simple details right?). No fuss, no hassle. This was the Cleveland diocese. I have considered myself an ex-catholic since 1981, so I wanted to do this to be a -1 and stop being counted (like Kathy).

    Anyone who wants to defect can go to countmeout.ie. They’ve got great info there. You can only use their form if you’re an Irish citizen, but they have a pdf form you can download for everywhere else. I didn’t have to go as far as a signed and witnessed form, but it’s there for dioceses that are a little more stubborn about counting you as a -1. It’s a very liberating experience! I learned a few months later that I was papally excommunicated before I turned six years old, so it didn’t reallly matter to RCC Inc anyway.

    Just for fun, check countmeout.ie from time to time to see the numbers of Irish defectors go up. It’s been going up by about 500-1000 people per month and continues to do so. Those are just the Irish defectors. There are thousands of German and Austrian defectors in the last five months – they are counted via tax rolls as people who have newly requested that part of their taxes stop going to RCC Inc. This is scaring the crap out of RCC Inc, especially in Austria, because their share of government tax money is dropping precipitously.

    Few Europeans and Americans, fewer Latinos by the day – I guess that just leaves Africans to carry on the “faith”.

  16. Mary Says:

    Thanks for the ino about countmeout. I was thinking about defecting, too, but I must confess that my affections for the wonderful life my Catholic parish and school provided for me while growing up has held me back. It would be to deny all the dedicated, loving, fun-loving teachers, family, and towns people who supported me as a youngster and teenager. That would be like turning my back on my family. I’ll preserve my Catholic memory till I die and remain a ex-Catholic of that kind, even though I’ve quit attending or supporting with my money or presence. The Church was my mother, faithful to me, personally, so I have great affection for her. It saddens me so much to see how the hierarchy has destroyed that church by permitting pedophiles in its ranks and lying about it and revictimizing survivors, by not allowing women their proper place, by claiming all the properties, and in general, by refusing to adapt to the times.

  17. Deanna Leonti Says:

    I defected also, and am very happy.
    Well it’s good to know at least one person had a happy RC childhood, maybe that’s why you feel so guilty about leaving?. No one is pressuring you to defect that choice is yours, you still gave your free will your God gave you whether stay or not. As far as leaving the RC family?, if there is any compassion on their part, they will understand. I had a friend who I kind of brought back to her church of when she was younger, and then after I left she didn’t want to have any thing to do with me for over a year.
    She recently contacted me, as the scandal became more apparent in today & eveyday life, and we had it out, and are still friends. She told me how she feels, and I told her how I feel, and we both will leave it at that. We are still friends, and I am still friends with many from my childhood/school days.
    Many of my friends agree with how I feel, and why I defected.
    If and when the day ever comes for them, I will be there for them!.
    :)

  18. Carlo Ami Says:

    Thanks for putting your blog together, Michael. As one who was raised to repeat every day except Saturday, Oh, Lord, I am not worthy…” I was not out of high school before rejecting that kind of dogma.
    More and more people are seeing the reality of not only the sexual abuse by Catholic clergy but amoral nature of the hierarchy and the results for the flock: the exact opposite of what any worthy religion might offer—division of the people and their disempowerment.

  19. Karen Jo Hudson Says:

    Thank you for your site. I live in Tucson, and the desert is truly a place to reflect. I am an ex-catholic. I believe in Christ, and and His blood alone for my salvation. I wrote a book on the subject. It is called, “Dear Catholic, Are You Saved? God has blessed the work of my hands. It is selling everywhere! Praise His Holy Name. The time to evangelize is getting short. Again thank you in Jesus’s Name.

  20. Cathy Kelley Says:

    The bible has shown me that the Papacy is the Beast of Revelation.I have been studying this for years.
    The Reformers all thought that the Papacy was the Antichrist. She is the Woman(Church) riding the Beast(Papacy!)
    3 Scriptures to see which identifies the Man of Sin:
    Daniel 7:25
    2 Thesalonians 2:1-10. See 3 and 4
    Revelation 17
    There is so much more, I will refer you to :
    YouTube
    Bible Prophecies Unsealed. 114 minutes

  21. Cathy Kelley Says:

    Watch this YouTube:
    A Flame In The Lamp: The Untold Story of The Bible
    This video will make anyone holding on to Catholicism to break away!

    It is long….but worth it!

  22. Simon Olvera Says:

    I left the Catholic church a long time ago. It wasn’t because of the priest abuse scandal (it hadn’t been publicized yet) it was because of their dogma.
    As a child I would wake up early at 5 or 6 a.m. for confession and communion. I was what is called a devout Catholic instead of what I consider myself now, a devout Christian. As a child I wanted so bad to be a priest but at that age how many of us read the Bible. I would root for anything newsworthy favoring Catholicism and even Notre Dame football which I loathe now because of who they represent.
    I started attending a Baptist church in my 30s and I would take my two boys. Surprisingly it was my ex-wife who convinced me to go. I loved it. It was so different in that instead of having those rites and traditions that don’t save anyone I was now hearing the Word of God. Unfortunately, she gave up on that church and so did I. But, the Word had been shown to me . Slowly I came to loathe all the non-Biblical teachings of the Catholic church and telling my brothers and sisters about the real Christ, the Savior from the Bible but as I was before they still will not have none of it. They, like me did not know the Bible but by-golly no one is going to tell them anything negative about their church. I still have hope but God has to open their hearts.
    It took two deaths to finally find a Bible teaching church that I and my new wife of 23 years have been attending since 2004. It’s amazing how God works in that the first death was of a fellow firefighter that had attended my new church before he passed on and had his service there. The second death was of my uncle and at his wake my sister-in-law told my wife about the church they attended and it was the same one.
    Well, we started attending this church and three months later my wife told me that she had breast cancer. It was as if God knew that we would need His Spiritual strength at this very important time in our lives. Praise God her cancer is in remission.
    Now, I’m an apologist for Christianity and tell everyone (who will listen) about the Evangelical Christ, the One the Bible talks about and not the one the Catholic church demeans by giving so much of Gods attributes to the virgin Mary.


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