April 19, 2005

Why I left the Catholic Church

Christian Science Monitor

By Tom Regan
It didn't happen all at once.

It wasn't a sudden flash of anger, a hot moment when I decided that it was time for me to move away from my Roman Catholic roots. It happened over a much longer period of time, starting when I was in my early 20s, and climaxing in my mid-30s.

In my youth, I had been about as Catholic as you could be. I had been both an altar boy for several years and a lay reader at mass, sung in numerous church choirs, attended religious summer camps and 'separate schools' (as we called the Catholic -run schools them in those days), and taught the Catholic equivalent of Sunday school. For a short period, I had thought seriously about becoming a priest.

And then, one day a few years ago, attending a mass in Cambridge with my mother who was visiting from Nova Scotia, I knew I wasn't a Catholic any more. Sitting in that church pew, listening to the priest recite the liturgy, I felt ... nothing. I was a stranger in a setting where I had always felt at home. For me, that empty feeling was the final push out the door.

Finally deciding to leave the Catholic Church wasn't easy. It wasn't like walking away from a club that you didn't want to belong to any more. It was like tearing off a layer of skin - painful, confusing, scary.

There were numerous issues that led to this decision, but for the sake of brevity, I will only mention two: the church's attitudes towards women, and the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the church in Canada and the US over the last 17 years.

Posted by kshaw at April 19, 2005 08:39 PM