Yesterday I came across this tweet from Sam Rocha.
Sam is getting at a crucial insight: The people who have left Catholicism likely understand something about the Church that many who haven’t left don’t understand.
I believe that many people leave Catholicism because people in the Church have failed to share and model the love of Christ. Conveniently, that’s also what the Catechism teaches:
“Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion" (CCC 2125).
Many people leave because they have been harmed or neglected. They personally understand how harmful and scandalous it is when people representing the Church misuse their power.
Many people in the Church don’t understand that, and our misunderstanding is on full display when we say things like, “Don’t leave the Church because of Judas.” We don’t understand the real harm that those Judases actually cause.
It’s easier to complain about how “the culture” is causing people to leave the Church than actually ask people why they left. It’s also easy to blame those who have left and think that they are just lazy, selfish, or sought the pleasures of the world.
That’s all really easy to say because it takes the responsibility off of me and it makes me feel good about myself for staying, for not being that lazy or selfish.
We need to stop taking the easy way out and instead ask the Holy Spirit for the grace of self-reflection.
The book “From Christendom to Apostolic Mission” explains the depth and breadth of this global issue. It’s time we realize the need for change inside and outside the church. We need an Apostolic approach to reach people where they are today.