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Taylor wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am 28 years old and I recently converted to Catholicism. I have many Catholic friends and family members, but last year, I finally decided that I wanted to go to RCIA to convert.

Well, I finished this spring and I liked the feeling for awhile, but after about two and a half weeks, I decided that I didn't want to be Catholic anymore. I think there is some kind of process for removing your name from the Church, but I am not sure how to do it. Basically, I was only a Catholic for about two weeks and after that, I stopped considering myself Catholic.

I want to defect now, but I am not sure how to tell my family about this. I mean, I could just lie and not tell them, or call a family member to inform them. I have two questions:

  1. How do I defect from the Church? and
  2. What do Catholics think of a situation like this?

I pretty much didn't even give the Church a chance; two weeks was not long at all.

Thank you!

Taylor

  { After being a Catholic for two weeks I want to defect. Can you tell me how? }

Paul replied:

Dear Taylor,

Thanks for the questions.

  • Could you tell us what changed your mind so quickly?
  • Was it several things?

Be sure to hit "Reply All" when you reply.

Paul

Taylor replied:

Hi Paul,

It was mostly because I realized that I didn't believe or agree with anything that the Church teaches.

I convinced myself that I did this to make my family and friends happy and I didn't stop myself before converting, which was dumb on my part. It was also because I would never be able to admit to my non-Catholic friends that I was Catholic; it would be too embarrassing.

Taylor

Mike replied:

Hi, Taylor -

Thanks for the question.

The postings at the end of my answer should directly answer your question.

One of the reasons the Church has a period of preparation, some would argue a long period, before being baptized, is to avoid situations like you have described.

One should not join the Catholic faith to make:

  • me happy
  • Eric happy
  • Paul happy
  • Mary Ann happy
  • your friends happy, or
  • members of your family happy

Someone can be persuaded by some of the viewpoints and arguments we have put forward for becoming Catholic, but any decision to join the Church can only be made by the individual to be baptized themselves.

Like I have said in previous answers: the team at AskACatholic doesn't convert people; we only give good reasons to become Catholic, and let the faith seeker decide whether our reasons make sense or not.

The same is true in your situation. You shouldn't join any Church to make any friends or members of your family happy. You should join a Church because you believe is it a truth telling Church, when it come to its official doctrines, based on Jesus Christ, the savior of the world.

Feelings have nothing to do with it.

You said:
"I realized that I didn't believe or agree with anything that the Church teaches."

If you believed this before you were baptized, it appears you lied under oath.
Does this portion of your Baptism vows refresh your memory:

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

Reply: [I do.]

Nevertheless, the past is the past.

I'll share with you my advice and you can decide whether or not to take it.

Based on your original question and reply to Paul, I would first go to Confession and share with the priest that you joined the Church under false pretenses or for the wrong reasons. Share with him those reasons, as he may have some good counsel.

Develop a prayer life. This can include:

  • Praying the Rosary on a daily basis
  • Making visits to the Church, if it is open, or a nearby Adoration Chapel, and
  • Reading the Scriptures

During these periods of prayer, argue with the Lord over the teachings you have problems with and ask Him to show you how His teachings make sense and are true. Ponder on the difficult teachings you struggle with and ask him for a proper understanding of these teachings.

The one thing Taylor that makes the Catholic Church stand out from other Christian denominations, is that our Church was the only Church Jesus founded on St. Peter and His successors. It is the Ark of salvation. Strive to develop an appreciation for what She teaches and why She teaches it.

In this sex-saturated culture, I can understand why you would say:
"I don't believe or agree with anything that the Church teaches."

I would assess what our American pop cultures is saying today, then assess what the Church is saying and ask yourself:

  • Which view is interested in my eternal well-being and salvation, beyond this life:
    • the varying views and opinions of American pop culture, or
    • the Catholic Church?

On the issue of dealing with your family, I certainly wouldn't lie to them; I would just say you don't have an appreciation or solid understand for what the Church teaches and why. After going to Confession, I would continue to ensure you make your Sunday obligation, going to Mass every Sunday. The Lord, through the Eucharist, will mold your heart and mind to understand His ways better.

Mike

Taylor replied:

Mike,

  • If I am not allowed to defect, can I just move on and no longer consider myself a Catholic?

I seriously don't want to be a part of the Church and I am not giving it another chance during my life. I am currently attending a Mormon church and I absolutely love it, which is something that
I didn't feel towards my Catholic parish.

The Catholic parish that I attended was extremely boring. I forced myself to like it and stayed for as long as I could.

Taylor

Eric replied:

Taylor —

There is no way to undo becoming Catholic.

If you're leaving a church because it's "boring" I suggest you need to adjust your attitude toward worship; that's like leaving your wife because she's "boring". It also means that I don't think you've been properly taught the faith. The fact you are unwilling to give it another chance makes it sound like you aren't really operating in good faith.

  • Did you address your concerns and doubts with anyone in the Catholic Church before making your decision?

You should study what the Mormons really believe before joining so you don't make the same mistake you made with the Catholic Church.

  • Are you attracted because it is "not boring" or because it is true?
  • Do you really believe that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers, and that you're going to become a god just like God the Father?

The Mormons teach, "As man is, God once was; as God is, man shall be".

  • Do you really believe that God the Father came from the planet Kolob?
  • Doesn't God have to be eternal and outside of time to be the true God?
  • Where did God the Father come from, i.e., who created him?
  • And who created the god who created God the Father, and so forth back?
  • Do you really believe:
    • a religion is true that was founded 1800 years or so after Christ walked the earth?
    • a church that changed its teachings on polygamy and the ability of blacks to receive the priesthood?
  • Are you interested in the truth, or just what feels good, and which one of these things do you think truly counts before God?

I find it interesting that in two weeks' time you decided that the Catholic Church was "boring",
fell in love with the Mormon church, and decided you don't want anything to do with Catholicism
to such a degree that you don't want to ever give it a second chance. If you reject the Catholic Church, you'd better be sure that you can stand before the awesome judgment seat of Christ and defend your choice with something better than "I was bored".

I actually don't think the Mass is boring, if you truly know about it. The Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ our God. That means it is God Himself — which we are able to consume and incorporate into our bodies. It is the most holy thing on the face of the earth.
It's the awesome Presence of God upon the cherubim of the Ark of the Covenant concentrated into edible form. It's the Cup of Salvation. It's the fruit of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
It's a coal from the altar in heaven like the one that touched Isaiah's lips and purged his sins.
It's the medicine of immortality. It's the miraculous Bread of Life, the manna come down from heaven. It makes us partakers of the divine nature. It fills us with all the fullness of God.
It is the divine, holy, immortal, spotless, heavenly, life-giving, awesome Mysteries of Christ.

That, my friend, is far from boring.

Eric

Taylor replied:

Eric,

I could care less about the Truth. That's not why I go to church. I go to church for the entertainment; I see church as a social opportunity. The Catholic Church was not even slightly interesting to me in the least bit. I only went to Confession once and it was probably the lamest thing that I've ever done; it was extremely embarrassing as well. I won't lie — I received the Eucharist without believing that it was the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist seemed pointless to me from the start, but I received it just to make everyone else happy, including my Catholic family and friends. I received it a few times and it meant nothing to me. It wasn't special and I didn't feel like it was worth it.

With the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, I find everything to be interesting, unlike my experience with the Catholic Church. If I became a Mormon, I couldn't see myself backing out like
I did with the Catholic Church. Basically, from the start, I knew the Catholic Church wasn't for me, but I still converted anyway. Now unfortunately, I am apparently Catholic for the rest of my life, but that's just according to the Church.

  • Why would I want to call myself a Catholic when I don't even like the Church?

I can totally move on and forget that it even happened. I am going to admit to my family that
I converted to make them happy, but the question is — will they be mad?

Of course they will be angry with me, but at least I am telling the truth.

Taylor

Eric replied:

Taylor —

I recommend you just move on with your life at this point. You're welcome to return to the Church when you have a clue what Church and religion are about, but right now you're going to church for the wrong reasons, whether it's Mormon, Catholic, or whatever.

My apologies on behalf of the Church for not foreseeing this during RCIA.

Eric

Paul replied:

Hello Taylor,

Take a look at your first sentence and your last sentence in your last response. First you say you could care less about the truth, and then you seem to be saying that the truth is important. Scripture tells us Jesus Christ is the Truth (John 14:6); and ultimately we must decide between Him and self.

If you're looking for entertainment perhaps a concert or sporting event might be a better venue than the worship of God, which we do primarily for the love of God, not the entertainment of self.

If you want to receive the grace Christ won for us on the Cross for the sake of our salvation then attending Mass regularly as a Catholic is indispensable.

Paul

Mike replied:

Dear Taylor,

Let me add to what Eric has said.

You said in your reply that you seriously don't want to be part of the Church, but based on what you have told us, I don't think you seriously know what the Church is, nor know what you are leaving. As lay representative for the Church, I apologize any poor RCIA instruction you received, but a bad experience shouldn't be the measure of a reality you haven't been shown.

It's like walking into a 5-story golden mansion with beautiful pictures hanging everywhere in the room and walking out, saying "This is boring."

For Christians, we don't equate faith with seeing and experiencing good feelings; No, we equate faith, with something that is beyond our five senses. We equate faith with things that we can't see, but nevertheless believe.

If you are committed to finding another congregation to worship, I would strongly encourage you to join a congregation that believes Jesus Christ is True God and True Man.

If you don't wish to give the Church a second chance, I would suggest worshipping at a mainline Protestant denomination like a:

  • Baptist
  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian, or
  • Lutheran

congregation. Though we have our differences with the above four denominations, they do believe Jesus Christ is God; the Mormons do not.

Probably the only group of visitors that do not like our answers are the Mormons. This is because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are not Christians in the traditional sense of what the term Christian means.

A Christian is one who believe Jesus Christ is Truly God and True Man in one Divine Person who is consubstantial (of one substance) with the Father. Mormons do not believe anything close to this.

Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, or any other Mormon can call themselves a Christian, but their definition of what a Christian is, is a re-definition or different definition from the tradition definition of Christian. The main stream news media, including Fox News, would never discuss this, either our of ignorance or cowardice.

Other Mormon visitors have been bothered by comments, similar to what Eric has said, but we are using Mormon sources for all our answers:

Neither I nor Eric can make your decisions, only you can. Nevertheless, whether you decide to worship at the Mormon church or another truly Christian denomination, I would encourage you to be honest with your assessments about the Catholic Church. One of your previous statements summed it up the best:

I pretty much didn't even give the Church a chance; two weeks was not long at all.

Don't attack a straw horse; don't attack a Church based on a poor experience and possibly poor role models. Just be honest and say:

I really can't objectively comment on the Catholic Church because I was not taught the faith correctly when I was there.

Just my two cents.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Taylor replied:

Mike,

I wasn't aware that Catholics supported Protestant Christians.

  • If the Catholic Church is the "one true Church created by Jesus himself" why on earth would Catholics advise Protestants to attend Protestant services instead of Catholic services?

Taylor

Mike replied:

Taylor,

You said:
If the Catholic Church is the "one true Church created by Jesus himself" why on earth would Catholics advise Protestants to attend Protestant services instead of Catholic services?

Since you don't want to give the best choice, the Catholic Church, a second chance, it would be far better to at least be worshipping at a truly Christian congregation. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are not Christians. Again, they have re-defined the meaning of who Christ is, and therefore, have re-defined what a Christian is, to suit their organizational needs.

I'm guessing your family members are probably ultra zealous practicing Catholics. Sadly, this can sometimes turn other family members off because they can appear to be forcing you to do something, you don't want to do. They are not respecting your personal freedom. My answers have been geared to respecting your free will while thinking of what's best for you.

Our separated brethren (Protestants) believe some, but not all of what Christ left for them to believe. The fullness of Christianity can only be found in one place: the Catholic Church.

  • Make sense?

Remember, when a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, says:

I'm a Christian, they means something totally different than when a:

  • Catholic
  • Baptist
  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian, or
  • Lutheran

says I'm a Christian.

If you go to Church for entertainment or social events, you are pretty much admitting you are an atheist or agnostic.

Below is a portion from another answer I gave. You may find it interesting.

A good friend of mine, Clayton Bower Jr., a fellow Catholic apologist who passed away a few months ago, gave a very good talk titled: Atheism's Weakness. In it he said:

There are four types of Atheism:

  1. Dogmatic Atheism
  2. Philosophical Atheism or Agnosticism
  3. Psychological or Adolescent Atheism, and
  4. Practical Atheism

Dogmatic Atheism is a dogmatic declaration that there is no God. They depend on dogma to put forward the assertion that there is no God. So Atheists, like Catholics, do believe in dogma!
An Atheist dogmatically believes there is no God and tries to back it up with science.

Philosophical Atheism or Agnosticism are a class of faith-seekers who honestly cannot find acceptable answers for why God would exist. This can be justified and understandable based on ones background, but it's very different than Dogmatic Atheism.

Psychological or Adolescent Atheism is based, not so much on a true cognitive belief that there is no God, but is a reaction to overbearing religious parents and teachers just to get under their skin. Adolescent Atheism is a reaction to parental or adult demands. There is no real in-depth study of whether God exists, or not. The teenager or youth rebel just to identify themselves and their own identity. They are basically saying: I'm not like this overbearing parent.

Practical Atheism, which a good number of Catholic Christians have fell into, says we can go about knowing there is a God, but behaving like there isn't one. There's an old saying:

If you were arrested for being a Catholic, would there be enough evidence against you?

and a bumper stick on the car or a Rosary in the window wouldn't be enough.

I hope this helps,

Mike
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