It’s understood that if you were ever Catholic, especially in the sense of having been confirmed, then you will always be Catholic in the eyes of the Church. Even if you don’t want to be.
I grew up in a Catholic family. I haven’t been in a church in many years, and I have no intention of returning, aside from a wedding or a funeral. I remember having doubts when I was confirmed, but really, what 16 year old is going to tell her parents that? Not me. At that time, I had an issue with the whole idea that it was a mortal sin to not go to Mass on Sunday (yes, I’m aware that there’s no longer a distinction between venial and mortal sins, but when you’re being told you’ll go to hell if you skip Mass once, it leaves an impression). I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that God was willing to condemn you because you missed one Sunday. This is where catechism class failed miserably. There’s no questioning. Things just are. Which is a problem for me, because I question.
By the time I was a young adult, I questioned a lot more. Homosexuality. Abortion. Excommunication despite the “love the sinner, hate the sin” motto. This was also about the time that the molestation scandal broke wide open, and the idea that the Church actively covered that up and shielded its priests… I still don’t have words for that. I gradually stopped attending Mass. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but it wasn’t hard.
I married outside of the Church. I don’t care if someone’s gay, or whom they want to marry. I think abortion can sometimes be the right decision. I don’t understand the point of excommunicating someone because they got divorced and remarried. I especially don’t understand the necessity to confess a sin like abortion to a bishop instead of a priest. Public shaming? No thanks. Besides the tidbit that I don’t consider abortion a sin.
I know lots of people disagree with the Catholic Church, but still attend Mass. I can’t. I try not to be hypocritical, and that just feels like a big form of hypocrisy to me. Please note, ME. Your mileage may vary.
I still believe in God. I pray when I feel the need. I think I still believe in Jesus, so I’m okay with the Christian label. I don’t attend church. I haven’t felt the need to, really. My kids have been raised in a mostly secular (gasp!) lifestyle. I answer their questions about religion. I give them the information and let them decide what to do with it. If they choose to attend church, or become Buddhist, or explore Wicca, that will be their choice. As it should be.
I’m pretty sure my mom still prays for me to “find my way back.” I met my parents’ priest during my trip to Kentucky last month. That was interesting, lol. Lightning didn’t strike, so I guess it’s all good.