The most interesting part of Merica's article was his summary of a recent study by Byron and Zech conducted to assess the opinions of 300 ex-Catholics in Trenton, NJ. The researchers were brought in at the request of Trenton's bishop to figure out why so many were leaving the church.
The top seven reasons ex-Catholics gave for leaving the church included:
- Clergy sex abuse and efforts to protect the offenders
- Anti-gay bigotry
- Dissatisfaction with their priest
- Uninspiring sermons
- The conservative political orientation of their church
- The church's hostility to divorced and remarried Catholics
- The low status of women in Catholicism
It is important to recognize that these data came from only one diocese in Trenton, NJ, and may not be representative of U.S. Catholics. Studies like this are a start, and I hope to see more of them.
Here is some information on how to leave the Catholic Church.
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