A recent survey showing that Americans are changing their religious affiliations in record numbers was particularly relevant to me, for I have decided to leave the Roman Catholic Church. This Easter will be my first as a non-Catholic.
The Catholic Church has lost more members than any other religious group, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, with about 10 percent of all Americans now identifying themselves as former Catholics. This remarkable statistic offers little solace, other than to prove to those who have agonized over abandoning their religious convictions that they are not alone.
With the approach of Easter, the ominous distinction of being labeled a “former Catholic” has filled me with dread. My feelings of estrangement and self-doubt have increased, and I have questioned whether I made the right decision, whether abandoning Catholicism, of all days on Fat Tuesday, could have been better thought out. However, my decision came after a time of spiritual starvation and reflection.
I wonder if there is something I can do to prepare for this, yet it is hard to imagine that anything could compensate for what has been so much a part of my spirituality and sense of being.