When somebody leaves the Catholic church looking for some other spiritual good we have failed them because all the good things in all the other religions and all the other Christian denominations can be found within Catholicism.
So, for example, a friend of mine who was brought up as a Catholic and sent to the convent school left the Catholic church when she got interested in Eastern religions and meditation.
“Why did you leave the Catholic Church?” I asked.
“Because I got into Transcendental Meditation and it helped me through some difficulties in my life.”
“Didn’t anyone in the Catholic Church ever teach you about Christian traditions of meditation and contemplative prayer?”
She was shocked, “No! I didn’t think it was allowed!”
“But you went to a convent school. Surely the nuns knew about all forms of prayer and taught you how to pray and meditate saying the rosary. Did you never go to Eucharistic Adoration?”
So she went off to discover in an Eastern religion what she should have been taught in the Catholic faith.
It’s the same with every other good reason people leave.
“We really like the Bible studies we get at the Baptist Church.”
“Catholic Bible study course are so much richer and deeper because everything in the Bible is fulfilled in our Catholic life.”
“Why were we never taught it then?”
“Probably because your priests and catechists didn’t know much about the Bible themselves.” I reply.
I could go on with a long list of things people seek in other religions and other churches. If they are good things they are seeking (not just leaving because they are in an irregular marriage or they dislike Catholic moral teaching) then those good things can be found within the boundaries of the Catholic Church.
This post I wrote some time ago explains, therefore why I dislike Catholic categories and cages. They keep us from experiencing the good things that are present within our Catholic tradition.
The post is called “Call me an Evangelical, Charismatic, Liberal, Conservative, Progressive, …..or call me Catholic.
To explore the different traditions within the Catholic church is liberating and exciting. It challenges our limitations and opens us up to see new ways of God’s working in the world. At the same time it is safe because the magisterium of the Catholic church provides the proper boundaries and corrections when a particular spirituality or prayer tradition or worship tradition goes too far.
Take time to read the post.
It is a plea not to be put in a cage and by extension, an invitation for others to not only put other people in cages, but to have the courage to step out of their own safe, comfort zone….
…which from another perspective is not much more than a playpen.