Catholic without a church

Catholic without a church: No, it’s not possible to be Catholic without a church. Yes, you can live your faith without the formal structure of the Church and without attending Mass every Sunday. Catholics are supposed to attend Mass every Sunday, or at least some form of daily prayer or devotion.

This post is directed to those who are, like me, part of the “unchurched majority”. The post-Christian secular West, including all the people drifting away from their childhood Catholicism, who grew up in countries where there isn’t really a Catholic Church to speak of.

For many people, the Catholic Church is what they know. They are not at all interested in changing it and consider it a unique feature of their life. However, at the same time, morally-inclined minds will find many things to disapprove of, such as clericalism or other scandals that are rocking it from inside. We shouldn’t ignore these things. In fact, these issues should be raised and discussed.

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Catholic without a church

A Catholic without a church is like a fish without a bicycle.

Or, to be more precise, it’s like a fish without a bicycle in the desert.

In other words: not very good at all.

You see, we Catholics have this thing called the Church. It’s pretty important to us—so much so that when we leave it and choose to be “Catholic” on our own terms (or just go back to being non-religious), it often doesn’t go well for us; we end up feeling confused, lost, and empty inside. And while there are some things that are better about being Catholic without a church than within one (like having fewer rules), there are also some things that are worse about being Catholic without a church than within one (like having no one to tell you what those rules are).

The Catholic Church has long been the center of religious life in Western society. But now, with the rise of secularism, fewer and fewer people are identifying as Catholic. What does this mean for the future of religion?

In this article, we’ll explore what it means to be Catholic without a church.

Catholic without a church


When I was a young girl, I used to be afraid of the dark. I would hide under the covers, terrified that monsters might get me. Then one night when I was 7, my Dad discovered me hiding in fear and told me that God loved me and would protect me from anything lurking in the darkness. From that time on, I believed my Dad and felt safe at night.

As an adult, however, my Catholic faith has been challenged by all of the wrongs committed by priests—some of whom claimed to act in God’s name. The pain and suffering caused by clergy sex abuse is unconscionable and indefensible. But worse yet is how church leaders have handled these crimes: Turning a blind-eye to victims, protecting abusers instead of kids, blaming victims for speaking out. This is not what Jesus would do!

My faith journey led me to leave behind Catholicism as an institution but not as a spiritual path to follow Jesus’ teachings of compassion, love and justice as best we can. Here’s how:

A millennial reflective on faith and Catholicism

The millennial is the first generation born after 1980, according to the Pew Research Center. The oldest millennials are now 35 years old and have been voting for over a decade. If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re a millennial or have at least one in your life.

Millennials have been and continue to be shaped by their relationship with faith and Catholicism. Many millennials were raised Catholic but did not go to Mass regularly; some left the Catholic Church altogether after high school or college (link). Others remained active members of their parishes throughout their adolescence, only to disengage from church life once they graduated from high school or college (link).

Both of these groups might find it useful to reflect on why they left behind their religious traditions despite having grown up surrounded by them — especially if they would like those traditions back in their lives! It’s important for millennials who want these traditions back in our lives because we can’t expect others around us — particularly those who know us best — will understand what we’re going through if we don’t articulate our own experiences with them first (link).

Traditional Catholic churches hurt those most in need.

Traditional Catholic churches are not a welcoming place for the marginalized. For example, LGBTQ people are expected to live celibate lives and not be able to marry the person they love. This can be incredibly difficult for someone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community, as it can lead to an increase in anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Similarly, women have historically been second-class citizens in many religions including Catholicism and Islam—and they still are today! Many traditional churches refuse to allow women into leadership roles like deacons or priests (or even just full members), which means that many Catholics will never experience the fullness of their faith because their church refuses them access. Additionally – due largely in part due to historical events such as colonisation – certain racialized communities tend not only feel excluded from mainstream Catholic communities but also persecuted by them; thus making it extremely challenging for these individuals’ spiritual development if they do attend services at all

It’s a huge task to create an inclusive church.

It’s a huge task to create an inclusive church.

First and foremost, it needs to welcome all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and gender identity. It shouldn’t be judgmental of anyone who is not a Catholic—or even religious at all. The church should also be open to non-Christians who might not share similar beliefs about God or church attendance. In addition, leadership positions within the Catholic Church should be made available for those who identify as LGBTQIA+ (LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual Allies) or have experienced discrimination due to their identities in the past (such as women).

A church that doesn’t judge is the best place to explore your own spirituality.

As a Catholic, you may have been taught to judge others. You may be confused about what judging means, or if it’s a Christian value. Are you supposed to judge people? And if so, how?

Asking these questions is not judging someone—it’s just being curious and asking questions!

The answer is no: judging other people is not a Christian value, nor is it one that Catholics hold dear. It’s important to remember that we’re all imperfect human beings on our own spiritual journeys; we don’t have all the answers and neither do others. So instead of pointing fingers or placing blame on anyone else for their failings or shortcomings (including yourself), try practicing compassion instead!

I’m Catholic without a church, but I’m working to find my own version of faith and God.

As an atheist, I’m comfortable with the idea that there are no gods. My ancestors and many others who have come before me have contributed to the rich history of atheism. But this isn’t just about me—it is about all of us, because we are all connected by our humanity.

I believe in a higher power that can be found within oneself or within the universe at large. It doesn’t matter how you define it; what matters is that we find something greater than ourselves and use this inspiration to help others find their way as well.


I still consider myself Catholic, and when people ask I say that I’m Catholic without a church. For me, the search for an inclusive and welcoming Catholic community is far from over. I’m not looking for a specific building or set of beliefs, but rather a place where I feel invited to explore my own faith and spirituality in the context of my life experiences. A place where I will not be judged for being myself, whether it involves “unclean” thoughts or living as an openly gay man. If anyone reading this has any suggestions about how we can create such communities within our existing congregations, please let us know by emailing [email protected]. In the meantime, we are working hard at being Catholic in our own way—as individuals who also happen to be part of this beautiful world called Earth.”

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