We asked, you answered: Are you staying in the Catholic Church?

Tapestry listeners reflect on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

This fall, in the wake of a Pennsylvania grand jury report, outlining the widespread sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by 300 Roman Catholic priests, two women, both long-time Catholics, shared their reasons for staying — and leaving — the church with Tapestry

Mary Elizabeth Williams, a columnist for Slate, explained why she's leaving. 

"If your faith isn't … making you feel deeply within your soul, that you are loved unconditionally and that you are part of something big and powerful and good in the world, then it's time to re-examine that relationship," she said.

Deirdre Pike, a freelance columnist for The Hamilton Spectator, said she's staying.

"It wasn't even a question, frankly," she said. "I just keep thinking, 'How am I going to change the church?"

Your feedback

Tapestry listeners weighed in on how they're responding to the ongoing crises.

Andrew sent an email describing his difficult decision.

"As a cradle Catholic who has returned to the church after 36 years away, I did not think I would be contemplating leaving again nine months after returning. I have been at a loss as to what action I can take — one insignificant person within a huge church, but this episode has reminded me that I am not struggling alone."

Megan, who grew up Catholic but is now an Anglican, explained why she's happy that she changed faiths more than a decade ago.

"When I started attending the Anglican church, I found I really couldn't go back to the Catholic church. I like the inclusiveness of having women and LGBT priests. I don't think I even realized how important that was to me until I saw it in action.


The fact that the church has already been found to cover up abuse and protect abusers will turn large numbers of people away from the church forever; if they could be seen to acknowledge the wrong and work toward a better future they might find a way to go forward. The continued avoidance of it is deeply disappointing."

Vivienne wrote on Tapestry's Facebook page that she intended to stay in the church and fight for change.

"I am a recent convert to Catholicism. I am not in any way drawn to leave my faith. I am drawn to stay, dig in and fight for my faith. There is evil in every organization and institution ... I do not blame it on my Catholic faith or Catholic Church. I blame it on people doing evil things. We need more faith not less."

Several listeners noted that they felt just like Mary Elizabeth Williams. Natalie tweeted this:

"All the feels listening to this, like a sucker punch to the gut. *Exactly* why I stopped going to church."

Nathaniel told us over Twitter that he'd remain with the Catholic church.

"I'll always … be Catholic. The abuse in the church is absolutely terrible, but you don't leave Jesus because of Judas. The Church is the only place where I can truly receive Christ in the Eucharist, be forgiven of sins, and be in true relationship with Christ."

Thank you to everyone who submitted an email or comment.

*Comments have been edited for clarity.