Help! My Children Left the Church

One of the greatest pains many people suffer is the pain of watching one’s children leave the Catholic Church. In this episode, Jeff explains four common reasons why people leave, how to address the factors that drew them away, and why you should never give up hope that they might return. He also shares the story about how his mother never stopped praying for him during his time away from the Church.


Why did they leave?
  1. Just drifted away.
  2. Atheism
  3. “Loved out” by Evangelical Church
  4. Anger and Bitterness

In the process of helping people return to the Church, it is not up to you to fully convince them to return. However, your demeanor and language matter, especially as parents.

If They Drifted Away:

Some helpful reading material.

  1. Surprised by Truth: 11 converts stories by Patrick Madrid
  2. My Life on the Rock by Jeff Cavins
  3. Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn
  4. Crossing the Tiber by Stephen Ray
  5. Made for More (Argument for God) by Curtis Martin
  6. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Steps to take:

  1. Grace builds on nature. Speak to them about what are they interested in. (The poor, border control, guns, etc.)
  2. Pray that God would continue to draw them and use others as well.
  3. Expose them to good Christian Music.

Helpful reading material by former athiests:

  1. There is A God by Anthony Flew
  2. “There Is a God, one of the world’s preeminent atheists discloses how his commitment to “follow the argument wherever it leads” led him to a belief in God as Creator. This is a compelling and refreshingly open-minded argument that will forever change the atheism debate.”
  3. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis Collins
Loved out by Evangelical Church
  1. People who are “loved out” the Church, were not particularly into apologetics, more feelings oriented. They feel more at home and more loved at protestant churches.
  2. You must learn their theological language, which is the bible (not saints or Catholic theology.)
  3. You must learn the basics of Catholicism that are different than Evangelicals.

Helpful reading material to counter arguments:

  1. Argument about Papacy: Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid
  2. Argument against Blessed Virgin Mary: Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn
  3. Argument about Eucharist: The Lambs Supper by Scott Hahn; Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Dr. Brant Pitre
  4. Argument about Scripture & Tradition: By What Authority by Mark Shea
  5. Argument about Communion of the Saints: Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine: A Biblical and Historical Explanation of the Catholic Doctrine of the Communion of Saintsby Patrick Madrid
Anger & Unforgiveness

These people left for a specific reason-frequently because they felt hurt.

Does it have anything to do with something we did as parents? Pray for wisdom and insight into what your child needs and how you can offer it.

In some situations you must humble yourself and ask for forgiveness.

For All Situations
  1. Pray for discernment. Did you have something to do with this?
  2. Pray for laborers in God’s vineyard to talk to your children. Often times it’s someone they respect that can reach them.
  3. Be mindful of meta language.
  4. Just keep praying.


More Great Resources from Jeff

Find free blogs, videos, and resources about Scripture and the Catholic faith at

Learn more about The Great Adventure Bible Timeline and preview any study for free.

For an easy way to transform your approach to reading Scripture, check out Jeff’s Bible Timeline Chart.

For an illustrated resource introducing God’s love story to children while helping them to understand how the Catholic Church is the body of Christ on Earth try The Great Adventure Storybook.

We’d Love to Hear from You

Do you have comments or questions for Jeff? Use the comment box below, or email Jeff at You may hear your question or comment in an upcoming podcast episode!

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