Michigan residents leaving the Catholic Church as many turn away from religion

M Live

April 29, 2019

By Julie Mack and Scott Levin

The Catholic Church has loomed large over Gloria Emmons’ life.

Growing up in metro Detroit in the 1950s and ’60s, her devout Catholic family was surrounded by other devout Catholics. Everybody went to church on Sundays. Nobody ate meat on Fridays. Almost every home had a statue of Mary.

Emmons attended Catholic schools through college. She married in the church, sent her two sons through Catholic schools and the family attended weekly Mass for years.

But today, Emmons describes herself as an “ambivalent” Catholic.

“There are lots of conflicts” between Catholic doctrine and contemporary values such as equality for gays and women, said Emmons, 65, who lives near Kalamazoo. “As we move forward as a society, they stare you in the face.”

Emmons still considers herself Catholic. “I still love the Mass,” she said.

But she no longer belongs to a local parish, and when she attends Mass nowadays, it’s typically to accompany her 93-year-old father to his church in Oakland County.

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