An ex-Catholic explains why he left the Roman Catholic church

The Catholic Church – Why I Left It
By James F. Gauss
Self-published, 2014, 198 pp.

4 Stars

The author of this book, Jim Gauss, was a “devout” Roman Catholic and even taught CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine – religious classes for Catholic children attending public school). In 1970, both he and his wife were troubled when their two oldest children described to them how they were being instructed to pray to Mary in their CCD classes. That spiritual “crisis” prompted the Gausses to attend a Mennonite Church where they heard the genuine of Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. They accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone and renounced their former works-righteousness religion.

In this self-published book, Gauss examines some of the major doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. He does a decent job, although it’s evident he doesn’t have formal theological training. As one example, in regards to justification, Gauss makes no mention of the difference between the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer as taught by Gospel Christianity versus the sacramentally infused righteousness (in conjunction with merit) taught by the RCC. The author also makes several statements regarding church history and doctrine that are inaccurate:

e.g., “Kissing the foot of the pope…is encouraged and practiced” (p.42). Actually, pope Paul VI (d. 1978) discontinued the practice of kissing the pope’s foot back in the 1960s.

e.g., “the Catholic Church teaches that Mary did not die” (p. 71). Actually, the RCC has never officially declared whether Mary was still alive or had died just prior to her alleged assumption.

e.g., “Catholics never speak of having ‘visions’ of Jesus, only Mary” (p. 87). Actually, many mystic Catholic “saints” reported being visited by Jesus.

The above are just a few inaccuracies. I came across several others.

I applaud Mr. Gauss’ efforts here. There is a lot of good information in this book, but I direct the reader to superior resources such as “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy, “40 Questions About Roman Catholicism” by Gregg R. Allison, and “Same Words, Different Worlds: Do Roman Catholics and Evangelicals Believe the Same Gospel?” by Leonardo De Chirico.

I read the Kindle version of “The Catholic Church – Why I Left It,” which had many sloppy transcription errors.


The Only True Church
The Creation of the Pope
Peter, the Head of the Church
The Infallibility of the Pope
The Pope as Discerner of God’s Word
Worship of the Pope and others
Worshiping Angels
Idol Worship
Repetitive Prayers & the Rosary
Mary as Intercessor and Mediator Between God and Man
The Perpetual Virginity of Mary
Mary as the Queen of Peace
The Role of Mary in the Church
Visions of Mary
Only Priests Can forgive Sins
Infant Baptism
Saints as Protectors, Healers, etc.
Canonizing the Deceased as Saints
Recognition of the Trinity
Salvation Through Works
The Mass
Communion and Transubstantiation
First Holy Communion
Extreme Unction (Last Rites)
Celibacy of the Priesthood
Doctrine of Purgatory

A mysterious drop in views

It may seem a bit tacky for a blogger to write about their blog stats, but I experienced a very strange phenomenon last year. I’ve been blogging here at WordPress for seven years and there was a noticeable increase in views from year to year over that span, until last year. As you can see from the WordPress graph above, this blog had 70K views in 2020, but “only” 45K views in 2021, a 36% drop! That’s pretty significant. The number of published posts did drop from 338 to 284 from 2020 to 2021 due to some upheaval in my personal life, but that’s only a 16% decrease. The content from year to year was pretty similar. So, what happened? I have my theories.

At excatholic4christ, many of my posts examine the Roman Catholic church and its false gospel of salvation by sacramental pseudo-grace and merit. We live in an era marked by rising intolerance for anything deemed to be “intolerant.” I’m sure many Roman Catholics and non-Catholics who are sympathetic to ecumenism would interpret my critical posts as “hate speech.” Even believers are losing their stomach for discernment material. Social media platforms are increasingly monitoring and filtering content that they consider to be “hate speech.” The EU and Canada are a bit farther ahead of the U.S. in this social media censorship. I don’t wish to be paranoid about this. Perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe the huge drop is attributable to other factors.

I surely don’t hate Roman Catholics. I was a Catholic for 27 years and many of my family and friends are still Catholic. For 1500 years, the RCC violently suppressed all opposition and non-conformists and led billions to hell with its false gospel. Yet for pointing that out, I’m the alleged “hater.”

Don”t get me wrong. I’m thankful for the 45K views last year and especially for all of my friends and readers here at WordPress who support this blog and its “controversial” content. We know the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is bound to offend, as will the calling out of false churches and false religions.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/29/22

German Catholic prelates and priests are the vanguard for progressive reforms within the Roman Catholic church. American Catholic sociologist and ex-priest, Richard Sipe, estimated that 30% of priests are homosexual. Others say that figure is too low.

Last week, we saw that a German investigative panel formally accused pope emeritus, Joseph Ratzinger aka Benedict XVII, of covering-up for multiple pedophile priests when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982. Ratzinger initially lied, claiming he was not present at discussions on how to “smooth-over” embarrassing incidents of priest-abuse. In the face of undeniable evidence, he has flip-flopped and now admits he was directly involved in those discussions. As archbishop of the diocese where the abuse took place, there’s no doubt that Ratzinger had the preeminent role in the cover-up. What does it say about the alleged “Vicar of Christ” when he directed the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children? What “moral authority” can the papacy claim in regards to anything?

Liberal and moderate Catholic parishes in the U.S. have been utilizing women as catechists and lectors for decades, but pope Francis made it official worldwide. This is another incremental step in the eventual ordination of women as deacons. Note the second article. The ordination of women as priests is definitely not on the immediate horizon, but the skids are being greased.

The LGBT steamroller cannot abide the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality.

Russian hegemony was increasingly threatened by former-Soviet nations joining NATO, as Poland did in 1999. Ukraine also desires to join NATO, but Putin is drawing the line. What does this has to do with believers? The world and its political systems are sinking sand.

Many evangelicals revere Mel Gibson for his 2004 film, “The Passion of the Christ.” The volatile actor and director is an ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic and “The Passion” was a platform for the Catholic doctrine of Mary as Co-Redemptrix. Gibson points a finger at the corruption of the RCC while his own personal life has been one scandal after another.

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #26

Thanks for joining me today as we continue our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018).


Claim #26: I am a Catholic because I know I should treat other people as if they were Christ

Kreeft states that being a Roman Catholic is not like being a member of a club or a business or a secret society. In one of the rare times Kreeft has referred to Scripture to this point, he cites 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 to make the case that the Roman Catholic church is the mystical Body of Christ and that Catholics are organs of that Body. Being organs of the Body of Christ, Catholics are in Christ and are Christ. Individual Catholics, states Kreeft, acknowledge other Catholics as members of the Body and strive to love them and treat them accordingly. Kreeft cites ecumenical-evangelical favorite, Mother Teresa, as an example of this mindset. “She believed this, and when she looked at another person, she saw Jesus Christ” (p. 87). Kreeft states that having this mindset and treating other members with charity is saintly behavior and a part of sanctification that leads to salvation.

Kreeft argues that Protestants do not have the mindset mentioned above. “Protestants usually see the relationship between Christ and the Christian as legal and moral, personal and psychological, not metaphysical, just as most of them see justification salvation (sic) as legal. They say that salvation is just getting right with God, not really becoming a ‘new creature,’ becoming a saint; that faith alone saves you, not faith and works, the works of love; that God looks on you as if you were a saint and sends you to Heaven as long as you have faith in Christ; that you don’t really have to be a saint to get to Heaven, just a believer; that Christ has fulfilled the requirements of the law for us, and that’s why we get off. In other words, God is a lawyer. Of all the blasphemous insults and heresies in history!” (p.88).


Gospel Christians certainly believe as Scripture states that all those who have genuinely trusted in Jesus Christ are members of the Body of Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we strive to love the brethren and sistren as fellow members of the Body. In bold contradiction of Kreeft’s citation, Mother Teresa, stated that when she looked at Hindus and Muslims, not just Catholics, she saw Christ! Mother Teresa advanced Catholic Universalism, not exceptionalism as Kreeft attempts to propagate here.

Many topics are touched upon in this chapter that we have examined previously. Catholicism teaches that individuals (usually as infants) are incorporated into the church via baptismal regeneration followed by continuing participation in the sacraments to receive grace so as to obey the Ten Commandments and perform acts of charity in order to merit salvation at the moment of death. Continuing obedience and good works (progressive sanctification) are the basis of the Catholic salvation system, but the RCC puts the cart before the horse. Trusting in Christ as Savior by faith alone and being reborn spiritually in Christ comes first, then comes following the Lord in obedience.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

We ex-Catholics know firsthand that Catholics generally do not practice what Kreeft describes above. Catholic church history and contemporary news headlines are rife (an understatement) with examples of Catholics, including “saints,” popes, prelates, priests, and nuns, scandalously mistreating and abusing fellow-Catholics and non-Catholics.

Kreeft derides the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone as the most “blasphemous insult” and “heresy” in recorded history. Yes, he did. I actually appreciate Kreeft’s honesty, candor, and forthrightness here for those ecumenical-leaning evangelicals who misguidedly and ignorantly declare, “Close enough,” in regards to the Roman Catholic church and its false gospel of salvation by sacramental pseudo-grace and merit.

Next week: Claim #27: I am a Catholic because Catholics still do metaphysics

Throwback Thursday: The “Book of Abraham” hoax: Iron-clad proof that Joseph Smith and Mormonism are frauds

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post about Mormonism that was originally published back on August 29, 2016 and has been revised. The next two Throwbacks will be about Mormonism as well.


In the past, I’ve posted some messages about how politically-conservative pundit, Glenn Beck, has been invited to participate in evangelical-sponsored events. Beck is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. Some misguided evangelicals argue that Beck shares the same “moral values” as conservative Christians and “loves God righteously” according to his own belief system. They argue evangelicals would be better off embracing religious Americans like Beck who share the same “moral values” rather than checking the fine print of their denominational membership cards in this age of encroaching secularism.

Really? I say not so fast.

I’m a bit of a history geek and back in the late-1970s and early-80s I was curious about the Mormon church, which had its beginnings in Palmyra, New York, about 25 miles from where I live. Joseph Smith claimed that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in 1820, which later led to his receiving “golden tablets” and producing the Book of Mormon. Smith founded the Mormon church near Palmyra, and it subsequently relocated to Ohio, then to Missouri, then to Illinois, and finally to Utah.

The Mormon church has some extremely strange, unbiblical theology, but I will only touch on a few particulars for this post. Mormons do not preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. They teach baptismal regeneration and that God the Father was once a mortal man who advanced to deity by obeying a different god. Mormons believe that by following their church’s requirements, they can achieve deity themselves and rule over their own universe.

Joseph Smith claimed to be God’s prophet and to receive direct revelation. But while studying Mormonism, I discovered some irrefutable proof that Joseph Smith was a deceiver and a false prophet.

After the church had moved to Kirtland, Ohio, a traveling exhibit came to town, which included some ancient Egyptian papyri. Smith got his hands on the papyri and translated them into “The Book of Abraham,” alleged writings from the Old Testament patriarch, which was subsequently canonized as Mormon scripture. In 1967, the very same papyri in question were discovered in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Trained Egyptologists examined the hieroglyphics and found they were Egyptian pagan funerary rites. Smith’s “translation” was proven to be a complete and total lie, a fabrication.

“When Joseph first gave his translation, hieroglyphics were undecipherable. Today they are. He was safe in saying anything he wanted to, and there would be no way of proving him wrong. But with the resurfacing of the same papyri he used to do his Book of Abraham translation and the fact that he did not in any way do it correctly should be proof enough that Joseph Smith lied about his abilities from God. He has been shown to be a false prophet.” – from “The Book of Abraham Papyri and Joseph Smith,” Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (a link to the complete article is at the bottom)

Mormon apologists backpedaled by declaring that the papyri were simply a “catalyst” for revelation! Oy vey.

Smith was proven to be an absolute, 100% fraud, yet the Mormon church marches on, drawing more poor souls into its false gospel. And now we have the “evangelical” compromisers on TBN inviting Mormon Glenn Beck to help them defend “American values” and the “gospel.”

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

For more on the “Book of Abraham” and Mormon scam, see here.

The Byrds’ Top 25 Songs: #9, “Everybody’s Been Burned”

“Everybody’s Been Burned” (3:05)
Written by David Crosby
Produced by Gary Usher
From “Younger Than Yesterday,” Columbia Records, February 6, 1967. Also released as the B-side of “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” on January 9, 1967.

David Crosby grew up listening to his parents’ large collection of classical and folk recordings. His musical palette was expanded further when his older brother introduced him to 1950s-era jazz – Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, etc. – and Crosby never lost his love for the jazz genre. A good example is song #9 in our Byrds’ Top 25 Song countdown, “Everybody’s Been Burned.”

The Byrds’ third album, “Fifth Dimension,” saw Crosby begin to emerge as a creative force in the band. By the following album, “Younger Than Yesterday,” Croz felt comfortable enough to present this very un-Byrdsy jazz tune that he had actually written in 1962, two-years prior to the formation of the Byrds.

This is a bittersweet torch song about broken romance and emotional guardedness that most of us can readily relate to, but with a trace of optimism at the end. Crosby’s evocative tenor vocal here is stunning. Lead guitarist and nominal band leader, Jim (later Roger) McGuinn later disparaged the tune, calling it “Crosby’s lounge song.” That said, McGuinn provides an excellent accompaniment on his twelve-string Rickenbacker, including perhaps his very best solo interlude on a Byrds recording. Chris Hillman has downplayed his abilities as a bassist with the Byrds, but his running bass solo from the beginning to the end of this song is remarkable.

Byrds aficionado and biographer, Johnny Rogan, wrote of “Everybody’s Been Burned” that it “quietly threatened to dwarf everything else” on the excellent “Younger Than Yesterday” album, and that the song “stands alongside the greatest material recorded by the Byrds” (Byrds: Requiem for the Timeless, Vol.1, p. 321).

It’s my pleasure to present song #9 in our Byrds’ Top 25 Songs countdown, “Everybody’s Been Burned.”

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #120

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Luke 19:11-27 on “Good and Faithful Servant.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Hebrews 4:14-16 on “Our Great High Priest.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, January 9th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Good and Faithful Servant

Pastor Cody Andrews – Our Great High Priest – Sermon begins at the 14:30 mark

Convent Cruelties

Convent Cruelties or My Life in the Convent
By Helen Baranowski Jackson
Self-published, Seventh edition, 1924, 114 pp. (first published in 1919)

4 Stars

American Protestant literature of the 19th and early-20th centuries included many “convent escape narratives,” first-hand testimonies by former-Catholic nuns describing the terrible abuses they witnessed and suffered within convents, and their eventual escape. Protestant readers were appalled that such cruelties and abrogations of citizens’ freedoms were taking place in Catholic convents across the United States, while Catholic spokespersons dismissed these testimonies as pure fiction. There was nothing more cultish than Roman Catholic convents, but Protestants gradually became inured to the institution.

In this book, Helen Baranowski Jackson describes how she desired to become a nun at the age of thirteen. She entered a convent run by the Felician Sisters (Polish) in Detroit, Michigan as a young postulant, but quickly became disenchanted with religious life due to the harsh restrictions and penalties imposed by the Mother Superior and the other nuns. All connections with family were severed. Because of alleged insubordination, Helen was transferred to another nunnery in Detroit, a convent run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (the Magdalenes) where the harsh restrictions and abuses continued. Helen was eventually able to escape the convent and subsequently became a speaker on the Protestant lecture circuit, describing her travails.

Above: A vintage photograph of the former Good Shepherd Convent and Asylum/Reformatory complex on Fort Street West in Detroit where Helen Baranowski was a postulant.

Helen describes being locked in a tiny room for days, being deprived of food, forced to take ice baths, and being whipped. The abuses described by Helen Jackson shocked Protestant readers in 1919 and were met with derision by Catholics. The full weight of Catholic political influence was brought to bear upon Ms. Jackson and her testimony. However, investigations of the infamous “Magdalene asylums,” beginning in the 1990s, confirmed the severe, torturous, and sometimes deadly discipline of the Catholic nuns.

Young Catholic women were attracted to convent life as an attempt to merit their salvation. After being confronted with the strict rigors/disciplines of religious life, many desired to leave the convent, but were “dissuaded,” sometimes forcibly. Very few Catholic women desire to be nuns these days, but all Catholics are still blinded by Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Above: The last standing portion of the sprawling Sisters of the Good Shepherd Convent and Asylum/Reformatory complex in Detroit before it was demolished in 2014. If the walls could speak they would testify of the rampant abuse and suffering within.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/22/22

This week, many news-watchers were shocked by the above headline regarding pope emeritus, Benedict XVI (photo above), but not myself. Popes and Catholic prelates were directly involved in the cover-up of clerical sexual abuse for centuries. Pope John Paul II, canonized as a “saint” in 2014, is known to have enabled and covered-up for Mexican priest, Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order and voracious sexual predator, whose abuses were documented by the Vatican going back to the 1950s.

Above: Serial abuser, Marcial Maciel, being embraced by pope John Paul II

This week is the Roman Catholic church’s traditional week on the calendar to pray for “Christian unity.” According to the Catholic definition, “Christian unity” means all Eastern Orthodox and Protestants placing themselves under the authority of the pope and the doctrines of the RCC. Unimaginable? Actually, ecumenism has made alarming strides over the past sixty years with many evangelical leaders now recognizing the pope as a “brother in Christ” and the world leader of “Christendom.” Some evangelical pastors now routinely incorporate Catholic practices like contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina, and Ignatian spiritual meditation and spiritual directors. Praise God I’m free from Rome’s spiritual shackles!

Latin America was once solidly Roman Catholic and intolerant of Gospel outreach, but “health and wealth” prosperity gospel churches have been experiencing huge growth there. The population is exchanging one false gospel (merited salvation) for another (religious lottery/emotionalism).

The RCC is sensitive to the popularity of potential “saints” as well as social causes and will undoubtedly push to canonize a Black candidate very soon.

This past Monday, the country celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. MLK did a tremendous amount of good by confronting the institutionalized racism that was rampant throughout this country, but the “minister” preached a social false gospel rather than the genuine Gospel. This article is from 2018, but still worth a read.

Pope Francis shocked and enraged conservative Catholics when he guilefully lifted the ban on sacraments for remarried divorcees and cohabitators in his 2016 Amoris Laetitia encyclical. Bergoglio has worn down the opposition via attrition, but every so often a conservative cleric will boldly speak out.

Half of Roman Catholicism’s devotion is directed to its wafer/crucifix Jesus and the other half to Mary. Founded in 1921, the Legion of Mary now has more than 10 million members, making it the largest lay organization in the Catholic Church.

The RCC has bestowed hundreds of titles upon Mary, and I’m familiar with many of them, but this über-quirky “Our Lady of the Milk” title was a new one on me. The increasingly institutionalized, nascent Catholic church adapted beliefs and practices of its pagan predecessors, including substituting Mary for the popular pagan mother goddess. In ancient pagan religions, the perceived loving and nurturing maternal mother goddess was much more attractive to “worshipers” than the angry and unpredictable male gods.

After prosperity-gospel televangelist-shyster and passionate anti-vaxxer, Marcus Lamb, died of COVID-19 on November 30th, I was curious to see if his wife, Joni, would soften her anti-vax stance. I stopped in at Daystar cable channel a few times and, nope, widow Joni still defines getting vaccinated as “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Kool-Aid? Want to talk about Kool-Aid, Joni?!?! Hospital ICUs are currently full of people like the Lambs and their credulous anti-vax Kool-Aid drinking followers.

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #25

Thanks for joining me today as we continue our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018).


Claim #25: I am a Catholic because Catholics, like their saints, are a little crazy

In this chapter, Kreeft posits that the two ideals of the human heart, truth and goodness, can either be contradictory or complementary. He argues that as a person draws closer to God, the more the polar opposite ideals merge and the more radical and “crazy” the person appears to the non-Catholic world. Kreeft presents the Catholic canonized “saints” as exemplars of this “craziness.” As a person moves farther away from God, argues Kreeft, the more they follow only truth, leading to pragmatism, cynicism, and selfishness. Kreeft presents Hitler and Machiavelli as examples of souls focused exclusively on truth/materialism/pragmatism.


This is probably Kreeft’s most philosophical and esoteric chapter to this point. I had to reread it multiple times to be able to decipher his main drift and compose the summary above. Innate in Kreeft’s argument is the Catholic teaching that a person becomes intrinsically holy/sanctified/righteous by availing themselves of the church’s sacraments, obeying the Ten Commandments and church precepts, and performing works of charity. Scripture contradicts the Catholic church’s salvation system and Kreeft’s esoteric philosophizing. The Bible declares there is none righteous, no not one, and that all of our impure “good deeds” are like filthy rags before perfectly holy God. All of us, “canonized saints” to the most heinous dictator, are sinners deserving of eternal punishment. But, God the Son, Jesus Christ, came to Earth and died for our sins. He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all those who accept Him as Savior by faith alone.

The Catholic “saints” appear as “crazy” to the world with their hyper-pious religious strivings, but beneath the hagiographical veneer are sinners attempting to merit their salvation according to the dictates of the Roman Catholic church. In our review of chapter 21 (see here), we examined how many of the Catholic saints of yesteryear were involved in the violent suppression of genuine believers and non-conformists or were mentally-ill ascetics who practiced self-harm. If rigorous religious piety was the measure of genuine spirituality, I imagine many Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist clerics “outdid” Catholic saints in their “craziness.”

Accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Religious über piety/craziness doesn’t save.

Next week: Claim #26: I am a Catholic because I know I should treat other people as if they were Christ