What has caused this apostasy? Why did my siblings who grew up as "Traditional" Catholics and who were critical of liberal Catholicism, change?
Here are some of the reasons (I assume):-
1. "I just can't be bothered"
Apathy must rank as the prime reason for the drift into oblivion. The gradual relaxation of the Sunday discipline of Mass has led to an eventual total blockage. The causes of apathy are legion but laziness is at the heart of it.
2. "I don't agree with some of the teachings of the Church"
What! You know better than the Pope and the Holy Doctors of the Church? I am quoting Fr Corapi here but it's a good point. If you have several post graduate qualifications in theology and philosophy, spent 30 or so years studying the Bible, and all things theological, can translate Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin and Ancient Greek, I might have some respect (minimal) for your view...but, if not you score nul points!
3. "I want our children free to make up their own minds when they are older"
So you allow them to eat as they will, without a knife and fork, at the table or on the floor - you allow them the freedom to play in a busy street without supervision?
Children need and demand guidance (and discipline). Cut them off from the Faith in their formative years and those souls will be lost forever, or, at the very least, it will be most unlikely that they will ever become Catholics or anything, for that matter.
4. "I cannot accept that the Pope is in charge and is infallible?"
We have to accept discipline and obedience when we become Catholics. Christ left His Church (His Mystical Body) in the hands of Peter. He did not appoint just St Peter, that would have been too limiting, He made the appointment of Father or Head of the Faith (Pope) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I have never had a problem with infallibility; the office of Pope carries infallibility with it when teaching on issues of Doctrine or when guiding Doctrinal issues with relation to developments within the social and political structure of the world. The Pope is not infallible when it comes to forecasting the weather or horse races, just the unchanging truths of the Catholic Faith.
5. "The Church is wrong on matters of contraception, IVF and AI"
What is meant is that they practice birth control and their friends are recipients of IVF services. When the conscience knows that it is wrong it is much simpler to walk away from something rather than face up to it. Again, obedience clicks in here. The Church teaches these things are wrong based on extensive researches and consultations, by expert religious and secular authorities.
6. "I don't need to go to Church and/or I don't need a formal religion to be holy, I believe in God and that is all that matters"
That is a cop out. We need the strength of a religious community around us (not essential but definitely very helpful). If someone gave up his life for you but, in so doing, requested that you remembered him by spending 45 minutes on your knees every Sunday, would you not do so? Remember, the Catholic Church is the actual Body of Christ Himself, by taking part in the Mass we fully embrace Our Lord as He wishes. It is also a mortal sin to wilfully miss Sunday Mass.
Belief in God is fine but you also must also have belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.
7. "All of my Catholic friends and family feel the same way"
In Chesterton's words: "Dead bodies float downstream, only live ones swim against it". Just because the majority believes something is right does not make it so, in fact, the reverse is invariably the case. Think for yourself, read the Catechism and some recent works on the subject of Faith. Do not be swayed by those around you who advocate heresy. Have the backbone to hold to what you know is the right course.
And it is worth noting the penalty for apostasy; if we wilfully and knowingly refuse the Mass, the Sacraments (especially, of course, our Easter duty) and the teachings of Christ....what can we expect in return?
Probably, *Hell and its torments for the rest of time, not worth the gamble in my book!
It is also worth remembering Fr Corapi's words: "No one ever gave up the Faith for a higher ideal"
It might be worth visiting St Faustina's vision of Hell - here it is:-