Why I Left The Church, Why I Came Back, and Why
I Just Might Leave Again: Memories of Growing Up
African American and Catholic

by Royal Palm Literary Award Winning Author, Jean K. Douglas

A prodigal soul drifts, searching for faith formation and a church that ’fits’,
enduring decades of intolerance, conflict and bigotry in the Catholic Church.


The 1960s, ‘70s, and ’80s were turbulent decades for the Catholic Church as it struggled to navigate the waters of racial injustice and the woman’s movement. Many studies document those troubled times from the outsider’s perspective, but almost none feature that of the insider. Douglas provides her readers with a new lens through which to view parochial teachings on race relations, integration, and gender roles. Her touching account of the ways priests, nuns, and her mother influenced her formative years reveals for the first time the conflicts faced by a Black girl trying to come to terms with her faith while growing up in poverty in an inner-city, single-mother household.

“With just the right balance of affection and anger, Douglas poignantly shows the paradox of a Church that both blesses and curses: healing with the love of Christ on the one hand, and wounding with the evil of racism on the other. Why I Left the Church gives a scathing look at how the Church’s message of Christ’s love can be blocked by clerical and lay bigotry. She makes a compelling case that the Church must face up to its own past and present racist failures before it can truly make disciples of all nations. In our increasingly global world, her message is timely and urgent. This book brought me to tears with its beauty and pathos. The Church better hope she doesn’t leave again---it needs her.”

Dr. Susan Peppers-Bates
Department of Philosophy, Women and Gender Studies Program
Stetson University

160 pages, paperback, $8.99
ISBN: 978-0-9789635-0-7
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