A Personal Case Study: My Faith Journey After My Children's Disaffiliation from the Catholic Church

Donald Kremer, Fordham University


Most studies of disaffiliation of children and young adults focus on the reasons that they have left their religious tradition but pay little attention to the impact on the parents who are left behind. This project centers on how the faith journey of the parents can change upon their children’s disaffiliation. It suggests that their children’s departure can trigger a reexamination of their own faith journeys, with the potential for growth and change in the second half of life. The author uses his own experience as a personal case study in a project that combines social and theological research and anthropological methods. The project is intended to be shared with other parents; it provides the basis for a potential ministry for other parents of disaffiliated children. The project is divided into three sections: research, listening, and conclusions/decisions. Part I, the research portion, consists of four chapters exploring religion, the domestic church, truth, and prophecy as shaped by the modern world. The purpose of the research is to establish a larger worldview beyond the author’s personal experience. In Part II, listening, the author uses two anthropological tools: autoethnography for listening to his own faith journey across his life, and ethnography in order to listen deeply to his children’s journey. In Part III, the author summarizes lessons learned in the research, autoethnographic, and ethnographic portions of the project. He discusses the potential for using the process and tools in a ministry for other parents. Finally, he shares second-half-of-life decisions based on insights learned. The project has three objectives. First, it explores the usage of autoethnographic and ethnographic tools to help parents work through their children’s disaffiliation. Second, it considers whether the action of filial disaffiliation can help the parents grow in their own faith journey. Third, it looks at whether these tools and processes can enable the parents to grow their relationships with their children and support their children’s religious decisions.

Subject Area

Religious education|Educational evaluation

Recommended Citation

Kremer, Donald, "A Personal Case Study: My Faith Journey After My Children's Disaffiliation from the Catholic Church" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29065004.