Anne Rice: Best-Selling Novelist Explains Catholic Church Exit

Anne Rice has never been one to mince words.

When her novel "Interview With the Vampire" was made into a movie, she publicly declared her dissatisfaction with lead actors Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt (although she later changed her mind).

Vampire Author Quits the Church
'Vampire' Author Quits the Church

These days, from her home near Palm Springs, Calif., Rice regularly posts reviews of books, records and movies on Amazon.com. She also maintains a very active Facebook page -- on which she recently posted something rather incendiary.

"Today I quit being a Christian," Rice wrote. "I'm out."

VIDEO: Anne Rice talks about her new book, "Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana."
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She went on to call Christians, as a group, "quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deservedly infamous."

"I reached a point where I felt that I couldn't be complicit any longer in the things that organized religion was doing. I really saw it as a fairly simple repudiation, you know? I was exonerating myself," Rice said in an interview with ABC News. "I was saying, 'Look, when you -- when you see the persecution of gay people by the Mormon Church or the Catholic Church, I'm not part of this. I'm out. I don't support this anymore. When you see the oppression of women. I'm not part of it. I'm stepping aside. This follower of Christ is not part of that Christianity.' That's really what I thought to say."

Anne Rice: From Catholic to Atheist to Committed Catholic

Rice was raised in a strict Catholic household in New Orleans, but she became an atheist at age 18 and identified that way for most of her adult life. In fact, her vampire novels were written from an atheist perspective.

"My vampire characters are always talking about the question of, 'We don't know anything about God. We don't know anything about the devil. What are we doing? What -- you know, is life worth it? Can we live a meaningful life?' I thought I was talking about the way things were. That there was no God. That there was no devil. And that it was tough. It was hard. We were living in a basically meaningless world where there were no answers and never would be. We would die without ever really knowing why we had been here."

"I mean the vampire for me was perfect metaphor for the way I felt," Rice said. "Like a lost soul roaming in the darkness without God. And I poured a lot of my despair and my unhappiness and my grief for my lost faith into those books."

In 1998, she says she experienced a conversion.

"That sudden realization that I truly believed in God, that I was not an atheist, that maybe I'd never been an atheist, that I'd believed in God and I wanted to go home through the doors of my childhood church. The Catholic Church was the only church I'd ever known. And I -- I knew there would be complications. I knew it would be difficult. I knew there were probably things that the church taught that I would find very hard, but at the moment of that conversion I was really convinced that it would all work out," she said.

For the last 12 years, she lived as a committed Catholic, surrounded by religious statues, artwork and hundreds of Bibles. Instead of writing about vampires, she switched to writing about Christ and angels, in books like "Of Love and Evil," the latest in her "Songs of the Seraphim" series, which comes out this fall.

She said even though she knew she might struggle with the church's stance on social issues, she wasn't prepared for how frustrated she would become.

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