Anne Rice: Best-Selling Novelist Explains Catholic Church Exit

Anne Rice: Critics Speak Out

In the meantime, her announcement has generated an enormous response in newspapers, on blogs and on cable TV.

In a country where a growing number of people -- now 17 percent -- say they have "no religion," Rice's story touched a nerve.

Though Rice said the e-mails and Facebook messages she's received have been overwhelmingly supportive, she's had critics.

In a statement Aug. 6, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called Rice's decision a tragedy.

"Anne Rice started as a believing Catholic; then she quit the church; then she rejoined the church; now she has quit again. All of this is amusing as it is sad, and would be of no interest to the Catholic League save for her parting shots at the Catholic Church," league president Bill Donohue said.

"I'm familiar with Bill Donohue and the Catholic League," Rice said. "I received many wonderful, generous e-mails from the priests that I've known over the years. Many kind, generous e-mails that just say, 'We're praying for you. We hope you come back. We hope you change your mind.' And I'm very moved by that response and I take it more to heart than anything said by Bill Donohue and the Catholic League."

Rice said there are plenty of people involved in organized religion who are doing positive things. But she said that she -- like a growing number of Americans -- is out.

"I did what I felt I had to do for my conscience, but. obviously, this has implications for the group. Let's hope and pray something good will come out of it."

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