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Wish list for the new pope: Would anything bring you back to the church?

One out of every 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic, according to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. If lapsed Catholics were a separate denomination, they would be the third-largest religious subgroup in the country.

That's a lot of people.

But faith is a fraught and deeply personal thing for so many of us, and religious experience can't always be neatly captured with labels or quantified through survey data.

So when Salon asked our lapsed Catholic readers if Pope Benedict XVI's resignation might signal a new direction for the church -- and what that might mean for their beliefs -- the responses we received expressed a thoughtful, sometimes painful, engagement with ideas of faith, family and community.

Like so many other Catholic "in-betweeners," Eleanor Parker Sapia hasn't left the church but struggles to reconcile its conservative doctrine with her progressive values.

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