Well, I tend to feel that if I voted with my feet, the Church would no longer have any reason to change. Besides, I care enough to want to be there when it gets better
For many, Catholicism is part of their identity, almost like their ethnicity. Their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on were all Catholic. If they (the ancestors) immigrated or converted, they may have been part of a minority community that was Catholic and rallied around its Catholicism. So rejecting the faith feels like rejecting one’s heritage. Not something to be done lightly.
I’ve also noticed that Catholics really enjoy the trappings of the Church. We really like the words of the liturgy, the music, the Church architecture, Joseph on the left of Jesus and Mary on the right, the stations of the cross.
Can I make a case for the “cafeteria Catholic”? I think I can. The Church believes that the Holy Spirit is guiding it to the truth. But, I think it would be arrogance to presume that at any given time (especially now) the Church knows the entirety of God’s truth. That is, there is always something that the Church is wrong about.
Historically, we can see that the Church does change. Through the actions of the Holy Spirit, guiding the Church? I believe so, that’s a reason I remain Catholic. So, how does the Holy Spirit affect the Church? Is it vertically (or from the top)? Does he just chat with the Pope when we’ve got things wrong? Or is it horizontally (bottom up) through the community of believers? Maybe the Pope has a priveleged position (infallible when speaking ex cathedra), but there’s a lot more of us laypeople.
I’m not claiming the the Church teachings are somehow determined by the majority. And I’m not claiming that I believe I’m free to pick and choose whatever beliefs I want and call them “Catholic”. But, when there is a difference between what God tells me and what the Church tells me, I think I have to listen to God.
As a hypothetical, say the church reversed their teaching on barrier methods of contraception (say, due to the AIDS crisis in Africa). Not their teachings on marriage and fidelity, but just on barrier methods of contraception. That means either a) they were wrong before, or b) they were wrong after. I would claim that the possibility of a) suggests one should not blindly accept church teaching at the current time, and the possibility of b) suggests that one should be prepared to not blindly accept church teaching in the future.
There are two alternatives to a) and b) above: c) the Church is correct about everything and thus could never reverse their teaching on (say) contraception, or b) the Church is always correct, because whatever they say is right. c) suggests that we know God perfectly at the present time, which I don’t believe. d) suggests that the Church controls or defines God, which I find an offensive belief.
Most Catholics who stay in the church despite doctinal differences just like being Catholic.