I have been an atheist for may years now. However, it never occurred to me to actually formally cut my ties with the Catholic Church by making a formal declaration of defection. And I wouldn't have known how to do it or even whether it was actually possible to do it in a formal way. But I have now discovered that there is such a formal proces: the ACTUS FORMALIS DEFECTIONIS AB ECCLESIA CATHOLICA. A website has been started from where you can download a form to send to the diocese in which you were baptised. You can get it here: http://www.countmeout.ie/ . I have just downloaded and filled mine in ready to post on Monday.
You may think that formally defecting is a pointless exercise, especially if you haven't had contact witht the church for years. But consider this: you name remains on the register and the church can, and routinely does, count on your apparent continued allegiance when quoting membership statistics. This enables it to artifically shore up its authority. This practise is especially pernicious when it uses its falsely infalted membership statistics to oppose legislative changes on issues such as gay rights, abortion, euthanasia, contraception and divorce.
When you send the form in you will get a letter back asking you to respond before the defection can take effect. This is your chance to tell the church why you are leaving. I think the church needs to hear this, whether your reasons are to do with child sexual abuse by clergy or the church's so called 'teaching' on matters that promote inequality and injustice such as it's discrimination against women and gay people and its role in spreading aids becasue of its refusal to allow catholics to use condoms.
I would love to know how many from this site are brave enough and confident enough in their atheism to actually take the step and burn your imaginary bridges with this organisation.
Hmmm...well...my mother is a non-practicing Jew, my father is an agnostic in denial and I am an Athiest.
My parents sent us (four kids, I am the oldest) to Sunday school, southern baptist, primarily, in IMHO,
to get us out of the house. Free babystting. My parents never attended church with us.
There is no formal declaration to leave a baptist church as I understand. And we never stuck to any one church. We moved a lot when I was younger and we went to the closest church.
Well, I guess the only thang someone in your position can do is write to their last preacher and tell them why you no longer are a member of their congregation. It's not obligatory to do this but it may give you some closure of the religious abuse you suffered as a child.
However, in the case of the catholic church it is important because it (the church) led by Ratzinazi, imagines itself as a soveriegn state with subjects who became subjects via baptism.
If the vatican is a state is is only so by virtue of its concordat with Mussolini and its hopping into bed with the Nazis. Do not let them get away with this or the institutionalised sexual abuse of hundres of thousands of innocent children by priests who Ratzinazi hid and protected from teh law by moving them from place to place and insisting that they had some ridiculous right to be dealt with under canon rather than the law of thecountries where innocent children were raped and tortured.
Ratzinazi ought to be tried in the international criminal court for his sins against children and crimes against humanity.
Please read Jeoffrey Robinson QC's The Case of the Pope. It will make your hair stand on end! These creatures are vile!!!!
Children are being molested every day by known pedophiles placed in churches by an uncaring leadership. The vatican is paying hush money to the victims, while doing their best to hide the pervert priests. The Catholic Church has stifled scientific and social progress and is responsible for the deaths of millions over the centuries. This is the heritage and culture of the Catholic Church that you're so proud of.
But we can overlook that stuff, as long as we don't disappoint Granny, and look pretty as we walk down the aisle of the church that has been such a detriment to humanity. No reason to "make a fuss". It's "not at all important".
>>Some of this help may have been horrible for humanity in the long run, but it was done with good intentions.
>>Why shouldn't I "use" the Church for whatever I can get out of them?
These two statements tell me all I need to know. Thanks for clarifying.
It seems leaving the Church is tougher than I thought.
I sent my formal letter of defection to the Archdiocese of Seattle. (I was baptized in Northridge, CA). Here's the relevant parts of their reply (minus the polite pleasantries):
"Please be assured that there exists no "master list" of Catholics, whether locally, nationally, or at the Vatican. If you are on a mailing lists from any Catholic institutions and wish to cease receviing their mailing, please inform them directly as they each maintain their own lists.
You note that you were baptized in the Catholic Church, and a record of this event exists at the parish in which the baptism took place. We are unable to destroy or alter this record since it records an historical event important for the Church..."
...yadda yadda, the rest of the letter pretty much tells me I have to let my family know of my status for funerals and what not, but the Church won't do anything about it.
Now I know the Count Me Out thing is currently in limbo (though the Church officially abolished limbo some time ago haha) as the Vatican has issued a very confusing set of legalese directives regarding official defection. I've poured over the internet trying to nail down how to proceed. What I can come up with so far is that the Church won't destroy baptismal records, and I'm 100% fine with that. They are genuine historical records, and I wouldn't want them destroyed. But apparently you can have your baptismal record marked as "this person has officially defected" on the record. Ergo, the Church can't count you among their millions. I think this denial of a master list is baloney...there probably isn't a centralized master list per se, but the Church must somehow keep track of their numbers...especially when they want to throw their weight around. Obviously the Seattle office DID check into my baptismal record in California. So why did they bother verifying my baptism if they couldn't do anything about it? Hmmmmm....
So, can anyone give me advice on how to proceed?