Leaving the Flock

Paul Constant has an enraged plea for excommunication in The Stranger. Constant writes:

I demand to be excommunicated because I do not believe women are second-class citizens. I demand to be excommunicated because your missionaries are informing impoverished citizens of third-world countries that birth control is a sin when it is in fact the single most important thing they could do to gain some small amount of control over their economic situation and health. I demand to be excommunicated because your church has become a hate group as virulent as any this world has ever seen, one that is unnaturally obsessed with the sex lives of good men and women across the planet. I demand to be excommunicated because I do not condone child rape or the concealment of child rape.

I don’t think any sane bishop would excommunicate even the most heretical baptized Catholic these days, simply because they need the numbers. In fact, I wonder just who does get excommunicated these days. What do you have to do, deny the Holocaust? Rape deaf children? Masturbate in private?

There is an easier way, Paul. It’s called debaptism. In Italy they do it every year. There is also a UK version.

Raffaele Carcano of Italy’s UAAR, in an interview with the author of this blog, said:

So-called debaptism is nothing more than the legal translation of a basic human right: the right to change religion, or have none at all. Debaptism (in Italy) makes a break with the Catholic Church, and therefore the right not to be denigrated by the Church for one’s behavior.

Italian law has unfortunately recognized that, in questions of faith, the baptized are “subject” to the ecclesiastical hierarchies and must be “obedient” to them. Debaptism serves to avoid this. One can also debaptize … because one doesn’t share certain attitudes of the Church. […] Anyone can find the reason he or she prefers.

Take heart, Paul. I bet if you write the UAAR an email they will walk you through the process.

4 thoughts on “Leaving the Flock

  1. good hint :)

    in fact to leave a church one must make a “public” act of “apostasy” which the debaptism is all about :)
    than you must make the church register it (just in case!) in Italy we did it through the law :)

  2. Debaptism in Italy actually just means asking the parish to write a note on their registry: “X declared his/her will not to be part of the Catholic Church anymore”. According to canon law this causes excommunication latae sententiae, as you are an apostate! How cool is that? :)

    I’m not sure if the same canon law applies to catholics worldwide. The church in Italy was actually forced to mahe that note by local privacy regulations (they keep a record about you and you have the right to have it updated).

  3. The process is called Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica. It’s basically a statement of defection and quite easy to do in most places. They won’t erase your baptism records, but they will add a notation about the fact that you quit. Check out http://www.countmeout.ie. The basic procedure is standard worldwide, or at least based on a 2006 vatican ruling. I have heard that it’s absurdly difficult in Poland where they impose a 2-year wait and all sort of arbitrary road blocks. I live in the U.S. and it only took about two weeks for mine to go through.

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