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Tuesday 13 November 2007

Leaving the Irish Catholic Church, its easier then you think!

2013. The formal defection process has been changed and is seemingly no longer allowed via canon law, but you can still write to the Bishop of the area you were baptised in and ask for the register of baptism in the Church to be amended to note your wish to leave the Catholic Church using the rules that comply with Section 6 of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003. As recommended by the Data Protection Commissioner. See this example.

Recent Examples

De facto defection from the catholic church, best you can get in Ireland for the time being

Two people who had some sucess when the church applied Canon 751 and also Canon 1364, Membership of AI enough to get baptismal record annotated.

New Count me Out Automates the form filling process, count yourself out of the church.
New. Leaflet Version. Spread the Good News
UPDATE: But it seems they will still claim you. See Below

I'm cribbing this info from two or three other sources, but I'm just trying to spread the good word you know.

From Little Saint on the GCN boards.

Its quite simple, It’s referred to as a "Defection by Formal Act", and once you mention that in your letter, he'll know exactly what you mean.you mail the archbishop of Dublin, address below, and tell him under Vatican II, you wish to exercise your right to defect.

You must commit a formal act of defection. This act must include three parts: A) an internal act of will; B) an external manifestation of that act; and C) communication of the fact in writing to your local Bishop

Reverend Dr Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland,
Archbishop's House,
Dublin 9.

You’ll need to provide some additional information like where you were baptised, your parents names, godparents names, and of course the date you were baptised (and if you don't have this, your date of birth will do)

You’ll get a letter back with some reasons why you shouldn’t do this unspeakable thing, such as not being able to get married in a church, yadda yadda. Within a few days, my amended baptism certificate was sent to me with “defection” written all over it, and that was that:- no longer a Catholic. I now have it hanging on my wall, it’s a smashing conversation piece.

So I happened to come across the link to GCN via postdarwin, posted it to atheist.ie and someone who does not suffer from procrastination like me immediately wrote to their bishop for the form letter for Defection and received back these.

the text of the defection by formal act reads...

I___________________, do hereby give formal
notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I want it to be known that I no longer wish to be regarded as a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

I further declare that I am aware of the consequences of this act regarding the reception of the sacraments of the Church, including the sacraments of the Eucharist, marriage and the sick and also with regard to burial.

I undertake to make this decision known to my next of kin and to ensure that they are aware of these circumstances in the case of my being incapacitated.

I acknowledge that I make this declaration under solemn oath, being of sound mind and body, and in the presence of a witness who can testify as to the validity of this document.

Signed:_________ Address:_________
Witness:________ Address:_________

The cover letter reads

I enclose a Declaration of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church which I would ask you to sign and witness and returned to this office. I will then ensure that an annotation of this declaration is made in the baptismal register the relevant parish and diocese.

You will note the term annotation, it seems the church will not remove your name entirely from their records but will it be noted in the baptismal register with the words defectio ab Ecclesia catholica actu formali, or “defection from the Catholic Church by a formal act

”See this very interesting case study Catholic Church baptismal records deletion request not upheld. from the website of the data protection office for an explanation.

...it is my understanding that the data could not be deleted from the Register as it is essential for the administration of Church affairs to maintain a register of all the people who have been baptised. Indeed it is of course a factual record of an event that happened. However the proposed noting of the register would more than comply with Section 6 of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003.

Although you also have a Right of rectification or erasure and blocking.

So to summarise you should be able to print out, sign and send that defection form letter straight to the bishop of the diocese you were baptised in with at least
your name,
date of baptism,
parish church of baptism,
your date of birth,
your parents names,
and the local baptism records will be changed and you will be officially not catholic anymore (as if you ever really were).

The example received a confirmation of her defection.

Sorry old webpages dying, see defection responses here countmeout.ie website via the Internet Archive.

There seems to be no release.

From AB ECCLESIA CATHOLICA on the vatican website.

7. It remains clear, in any event, that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection.

With this news article confirming the actual view of a bishop on the issue.

Father Kloch explained, “It is necessary to emphasize that an apostate does not cease to be Christian.

A list of the 26 diocese of Ireland and their Bishops addresses.

Also read the discussion at the National Secular Societies UK website about whether you can stop being a Christian once you've been baptised and confirmed.

Check out atheist.ie for more discussion on this and similar topics.