Leaving the Catholic Church no longer possible

Like many Irish people I was baptised when I was young. I'm not particularly religious, so I would like to 'leave' the Catholic Church.

For a while it looked like it was possible to leave the Roman Catholic Church, a process called 'defection'. An Irish site Count Me Out explained the process and gave you all the required forms to fill out.

However things have changed. The Catholic Church have changed their rules and no longer allow people to leave/defect. I filled in all the forms and sent them off. I got this letter back from them, basically saying you can't defect anymore, but they'll remember that I want to defect.

I'm considering what to do next.

Letter from the Archdiocese

This is the letter I received, (and to the left a transcript).

Archdiocese of Dublin The Chancellery

29th October 2010 Personal & Confidential

Dear _____

I am writing to you in response to your correspondence in which you confirmed your wish to leave the Catholic Church.

As you may have read in news reports, the Canon Law of the Catholic Church was recently change on this matter and it now no longer possible, as it was for some years, to make a formal act of defection from the Church.

The law concerning defectation, introduced in 1983, was designed especially to address the right to marry. THe intention was to facilitate the excercise of the right to marry by those Catholics who due to their estrangement from the Church were unlikely to wish a Church ceremony. The measure was thus to ensure that any marriage entered into after formal defectation would be valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. You will understand that this was something important to a spouse who would still have been a practising Catholic.

In the last few years a considerable number of Catholics have wished to make an act of formally defecting from the Church. They have done so for a variety of reasons such as: as a form of protest against or rejection of what the Church teaches; as a response to the reprehensible events surrounding and including the sexual abuse of children by priests and religious.

Many in the past have left the Church without following a formal process. While the de facto defectations do not have a legal effect, the Church would obviously hope that the desire of those who wish to leave the Church would be respected. The Archdiocese of Dublin will, as of now, maintain a register for those who wish their de facto defectation from the Church to be recorded. As a response to your request your name has now been recorded in this register.

It may be of interest for you to note that the Archdiocese does not make use of baptismal registers for calculating the Catholic population of the Archdiocese of Dublin. It relies solely on the data from the Central Statistics Office, obtained through teh census, by which citzens themselves choose to record, or not, their religious affiliation.

Yours sincerely,

SIGNATURE Revered Fintan Gavin Assistant Chancellor fintan@chancellery.org

Letter from Church saying I can't defect or leave

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