Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Count Me Out - Information for Those Considering Leaving the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).

A reader in Canada sent me a link to a website named "Count Me Out" which focuses on Catholics seeking to leave the Catholic Church in Ireland. The site also has links to similar sites in other countries. To my knowledge, no website yet exists for Catholics seeking to leave the Church in the USA. The concept behind the website is to let the Church hierarchy have outright "declarations of defection" combined with shrinking mass attendance and dwindling collection plate revenues as the reward of its malfeasance. In the larger picture, this site like ChurchOuting.org (which seeks to out closeted gay priests who do not speak out against the Church's anti-gay agenda) is aimed at bringing a real cost to the Catholic Church for its gross moral failings in protecting minors and for its interference with the CIVIL rights of LGBT citizens as recently occurred in Maine and elsewhere. Count Me Out describes the process as follows:
In order to formally leave the church you need to complete a "Declaration of Defection" form. We have automated this process so that, in 3 steps and with only simple details, we can produce all the required documentation. We also generate an accompanying cover letter that you are free to alter as you see fit. Alternatively, you can download a blank PDF or HTML copy of the form and fill it in yourself.
As for reasons an Irish Catholic might wish to leave the Church, the site lists the following reasons:

If you were baptised as a Catholic you are still counted among the congregation of the church, regardless of what beliefs you currently hold. Here are some reasons why you may wish to leave:
***You no longer subscribe to the Catholic ethos, or are a 'lapsed' Catholic and you
***Do not wish to be counted as a member;
***Are appalled by the revelations concerning clerical abuse and wish to formally leave the church as a symbolic action;
***Do not approve of the close relationship between the church and the Irish state and wish to contribute to its dismantling.
***You wish to join another faith/religion.
For those seeking to make a defection in Ireland, the cite offers diocese contact information and other information to complete one's statement of defection. For those outside of Irelandd, the form if properly completed looks like it would suffice in other countries. I guess I need to make a formal declaration myself and send it in to the Diocese of Richmond.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I did this last year and the Dallas Diocese made me jump through hoops to do it. I wrote to them asking for information on the process and was repeatedly told that I should come in for a chat about my decision to formerly leave the church, which I refused to do (I had no desire to be preached at or made to feel guilty for my decision). Finally, after I sent them a formal letter stating my intent to leave the church and why, they gave me the information that I needed. I still haven't heard back from the parish of my baptism regarding the letters I had to send them.
Basically it's a three step process, or so they told me. 1)You need to send them a letter manifesting your internal decision to leave and directed to a suitable church authority (for me it was a parish I had never, ever, attended); 2) Their formal acknowledgment of the letter; 3) Involves notifying the parish of your baptism (you need a copy of your baptismal certificate) and you should request in writing that the pastor make a notation into the baptismal register which indicates your "departure from the Catholic Church by a formal act." You will need to send a copy of their formal acknowledgment (step 2) to them as well.