How many atheists have formally defected from the Church?

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:  . 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.



Views: 566

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

courage, confidence
I did formally cut my ties to the Mormons. I have not bothered with the Methodists though.
I almost wish I used to be Catholic so I could do this. Almost. But I was never formally a member of my Babtist church.
Although it's good to get your name off their ranks, it's funny they still consider you Catholic...

Clause 7 of ACTUS FORMALIS DEFECTIONIS AB ECCLESIA CATHOLICA: 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.

Once a Catholic, always a Catholic...
Rigbyt, I think that's right. The collection box is actively hoovered out at the end of the day, but no church ever looks in the suggestion box. For these defections to have much meaning, they would have to be public somehow.
Are you saying that a mass formal defection from the church would not make them start to worry? I don't think that is right. Their power stems from their numbers and like a political party, if the rank and file start to defect in large numbers they have to start listening. I really disagree with this attitude of "Oh, what's the use!" We come into this place and discuss nice philosophical points but we never do anything pratical to move the cause forward, to ameliorate the harm caused by religion. We need a more "Can do" attitude. Formaly defecting from the church, however small the impact of each individual defection, is a practical and useful step and, if enough do it, will have an impact.
robbrownsyd, I think defections do have an impact, and the proof is that in the US and other developed countries, Catholic church attendance and donations have been dropping for decades. So much so that the church has had to close churches and schools. I'm just saying that a formal declaration that isn't public doesn't do much good by itself. The Catholic Church doesn't have to acknowledge it. They do have to deal with declining attendance. And as Rigbyt points out, they've been doing that by moving the con to Africa.

I think formally defecting is a fine idea. I just think public defections would have more PR impact, and simply never giving them more money is the best defection.
Here is the sort of letter you will recieve after formally defecting from the church. Note that they give an undertaking to amend teh records to show that one has left teh church.

Dear X,

Your letter of December 12, 2004 to Monsignor ------ was forwarded to this office by him. In your letter, you present a formal act of defection from the Catholic Church.

From reading your letter, it is clear to me that your decision is freely made and is without reservation or equivocation.

X, consider this letter as an acknowledgement of your formal departure from the Roman Catholic Church.

The parish of your baptism is being notified of your departure and will annotate its records to show that you have left the Roman Catholic Church.

Sincerely yours,

(Source on request)

You say a million Americans would need to do it. My response to that is that we must start somewhere. And the sooner the better. My letter is in the post.

Where this especially matters is in the case of countries where churches receive government funding based on their membership count.  In those cases, if you don't renounce your membership, the church continues to get taxpayer money because of your membership.


This doesn't apply to the US, obviously, but as the URL in the OP hinted at, it's a big issue in Ireland.

It depends on what church you attended before. I think the Methodists just put you on an inactive list and eventually remove you entirely with no effort on your part. However, they also won't try to force you into any Methodist heaven you don't want to go to either.
I have. Haven't heard back yet, though. Sent it... a week, ten days back?
Just sent mine off today... will let everyone know when I hear back.




Update Your Membership :



Nexus on Social Media:

Latest Activity

© 2020   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service