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.



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Thanks for this!
I'll do it. I'll let you know how it goes.
I've sent the paperwork to my local diocese, and have received a reply from them. I have not received anything from the diocese or the parish in which I was baptized. Here's the text of the reply I received:

Diocese of Manchester
Office of Canonical Services and Tribunal
Sept 1, 2010

Dear Mr. Bulka:

It was with regret that I learned of your request for formal defection from the Roman Catholic Church as stated in your August 26, 2010 notification. Please know that I would be happy to meet with you to clarify any misunderstandings that might have arisen. If travel to Manchester is difficult, perhaps I could refer you to one of our parish priests in closer to your area to help you discern God's call in your life.

If neither of these options is sensible, and I do not hear from you by September 21, 2010, I will inform the pastor of Saint Andrew's Church in Bayonne, New Jersey, so that the proper notation may be added to your baptismal records.

Wishing you well, and assuring you of my willingness to assist you further, I am

Sincerely Yours,
Rev. Msgr. Donald J. Gilbert, J.C.L.
Judicial Vicar
They act as though you were cancelling a credit card.  "We're prepared to offer you extra bonus miles with each 'Hail Mary' if you would only reconsider. mother is a non-practicing Jew, my father is an agnostic in denial and I am an Athiest.


My parents sent us (four kids, I am the oldest) to Sunday school, southern baptist, primarily, in IMHO,

to get us out of the house.  Free babystting. My parents never attended church with us.


There is no formal declaration to leave a baptist church as I understand.  And we never stuck to any one church.  We moved a lot when I was younger and we went to the closest church.



Well, I guess the only thang someone in your position can do is write to their last preacher and tell them why you no longer are a member of their congregation. It's not obligatory to do this but it may give you some closure of the religious abuse you suffered as a child.

However,  in  the case of the catholic church it is important because it (the church)  led by Ratzinazi, imagines itself as a soveriegn state with subjects who became subjects via baptism.

If the vatican is a state is is only so by virtue of its concordat with Mussolini and its hopping into bed with the Nazis. Do not let them get away with this or the institutionalised sexual abuse of hundres of thousands of innocent children by priests who Ratzinazi hid and protected from teh law by moving them from place to place and insisting that they had some ridiculous right to be dealt with under canon rather than the law of thecountries where innocent children were raped and tortured.

Ratzinazi ought to be tried in the international criminal court for his sins against children and crimes against humanity.


Please read Jeoffrey Robinson QC's The Case of the Pope. It will make your hair stand on end! These creatures are vile!!!!


I went to this page to make my declaration as a defector.  They have suspended their process secondary to changes in Canon Law.  I guess the church is bleeding members and needs to shore up their numbers a little.
I don't think I'm "ready" to formally leave the Catholic church. It has nothing to do with bravery, or being "confident enough in [my] atheism," but rather with a feeling that it would be cutting ties with my heritage, my culture. I equate Catholicism with Judaism in the cultural aspects - some things you just cannot escape.

I'm also concerned about my grandmother - if by chance I die before her, I don't care what happens to my body and I know she'll want me to have a Catholic burial. I hate the idea of it, but not enough to make a fuss since it's so important to her and not at all important to me. The rest of my family knows just to give me to science, but she's... special :D.

I also... well, it's silly. I don't want to be married in a Catholic church, but I want that option to remain open to me - they're just so pretty! Maybe it's a hold over from my young ideas of weddings, etc. (such a girl, I know!), but I just can't let that go.


Children are being molested every day by known pedophiles placed in churches by an uncaring leadership.  The vatican is paying hush money to the victims, while doing their best to hide the pervert priests.  The Catholic Church has stifled scientific and social progress and is responsible for the deaths of millions over the centuries. This is the heritage and culture of the Catholic Church that you're so proud of.


But we can overlook that stuff, as long as we don't disappoint Granny, and look pretty as we walk down the aisle of the church that has been such a detriment to humanity.  No reason to "make a fuss".  It's "not at all important".


I never said that I was proud of the Catholic Church. In ways I am, and in many more ways I am not. I say the same thing about being American and even a member of the human race. I do not condone the atrocities that the Catholic Church has committed, but I do recognize that all are not at fault because of the actions of the few. I believe, however naively and optimistically, that most people involved in the Church are so because they believe it is right, good, and they want to help humanity - not be a detriment to it. The upper echelons, where society is more political than religious, is a different story.

The Catholic Church, as a whole, has done a lot to "help" the world. Some of this help may have been horrible for humanity in the long run, but it was done with good intentions. They have centuries of history - anything lasting that long will undoubtedly have horrors.

I'm not here to defend the Catholic Church, I definitely left it for many reasons. Yes, I associate myself with it culturally - you can't pick and choose how you were raised, and it is a part of my family mores and my own history. "Cutting ties" with the Catholic Church is a meaningless action. I don't need a piece of paper to say what I do and do not believe, and as the above respondents said - they'll count me anyway. So why should I take an action that would in no way benefit anyone? It doesn't hurt the Catholic Church if I defect, but it does limit my own possibilities. Why shouldn't I "use" the Church for whatever I can get out of them? And why shouldn't I, if it even happens, give comfort to my Grandmother in the only way I'll be able to after death, by allowing her to bury me as she would like?

>>Some of this help may have been horrible for humanity in the long run, but it was done with good intentions.


>>Why shouldn't I "use" the Church for whatever I can get out of them?


These two statements tell me all I need to know. Thanks for clarifying.


Hi folks:


It seems leaving the Church is tougher than I thought.


I sent my formal letter of defection to the Archdiocese of Seattle. (I was baptized in Northridge, CA). Here's the relevant parts of their reply (minus the polite pleasantries):


"Please be assured that there exists no "master list" of Catholics, whether locally, nationally, or at the Vatican. If you are on a mailing lists from any Catholic institutions and wish to cease receviing their mailing, please inform them directly as they each maintain their own lists.


You note that you were baptized in the Catholic Church, and a record of this event exists at the parish in which the baptism took place. We are unable to destroy or alter this record since it records an historical event important for the Church..."


...yadda yadda, the rest of the letter pretty much tells me I have to let my family know of my status for funerals and what not, but the Church won't do anything about it.

Now I know the Count Me Out thing is currently in limbo (though the Church officially abolished limbo some time ago haha) as the Vatican has issued a very confusing set of legalese directives regarding official defection. I've poured over the internet trying to nail down how to proceed. What I can come up with so far is that the Church won't destroy baptismal records, and I'm 100% fine with that. They are genuine historical records, and I wouldn't want them destroyed. But apparently you can have your baptismal record marked as "this person has officially defected" on the record. Ergo, the Church can't count you among their millions. I think this denial of a master list is baloney...there probably isn't a centralized master list per se, but the Church must somehow keep track of their numbers...especially when they want to throw their weight around. Obviously the Seattle office DID check into my baptismal record in California. So why did they bother verifying my baptism if they couldn't do anything about it? Hmmmmm....

So, can anyone give me advice on how to proceed?








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