How are things in the rest of Europe for those who no longer wish to be considered part of this or that religious institution? What are the procedures, the steps to take, bureaucracy-wise, in order to see the sacraments one has received in his or her childhood "deleted" or nullified? I know that in some countries, such as Finland, all it takes is an e-mail or little more.

As for Italy, things are a bit more complicated and cases of parish priests refusing to acknowledge someone's will not to be considered a Catholic any longer are not unheard of. Not to mention that a step like that can sometimes open real rifts within a family. Alas, I must admit that I still haven't had the courage to do it, although my atheism is no longer a secret in my family and I make no mystery of it. It's something that periodically pops up in my mind, I decide to do it but then realise that the consequences might be pretty harsh, so I end up asking myself the same old question over and over again: where should one draw the line between the need to be honest to oneself and holding on to one's own convictions on one side and the need to maintain necessary social ties to one's kin on the other? How do you find that balance?

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I'm considering committing apostasy, which is a fancy schmancy term for signing out of the Catholic Church. The problem is, it requires me to physically hand in the resignation to both the parish I'm living in and the one I was baptised in. It might also require dragging two "witnesses" along with me. (Right now I can't think of anyone who'd agree to come.) I'm a bit scared of the whole process, and I have no idea what am I going to do if the priest simply refuses to accept the resignation. My family won't support me.

Crap, now that I've written down all this, I might as well just go and try.
Yeah, I know the problem :/ I see they make things complicated there too...
My (Danish) husband had to fill out a form and mail it to the church. There were no social consequences. Most Danes aren't religious. My mother-in-law told me, "of course we are Christians, but only on Christmas." In other words, it's purely cultural, so no one really cares that much.
For me it was easy, I my parents did not believe in a god either. I think you should leave the church, many will follow. (my parents had to take this step, and they have never had any regret). The best way, I think, is to do this all to gether on one day. You will get media attention too!
No way anyone in my family is going to join me :D This country is seriously wrong, in more ways than I can possibly count...
You are not alone, many Italians share your atheism. By leaving the church all together I ment with fellow Italian atheists. Contact an Italian humanistic or atheistic organization and put an advertisement in the Italian newspapers. Pick a date, and with fellow Italian atheist sign out.
You could also leave by yourself, no media-attention.
In The Netherlands, I seized the first opportunity to have my 'religious denomination' cancelled in my civil status file. No problems and nobody offended. But then again, I wasn't a Roman Catholic.
I have lived in Italy now for six years, and I can see things are different here, socially and bureaucratically. Being Italian still seems to imply being catholic; leaving the flock could almost be seen as unpatriotic. Still, I'd love to see every nonbeliever leaving the Church of Rome - I imagine it would show rather dramatically in numbers of registered members.
I sent a letter to the church a few weeks ago, and it came back with a nice diploma saying I'm out. I was actually inspired by a facebook group that mobilised people to leave the church on that specific day. If the number of members was any indication, the Norwegian state church lost up to 2599 members. It was important for me to do that for several reasons, but one is the separation of church and state. As it is now, they'll still get a small sum of money for me and every person that is not a member of any other religious/humanist organisation. I hope that if enough people show their distance to the church, its position will have to be reevaluated.
It depends on the country you live in.
In Germany, Switzerland and Austria, you can get your religious affiliation off the civil register (Kirchenaustritt, look for freethinkers, etc., eg. or
In Italy, UAAR has campaigns.
In Hungary, there is no official database on citizens religion, only the churches' own records. There was a question on religious affiliation in the last census (2001), with 14% declaring they have no affiliation, and ca 1 million who weren't willing to tell (out of 10 million). Also, like the otto per mille in Italy, you can declare what denomination you want to give 1% of your income tax: in 2006, 69% made no declaration, 22% gave it to some church, and 9% chose the secular option.

Where there are no official porcedures, you can try to get yourself "cancelled" from baptism registers by referring to data protection laws, but you'll be more successful with an NGO backing you.
Your family needn't know, and I suppose if the parish tells them, you could (should) sue the priest (if the priest informs your family, I suppose that would be a good reason to give for your leaving: "I don't want to belong to such an indiscreet organisation :-)".
As to myself, I had stopped going to church with my father some years before and told him I didn't believe (he did not ever try to proselytise), but I told only my mother about having myself cancelled in the register (who said something like "I understand you, but I find that's an exageration").

Anyway, if your relatives know/suppose you don't believe, I suppose that's only a formality...
Here in Germany someones Religion it is a "non Toppic" Its Private for the most part.
And considering the "on paper" thing:
While Applying for a Passport u can write wich Religion they should put on your passport(not "Jedi") (i think the exact procedure differs from Federal State to Federal State)

The only problem we have in Germany is that Catholics and Muslims want to make their "private" religious Laws official Public law (e.g. in Stem Cell Research)

Thats why there are so Few Devout Atheists in can you be devoutover something that is normal?
There are devout Stem Cell Proponents....or defenders of Free Speech here...but no atheists!
Here in Austria it´s very simple - at the age of fourteen (or later) you inform your communal gouvernment (Bezirkshauptmannschaft oder Magistrat), either by showing up personal or by filling in some form by e-mail and declare, that you´re na longer with the church. You don´t have to tell why or explain anything, nor have you to demonstrate anything about at the church or for your priest. If the church tries to take any church-taxes thereafter, you simply don´t pay. As for social behaviour or punishment simply no one will care, ´cause it´s your privacy...

As being a international truckdriver for many years, and very often (and gladly) came to Italy, I guess I can understand your problems, but in the end, there´s only one solution : fa !, e non lascia la tua famiglia o la societa o il vaticano guidare te in una direzione falsa. me scusa, ma non parla bene la lingua italiana...because, ifn´t you do quit the church, I´m sure you will be unhappy and in severe doubt for the rest of your life, or until you finally do - even if that means to be cussed or laughed at or damned by your family, the priests or the society you live in; `cause as a man you´ve got do go your way, when nothing else, this one they will accept (maybe even understand...)

so don´t fear, all the people in here are with you...


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