Sunday, 3 March, 2013, 04:18 PM - Not TFTDIt should have been Clemmie Day today but due to various distractions I never got around to it.
One of those distractions involved looking at some old papers belonging to my late mother. As I looked through various bits and pieces I happened to come across my Certificate of Baptism into the Catholic Church. This was an unexpected joy because this is the one document I needed in order to formally leave, or "defect", from the Catholic Church. Before finding this I had no idea where I was baptised and so I couldn't tell the local diocese to remove me from the register.
I remembered there was a site in Ireland with instructions on how to write to the diocese where you were baptised. They would then annotate the baptismal register and you would no longer be counted as a member of the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately, rather too many people were finding out about this and the number of people that the church could claim as Catholics was in serious danger of plummeting. Rome found an easy way to counter this: they simply deleted the procedure from Canon Law and so made it impossible to leave the church.
This is important. The Catholic Church claims to have 1.2 billion members worldwide. In reality the number is very much smaller than that. The figure of 1.2 billion is based almost entirely on the numbers of Catholic baptisms. (As Richard Dawkins pointed out, if they include everyone baptised as a Catholic then they would also have to include Hitler.) With no formal means available to remove your name from the list of Catholics, they can continue to promote this fiction as long as they like.
Not only is this a lie, I feel that it is also an infringement of the rights of those who were registered as Catholics against their will; I certainly never gave any informed consent that I wanted to be a Catholic. It might also be illegal. The European Convention on Human rights is quite clear.
ARTICLE 9 Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience
and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or
It could be argued that, by counting everyone who undergoes a Catholic baptism, as a Catholic for life, they are denying the right to change religion.
I'm thinking about writing to the Diocese of Motherwell regardless to see if they will cross me off the baptismal register. Not sure what to do if they refuse though.
Any legal experts out there?