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← Off The Record: A Quest For De-Baptism In France

Off The Record: A Quest For De-Baptism In France - Comments

78rpm's Avatar Comment 1 by 78rpm

In the thread about Muslims wanting to ban dogs in The Netherlands there was some disagreement as to whether levity was appropriate. However, I'm all for levity over the Catholic Church's statements here.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:31:15 UTC | #913939

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 2 by potteryshard

Because the church claims that the sacrement creates an irrevocable change in the person, making de-baptism impossible, it would seem to be a viable tactic to force them to demonstrate that alledged change in court, or expunge the records.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:35:14 UTC | #913941

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 3 by drumdaddy

If the Catholic Church can excommunicate freethinkers, then freethinkers can excommunicate the Catholic Church and commence with the requisite shaming, shunning, and banishment. Who really cares if the church goes along willingly or amends it's records. The excommunication can remain in effect until the church formally renounces the Apostles' Creed and openly repents and makes amends for past sins.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:36:49 UTC | #913944

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 4 by Rich Wiltshir

I have a letter from the archdeacon of the area in which my mother was forced to offer me for adoption. It acknowledges my rejection of their rancid little tradition that was imposed on me whilst in one of their children's homes in the 1960's.

It took many months to overcome the archdeacon's obfuscations, but when I offered to visit his offices to discuss the matter, this arrived, (An edited version appears here):

Dear Rich

I understand you have been communicating with the Diocesan Office with regards to your baptism records.

In accordance with your wishes, I acknowledge that you completely reject the sacrament of baptism which was conferred upon you as an infant.

I sincerely hope that this enables you to find a resolution to your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

I've held back details of the location because my birth name is rare and my mother's husband and other children don't know of my existence. I'd hate for them to learn of her long secret unless it is her desire.

The subject of unbaptism and tracing birth relatives, including my terminally inebriate father, will be part of the narrative in my next book.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:46:55 UTC | #913949

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 5 by Rich Wiltshir

One of the ridiculous and patronising reasons offered to deny my request was "it's can't be done." The fool archdeacon didn't defend against my observation that a babe in arms does not, in legal terms, have "a capacity to contract."

It's good that we challenge the revenue-raising activity of baptism. Let the buffoons incur the cost of defending against the arrogant assertions they've imposed. Their wealth was extruded from our ancestors by means of manipulation and deceit, bullying and threat, contempt and usury.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:53:12 UTC | #913952

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 6 by aroundtown

Maybe it's just me as I can be cynical at times but I just don't get it on this de-baptism thing. Demanding or seeking a superstitious act to cancel out the original superstitious act that is nothing more than a man in some dumb ass robes putting some water on you and saying your pledged to the non-existant guy/gal/whatever thing in the sky just seems goofy. I can understand it to a point I guess. I had been baptized and thought about this early on when I ditched the religious crud but I came to my senses and realized what a nothing act it would be. No time for that nonsense.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:57:00 UTC | #913954

Sample's Avatar Comment 7 by Sample

I admire Rene LeBouvier's principles.

Mike

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:59:34 UTC | #913956

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 8 by aroundtown

I can understand where some of this is coming from maybe. Once you realize you've had the wool pulled over your eyes from accepting religion as real you can come out the other side somewhat bitter when you wake up. For me it was a little more than bitter and I would just say absolutely pissed off that it took so long to leave it. I can see him asking for his hypothetical soul back I suppose or pound of flesh that they extracted from him.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:05:49 UTC | #913958

brighterstill's Avatar Comment 9 by brighterstill

Comment 2 by potteryshard :

Because the church claims that the sacrement creates an irrevocable change in the person, making de-baptism impossible, it would seem to be a viable tactic to force them to demonstrate that alledged change in court, or expunge the records.

I would love it if the Catholic Church were forced, in a court of law, before the whole world, to try and demonstrate that baptism actually effected a physical change in a person, their morality, their thoughts or feelings. I can just imagine ten people, five touched with holy water, five with profane water - let's study the difference!

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:17:39 UTC | #913963

brighterstill's Avatar Comment 10 by brighterstill

Comment 3 by drumdaddy :

If the Catholic Church can excommunicate freethinkers, then freethinkers can excommunicate the Catholic Church and commence with the requisite shaming, shunning, and banishment. Who really cares if the church goes along willingly or amends it's records. The excommunication can remain in effect until the church formally renounces the Apostles' Creed and openly repents and makes amends for past sins.

Hey, there's a thought: perhaps freethinkers could request to be excommunicated by their former church of bondage... Does anyone from a more antiquated religious background know of the quickest way to earn excommunication? You used to only have say "the pope isn't infallible" but now that's just small talk.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:21:21 UTC | #913966

Fujikoma's Avatar Comment 11 by Fujikoma

I was baptised by my parents through no fault of my own. If I google search my name, I come up as being a catholic even though I've never signed up for their club (recently, to verify what was floating around that was tied to my name). It seems that they don't want to whittle away at their list, since it provides the catholic church with a commercial opportunity to brag about their large membership and how that somehow relates to infringing on the rights of others. Considering that they don't qualify it as an infant baptism (involuntary), then I would think it would simply be a matter of libel to claim said person as a member when they most clearly aren't. I can see why he wouldn't care to be associated with an organization known for covering up the acts of child molesters.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:37:32 UTC | #913975

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 12 by glenister_m

Typical of religious thinking, that once a member of the religion (whether you had the choice or not), always a member of the religion.

I'm the only one of my siblings who was baptized (church of england), and probably the least interested in having been (We're all atheists, but I'm more 'militant' than they are). So when I was last in England (1990's), I toyed with the idea of going to church and asking to be excommunicated (or equivalent), since as it happened April 1 was on a sunday that year and it seemed kind of appropriate. However I chickened out, partially because I had better/more important things to do with my time.

I still think it would be a fun prank to do sometime, but being baptized is a meaningless ritual to me, so its not going to make a difference to my life if I never get around to it. However if their being able to claim me as a member of the church did make a difference to society, then I would get off their list as soon as I could.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:37:58 UTC | #913976

Sample's Avatar Comment 13 by Sample

While the records are of a supertitious nature, it nevertheless takes real power away from Catholicism. That much is clear or it wouldn't be fought against by the Church.

Mike

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:44:04 UTC | #913982

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 14 by SomersetJohn

I've been thinking. (Again.)

The Catholic Church does seem to make it hard for someone to delisted as a Catholic. It is, I think, reasonable to assume that the Church gains some benefit by counting that person as a member of the Church. g Given that membership of the Church is, for a person who wishes to not be a member of the Church, non voluntary, would it be reasonable to insist the Church pays such a non-voluntary member a suitable daily stipend which would continue until the ended the involuntary membership of the individual.

The daily amount, and frequency of payment (weekly, monthly, annually?) would need to be established by law. Not sure Legal Aid would cover the costs.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:59:10 UTC | #913991

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 15 by Mr DArcy

I'm lucky. My name is on no church register. My dad however was a proper Catholic, even an alter boy! He left at age 17, when the priest told him that he couldn't read Alexander Dumas! "No bloody priest is going to tell me what I can read" was my dad's response, as he picked his book back off the floor. Luckily for me, my dad never looked back, but I'm sure his name is still in a RCC record somewhere!

I'm pretty certain that my dad's attitude to being de-baptised would have been that it was a waste of time and effort. The RCC can claim as many adherents as it likes, but if the reality doesn't match their records then I know which one I will believe! It reminds me of Gogol's novel Dead Souls

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:04:12 UTC | #913995

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 16 by prettygoodformonkeys

Kaslyn says baptism changes one permanently before the church and God.

Well, LeBouvier wants it changed, because he doesn't believe it. Does he now think they have the power to unbaptize him....?

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:31:01 UTC | #914006

Daryl 's Avatar Comment 17 by Daryl

I have no way of knowing this, but my guess is one reason the baptismal removal couldn't take place is that it was probably never asked. I can see why it would flummox a priest; why would someone want to voluntarily remove themselves from a ceremony considered sacred. I grant you, it's just a water splash, so why can't they simply scribble in the margins: "Baptism refused," and call it a day? Because as I said, they never thought how, and they can't relinquish the power. Because once someone does it, getting publicity, and he or she isn't struck down by angry lightning, then lots of people will realize the church has no power. Meaning fewer contributions. Meaning less money. In the end, always follow the money.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:35:33 UTC | #914010

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 18 by mirandaceleste

Although I can certainly see the value of de-baptism in countries like Ireland, where the government bases some of its policies on the number of "registered" (for lack of a better word) Catholics living in the country.:

Formally defecting from the [Irish] Catholic church sends an unambiguous message that you no longer wish to be counted in a statistic used to justify the church's role in the state's social services.

(From countmeout.ie)

...I've never quite understood the practical purpose of de-baptism in countries like France (which, if I'm not mistaken, despite its history of government entanglement with Catholicism, is now quite committed to secularism) or the United States. For personal purposes, I can understand why someone would want to go through the process: they may feel that being de-baptized will bring them some sort of emotional closure, or they may feel that it is important to no longer be connected to the Church in any way.

However, as an (American) ex-Catholic, although I respect those ex-Catholics who feel the need to pursue a de-baptism for personal reasons, I can't relate to their feelings in the least. I see it this way: when I left Catholicism at age 16, I became an apostate. Apostasy is a mortal sin/delicta graviora that results in immediate and automatic excommunication latae sententiae. And, although Canon Law (and Catholic clergy like Rev. Robert Kaslyn) asserts that an excommunicated Catholic is still a Catholic (although a tainted one) who is obligated to go to Mass, etc., the only way that an excommunicated Catholic can be absolved of their sins and have their excommunication reversed/resolved is through:

…a declaration of repentance, profession of the Creed (if the offence involved heresy), or a renewal of obedience (if that was a relevant part of the offending act) by the excommunicated person, and the lifting of the censure (absolution) by a priest or bishop empowered to do this. "The absolution can be in the internal (private) forum only, or also in the external (public) forum, depending on whether scandal would be given if a person were privately absolved and yet publicly considered unrepentant."

…and neither I nor any other ex-Catholic I've ever encountered would "repent" or declare our "renewal of obedience", etc., in a million years.

So, long story short: once you become an apostate, you're no longer a Catholic, despite what Canon Law says. You're excommunicated. You're done. And, for me at least, that's more than enough. However, if I lived in a country like Ireland where there are practical and important reasons to pursue de-baptism, my feelings would be different, as, in that context, it would go behind the personal to the political/practical.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:50:55 UTC | #914018

Sensible's Avatar Comment 19 by Sensible

I was baptized catholic, but as I became convinced of the folly of all religious dogmas, rituals and fairy tales, I decided too that it was time to end the charade. The simple solution was to rip up and burn my baptismal certificate. End of story. It is totally meaningless to have been granted magical powers by the splash of a bit of water and the mumbling of some irrelevant mysterious verbiage.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:59:01 UTC | #914022

blitz442's Avatar Comment 20 by blitz442

Comment 18 by mirandaceleste

Steven Mading had a very good post a while back about debaptism or formal severance from the RCC when you leave.

Although I find the ceremony itself silly, I don't find the paperwork that accompanies it silly. If you are being counted among the membership rolls for a church merely because of a baptism that occurred without your consent as a child, getting your name off those rolls by officially declaring that you have left that church is a worthwhile thing to do. The Catholic church likes to pretend it has an even larger membership than the large amount it probably actually does have, by counting every baptized person as a member, even if they've never set foot in a church in decades. Most ex-catholics who lose their faith and leave the religion (or never really were really believers in the first place but their parents were so they got baptised) don't bother saying anything about it officially to the church - they just stop showing up so the church views them as a Catholic who's just been derelict in showing up for mass (for years and years) but is still a Catholic. In his speech on the Protest the Pope day, Richard pointed out the hypocrisy of the Church trying to disown Hitler under the argument that just because he was baptised as a Catholic that isn't enough to really mean he is one, when that's precisely the metric they use to claim how large their flock is worldwide.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:59:38 UTC | #914023

StephenH's Avatar Comment 21 by StephenH

I know it's stating the obvious

Has anyone tried asking a one year old first, whether they would prefer to be baptised or not?

In fact, they haven't a bleedin clue about what is happening

Eurgh!! what's this horrible cold water being splashed on my head !! insert various wailing noises

What the hell are these dumb ass adults doing.. .thinking the water holds special qualities, because it's been blessed by that man over there in the corner... who seems to be wearing a robe

I suggest that a reverse procedure is not possible, because the original procedure is some kind of ritual that is carried out by people believing that something significant is going on... when in fact nothing is going on... other than a bit of water being sloshed about ;)

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 21:09:09 UTC | #914026

RomeStu's Avatar Comment 22 by RomeStu

Here in Italy the UAAR (union of atheists, agnostics and rationalists) has a downloadable form to facilitate de-baptism. A friend of mine did it last year.

While I can't be 100% sure that the RCC accepts this (they love to cling to the numbers), my understanding is that privacy laws were used to ensure that the personal data of de-baptised persons could no longrr be used by the church.

This will surely be the case in france too.

Perhaps this site and other sites of reason could promote the procedures for de-baptism from the various churches. It may not change our lives much, but it would be nice to send a message, eh! Also it could create a politically useful statistic ..... Those who feel strongly enough about their atheism to make an effort to bureaucratically remove themselves from the church baptism forced upon them as minors.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 21:33:55 UTC | #914038

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 23 by Schrodinger's Cat

I must confess I really don't understand this need for de-baptism. It seems all a bit pedantic to me.

Of course the church's position is objectionable. But it makes sense within the confines of their own doctrine......to the church itself. Thus you can 'unbaptise' yourself all you like, but that won't alter one iota the doctrine that batism has saved you for Jesus.

You can check out any time you like......but you can never leave, to quote the Eagles.

The organisation will just carry on privately believing they hold a claim on you. But who cares. Should we pop round all the loony assylums and tell people ' Look.....you can't be Napoleon....here's Napoleon's death certificate !'

If you personally cease to take any of their claims seriously, there's really nothing to argue over. To argue with them is to let that claim affect you......and thus re-entrap yourself.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 21:39:41 UTC | #914042

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 24 by JHJEFFERY

Comment 23 by Schrodinger's Cat

that won't alter one iota the doctrine that batism has saved you for Jesus.

Did you mean batshitism?

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 22:00:10 UTC | #914056

Sample's Avatar Comment 25 by Sample

I hear this a lot from the Catholic Church: we just can't do this or we just can't do that. Nonsense (pardon the cheap irony).

I won't soon forget a priest who remarked, "even the Virgin Mary in Heaven would have to listen to whatever the Church commanded." I understood the tautology of his theology.

Theologically, the Church is always one pope away from doing whatever the hell She pleases. However, like any man made institution, has vested temporal reasons for the rather non-mysterious ways She operates.

Mike

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 22:21:04 UTC | #914063

ridelo's Avatar Comment 26 by ridelo

It should be as easy as leaving a football or tennis club.

Remember that their power comes from numbers, even if it are only paper members. I've also donated my future dead body to science, but I'm still too lazy to take the hassle to excommunicate myself.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 22:30:08 UTC | #914066

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 27 by strangebrew

This seems relevant to the topic

Benny decided no one gets out alive a while back.....

But it is a freshly made up canonical rule...worthwhile pursuing in a secular court...which can override church law I believe...unless that has been repealed by the court of human rights and wrongs in Strasbourg or wherever !

This is priceless...

Therefore I decree that in the same Code the following words are to be eliminated: "and has not left it by a formal act" (can. 1117); "and has not left it by means of a formal act" (can. 1086 § 1); "and has not left it by a formal act" (can. 1124).

'If no one can say it then no one can leave!'

I wish Rene all the very best in his attempt.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 22:31:20 UTC | #914068

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 28 by The Jersey Devil

I've never self-identified as a Christian as an adult, which is good enough for me.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 23:34:50 UTC | #914093

yvrous's Avatar Comment 29 by yvrous

By their own definition it is impossible to De-Baptize a person, then what is the limit for how much you can sue an organisation that inflicted so many non-nollifyable brand on so many non-consenting peoples?

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 23:42:28 UTC | #914095

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 30 by aquilacane

Comment 8 by aroundtown

I can understand where some of this is coming from maybe. Once you realize you've had the wool pulled over your eyes from accepting religion as real you can come out the other side somewhat bitter when you wake up. For me it was a little more than bitter and I would just say absolutely pissed off that it took so long to leave it. I can see him asking for his hypothetical soul back I suppose or pound of flesh that they extracted from him.

Having you on the books probably gives them tax dollar leverage.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 23:52:09 UTC | #914100