Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


RIGHT TO DEFECT FROM YOUR RELIGION AND BE AFFIRMED IN DOING SO IS A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT

If you want a canonically legal and perhaps civilly legal separation from the Catholic Church you do not believe in Catholicism.  If you know the Church is not guided by God but by men and has dangerous errors and fights against facts then these are the right and honourable reasons to leave.  So why do you care if the Church considers you Catholic? The fact remains that religious freedom implies the right for you to decide in your own conscience what you are. A false religion cannot properly inform your conscience so its notions do not matter except to you. It is about religious freedom and personal religious integrity primarily and should be.

LEGAL ISSUES - SHOULD THE STATE FORCE RELIGION TO HAVE A DEFECTION PROCEDURE?

Under data protection, data must reflect the truth. The Church should be hauled to court if it refuses say to record that Johnny is a Catholic no more but something else.

The state must be secular. It is neutral in regard to religion. It lets religion believe whatever a religion wants but not necessarily do what it wants.

What if a person who thinks he is Muslim but has never been initiated accuses his employer of discriminating against him? The state cannot accept him as a true Muslim.

The law of the land forbids discrimination on religious grounds. Thus it follows each religion owes it to the state to have clear rules on who is a member and who is not. Islam, for example, needs to require that a person be accepted as Muslim by the proper authorities in Islam. It is true that in Islam a person can be initiated but this does not mean the person is becoming a real Muslim. The initiation is need for regulation and practical reasons. The person is considered or treated as a Muslim for these reasons. But if the person does not believe that Allah alone is God and Muhammad is the apostle of Allah that person is not a true Muslim and marked as such by Allah. Allah knows.

The state has the right to legally enforce religion to have clear admission and departure rules. Secularism protects religion as long as it does not go too far. It cannot do that if the boundaries between member and fake member are not clear. It is an offence to lie on the census form that you are say a Catholic when you cannot be.

The state is under obligation to recognise transgender people as being the opposite gender to what may be on their birth cert. Thus it must recognise and protect the right of a person not to be counted part of a religion against their will.

A person should be able to accept the Church, but reject it tomorrow. The Church should accept that rejection and demand that the state must recognise its acceptance. It is only pretending the person is still a member if it refuses to accept.


THE RIGHT TO BE SEEN AS AN EX-MEMBER

It's only fair to be able to defect.

Suppose one was a member of The Family Must be Limited to Two Children and Further Children Must be Aborted Party. If one decided it was in error or wanted out, one would not consider it enough to not attend their meetings and not send them money. One would want one's name struck from their lists of members. It is the principle that is at stake. And it is nobody else's business to label you. You alone decide what labels you will take on and to what extent you consider them valid.

Some say that the Catholic Church is NOT a secular organisation like the named Party, so the analogy doesn't hold. But secular or not its an organisation. The analogy does hold for its an organisation.

Defection from a religion should be about declaring, "I reject your teachings; but I want you to formally acknowledge it and make it official. I want to be disassociated with the teachings because they are wrong or I believe they are wrong." It is about the principle. If you sacrifice your principles you give up your authenticity. You become false. You fail to give others your true self.

If it is true that if a baptised Catholic becomes say a Hindu and is still in reality a Catholic no matter what he or she does to try and become an ex-Catholic, it follows that the conversion should not be taken seriously by the Church, society, family or state. And the person is to be judged as one who fights his true identity and is to be judged as devoid of integrity. It denies the right of the person to suffer no disadvantage due to religion. Faith should never upset or violate anybody - the case of those using faith as an excuse for getting upset is a separate one. It denies the right of a person to take on a new religious identity.

To refuse to facilitate defection opens the door to forcing a Catholic burial on a defector and forcing a person to pay taxes to the Church in countries which send a cut of the Catholic's taxes to the Church. Catholics say that it is pointless to defect for it is not going to do you any obvious harm in this world. For example, it will not happen that a Catholic who divorces and remarries without annulment will come home one day to find Church police blocking the doorway and forbidding them entry because they are living in sin. Or that a Catholic parent who fails to have their child baptised will come home one day to find that the child has been dragged to the nearest Church by the local priest and forcibly baptised in their absence. Thousands of examples could be created. But the fact remains, that if we deny that baptism binds you to the Church forever these things are forbidden outright. If you believe baptism binds to the Church forever that goes a little bit of the way towards legitimising such behaviour. After all the question arises because of religion and that says something! The doctrine is insulting.

Every religion needs to have a defection process:

- The would-be defector has the right to make it clear that on this plane of existence he or she isn't one of the Church's people.

- Has the right to remove the right from the Church to use his or her name when lobbying or when it asserts the following, "We deserve a voice in your country - to spread our doctrine and influence - as we have so and so many Catholics there".

- To say you are a member is to say you have obligation to obey the Church and support its teaching and to give it money. An obligation that you don't suffer for breaking is not an obligation at all. You call evil on yourself by disobeying. Thus to declare a person a member of a faith against their will is an act of violence. Such a declaration cannot even be suspected of validity.

We have an obligation to formally leave any organisation that confers fictitious obligations on us.

The right of a person who cannot in good conscience allow themselves to be counted as members of the church must be respected.

If Vatican II was serious about religious liberty being a right then it was admitting this right existed.

THE CHURCH RECOGNISES FORMER MEMBERS AS FORMER MEMBERS

The Church says there is an ontological matter with baptism that it does not have the power or authority to erase or undo. But that has nothing to do with proving that a person who leaves has not really left and is still a real member. Erasing the baptism is irrelevant. Its power can still be erased. Baptism can be seen as bestowing membership but everybody says you must respond to it before it does you any good. So the membership can be rejected. That is what confirmation is about - accepting for yourself the membership you got in baptism. Unless you have the right to reject the membership, there is no real choice or possibility of acceptance.

Leaving the Catholic Church makes you ineligible to receive the sacraments and that you will no longer be entitled to a Catholic burial. The Church says that baptism is an action of Christ himself and so no one can undo it. But nevertheless you can officially leave the Church.

If people cannot be forced in religion they have to be recognised as former members if they leave. "Canon. 748 1. All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which regard God and his Church and by virtue of divine law are bound by the obligation and possess the right of embracing and observing the truth which they have come to know. 2. No one is ever permitted to coerce persons to embrace the Catholic faith against their conscience."


OBJECTIONS TO FORMAL DEFECTION

The once Catholic, always Catholic proverb shows the Church does not respect those who have gone to another religion. It denies that they have really done so. It is nasty to tell somebody who has left, "You were baptised a Catholic and you are still one." That is really an attempt to hurt their feelings. It is also to engage in the odious practice of labelling people. It is trying to lay the groundwork for getting them to submit to the Catholic Church.

There is appalling arrogance and intolerance in anyone who would tell you that because you were baptised a Catholic, even though you are a Mormon now, you are a Catholic still. These people are in the same league as Christians who say to gay people, "You call yourself homosexual. You were born heterosexual and therefore you are not homosexual. Homosexuality is a disorder meaning you are really just a heterosexual with addiction problems."

The Church says it opposes gay people saying that their sexual orientation is the core of their identity. It claims that saying you are homosexual is at best, one of many adjectives that describe someone; sexual orientation is not a person's full essence. To say it is their full essence is supposed to be a worrying diminishment of those human persons. To do that is supposed to be to fail them in love. To say a Catholic cannot cease to be a member is to say that their religion is the core of their identity. If it really believes the teaching we have outlined about gay people then it cannot teach such a thing!

To label any person as a Catholic is to declare the Catholicism the core of their identity. This is true whether or not the person is a believer in Catholicism who has been baptised as a Catholic. The Church goes further than any gay person has ever done in seeing an adjective as the whole of the person. You are not baptised and confirmed into gayianity. You are into Catholicism. You are not conditioned into gay doctrine. You are into Catholicism. Gays honour individuality. The Church says we must accept the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic faith. The labelling of people as Catholics and seeing their Catholicism as their full essence or what they are all about is sectarianism. All forms of sectarianism are based on this idea.
 
To label any person as a forever Catholic even if they become Muslim is to declare the Catholicism the core of their identity. The Church goes further than any gay person has ever done in seeing an adjective as the whole of the person. If you are gay you are not baptised and confirmed into gayianity. You are into Catholicism. You are not conditioned into gay doctrine. You are into Catholicism. Gays honour individuality. The Church says we must accept the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic faith. The labelling of people as Catholics and seeing their Catholicism as their full essence or what they are all about is sectarianism. All forms of sectarianism are based on the idea that you are summed up by your religious or political label.

The Catholics would fume if a Buddhist sect for instance would say that there are no Catholics but only Buddhists who won't admit what they are. But to let the Catholics say things like that - enough said!
 
THE CHARACTER CONFERRED BY BAPTISM

Some say that baptism marks you as a Catholic forever.

The purpose of the mark is so that baptism needs only be given once.

It is more reasonable to say that God does not literally mark you but has you recorded as somebody that has been baptised. After all, the soul has no extension or parts so there is nothing tangible to put a mark on. It is not a literal mark.

The mark cannot make you a Catholic forever. That is logically impossible. You can be marked as a slave and when you cease to be slave the mark is still there. The mark has nothing to do with meaning you are still a slave. The mark cannot mark you as a Catholic forever as there is more to being anything than a mark.

The baptism mark may obligate you to maintain membership in the Church. It does not make you a member.

There is no evidence at all that there is a mark. There is no evidence at all that a baptised person is going to be a holier and wiser and more godly person than the unbaptised.

Catholics say, "You have a father and mother. You can refuse to call them that but that is what they are. You have got your DNA from them. They made you. When you are baptised, a bond like the bond made by DNA exists whether you act it exists or whether you don't. You still have obligations to the family you deny".

DNA makes you a member of your family but only in the sense that you share DNA. There is more to being a family member than just DNA. You would then be only a bodily family member at least.

To be considered irrevocably Catholic is to say that if anybody is validly baptised they are Catholic even if they receive a Protestant baptism. But this contradicts Canon Law which says that though baptism puts Protestant babies into the Catholic Church it does not make them Roman Catholic.

Catholics say baptism causes an "ontological" change. In other words, it changes your nature from an ordinary human being to a child of God filled with his powerful presence. But that doesn't mean you cannot reverse that change. Maybe some day we will change our DNA so that what we got from our parents is gone. In principle, that is possible - we just haven't reached the point where we can do it yet.

Baptism can give a mark but this mark is not a sacrament. It only shows the sacrament has been given. God may give membership of the Church to babies in baptism but that does not require a mark at all never mind one that may never be effaced. The membership and the mark are separate.

The notion that the mark makes a bond is nonsense. A husband and wife who don't care if the other lives or dies are not really husband and wife anymore.

If the Church is a family of love the only bond there can be is love. To say that a mark makes a Church is to deny this and to deny the primacy of love.

Baptism gives starting membership . Confirmation gives full membership. Confirmations are invalid because they are a big step and the participants cannot make a valid choice. They are compelled to go to the ceremony and be confirmed. They do not know enough about the dark side of the faith. Their decision is not based on facts but on sanitised information. They are too young. The Church says confirmation is a big decision for it is consciously accepting membership in the one true Church outside of which there is no salvation but only separation from God for all eternity. Also the message of the Church is the message of sacrifice and the cross and obedience to authority.

So the Catholic Church must recognise the right of people to tell it, "We are not your people. Accept that."  It has a right to affirm that and indeed a duty that these are not its people any more.