Defecting from the Catholic Church in Ireland

Declaration of Defection

I’m looking for information regarding the policies around defection – specifically, removing my details from a list/database of baptised Catholics.

Obviously, I was quite young at the time of baptism :) Had I been able to think critically and logically at birth, I’d have told my parents not to proceed with the ceremony. I was baptised in Knocklyon Parish in 1982.

Upon mature reflection, I feel being on such a list (if it exists) is an insult to believers. It would dilute the credibility of those who follow the RC doctrine, and simply because my parents decided to baptise me is not reason enough for me to remain aligned to an organisation I do not follow, trust or believe in. For the same reasons, I have not accepted communion on the rare occasions I find myself in a church – weddings, funerals etc. I would rather let catholics enjoy their faith, without partaking because it is a “social norm”.

I also refer to the following –

Is it true that the established RCC in Ireland has eliminated the ability to defect by altering Canon Law? Wouldn’t such a decision remind one of a less established faith, such as Scientology, which is infamous with regard to the process (and restrictions) in allowing “members” to leave of their own volition?

Today, I sent the above email to and my local parish. Over a few scoops last night, I learned of A mate had renounced his membership, or whatever it’s called, a few years back, so I thought I’d do the same. However, it appears the church updated their rules in 2011;
20/07/2011 – Church Continues to Block Formal Cessation of Membership

Right. So we can’t leave the church.

Obviously, I don’t go to mass, give money to a priest, or do anything that can be considered in any way religious (unless religion claims copyright on being nice, friendly and kind). However, if the ostensible default position in Ireland is “you are a catholic”, and we need to undertake some action to revert to “not a catholic”, then something is wrong.

It should certainly be an opt-in, not an opt-out. As it turns out, there is now no opt-out available either, so once in, you’re in for life.


The contract I signed at my baptism is what the church presumably claim to illustrate my membership of the catholic church. However, I was young then. Can such a contract be legally binding? Should they not wait until people are beyond the age of reason before committing them to an agreement that lasts a lifetime?

It’s the parents fault, and in turn their parents fault for blindly following precedent, allowing bullies to dictate to them what is right and wrong, and being too afraid to stand up to the various abuses seemingly rife throughout the organisation.

We can’t blame the Vatican – they exist solely to continue their own selfish legacy, and it is the sheep whom I now blame for their success.

Getting back to my desire to be excluded from their official records, I also worry about the lack of momentum generally in my peers. Simply not going to mass or believing in the catholic teachings isn’t really doing enough. If you’re baptised, you are seen, by the church, as a member of the flock. They can use the inflated figures to perpetuate the myth that religion, specifically their religion, is alive and well in Ireland.

It is not.

As I begin the long road to 40, I can say with some certainty that none of my peers, colleagues or friends are in any way affiliated to the catholic church, even in the most tenuous manner. If someone dies, we go to a funeral. Marriages also require this. Baptisms too. All the major events in a person’s life are tied to the church in some way. Why? Has anyone ever really thought it through? Do you not love your partner as much if you haven’t declared so “in the eyes of god”?

Tradition. It’s just tradition. And tradition changes, eventually. And sometimes entirely, and sometimes even for the better.
I consider myself a progressive individual, forward thinking and practical, so I do hold out hope for the future based on the evidence I see all around me. My generation, 80’s babies, are predominantly open minded and educated, and the grip of religion is nowhere near as strong as, say, my parents generation. So it’ll go away eventually, it’s only a matter of how much damage the church can inflict with it’s dying breaths, and how much money and property they can swindle as Rome burns to the ground.

Removing the ability to distance yourself from the church in an easy and non-intrusive manner is a desperate move by the catholic hierarchy. However, they too will die, and there won’t be anyone available to replace them.

So what will happen if they accept my resignation? Will there be an excommunication ceremony? One memory from early secondary school history is that this event involves “the snuffing out of candles and the closing of books“.


Excommunication - Holy Shit!!

Looks more like a fondling to me……BRING IT ON!!

So……what’s my point? I’m not sure.

Should we stay “on the books” despite not being, in reality, a member of that specific club? If it makes no difference to us, why would we bother caring about it?

Can any harm come from the church using baptism numbers to inflate their perceived relevance?

When will Ireland step out from underneath the bishop’s fancy dress and breath the free air?

Count Me Out


  1. Very pertinent and well observed comment. For better or worse, I regard myself as a ‘cultural Catholic’, going to church for the reasons you have given, but as an exercise in culture rather than religion. Thus, it is easier to justify to myself attendance at the various rituals which are still such a part of Irish life and death. I sometimes look around the church and wonder how many other fakes are there.

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