On the feast of Christ's baptism, some are choosing "de-baptism"

Sacramentally, such a move is impossible.  But this report indicates some are doing it anyway, as a formal means of excommunication:

The child abuse scandals rocking Belgium’s powerful Catholic Church are also shaking the faith of followers, with more and more people asking to be struck off baptism registers — a global movement known as “de-baptism”.

“When you don’t agree with an organisation that you never chose to join in the first place, the healthiest thing to do is to leave,” Damien Spleeters told AFP.

In this mainly Catholic country of 10 million people, the 24-year-old is among a growing crowd exasperated by church policy on issues such as AIDS, and angered by revelations last year of massive child abuse by priests and lay workers.

After reports in April that the Bishop of Bruges had sexually abused his own nephew for 13 years, starting when the boy was five, a church-backed commission in September issued graphic testimony of nearly 500 cases of child abuse by priests and lay workers, including 13 victims who committed suicide.

Spleeters last year wrote to the bishop overseeing the parish where his parents had him christened as a baby to announce he no longer wanted the church “to speak in his name” so was requesting to be struck off the baptism register.

“Whilst we deplore your decision,” replied Abbot Jean-Pierre Lorette, “the Catholic Church respects each individual’s freedom and will not hold back against their will those who wish to leave it.”

Spleeters, the priest added, was in consequence “logically” excommunicated.

In an interview, the young Brussels resident said “I don’t consider myself an atheist” but explained he turned to de-baptism due to growing irritation with the Catholic hierarchy.

The move was not uncommon, said Daniel Leclerq of the group “Friends of Secular Morality”.

“Pope Benedict XVI’s statements against condoms, the appointment of a conservative — Andre-Joseph Leonard — to head the Belgian church in early 2010, and the child abuse revelations have led to a hike in de-baptisms,” Leclerq said….[snip]

…The church says a large proportion of Belgians remain faithful: in 2008, 64 percent of the population was baptised, 26 percent held church weddings and 65 percent had religious funerals. The figures show little change from previous years…[snip]

…In practise, de-baptism consists in writing to the church where the christening took place. The name is not actually struck off but noted on the baptismal registry, meaning that those who decide to leave cannot be married in the church or expect a Catholic funeral.

Read more.


  1. This morning at Mass I reflected on my own baptism, my godparents, what it means to me and to others. I don’t think anything could cause me to renounce my baptism, which I do believe makes me a beloved child of God the Father, just as Jesus is. At this point I have received all the sacraments I am eligible to receive. I look forward to one day having a funeral Mass and burial in a Catholic cemetery.

    Despite any scandals, wrongdoings, or irritating people who may be members of the Catholic Church, I would not leave. I have reached a point where I am not shocked by others’ sins nor my own. It simply makes me more aware of my need for a Savior. Maybe we ought to be shocked that anyone makes it to sainthood.

  2. I find it sad that people would see scandal and decide that’s the time to leave the Church. There has always been scandal. This is just an excuse to blame others for what really is one’s own rejection of either God or doctrine or both. While the first reason always is in play because of doubt. The second is one of ego. The third is one of will. To willfully say – “Dear God, I don’t believe and I’m leaving you” is a very sad day for the person, their family and the community. After all, they aren’t just saying they are leaving the Catholic Church – they are denying Christ. For those who really think it is about the leaving the Church – Baptism is baptism. People are denying God.

  3. The reality is, even if every member of the clergy fell into child molestation sin, including the Pope, the church teaching on the sinfulness of it has and will never change.

    It never ceases to amaze me why anyone would risk their own soul over anothers’ transgressions, even members of the church.

    On a somewhat related note, Michael Brown posted this the other day; thought it was very interesting and probably accurate, despite the fact we won’t be hearing about it from the NYT’s. With the trial lawyers funding the ‘victims’, anyone with a half of brain could figure out that this was likely the case.

    Even worse that the bishops who covered up, are the greedy pseduo ‘victims’.


  4. I second what Ruth Ann said. How very sad to reject one’s Baptism!

  5. No, they’re not saying “I’m leaving you, God.” They’re saying, “The Catholic Church has nothing to do with God; He’s elsewhere.” Disagree with them all you want, but don’t sin by lying about their motives.

  6. Deacon Norb says:

    Some observations by one who has worked in re-evangelizing bitter anti-Catholic/ex-Catholics:

    Conversion-out — just like conversion-in (through RCIA ) — is a three step process:

    –It is our emotions that are first involved. Something someone does — and it can be a priest or layperson; doesn’t matter — has seriously affected someone spiritually and emotionally: positively or negatively. [This pedophile crisis has affect a LOT of Roman Catholics. In that regard, I do agree with Mike -- they do not see themselves leaving their God, they see themselves leaving a church structure they are convinced is of the devil.]

    –The second step is when that hurt person seeks healing and in what community they find it. If they find healing in an evangelical church, they will turn there [But RCIA proves that if thwey find healing in a Catholic church, they will turn there]. They initially find that healing power of Jesus through another human being and wherever that human contact “is,” is where they believe they have to stay. Sooner or later, our hurt person asks: “Are you some kind of total fluke or are there more like you somewhere?” That usually means meeting more folks who have similar spiritual needs and gifts. That, then, means leaving a church that was as source of pain and agony and moving to one that offers the peace of the Risen Lord.

    The last stage is an intellectual one. “I was hurt and in my pain and suffering, Jesus came to me through my friend here. Then my friend took me to meet others who also believe the same way. How can I explain it? I went to find peace and spiritual blessing in Roman Catholicism but I did not find it. I did find it in my small evangelical church. So that’s why I am here and not in the church of my family’s heritage.” Intellectual conversion is always the last step in a conversion process.

    Remember, this works in both directions — seekers who find the Risen Lord Jesus in another human being tend to join in the community that mentor of their belongs to. Ask any RCIA candidate why they joined Roman Catholicism and that is the answer they will give about the role of their sponsor.

    We have seen the phenomena of “de-baptizing” in England for some time now. I am not surprised it surfaced on the Continent.

    They have — according to Catholic Canon Law — left Roman Catholicism of their free will. Can they ever come back? Sure can! All it takes is a confession to a priest. Do they ever come back? Sure do! I know a lot of them who have returned after leaving really REALLY ANGRY!.

    One very saintly priest I knew for years — and who has since gone to his own eternal reward — believed in the Bo-Peep Theory in cases like this : “Leave them alone, and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them.”

  7. Mike – It’s you who are saying that the “Catholic Church has nothing to do with God”. In this article “they” are not quoted as saying anything.

    But you are wrong about the Catholic Apostolic Church instituted by Jesus Christ, that is, God. He faced scandal, betrayal and abandonment from those closest to him and yet did not give up or abandon any of them. So sin lived in man before he came, while He was with us and after He resurrected. This is all about redemption from sin, and one can’t redeem one’s self. But He beat sin.

  8. Deacon Norb:
    I am sure that there are alot individuals who fit the profile that you describe so well…however, I suspect that many of the people in Belgium who are renouncing baptism (not just Catholicism, specifically) are rejecting faith in general because they never really experienced Christ in a personal way.

    What ever the cause, I pray that they do come home “wagging their tails behind them.”

    Thank you for all of your efforts!

  9. Deacon Norb:

    In response to your post:

    “This pedophile crisis has affect a LOT of Roman Catholics.”

    You have hit the nail on the head. This has been my experience in dealing with “cradle Catholics” who have left the Catholic Church.

    “…they see themselves leaving a church structure they are convinced is of the devil.]

    Here is where I would add a clarification: They are hurt by what they consider a betrayal by the Church leadership that they have supported, respected, and defended.

  10. Samuel Crow says:

    I believe too, that part of the problem is the preoccupation with sex. Planned Parenthood has a program whereby they are teaching children about sex instead of the “Victorian prudishness of society” which is a refrain long used by extremists especially since the 70s. When will they ever learn? As for those parishioners in Belgium who want to debaptize themselves are in need of our prayers. Ijust pray that Mike reconsider his word “lying”. Lying infers dishonesty, in that they knew the truth but told an untruth irregardless, and I don’t know how one can believe that occured.

  11. Fiergenholt says:

    Maybe a bit of humor is needed here:

    The story is told, and I’m not sure how accurate it is, that once upon a time Fr. Ted Hesburgh — the long time president of Notre Dame University — had a private audience with Pope John Paul II. The Pope opened the conversation with this question: “Fr. Hesburgh, I have heard that at Notre Dame University only 50% of the Catholic students attend mass on any given Sunday. Is that true?”

    Fr. Ted replied: “Yes, Holy Father, that is true. But I have heard that in Belgium, at the Catholic University of Louvain, only 3% of the Catholic students there attend mass every Sunday. In my way of looking at this game, the final score is Notre Dame 50 — Louvain 3 !”

    Legend has it that their laughter echoed throughout the Vatican.

    Who said priests — and Popes — cannot be comedians!

  12. Fr. Ted Hesburgh was a great friend of a priest relative (now deceased) of mine. What a great man! He knew how to be both Catholic and kind.

  13. pagansister says:

    Baptism is done without the baby’s permission, with all the good intentions of his/her parents. If, as an adult the “child” doesn’t want to accept or can’t accept what that particular religion’s beliefs are, for whatever reason(s) then why stay affiliated to that particular faith? Some could just not attend or participate in the faith, while others as shown above, want their name removed from the baptisim roles. IMO no one will go to a “bad” place religiously by doing so. Some may actually join another church, or another faith eventually. There are many, many people of faith that never attend a formal place of worship, because they know that their god is everywhere, not just in a particular building. A god can be worshiped anywhere.

  14. I spent thirty years wandering in a spiritual wasteland, all for lack of a ten minute conversation.

    A Protestant was happy to walk down the street with me and have a conversation about creation but no Catholic was willing (or able) to walk with me and explain how the original twelve apostles were the first bishops or the basics of apostilic succession and Church authority.

    Don’t underestimate what a few minute long conversation can do. Don’t underestimate how poor some American Catholics are with regards to basic knowledge of the faith.

    Sometimes all it takes is a comment to the effect that the Catholic Church is the Church established by Jesus Christ, that it has been given authority that other Churches have not, etc.


  15. Dcn Norb I agree that without ever experiencing the Risen Christ, it’s pretty hard for anyone to stay in the CC, at least in any sense of anything beyond “going through the motions.”

    Based on my own experience, I respectfully disagree that many leave because they are hurt over the scandal. Let’s be honest, the abuse scandal gave way to the “best excuse ever” to leave the CC and rationalize it.

    Want proof? Ask those same people, including the ones who want to be “de baptised”, how in love they were with the CC BEFORE the abuse scandal. Hands down, 99% were just as “not into it” as before the scandal, they just didn’t have any good, rationalizing, excuse. The best excuse for me was “mean nuns”, which interestingly, I now thaK God for the reverence they instilled in me, even though I rejected if for almost 3 decades.

    My problem was exactly as your describe, not having met the Risen Christ. Now having met Him, the entire clergy could fall into serious public sin but until the CC changes what they TEACH, not what they DO, I’m won’t be going anywhere.

    Actually, I think in the darker times, the saints shine brighter, and I have and continue to get edification from many holy people, clergy and laity, giving serious meaning to the phrase, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.”

  16. I think some people will find any way or excuse to leave the Church if they really want to.

  17. “There are many, many people of faith that never attend a formal place of worship, because they know that their god is everywhere, not just in a particular building. A god can be worshiped anywhere.”

    I don’t quite get this statement. God is indeed everywhere. However, for Catholics he is present in the Eucharist. You cannot experience that presence anywhere but in a Church at Mass. You cannot receive the sacraments “anywhere”.

  18. I recall reading an article by Fr. Andrew Greeley where he claimed there were, ultimately, only two reasons for being Catholic:

    1) You believe what the Church teaches to be true;

    2) you want to be a saint.

    I think he hit the nail on the head. If you have only one of these, the other alone will not sustain you. If you have both, little to nothing could make you abandon the Church, even being abandoned by your pastor, nun or bishop. There are many saints who suffered persecution at the hands of their Catholic confreres. Joan of Arc was executed by the Church. John of the Cross was incarcerated by his own order. Franz Jagerstatter was challenged by his bishop to abandon his objections to joining the Nazi army. All are now among the Church glorified.

  19. John 6:64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.

    These people leave because they do not believe. Even if we had Jesus Christ himself saying Mass in St. Peter’s, they would not believe, and they would leave. Satan’s grip on this world grows ever tighter as belief in the Eucharist, the source and summit of the Catholic faith, declines.

  20. I wouldn’t put TOO much of the blame on the sexual abuse crisis because we now know that (surprisingly!) statistics indicate that few actually left the US Catholic church after the scandals. Most of the faithful who protested did so by other methods…withholding donations, etc.

    If one leaves their faith after a scandal, it may be the final straw…but there is always more to it.

  21. To be honest, I have been hurt very often by stupid priests, idiotic parish staff, a few times by Sisters in parochial schools, and by truly rude and obnoxious fellow Catholics. I have been formally escorted out of a Spanish-language Mass in my own parish by a pompous and bigoted hispanic usher. Do I leave the Church? No, because God is the focus. I do pray for the nasty people, that they realize how wrong they are.

    Those who “leave the Church” ostensibly for scandals actually left long ago. They seized an excuse to look self-righteous, forgetting “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Will they flourish in a Protestant church? No, because they’ll still be the same “perfect” people, and remain intent on themselves.

    By the way, “in 2008, 64 percent of the population was baptised, 26 percent held church weddings and 65 percent had religious funerals” doesn’t suggest a devout Belgian population!

  22. Does not Baptism leave an indellible mark on your soul?

  23. Danny Lucas says:

    Happy Monday to you! I read this line from you:
    “I don’t quite get this statement. God is indeed everywhere. However, for Catholics he is present in the Eucharist.”

    I think this could be confusing. There is no doubt that God is everywhere. Psalm 139 lists place after place where God can be found, literally, a listing of “everywhere”.
    [a link to Psalm 139 is below]

    For Catholics, God IS present in the Eucharist.
    Indeed, transubstantiation is one of the major differences in communion between Protestants and Catholics.

    But these are two separate things:
    1) for God to be everywhere, AND in the Eucharist is not mutually exclusive.
    It is truth. It is in the Eucharist where we partake of God, restoring our soul…..as if someone magically swept through your home and your windows were clean, carpets vacuumed, dishes done and put away, everything sparkling and pure anew.

    The Word was made flesh.
    But when Christ said “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you shall have no part of Me”, many of His most solid followers went home. They thought he was a cannibal or nuts.

    Ascension tells us He went to heaven.
    The Creed says He sits at the right hand of the Father.
    Um, He is clearly everywhere for Catholics and nonCatholics, but available to those who believe in transubstantiation, the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

    Why do this and isolate God into a form we can actually partake?
    To be a part of the Body of Christ and be a “part of Him by eating his flesh and drinking his blood”.
    And since Jesus is in Heaven at the right hand of the Father, EVERY Mass is a bringing together of attenders and Heaven, now.

    The Light of the World is available for any Catholic to place in their soul via Communion any day of the week. With such a Light within us, the windows of our soul, the eyes, are reflecting Him to a darkened world.
    Our mouths speak of what is inside of us
    [a line also directly from the Bible].
    Our hands touch the untouchables, we feed His sheep, and as his church, we are a part of the Body of Christ, working through the Holy Spirit, to do greater things than Christ did, when he installed Himself from infinity, to time, for about 33 human years.

    2) non-Catholic churches, who believe in Jesus Christ, are legion. They partake of Communion, a rememberance of the Last Supper, and it is generally done once a month (first Sunday).
    They have no belief that God’s flesh and blood resides in the cracker and grape juice.
    They believe they are saved completely, by grace from believing in Jesus Christ as saviour.
    “Techies” in the religious language department refer to Sola scriptura….
    you are saved by faith alone.
    Protestants believe this.

    Catholics believe in faith AND what you do with that faith…..there comes that “see how they love one another” once again, eh?

    It is incumbant that Catholics and nonCatholics, who believe in Jesus Christ to understand, they are brothers and sisters in the church universal. Why? They believe Jesus is Saviour from our sins.
    This is a huge step over being a nonbeliever or atheist. Believers should not quibble with one another, for the world watches our actions. And for Catholics, who emphasize action in addition to faith, it is even more important to treat believers in Christ, who are not Catholic, with utmost respect.
    Their God is YOUR God.

    There are baby spiritual steps, and there are huge spiritual steps.
    Understanding we are sinners and need a Saviour,and Christ is the ONLY one to meet that need, is a huge step.
    Never look down on anyone who proclaims belief in Jesus Christ. You do too.

    But communion as “rememberance” that “This is my Body” and “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin” versus communion of partaking of the Body and Blood of Our Lord — eat my flesh and drink my blood — are wholly different concepts and beliefs.

    But remember, since they do believe in Jesus, and you believe in Jesus, such believers are brothers and sisters in Christ, and must seek unity, to persude the world by our actions as in day one of the church; Pentecost.

    Folks looked at Christians…believers…and said out loud:
    “See how they love one another”

    We have got to concentrate less on what divides us, and simple let folks see how they love one another….in our own time now.

    In this way, folks who have never taken the step to even believe in Jesus Christ are most likely to be convinced that God Is Love.
    They can visibly see it in His followers, we who believe.

    But what the world sees is division, denominational righteousness, and very, very, little love of one another.

    Linger at Church when the Mass is ended.
    Embrace that solitude to let the light within you begin to glow.
    Do not race to see who can get out of the parking lot first, but be a “SERVANT” to all drivers on the road always.
    Let all others driving the road you are on be first on the highway. Serve them in a most easy way. That’s a baby step, and we often stumble as babies.

    Such a simple deed allows the people driving to and fro, to see how they love one another easily.

    Currently, the rush to leave Mass before it is ended, get out of the parking lot, race the highways, and exhibit a Christian bumper sticker……makes the world that watches say “I’m glad I’m not one of them”.

    In 1960, Vince Lombardi lost his only playoff game ever to the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a complete reverse of yesterday’s game, eh?

    Both 1960 and yesterday were played in Philadelphia…..the City of Brotherly Love.

    But in 1960, Christmas fell on a Sunday.
    That is a day dedicated to football now; despite the command to have no false gods before you.

    To show you how much our land has changed in values, Christmas was always a day of devotion 50 years ago, so the famous playoff game that Vince Lombardi of the Packers lost, was moved from Noon Sunday, and played on Noon Monday, in order to keep Christmas Holy.

    The New Testament made two commands:
    Love God
    Love one another.

    This is a distilled version of the Old Testament Ten commandment received by Moses on tablets of stone, etched by God’s hand.
    The first three commandment are all, Love God.
    Once you get to Honor your mother and father and all the rest, you are observing the New Testament command to love one another.
    The church was simplified for us to get it right, at Pentecost, eh?

    I do not impose any of this on you RomCath, or on any other reader. The words Love God, Love one another,….. are from Jesus Christ.
    He, too, does not impose this on anyone.
    You have free will to NOT be a servant every day.

    The bargaining chip is your soul destiny.
    The sacraments are a well laid path from birth to death, to heaven forever.

    As promised, here is a link to Psalm 139, and the psalmist admitting God is everywhere…begins about verse 7, but read it all:

  24. Don’t you find it odd – that in order to sever oneself from the Church, these people are choosing to do it through ritual?

    And they’re doing so as a protest against sin?

    Sure, their decision is erroneous and what they say they do is impossible, but …

    It seems even the most die-hard atheists still have religion in them.

  25. My comment was in response to the post that God could be worshipped everywhere because He is everywhere. Catholics believe that God is everywhere but we also believe that Jesus Christ is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. Any Catholic who truly believes that could never walk away from Christ or wish to be “de-baptized” as if they were even such a thing. It seems to me they never really believed in the Eucharist in the first place.
    To use the scandals as an excuse for walking away from the Church is most pitiable and totally dishonest.

  26. Danny Lucas says:


    My apology to you.
    I took you at your word that you were confused on the issue, and sought to shed light from a different angle.

    That’s my fault for trying to read minds, and concluding in error.

    I suspect the same is true to conclude leaving the church due to scandals.

    I suppose one could conclude this to be dishonest or pitiable.

    But, I can just as easily suppose that one’s love for the Eucharist be so great, that they leave the church that employs the same hands molesting children, to place the Eucharist on their tongue.

    Since only the Creator can read minds, not the created, I supposed we must wait until judgment day to find which conclusion, or perhaps myriad more, are correct.
    Only God knows now.
    And, he prefers we not judge.

    Sometimes, betrayal makes one reevaluate all they hold dear, for they have held trust, been betrayed, and wonder what else they could be confused on, or believe in….falsely…..waiting for the other shoe to drop on a new issue.
    [lke Limbo being jettisoned recently, after belief in it since medieval days]

    Personally, I see all of the scandals as GOD, cleansing His temple in righteous anger.
    What goes on in darkness has been revealed in light. Light and truth bring an end to the works of the Destroyer. The church is being purged of evil by God Himself.

    How people respond to betrayal is as different as how God responds to betrayal.
    Judas betrayed once.
    Peter betrayed three times.
    These are people who looked the Eucharist face to face over extended period of time.

    People deal with hurt in different ways. This is to be expected. And God deals with people’s hurts, according to their heart.

    John stayed at the Cross with Mary.
    At no time in the future did he berate Peter’s denial and all the other’s leaving and abandonment, pitiable or dishonest.

    Perhaps all 11 who were NOT at the Cross had 11 reasons.

    Regardless, they knew the Eucharist well, and all but one returned in the end.(Judas)

    While I hear loud and clear the lament of leaving the church due to scandal, I find it just as wrong to deny tithes while staying, in order to make changes in the church.
    The money belongs to God.
    Witholding it to send a message to management, is in reality, denial to God anew.

    I understand your point better for your having returned and stated your position.
    We must pray for all who are not in the church. Indeed, to not pray for them is a sin itself.

    “All Christians have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and, just as He intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will (Romans 8:26-27), we are to intercede for one another. This is not a privilege limited to an exclusive Christian elite; this is the command to all. In fact, not to intercede for others is sin. “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23). ”


    Best regards to you.

  27. “People deal with hurt in different ways. This is to be expected.”

    To be expected perhaps, but not to be treated as a reasonable response. It is, I think, a case of emotions overruling reason entirely. It makes no logical sense to think that the behavior of some clerics, as despicable as it undoubtedly was in the abuse cases, affects the truth of the faith.

    Of course, the article suggests that some people are also leaving over things such as “Pope Benedict XVI’s statements against condoms, [and] the appointment of a conservative … to head the Belgian church in early 2010.” In those cases it seems as though they are leaving because they never really believed the Church is what it claims to be in the first place. Otherwise, they would accept that the Pope’s statements were right, and that whoever he appoints is appointed whether they like it or not.

    It is true that we should not be overly harsh in our reaction to this sort of thing. But we should in no way treat it as though it was a reasonable thing to do either.

  28. Danny Lucas says:

    You make an eloquent case against the entire Proestant Reformation “we should in no way treat it as though it was a reasonable thing to do either”.

    It is time we get back to selling indulgences and get-into-heaven-free cards anew,eh?

    Afterall, the faith is the faith, and therefore, NO REASON is reasonable to leave.

    But…folks DO leave, lots of them.

    Rosa Parks could only make change by disobedience and she chose to remain SITTING.

    Others, whether due to logic of 95 Theses of Martin Luther, or modern sex scandals choose disobedience by NO LONGER SITTING in the pews. (not just Catholic pews either).

    Many who stay behind may take umbrage at those who leave, or even feel superior for working it out, but I doubt there is any Biblical reasoning for such a stance.

    The Creator allows free will, and HE alone will judge the effects of each individuals choices with their free will.
    That is not only reasonable, it is Biblical.

    I am amazed that there is far more umbrage at the free will choice to leave and find God elsewhere by many individuals who have chosen that route, than there is umbrage at those who placed their hands upon the Eucharist and children simultaneously.

    Indulgences, a man made concept, ended when folks up and left the pews enmasse.

    I do not condone leaving the pews to initiate change in practices of church leadership; nor do I condemn it.

    I accept it as a free will choice of any individual, in a system precisely designed by Our Creator, to function that way.

    In the final analysis, HIS judgment is all that matters. Indeed, His judgment abhors all sin.
    Perhaps it is best we do not pick and choose which sins are reasonable and which are only to be expected.

    The holiness of Our Father requires no sin.
    None of us created, save one, meet the requirement. Without a rope to hang on, we fall. Our only rope to heaven is Jesus Christ.

    Being “de-baptised” is impossible….it is a God thing.
    Having your name removed from baptismal records is easily possible….it is a man thing.

    Jesus Christ remains our only entry to heaven. He was baptised.
    But I have serious doubts that the thief on the cross, who now resides in heaven, and is one of few we can be assured is in heaven already, as it is written, ….well, I doubt HE was baptised.

    He was being crucified for some reason; but recognizing Christ as an entry portal to heaven was his final prayer, and he grabbed it. Christ said “This day you will be with me in Paradise”. He did not ask the thief “Were you baptised yet?”

    We are told “Do Not Judge”.
    Therefore, whether folks remain or leave, we are not to judge.

    As to the sex scandals ( a huge reason being given for this supposed de-baptism process) , civil penalties will and have occurred.
    There is no civil penalty ever designed that will come even toe-high, for what God has prepared for those who have partaken in these deeds.

    The Millstone has been noted before, I believe.
    But there is also a matter that those in authority are there by the Lord’s authorship; we are to obey them.
    In return, they are held to a higher standard by the Father, than those NOT in authority.
    Woe unto them.

    At no time in the Gospels did Jesus Christ impose belief in Him. Free will is a given since Genesis.

    People are simply choosing to stay, or to leave, according to their free will.
    Each of us is given precisely one free will, our own. Judging anyone else’s free will is unbiblical and unwise.

    Last, the only unforgivable sin is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that although both individuals and the Church give up on people, God does not.

    Our minds have trouble with that.
    But given our faith and what we proclaim, then if Bin Laden silently, before his last breath, were to recognise Christ as Saviour, God would welcome this Prodigal Son home.

    I suspect many of us, would not.
    There lay the gap between God and us.

    [an aside to The Deacon: I admire the way you throw a little yeast out there and get people to think, and rise accordingly.
    Though new to this blog, I find your choices of discussion most timely.
    Kudos to you, sir!]

  29. “There is no civil penalty ever designed that will come even toe-high, for what God has prepared for those who have partaken in these deeds.”

    That sounds pretty judgmental for someone who proceeds to lecture others at length about not being judgmental. How does anyone know the level of contrition of those who have “partaken in these deeds”? How does anyone know the level of mental illness involved? How does anyone know what God has prepared for any of us sinners?
    As for the “good thief”, I think we would call his Baptism a “Baptism of Desire”.

    I don’t think anyone doubts that we are endowed with a free will. What I question are the excuses that people use to leave the Church that Catholics must believe Jesus founded and that the gates of hell would not prevail against. If they really believed that, they could not in good conscience leave it. I would guess that many who do leave never really believed in the Church as the one Jesus founded or at least they didn’t grasp what that means.

  30. In this mainly Catholic country of 10 million people, the 24-year-old is among a growing crowd exasperated by church policy on issues such as AIDS, and angered by revelations last year of massive child abuse by priests and lay workers.

    Yes, I often wake up at night in cold sweats wondering, “Why . . . oh why is the Church so adamantly ‘pro-AIDS’?” Yet more top-notch reporting from Deacon Greg’s compatriots in the newz-biz :-( The Church has done more than any other organization to relieve the suffering of those afflicted with AIDS.

    . . . but if one can be symbolically “de-baptized”, then I wonder if a movement will come up for disgruntled deacons to be “de-clericized” ;-) (Yes, Deacon Greg. That was a joke!)

  31. pagansister says:

    I think we agree that god is indeed everywhere, but I think you feel that worship must include the Eucharist. Yes? Communion with the belief that the actual consumption of the blood and body of Christ is totally unappealing to me. The representation of his body and blood I can accept much better (though I don’t do that anymore either). However the fact that some, in this case Catholics, find comfort in the Eucharist, can’t that event also happen in other places besides a church or an official religious setting? IMO, however, being near god in other places is also fulfiling and can restore and feed a strong faith without the Eucharist being done. I’ve found comfort in many Christian churches, Catholic included, just by being in the beauty and solitude within, as well as in the ruins of Cathedrals, Stone Circles, and the beauty of Mother Nature. Wish you well.

  32. Deacon Norb says:

    Loosely replying to “30 Tom”:

    It strikes me that the term “clergy” — and thus the term “clericalism” — is a human term meant to describe a human phenomena.

    Clericalism is an attitude of exclusivity. It is shown by both by “double-arms-length” and very superficial contact with laity but also by the use of ancient uniform clothing to symbolize that attitude. Such exclusivity was widely taught in the Roman Catholic seminaries prior to Vatican II, then it went into the background for a while, and now seems to be returning.

    Interesting enough, it is not returning — as a rule– within the community of permanently ordained married deacons (having a wife and family seems to be a great way of inoculating oneself against that arrogance) but among the celibate seminarians being formed all across our universal church.

    In the back of my mind, I really doubt if the Lord High God cares a great deal about human symbols or ceremony. The Jewish Scriptures make it very clear that a pure heart focused on God is far more important than any ceremonues or human symbols we can create in this world.

    Having that pure heart focused on God also places clericalism where it belongs — in the trash-heap of human history.

  33. I wouldn’t agree that clericalism subsided in the 70s and 80s. A lot of “Spirit of Vatican II” priests are arrogant and condecending too.

    At my mother’s parish the priest openly mocks, during homilies, people who pray the rosary and light candles. He says they are superstitious, uneducated and theologically impoverished. My Mom, one of rosary praying candle-lighters, has never commented on his statements. She continues to support the church even when it doesn’t support her.

    I know several “liberal” sisters and priests who are open and respectful only to those who fawn over them. That’s clericalism too.

  34. What do you call arrogant lay people who act like they know more about everything than Father? Who treat priests like hired flunkies? Laityism?

  35. Fiergenholt says:

    How did we get from “de-baptizing” to commenting on the cultic nature of praying the Rosary?

    What a lot of folks fail to realize — and maybe the priest/pastor mentioned by Rick #33 doesn’t either — is that there is a sharp difference in the official church’s teaching about “PUBLIC WORSHIP” and “PRIVATE PRAYER.”

    –The liturgicists in Catholicism spend a lot of time worrying about “PUBLIC WORSHIP” and trying to get everything “just-so.” The recent emphasis on the Mass changes coming in late 2011 are fairly indicative of that concern.

    –”PRIVATE PRAYER” is fundamentally “off-limits” to any control by the liturgists, the local pastor and even the hierarchy. When it is all said and done, the Roman Catholic Church really does not care officially how the Holy Spirit of God inspires any one soul to pray privately. You can stand on your head; you can wear a prayer shawl; you can pray in any language under heaven (and even in some that are not); you can offer intercessory prayer through that neighbor of your’s who died and you are convinced is a saint — even though they’ll never be canonized; you can pray a hundred rosaries a day; you can pray “slain in the Spirit”; you can pray out in the deep woods; and I know a lot of people that pray during the obvious violence of an NFL game!

    Where the confusion comes is when an individual — on their own accord — starts to insist that their form of private prayer needs to be adopted by everyone. “PRIVATE PRAYER” is not “PUBLIC WORSHIP.”

    NOW: believe it or not, the Rosary is a private prayer. There is no strict formal way to pray it. Anyone can add any additional prayers they want just as long as they do not insist that their way is the only way. Followers of EWTN, for instance, use a format in praying the Rosary that is uniquely theirs and is not at all like anything I ever remember from my own childhood when I learned to pray the Rosary. And that’s OK.

    But it is also true that some pastors get very irritated when groups of laity in their parish organize themselves and pray publicly the Rosary during times which conflict with “PUBLIC WORSHIP” of that specific place.

  36. “At my mother’s parish the priest openly mocks, during homilies, people who pray the rosary and light candles. ”

    I wonder if the parish priest was referring to performing these practices during the Mass? Of course, they are wonderful pious practices but should not be done while the Mass is being celebrated. I continue to see people saying the Rosary during Mass and coming up for Communion with the Rosary wrapped around their hands. I see people returning to their seats after receiving Communion and stopping to kneel at a statue and light a candle before a Saint. Imagine if everyone did that? These should obviously be done after the Mass is concluded.

  37. I need to get this done. It’s too bad they won’t completely remove you though. I really have a problem with the theory that since somebody else declared me Catholic when I was an infant, that is supposedly supposed to have anything to do with what I believe. If you want believers, shouldn’t you wait till their old enough to tell you what they believe?

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