Question for Ranchhand

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hilton
4/6/2003 11:19 AM
1 out of 12

Over on HC&C, Maven said that your partner went through a "long process" of becoming officially ex-Catholic.

I was a convert to the Catholic church when I was a teenager, and was baptized and confirmed when I was about 15. But, I stopped going to church shortly after that, and to make a long story short, I have considered myself a Buddhist for the past five years or so.

I used to think that my brief experience with Catholicism was a necessary part of my spiritual journey, so I didn't really feel any negativity toward that part of my religious experience. But, now I just think it was a big mistake, and I would like to have my name purged from any records they might keep. It makes me very uncomfortable, and I can't in good conscience have my name associated with them in any way (even though it probably doesn't matter).

Anyway, I was just wondering exactly what happened with your partner and how big of a deal something like this really is?

Maybe RETeach could answer as well.

--hilton



Partner_of_RH
4/7/2003 8:36 PM
2 out of 12

Hilton, I am Ranchhand’s partner and more than happy to give you the information you are seeking.

If you have been baptized in the Catholic Church, you are counted on the roster until you get yourself excommunicated. You can be excommunicated, as I was, however. I think you are making the right choice. The Catholic Church reports a membership that is nearly one third higher than reality because it counts as Catholic all those baptized into the Church, even if they leave the Church for other faiths.

You will be citing Canon 1364, Section 1 “Apostasy, heresy or schism.” This involves automatic excommunication, but you have to convince the church it applies to you. Since you are now a Buddhist, this should be no problem.

You will need to write a letter to the parish where you were baptized, if possible. If not, a local priest can get you started, but you will need to know the parish where you were baptized and the date (or close).

They will not want to do this, so be prepared for some push back. It took an exchange of a number of letters as well as some very unpleasant personal visits by priests, but I suspect that since I come from a family that has been Catholic for generations and I had been a very active Catholic, that they were reluctant to “let me go.” I do not believe you will have such problems. I was willing to endure anything in order to be distanced from a Church I felt had rejected me long before I had rejected it.

You should include in your letter the Canon above and that you no longer hold the beliefs of the Catholic Church to be holy or meaningful and you denounce their teachings and embrace Buddhism.

In my case, I listed specifics that had led me permanently away from the Church, and you should feel free to do so, also, if specific teachings of the Church have led you to this point.

Good luck. Post if you have additional questions and someone will let me know you’ve posted.



hilton
4/7/2003 8:56 PM
3 out of 12

Hey, thanks for responding.

They will not want to do this, so be prepared for some push back. It took an exchange of a number of letters as well as some very unpleasant personal visits by priests

Realistically, how much of a "push back" do you think I'll get? I no longer live in the state of the parish I was baptized in. Will this involve making numerous personal visits? Will it garner media attention?

I guess I just don't understand why this is such a big deal. If they really think I have no value to society, and am "intrinsically disordered," then one would think that they'd be glad to be rid of me.

I really, really wish I'd never set foot inside a Catholic church.

--hilton



Partner_of_RH
4/7/2003 9:18 PM
4 out of 12


Hilton: Realistically, how much of a "push back" do you think I'll get? I no longer live in the state of the parish I was baptized in. Will this involve making numerous personal visits? Will it garner media attention?


I don’t think you’ll get much “push back” other than them telling you that you don’t have to do this. You will just need to insist that you do want it and that, according to the Canon, they must excommunicate you for the “good of the Church.”

I doubt you will warrant a personal visit, particularly since you have joined another faith.

I received so much attention because I was a cradle Catholic from a large Catholic family who had been a very active member in my parish into adulthood. And I was leaving not for another for faith, but essentially for “no faith.”




Hilton: I guess I just don't understand why this is such a big deal. If they really think I have no value to society, and am "intrinsically disordered," then one would think that they'd be glad to be rid of me.

You as an individual have no worth to them, sadly. What they do want is simply your “headcount” adding to the influence of a Church that commands so many members.




Hilton: I really, really wish I'd never set foot inside a Catholic church.

I would say that this is similar to how I feel in many ways. But it took Ranchhand to show me that walking away from the Church was not walking away from God or from spirituality.


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