Italian National Day of Debaptism October 21, 2009

Italian National Day of Debaptism

In Italy, the Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR) are planning their second annual Debaptism this Sunday.

Last year, over a thousand people filled out the forms declaring their intent to no longer be listed on the Catholic Church rolls. UAAR is hoping for even more this year.

In a loose translation, this posting reads:

“The debaptism phenomenon is in constant growth — explains Raffaele Carcano, national secretary of the UAAR — and is attracting the growing attention of public and press, in particular foreign press…”

According to Carcano, there are approximately 4,500 downloads of the “official debaptism” form per month and over 15,000 have actually filled it out and mailed it in.

It’s *so* much easier when you can just send in a form like that.

Is anyone still listed on their former church’s “list”?

Have you tried to get off of it?

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  • I have a friend who got himself officially out of the Lutheran church by standing in front of a bunch of priests and saying “I renounce Jesus Christ as my lord and savior” three times. Really wish it was that easy for Catholics. As far as the church is concerned, I’m still one of them. ::shudders:: Not quite sure how to get out short of excommunication.

  • I started to look into this a little bit a few weeks ago, but didn’t figure out the process. It looked like you maybe needed to qualify for excommunication, but it also seemed like there might be a possibility of just renouncing your faith with them. Not sure.

    I want to make sure I take my time and do it in a way that they go and find my name, if it’s stored anywhere, and remove it. I don’t want to do it in a way that is really not noted by them, and have them still counting me.

    If anyone knows the process, I would be grateful to hear how to officially get out of the Catholic church’s headcount.

  • Vatican has recently made it pretty easy to commit apostasy (you just have to write a statement and bring it to your church). Unfortunately in Poland, where I live, it’s much harder. Polish bishops won’t acknowledge apostasy committed in other country; they require you to have at least two meetings with your priest with a delay between them to be chosen by him (record: 2 years). You also have to bring two witnesses with you to one of those meetings.

    Even though I’m an apostate, I’m sometimes still considered to be a catholic (for example: I can’t have my personal data removed from their records and I’m among those 95% of our society that church claims to be its followers).

    Beside formal apostasy, I also plan on visiting neopagans to get a traditional slavonic debaptism.

  • I’m one of those lucky ones who was never baptised into any faith so I have nothing to renounce. Pity really as I almost feel like I’m missing out. 😉

    One other thing, I’m not 100% sure that it’s reasonable to expect to have your name completely removed from the baptismal register. If the register is considered a record of historical events, then having your name on it is accurate if you were indeed baptised. But that absolutely does not give the church the right to include you in their list of ‘followers’ – especially if you have officially informed them of your apostacy.

  • N

    I’m still on the roster of the church I most recently attended, though I was not baptized there. I still get emails, orchestra rehearsal reminders (even though I haven’t played in the orchestra for over a year now), and of course, tithing envelopes.

    They are just sure that I’ll come back to the fold.

  • notthemarimba

    I was raised Mormon and am still on the list. I just can’t be bothered to go get my name removed… supposedly it’s a real pain in the arse to get off the list.

  • I formally resigned my membership in the Mormon church about a year and a half ago, but I’ve found out that no one really knows whether they remove resigned or excommunicated members from their rolls. Rather, they don’t remove your name, but make a note of your resignation on your permanent record, and it’s quite possible they still keep counting resigned and excommunicated people in their membership count, though no one really seems to know for certain. At the very least, (at in the US) resignation makes it illegal for the church to bother you ever again.

  • Colin

    @Christine:

    Your friend’s renunciation sounds rather dramatic. Like the kind of thing you would expect in the Exorcist!

    I was raised Lutheran myself, and for a couple of years earlier this decade, I received letters stating that if I failed to join them for communion, I would be removed from the roles of the church. I never showed, and the letters stopped coming. No idea if I was removed or not… part of me suspects not.

    Of course, here in the US, I don’t think its so vitally important to be removed. In Europe, where in at least some countries your tax dollars can be allocated depending on which denomination you’re allocated under, updating your “official” registration takes on a new importance.

  • Tizzle

    I’m on the roster, as well. I was a Jehovah’s Witness, and it makes it easier in my family life to not disassociate myself.

    I think the de-baptism is funny and possibly helpful long-term in society because of awareness raising and all, but it’s not for me.

    I don’t have to quit the church, because it doesn’t have any hold over me. For me, sending a letter or even getting debaptised (maybe at a private party it’d be fun) would indicate that I still cared what the church thought. It feels irrational to me to care about a symbolism I no longer believe in. But hey, some people need/want closure. I simply don’t.

  • Claudia

    The Catholic Church does it’s best to prevent ANYONE from getting off it’s rosters. In Spain there’s periodically a big fuss about it.
    It may sound like much ado about nothing but actually there’s money involved. Put simply, in Spain an ample majority (though declining) of children are baptized. That makes you a church member for life. Of course in reality fewer than 20% of Spaniards take religion the slightest bit seriously. But since Spain has an OFFICIAL DEAL with the church that allows it to get tax euros, to them it’s VERY important to maintain high numbers of “members”. The end result is that they put roadblocks and stonewall people who want their names off the list.

  • muggle

    Once again, I’m glad to be American.

    I was dedicated but I undedicated myself. I am amused at the debaptisms, however, and can’t help but think way to go! at them.

  • Gordon

    I used countmeout.ie to get the paperwork, but the Catholic Church are really dragging their feet about removing me from their lists.

  • Tuff

    In the Italian debaptism, the form you send qualifies you to be excommunicated latae sententiae, that is just by presenting yourself as an apostate.

    I like the 3 times renouncement for lutherans though, it reminds me of Dorothy tapping her ruby slippers! Or ending your faith with yet another enchantment.

  • The point is to go public with the apostasy thing.

    To say out loud and in public to not be catholic or whatever or better yet to say “I don’t believe in any god, I don’t believe in any transcendent force or being”

    maybe we should go for a public album of apostasy!

    ps: I live in Italy and got my “debaptism” in 2003 🙂

  • David

    Why so worried? A Baptism certificate just records that a ceremony took place. It has no other meaning than that unless you believe in the power of baptism. If you don’t want to believe/go to church then don’t. As for this nonsense about excommnuication then on eexcommunicates oneself. Not going to church does this. Before you get het up try checking out the ideas

  • I got “debaptized” last year, sending a letter (thanx to UAAR) some weeks before the Debaptism day.
    The Archdiocese of Milan answered me that i’d be EXCOMMUNICATED for apostasy (latae sententiae which means “automatically”)

    So they gave me time to think (2 weeks). At the end i would reached my goal.
    But nothing happened… since i phoned the Archidiocese (it was the beginning of dicember) asking something like a kindly “WTF?!?”.
    So they apologize for being late and they sent me another letter in which they confirmed my “unsubscribtion”.
    Aw… both the letters were written with the Comic Sans TTF.
    Check it out, if you don’t believe me.

  • @David
    Your argumentations are so much like the italians’ one (i mean the italian catholics).
    In Italy (and maybe some elsewhere) people thinks that baptism is only a spiritual thing.
    That’s false. Here in Italy the politic has a big problem: politicians make laws according to church because about 96% of italian people are catholics. But -accepting just for a moment that this stat is real- that’s not really exact, if you think about that only 30% of italian people go to church every week (or near).
    People get baptised when is about 1 year old (as happened to me), often because of tradition.
    But after they never go to church, or they stop when they get older.
    I don’t go since 1998. So this means that, before debaptising, i was part of this 96% italian catholics. Now i am no more.
    Any question?

  • Invicta

    All you ex-Christians on and off the church rosters are lucky. I’m an ex-Jew and nobody, but nobody, believes me about the “ex” part. They say there’s no getting off THAT list, short of (to plagiarize Douglas Adams) an accident with a time machine and a contraceptive.

    But I still found a way to get my apostasy in writing. The name on my birth certificate is straight out of Fiddler on the Roof, so I went to court and had it Anglicized. The form I had to fill out and the court order both say that a “change of religious affiliation” is the reason why I did it. Now that inconvenient little fact is a matter of public record, and what do I care if some throwbacks in silly costumes won’t recognize it?