Richard Wade reporting. Reader Eoin recently commented on an Ask Richard post from last February dealing with a question about officially leaving the Catholic Church. Eoin brings to our attention the fact that the Vatican has suspended all processing of individual acts of formal defection from the RCC. The Irish website Count Me Out has been providing information, guidance and access to the forms needed for people wanting to file a “Declaration of Defection.” They report: In April of this year, the Catholic Church modified the Code of Canon Law to remove all references to the act of formal defection, the process used by those who wish to formally renounce their membership of the Church. This resolution, dubbed “Omnium in Mentem” apparently puts all applicants who have filed but have been waiting a long time for any response, into church bureaucratic limbo. Because there are many questions left unanswered, Count Me Out has temporarily suspended all further creation of Declarations of Defection via their website, starting October 12, 2010. Assuming that “Omnium in Mentem” invalidates the concept of formal defection, the Church no longer deems that an act of defection changes a person’s relationship with the Catholic Church; instead the annotation of the baptismal register becomes merely an administrative task. Whatever the hell “an administrative task” means. Count Me Out offers some insight about the backqround of this action by the RCC, and some advice concerning the possible ramifications. They speculate on the reasons why the Vatican has done this, focusing on the confusion caused by making certain exceptions to canon law regarding defections pertaining to marriage. It’s confusing to even read their explanation. I have three simpler and perhaps more cynical ideas about the Vatican’s motives, but I don’t pretend to know for certain. I’m offering them here to stimulate a discussion, and I ask readers who have more experience and insight about this to correct me and/or add their own ideas: 1. It will save them a lot of embarrassment. Having this official procedure forces them to individually acknowledge each one of the growing numbers of people who are dissatisfied, disappointed or even disgusted with the Church, and each Declaration of Defection is a powerful public demonstration of both their failure as an institution and the power of their members to defy them. 2. It will save them a lot of work. People are informally leaving the Church in stampedes lately. If more and more of them want to have official documents to formally and finally signify and certify that, the Vatican will need a new clerical staff as big as the Internal Revenue Service. 3. Most importantly, it will save them a lot of money. In several countries, the Catholic Church gets government subsidies for various activities and services. The amount of taxpayer money they get depends on their claim of how many people are Catholics in those countries. Unless I’m wrong, I think they use Baptismal records rather than church attendance census, since the numbers will always be larger. Without the Declarations of Defection, there won’t be documents that can be used to discredit their claims of having large numbers of adherents. So if you want to leave the Roman Catholic Church, you can no longer get them to officially acknowledge and document your exit out the door. You can go, but you’ll have to climb out the window. They don’t want to know about it.
i think exactly for the reason of the embarrassment of hordes leaving the church, that the vatican stopped the practice.
where before they would have bargained on it being a naming and shaming for the applicant, now, the church is the one looking like a douche.
As an erstwhile Roman Catholic (being so very lapsed, far beyond the point of apostasy), Wade’s suspicions re the RCC’s reasons for suspending formal defections seem to me plausible. This is so very typical of the RCC’s underhanded shenanigans.
On the bright side - you can now live in sin without fearing excommunication!
The amount of taxpayer money they get depends on their claim of how many people are Catholics in those countries
This is frecking criminal! …AND now they’re investigating fraud in their own bank. How about our dear govt also giving Mc Cauley some money, and the Muslims…what a merry partnership!
as far as i know and understand, our government dont give money to churches or whatever, which i applaud them. in any case, they are too busy buying themselves new cars and holiday houses.
That may be the case, but I do believe that religious institutions are tax exempt? Can anybody confirm this?
Yes that’s right. In addition, they are given land at inset prices (not market related) to build their churches etc. Landuse planning has prescribed formulas to ensure that faiths are adequately provided for. I was nailed by a woo some time ago for alleging the potato farmer doesn’t pay tax either… wonder who paid for him to speak in London last week?
But not as criminal as the state-enforced tithing the RCC is still privileged to enjoy to this day in certain EU countries. If you’re a member of the RCC, the tithe is automatically deducted from your salary along with more usual taxes. If you fall into arrears for any reason, your tithe load accumulates in the same way as it would if you were defaulting on, say, electricity payments. Interest is charged.
So much for their pretences about looking after people’s “spiritual” welfare. RCC tradition serves first and foremost its own disreputable ends.
Municipalities in SA are also prohibited from levying property taxes on churches. See here.
On 4 March, the Parliament enacted the Municipal Property Rates Act, which will repeal the old provincial ordinances and empower local governments to assess rates. Interventions by the SACC secured several important changes to the bill originally tabled. Most important for churches, the Act prohibits municipalities from levying rates on "a property registered in the name of and used primarily as a place of public worship by a religious community, including an official residence registered in the name of that community which is occupied by an office-bearer of that community who officiates at services at that place of worship".
The South African Pagan Council is also tax exempt.
The SAPC is a Section 21 Public Benefit Organisation in terms of the SARS Act.How about the FSM?
So what happens when they foreclose? Do they ask Satan to claim your soul? This is amazing stuff (wtf!!)
There’d be no point in the RCC foreclosing. Remember that by their own reckoning, they’ve got all of eternity to collect, so it’s devilishly good business simply to allow the debt to accumulate. That way it shows up as a positive in the accounts, whereas foreclosure would entail at least some loss by way of a write-off.
More realistically, I wouldn’t put it past the RCC to exact the debt from one’s descendants if it comes to it.
You can’t be serious! Oh, I suppose you are. I’m at a loss for words.
Well, in truth it’s more properly been labelled a “Church Tax” for some time now — but really, that’s only because the Protestants knew a good thing when they saw it and weren’t shy about jumping onto the gravy train first established by the RCC.
Just in case it was ever really in doubt, another demonstration that religion truly is all about money.