Defection from Catholic Church

Leaving a discredited church once and for all. Crossing the Ts

I haven’t believed in any form of religion since I was twelve and even then I thought it was all nonsense.

But yet, until recently, I thought it was sufficient simply to walk away.

I was wrong.

The Catholic church is not something you just walk away from, because the Catholic church clings like old chewing gum to everything it touches.  It abuses  our children and our sick.  It owns our politicians, and it takes our money.

It hates us.

Therefore, to walk away is not good enough.

We must brush it off as we might remove something distasteful from our sleeve.

There’s a web site called that will automate the process for you if you happen to be a collapsed catholic, but I felt it would be more appropriate to write out the documentation by hand.  It seemed like the right thing to do.

I wrote two things: a letter to the local  catholic bishop, Donal Murray, and a formal declaration of defection.  I made some modifications to the wording on that web site because I wanted to convey slightly more emphasis, and show considerably less respect to a debased and discredited institution.

To Bishop Donal Murray, I wrote this:

Please remove my name from the baptismal register for the diocese of Limerick.

I enclose a declaration of defection completed and signed, together with my personal details.

I have no confidence in the Catholic church, nor any belief in it, and neither do I have any confidence in you personally.

Yours sincerely,


Then I wrote out a formal declaration.

Declaration of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church

(Actus formalis defectionis ab ecclesia catholica)

I, Bock, give formal notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic church.  I do not wish to be regarded as a member of the Roman Catholic church.

I am aware of the consequences of this act regarding the reception of the sacraments of the church, including the sacraments of the eucharist, marriage and the sick, and with regard to burial.

I will make this decision known to my next of kin and ensure that they know of this decision in the event that I become incapacitated.

I make this declaration without any form of mental reservation, evasion, duplicity or deception. I further make this declaration under solemn oath, being of sound mind and body, and in the presence of a witness who can testify as to the validity of this document.

Signed Bock

Address Bockschloss

Witness, Friend

Address Friend’s place

Date 2nd December 2009


That’s it.  Quite simple.  They have to accept what I tell them, and suddenly they can no longer count me among their statistics.

Why do I do this?

Because it isn’t good enough any more to slink away from these bastards.

40 thoughts on “Defection from Catholic Church

  1. Well done Bock. I did the same thing myself recently.
    It made me angry to think they could count me amoung their numbers.
    I am not part of their club. I do not associate myself with that corrupt cult. I feel like a better person for it.

  2. I don’t think they accept defections, as far as i know they believe they have you until the end but you could try getting excamunicated where they tell you to fuck off but you might have to get real nasty.

  3. I also recommend defecation on the catholic church. It is easier than defection and more fun.

  4. Was never one of the Pope’s children, and have instead undergone my own “debirth-again” deconversion from whatever-you-call-the-faith-I-was-raised-in. However, due to a complicated series of unfortunate events, my children are baptised, elected (I offered the choice) to do 1st communions, later elected not to be confirmed and are now self-declared atheists. Will certainly be pointing them the direction of count-me-out when they turn 18. Thanks for the hat tip. The lapsed RC atheist spouse may take note also.

  5. It’s not really for a Proddie cleric to get involved, but I think until there is complete separation of church and state, the institutional church will cling on to its power.

    I believe in faith as a matter of choice and think the power that has been exerted by the churches, including my own, is contrary to the Gospel and counterproductive to building anything that looks like a church that Jesus would recognize.

  6. Am in the process of defecting myself.

    @thaiman – according to the site, they consider Baptism as irrevocable – so you are still a christian, but not a catholic. you are still IN the baptismal register, but the words DEFECTED are put beside your name. It’s as good as you’re ever going to get. Excommunication, which I’ve also looked into, is much more difficult to achieve, and you don’t have control over it. I’d rather be able to attend friends’ weddings, funerals and baptisms without a priest in the doorway shouting at me that I am anathema and unclean.

  7. @froodie. As a lapsed catholic since i was fourteen I couldn’t care less what they put next to my name. I was about 2 weeks old when they claimed me and they made me confirm it when I was twelve. I should sue the bastards.

  8. I defected from the Church about 20 years ago.
    Until people who no longer believe or never believed defect the statistics for numbers of Catholics in Ireland will remain grossly inaccurate.

    The church is finished anyway – no new vocations, an aging population, Bishops forced to resign, young people having the courage to stop attending ceremonies, payments to abuse victims etc.

  9. In Germany you go to your local registry office, and that’s it.
    And now – sorry for being too lazy for investigating: Do you have also to pay church-tax?

  10. No. Church tax is a German thing.

    However, we have something similar. In this country, our government uses taxpayers’ money to pay the victims of sexual and physical abuse by the clergy, and we pay for the schools and the hospitals, but leave the church in charge of them so I suppose in a way you could say we have a church tax.

    It’s just less honest than the German way, like everything else here.

  11. Well, well, I thought you might have followed my advice two years ago? You even left a comment, proof you read it. And noooooooo, you had to remain obedient to the pointy hats in Rome until just now. /END SMUGNESS/

  12. The recent revelations in Ireland have awakened much pain for me, because I am the sister of two survivors. Now I know that things could have been much worse. Last night, I was comforted by the words to an old Psalm. “Fret not yourself because of Evil Doers,” in the final analysis, “Their day of [judgment] is coming.” The righteous survive, and they “Inherit the Land.” Maybe it’s time for the lands of the Church to be given back to the people of Ireland. Why should She be able to keep lands, purchased from the sweat and labor of abused children and the tithes and offerings of an oppressed people, controlled for centuries not by monarchs but rather by a mean-spirited and authoritative Church Hierarchy?

    In the States, we hear stories about how 95% of Ireland is Catholic. How is that possible? We have also heard that about 90% of baptized Catholics in Ireland, since 1950, no longer attend Church. Does anyone have any ideas what the accurate figures are?

    Another naive question from the States… What would it take to get the Church completely OUT of the educational system and make Freedom of Religion, freedom to choose, one of the God-given Rights of the Irish population?

  13. From the comments on this board, it is evident that many, if not all had an axe to grind long before the clergy sex abuse scandal erupted. I’d be curious to know what it was specifically that turned your heart against the Catholic Church.

  14. Having been on the receiving end of perversion and hypocrisy by the Clergy and Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, I too agree that those responsible for the sexual butchery of hundreds of thousands of children, young people and vulnerable adults should be addressed, and not just in the civil courts alone. I feel that the clergy who committed these crimes and the hierarchy who enabled the criminals should be judged, preferably in the International Court of the Hague, since these are most certainly Crimes Against Humanity.What happened to us was/is the largest mass sexual victimization of the vulnerable in the history of the world. The perverted sexual acts forced upon these poor people are so monstrously filthy that, One would hesistate to request such things from professional prostitutes.
    Our Church, which is the Living Body of Christ, has been dragged into the gutter by those Ordained/Anointed that we , from birth, were taught to trust and obey above all others. But these Ordained/Anointed have proven themselves to be Graceless Traitors to Almighty GOD and to HIS People.

  15. @Amos: Although I am a huge fan of Hitchens, Dennett and Dawkins, I was recently very impressed by Stephen Fry’s heartfelt contribution to the BBC’s Intelligence Squared debate, on whether the Catholic Church is a force for good–I imagine he puts the case at least as eloquently as could anyone on this message board.


  16. This is what happens when too much power is vested in the interests of a few. Then this game becomes one of ritual and secrets and lastly- it’s us versus them. How many dictates, excommunications and double standards have come up through the Centuries? Power corrupts but is is almost absolute power and is rather odious.

  17. The Church has come so far – and not even this latest damaging and sad report will put an end to God’s Church. Many before you have said that the Church will disappear even during the times of the Reformation or even during the reign of Communism – but it didnt happen. So defect all you want! You will be long dead but the Roman Catholic Church will stand defiant through time!

    And as a side note, the charitable works of the Church in the world is unmatched by any government!

  18. Anybody in their rightful mind should wish to be disassociated from the Catholic Church.

    However if you grew up in rural Ireland, any escape from the cow shit, the cold, the muck and the rain and a promise that if you followed the rules, one day you would be taken to heaven , a place full of beauty and happiness; was irresistible
    The Church provided that. I was 16 and the church organist, I love music of any kind and what a delight it was as a teenager to lead a choir and fill that church with wonderful music, it was theater at its best. The candles the incense (I still love that smell) the altar boys in black or red robes, white surplices, The priest parading around all decked out in gold trim vestments, that changed colours with the seasons. And then there was God, locked up in a box disguised as thin little wafers. It was pure magic.

    As an added bonus on Sundays I got out of having to milk the cows, I had to play the organ at first mass. Every three years the Bishop came, and what a pageant that was, so important that Mrs. Ryan was brought out from town to play the organ. The church had a big chair that was only used by the bishop every three years when he came, I have to say that when nobody was around I would sit on that big chair and pretend I was the bishop. But my favorite was Corpus Christy, Jesus was put into a monstrance, the priest’s got all decked out in (if somewhat faded) beautiful gold laced robes and vestments and off we all went with down the roads to the grotto. People would put fresh paint on their house’s and plant beautiful flowers in boxes on the window sill. No car or trap car would dare pass the procession, except for Paddy Murphy (Not his name)who every year rode his horse past the parade. My parents used to say he was a bit odd. I often wonder what his real story was.

    My love of tradition, pageantry, and theatre will never fade, I respect people who find solace and comfort in the unknown. Every now and then up until ten years ago when I return home I would go to that church and in the quite of the afternoon play the same Organ that I played as a teenager, It brought back so many wonderful memories of my youth. I would play jazz bluegrass and rock’n roll. None of which were ever meant for the organ not to mention a church.

    As I grew up I Realized that the fairy tales of my youth were just that, and It was time to separate fact from fiction. I still believe in Santa Clause, but the one god thing that actually is three gods , and Jesus in a box became more and more unfathomable.

    Then ten years ago one of my best friends came to me with a medical condition, I am a medical Doctor and what he told me sent shivers up and down my spine. The young curate who was the delight of our parish had raped him consistently for six years. My first reaction, denial, was he making it up, how could this be true. No: This was one of my best friends and he would never make that up. Then anger set in, and my next reaction was to find this curate and beat the fucking shit out of him. By then it was too late, Pat(not his name) had found escape in the bottle, his liver was shot, he died two years later. I talked to the Bishop the man who had big chairs in every parish that he uses for an hour every three years. I was greeted with silence and indignation. How dare I speak ill of a priest given a vocation and chosen by God to minister his flock. When I addressed the Bishop by his rightful title “You Fucking Bollocks” the meeting ended and we never spoke again.

    Since then my hatred for the institution that is the “Holy Roman Catholic Church” has grown stronger every day. Any organization that denies the Human rights and dignity of any human being regardless of who they are, should be obliterated from the face of the earth. Any organization that condones and attempts to cover up abuse by its clergy should be dragged before the courts and its members, either participants or condoners, should be locked away forever. The sexual and emotional violation of an innocent child has to be one of the most horrific crimes known to mankind. Anyone who remains a part of this organization, continues to condoning it’s moral authority. The recent Ryan and Murphy reports are just the tip of the iceberg,

    We must stand up for the innocent “Bastards” as the church called them, who never knew the love of a Father or Mother, never had a sister or brother, who never had a voice, and the only intimacy they ever knew was the perverted intrusions of sick pedophiles. How sick is it to take a new born baby’s from their mother and place them in orphanages and condemn them as ”Bastards” second class citizens for the rest of their lives. We must stand up for all who were and still are abused by this organization.

    Take action, first ask to be removed from the baptismal registry It’s a good place to start. Then ask to be excommunicated this process takes time and perseverance, but is not impossible. This sends a powerful message to RCC.

    Regardless of what you do, always remember that all things will fade away but “Love and Music” will last forever.

    Dr. Thompson.

  19. Amos; in my case, it started with the realisation as an eight or nine-year old that going to mass every Sunday was really boring. Same old repetitive rambling nonsense. This allowed me the mental space to question why we did it, and by the age of twelve or so, I was finished with the whole concept. I just worked out that it was a scam. I clearly remember that the hardest part of coming to that conclusion was not the religious beliefs themselves – they were easy to dismiss as hogwash – but the impenetrable fact that so many ‘respectable’ people seemed to believe them. Why would so many people believe this stuff? Why was there no criticism (this was in the 70’s)?. The only way to square the circle was to conclude that there were a lot of cowardly or stupid people in the world; no doubt a fairly arrogant thing for a young teenager to say, but the only possible answer.

    Happily, since then, it is a lot more socially acceptable to criticise the church and to declare oneself not to be religious. I am amazed that anyone in Ireland could grow up today believing in what the church teaches, and I hope that this is the last generation that we have to say that about. I think the church is doomed – it’s just so completely uncool and irrelevant to young people, that they will never return to it because they never belonged to it in any meaningful way.

    I’d be interested to hear what socioliogists in Ireland make of the current church crisis and its long term impact on Irish society. If we’re not a catholic society in future, what will Ireland look like and how different will it be? Pointless and destructive as the church is, getting rid of it as a social foundation stone does not automatically mean that the alternative is an ideal society; just look at Britain – a degenerate and disintegrating mess. So, what do we want Ireland to look like?

  20. It’s really important to get the church out of the schools and hospitals now. Child sex abuse isn’t merely widespread in the catholic church. It is inevitable. The church is a scam. Its doctrines are silly nonsense. It exists to prepare people for exploitation. Catholics are groomed to kneel and pay. The church can’t prevent paedophiles from taking advantage of a ready groomed population. It can never reform. If it stopped conditioning people into subserviance, it would no longer be the catholic church. Our craven, complicit politicians must legislate now against the ownership and control of Irish institutions by the princes of a contemptuous foreign state.

  21. Personally I must admit that I could not be bothered one way or the other about religion. Someone said recently that paedophiles are only next in line to murders . I think they are much worse, they leave their victims with a life of hell. However this thread risk’s falling into the mindset of holy inquisition . Take all Roman Catholic clergy and their followers out and burn them at the steak. We risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  22. It is so vital for parents to guide and encourage our children to think for themselves and find their way with all the love, protection and communication we can, Unfortunatly for the majority of Irish we were conditioned to live a life handed down from fear and mythology.
    I am particularly delighted Bock that you have posted this because it is so important to change the records for the future.
    When I was 16, I decided I did not want to go to mass and I did’nt believe in religion, It caused a furore because I was in a catholic boarding school and the regime was entrenched, My parents were summoned and with about 6 nuns in attendance I was duly called to the “drawing room ” big deal back then, I felt so sorry for my Father sitting there staring at the floor, that I just wanted to backtrack and stop causing so much hassel, However after the nuns related my “bolshie” behaviour to him, He just looked up and said “Religion is a personal choice and if she does’nt choose it then I support her , so don’t ask her to attend mass ” I was flabbergasted but so proud of him, afterward he spoke to me about the importance of independent thought, the learning curves and consequences of same and to never ever be afraid of doing what you believe in.
    It was the greatest gift he gave me and I have tried to pass it on, The church need to set up a model of reparation based on the TRUTH and RECONCILIATION commission set up post apartheid in South Africa for victims, led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, where victims had the facility of relating their stories and their pain to those who supported the regime,, The victims need to see, hear and feel the humiliation of those who protected their abusers.
    I fear that this country has’nt reached the tip of the iceberg with victims coming forward though, I fear it is even much more widespread than we know now.

  23. norma,
    Touching story about your Dad. You are/were very fortunate.

    My kids go to Limerick School Project which is a non denominational school. The kids learn about and even celebrate each others religious festivals. They leave the school with a healthy questioning tolerant attitude. The choice of non-denominational secondary schools is limited. I’ve been to several school open days where among other things they have Chaplains or celebrate differnet events with a mass. I queried what happens to kids who don’t subscribe to the Catholic belief and have been told that the school’s are Catholic and that is the way it is. An Iranian friend of mine had told the school authorities that they were not Catholic and didn’t want their daughter going to mass. The school agreed. However, when their was a mass she was told to go and even told to take Holy communion. How hippocritical is that?

    Teach kids about all religions, cultures and beliefs and let them decide themselves.

  24. . However, when their was a mass she was told to go and even told to take Holy communion. How hypocritical is that?

    By their rules this would be a grave sin. No non Catholic even other Christians are allowed.

  25. Rome fell from within we all know, says I, reaching for the old cliche in the book. Gary asks are we risking throwing out to baby with the bathwater.
    I reckon we are. Our friend John Waters meanwhile, believes we are a Catholic rather than a Christian country and have failed to fully absorb Jesus Christ.

    He writes: “Somehow, something of this Christ was communicated to us, but our sense of Him remained separate from our relationships with the Catholic Church. In the public expression of faith, we marched under a particular banner, signed up to a moral programme and retained a sentimental idea of a handsome and charismatic man who turned water into wine. But we appear not to have absorbed into our culture any real understanding of what Christ came to tell us. How could we have, if so many of those who told us about Him did not themselves appear to know that He is here every moment? We speak the name of this man-god Christ but no one who eavesdropped on our conversations from outside would gather that we were talking about the redeemer of human fragility and the incarnation of human destiny. What is missing is not intensity of faith, but awareness of human reality. Christ is not the icon of a popular piety based on a necessary moralism or a salutary tradition. He is a living man, who is here now, and whose presence defines everything. Either we know this or we don’t. It is not a matter of faith, but of knowledge. Our fundamental – ie religious – relationships are not with priests, bishops, or even the pope, but with a person who happens to be God. Either this is true or it’s not. If it is not, then it is time to discuss the funeral arrangements of the culture we have taken for granted. If we believe it to be true, we need to begin speaking in public about vital things in a way that will allow us to access the full extent of what we imagine we believe.”
    Meanwhile, John McGahern’s beautiful essay The Church and its Spire (Saturday’s Irish Times) mentioned a letter Proust sent to a friend at the height of the anti clerical pogroms in France at the turn of the last century.

    He writes: “Let the anti clericals at least draw a few more distinctions and at least visit the great social structures they want to demolish before they wield the axe. I don’t like the Jesuit mind, but there is, nevertheless,a Jesuit philosopher, Jesuit art and a Jesuit pedagogy. Will there be an anti clerical art?

    Will there be an anti clerical anything?

  26. Jesus was a Palestinian terrorist .There seems to be some evidence that he did live . The church took on the pomp and circumstance of the Roman Empire and lost most of the message. Before him the “Gods” were sick and evil entities . I suppose the point that he may have made was Love. It may be we still have something to learn from that? Perhaps not Money makes the World go around.

  27. John Waters has always struck me as particularly full of shite. Just read the jibberish quoted above – what a pointless collection of words. “We need to begin speaking in public about vital things in a way that will allow us to access the full extent of what we imagine we believe”. No John, you need to stop speaking in public about what you imagine makes you sound like an intellectual. I am surprised that the Irish Times still publishes him, not because he’s a religious nut, but because most of what he writes just makes no sense to anyone, religious or not.

    And incidentally, what are these great social structures that religion has built? So what if the Sistine Chapel has a beuatiful ceiling – this says nothing about the truth claims of the church. Citibank has a beautiful head office too, and nobody takes that as a sign that Citibank speaks the truth about anything. The problem is that the church’s social structures are used to subjugate and intimidate the people, to the point where nobody dares step out of line. Then when the local priest has his way with the alter boys, nobody says a word, because the authoritarian regime has them where it wans them. It’s not that different to the Mafia or to Stalin – just a brutal authoritarian regime, bent on its own survival and growth.

  28. There won’t be an anti-clerical art or philosophy, because such things would just be a reaction to the clerics.

    There is, however, non-clerical art and non-clerical philosophy, as there has been for centuries. This is the secular tradition.

  29. Ah well, there was always Father Ted. Now that’s some really awesome anti-clerical art. How I miss it.

    Luckily we have Knock apparitions, Galway optomologists, tree stumps, bishops’ mental reservations and Herr Pope’s latin letters to fill the void. In this case, Karl Marx was wrong – the first time it was farce, now repeating as tragedy.

  30. Karl had his principles, and if you didn’t like those he had other principles. Or was that Groucho…t’is hard to figure out which one of then was the greatest piss taker. A night at the Opera was funny, but Das Kapital,
    that was comic genius.

  31. I just did the same thing (yesterday, in fact). I submitted a letter and declaration of defection to the RC church. I didn’t see the need to formally leave the church at first, but every day there was a headline in the newspaper about some new idiotic thing the Pope was saying, or some new abuse scandal. After nearly 15 years I’m finally giving them a piece of my mind!

  32. Eh, just found out that canon law has been changed and people cannot formally defect from the catholic church anymore. You can express your desire to defect and they will take note but you stay on the register. Are they for fucking real?!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.