January 17, 2012

No Way Out!

Category: Religion — Cranky @

I’m comfortable with my views of religion and those who practice it. I’m tolerant, I’m remarkably free of prejudice, and I bear nobody ill will. Those who take their views to extremes and harm others – whether through terrorism, the suppression and harm of women, or any other form of, frankly, evil – those people I would like to see go away. But there are those people in every religion. I would no more automatically consider a Muslim suspicious than I would a Christian.

I first realized religion was not for me at the age of 15. I distinctly remember the first time I opened my Bible and realized I no longer felt it contained anything but old stories.

Am I richer for having no religion? No. But I don’t feel any poorer for it either. I do charity work on occasion, I’m a United Way contributor, and I sponsor a child in Ethiopia. I believe in good works, and I believe in doing right by others. “Good” doesn’t require an afterlife. It feels just fine without such a promise.

The Roman Catholic Church, however, claims me as one of its own. To this day I’m a bit miffed that they asked me to confirm my baptism by sacrament before I was old enough to meaningfully consider the question of whether or not I wanted to do so.

So recently it occurred to me that membership in the church is a loose end that I’d like to make right. Turns out that I need an “Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica”. Basically it’s a written declaration of the intent to leave the church, filed with the bishop in charge of the area where my baptism was performed.

I also need a time machine. In 2009, the Catholic Church struck all mention of the process from the Code of Canon Law. In August, 2010, the Holy See confirmed that it is no longer possible to formally defect. In essence, “Haha! We got you forever.”

Well, poop.