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Getting de- Baptized

 
 
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 12:27 pm
Ver-r-r-r-ry interesting - - -

In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He's taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.


Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier's parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.

LeBouvier says this rural area is still conservative and very Catholic, but nothing like it used to be. Back then, he says, you couldn't even get credit at the bakery if you didn't go to mass every Sunday.

LeBouvier grew up in that world and says his mother once hoped he'd become a priest. But his views began to change in the 1970s, when he was introduced to free thinkers. As he didn't believe in God anymore, he thought it would be more honest to leave the church. So he wrote to his diocese and asked to be un-baptized.


"They sent me a copy of my records, and in the margins next to my name, they wrote that I had chosen to leave the church," he says.

That was in the year 2000. A decade later, LeBouvier wanted to go further. In between were the pedophile scandals and the pope preaching against condoms in AIDS-racked Africa, a position that LeBouvier calls "criminal." Again, he asked the church to strike him from baptismal records. When the priest told him it wasn't possible, he took the church to court.

Last October, a judge in Normandy ruled in his favor. The diocese has since appealed, and the case is pending.

"One can't be de-baptized," says Rev. Robert Kaslyn, dean of the School of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America.

Kaslyn says baptism changes one permanently before the church and God.


"One could refuse the grace offered by God, the grace offered by the sacrament, refuse to participate," he says, "but we would believe the individual has still been marked for God through the sacrament, and that individual at any point could return to the church."


French law states that citizens have the right to leave organizations if they wish. Loup Desmond, who has followed the case for the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, says he thinks it could set a legal precedent and open the way for more demands for de-baptism.


"If the justice confirms that the name Rene LeBouvier has to disappear from the books, if it is confirmed, it can be a kind of jurisprudence in France," he says.

Up to now, observers say the de-baptism trend has been marginal, but it's growing. In neighboring Belgium, the Brussels Federation of Friends of Secular Morality reports that 2,000 people asked to be de-baptized in 2010. The newspaper Le Monde estimated that about 1,000 French people a year ask to have their baptisms annulled.


There is much anger across the continent by the recent pedophile scandals. In September, Germans marched to protest the pope's visit.

Christian Weisner, who is with the German branch of the grassroots movement We Are Church, says Europeans still want religion, and they want to believe, but it has become very difficult within the Catholic Church.


"It's the way that the Roman Catholic Church has not followed the new approach of democracy, the new approach of the women's issue," he says, "and there is really a big gap between the Roman Catholic Church and modern times."


Back at the church in Fleury, LeBouvier stands by his parents' grave. When asked if the case has ruined his chances of being buried in the family plot, he says he doesn't have to worry about that. He's donating his body to science.
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 12:58 pm
@edgarblythe,
Why is this interesting?
Ceili
 
  6  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 01:10 pm
@edgarblythe,
If find this kind of, well, stupid. I get that he doesn't believe in god, baptisms, religion, but if you don't believe in it... Why make such a big fuss about it? What difference does it make in the grand scheme of things?
Once you deny something, stop believing isn't that enough? I would think, that if you really believed or disbelieved, annulment would be enough. But fully erasing a name from the books, in light of the internet, makes no sense.
By publicly asking to be expunged from the 'records' of the catholic church, he's forever tied to them, eternally, on the world wide web.
We have all joined or been forced to join a club or two that we regret or would rather forget. I don't understand how you can erase a part of your history, aside from amnesia.. Asking the public to do the same is sort of asinine.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 01:12 pm
@edgarblythe,
It seems like baptism is a historical event. You can leave the church, but how can you undo an event that happened in the past. Isn't this like saying you want to give up citizenship to a country so you demand your birth record be stricken?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 01:14 pm
@maxdancona,
In the Catholic Church, leaving the church is 'punished' according to Canon Law (Can.1364 et seqq.).
Those, who left won't bother about such.
However, baptism can't be taken back.

It would be interesting, if other Christian churches do it - here, in Germany, none of the Evangelical/Protestant churches does it.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 01:22 pm
It's not as though the man in question is a confused juvenile. Regardless of what others think, if the man wants to take it back, it should be his legal right to do so. They have no moral right to cling to him in any way, if he breaks the tie.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 02:07 pm
@edgarblythe,
Actually, the formal "de-baptism" isn't possible here in Europe, in none of the Christian churches, as far as I could find out. (Though in Britain, a de-baptism certificate offered as a joke by the National Secular Society has been downloaded by ten thousands.)

Here in Germany, 181,000 Catholics formally split from the Catholic Church in 2011 - the first time, Catholics outnumbered the Evangelicals/ Protestants leaving the church. It's just done by a simple legal act - though the names are still in the church's paperworks ... which doesn't bother anyone who left it.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  0  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 02:11 pm
@edgarblythe,
I could understand a request to having a note added, indicating the person is no longer of some faith, but asking for the entry to be removed ... not so much ... it feels like the lead-in to book burning and similar acts.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 02:16 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
if the man wants to take it back, it should be his legal right to do so.


What does that even mean? If the guy says "I take it back" then he takes it back. I don't see what the church has to do with it. I mean what do you think the church is legally obligated to do?

By the way, Edgar Blythe is now a member of the Max Dancona sacred society of responders. I wrote his name down on the holy membership roll of Maxness where it will remain in all eternity and have whispered the name Edgar Blyth over the mystical candle as part of the most high joining ceremony, a most honored rite that can never be reversed.

What are you going to do about it?

I fail to see how this is a legal issue (ot how it hurts you at all for that matter).



Sturgis
 
  2  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 02:28 pm
@edgarblythe,
Certainly is an interesting matter. Let's face it, baptism is quite often one of those annoying things that our parents thrust upon us before we can talk or make clear our own choice and a church forcing a person to keep it is something of a violation. It gets even more comical considering the Catholic Church is so fond of annulling marriages. Let's see marriage in a church in front of God and others and as adults and promising eternal whatever can be disintegrated and declared as not having happened but some little baby who can't talk or say what they want, has to be stuck with something for life.

I suppose in some ways I was protected by my mother who was very anti-Catholic church (the church, not Catholics as such). Of course I was Jewish and Methodist in a matter of months of being born, so I can see the tug of war which would have gone on if I'd been placed in front of a Catholic audience as well.

Of course years later I had to fight to get out of the Methodist church. The Jewish folks never gave me a problem, maybe because I exited there before all the bar mitzvah festivities took place.

Seeing what the Catholic church is doing to LeBouvier and what I have experienced from the Methodist church (and that includes more than just my difficulty in getting them to agree to ending my membership) it just confirms my belief that I don't want to belong to any religious group.

Quote:
Back at the church in Fleury, LeBouvier stands by his parents' grave. When asked if the case has ruined his chances of being buried in the family plot, he says he doesn't have to worry about that. He's donating his body to science.
I wonder how the Catholic church will react to that one. Maybe that will be what it takes to nullify his baptism.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 02:31 pm
I snigger at the thought it opens us to book burning.
Other societies than the US I suppose will handle it their own way, regardless of what I think. I don't really give a crap about max's scenario, as I never got touched by him. Most of the baptisms, seems to me, took place before the subject was adult and able to do anything of their free will.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 02:40 pm
@Sturgis,
Sturgis wrote:

Quote:
Back at the church in Fleury, LeBouvier stands by his parents' grave. When asked if the case has ruined his chances of being buried in the family plot, he says he doesn't have to worry about that. He's donating his body to science.
I wonder how the Catholic church will react to that one. Maybe that will be what it takes to nullify his baptism.


That was done since centuries, even in strictly Catholic institutions.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 02:41 pm
@edgarblythe,
I don't think you should snigger about it. It shows a lack of consideration of what it means when people want to change their history.

I think it is dangerous to allow retroactive changes in documents. I very much see it as a slippery-slope position.

Addenda are one thing, pretending something never happened is another.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 04:22 pm
@ehBeth,
If the man was baptized as an infant, I think his rights take precedence over the Church rights. I don't see it as book burning in the traditional sense.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  2  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 04:51 pm
@edgarblythe,
I think the point is that he wants to be removed from their records.

As an analogy: You can leave Facebook, and delete your account, but you have to appeal to FB to have them delete your data. (this is true BTW).

If you don't want the church to have private information about you, you should be able to have it removed. You don't know how they will use this information.

Many may recall that the Catholic church found itself clashing with the Mormon church a few years ago. Mormons were baptizing the dead. This lead the Catholics to stop sharing their records with the Mormons. When I'm dead, I won't care if a Mormon sprinkles water on my grave and then declares that I'm a Mormon, but it certainly offends my sensibilities that someone would make claims about me without my consent or without my ability to refute them.

I think you should be able to tell a church that they must remove you from their books.

A
R
T
thack45
 
  2  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 05:15 pm
@failures art,
I admit to skimming, so maybe I missed something. If a church baptizes a child (or even an adult), what sort of private information are we talking about here? That they've been baptized?
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 05:29 pm
@Ceili,
I'm going to assume Celli, that this guy is having a little more enjoyment out of this than someone else might have in taking up whatever other (possibly worthy) cause...
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 05:37 pm
@thack45,
BTW, it's really not terribly hard to get excommunicated... wouldn't that suffice?
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 06:12 pm
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:

I admit to skimming, so maybe I missed something. If a church baptizes a child (or even an adult), what sort of private information are we talking about here? That they've been baptized?


This is the pertinent part, imo.

Quote:
"One can't be de-baptized," says Rev. Robert Kaslyn, dean of the School of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America.

Kaslyn says baptism changes one permanently before the church and God.


Being changed permanently before the church is one thing but God? Please...
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2012 06:24 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
I think it is dangerous to allow retroactive changes in documents.


You're assuming that church records are of some importance.
 

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