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Is there anyway out ?

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,704 Mod ✭✭✭✭smacl


    KWAG2019 wrote: »
    What an interesting question. But I am the latter of the two
    options offered in the final sentence. Perhaps you’ve confused me with someone else.

    Nah, just poor wording, I intended 'your' as anyone rather than you specifically. 'ones' sounds a bit stodgy but works better.
    Oh for a secular republic. I think I’ll reread some histories of the French Revolution. Comfort blanket if you will.

    Hmmm, the last politician hanging from the lampposts by the guts of the last priest. I can see the attraction, as can many at this point in time no doubt, but just a tad extreme perhaps? ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    As pointed out above in the thread, Catholic canon law accepts that people can and do leave the church, and addresses some consequences of that.

    Where does it do that?
    The formal act of defection was removed in 2009 and that defection only had you excommunicated. Excommunication doesn't stop someone from being a catholic, it just stops them from engaging in mass and receiving sacrements.

    For the purposes of catholic marriage the two parties only have to baptised as catholics to demonstrate membership of the church and validate the marriage. As baptism, according to the church, "is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection" that would imply that the membership is never lost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Where does it do that?
    The formal act of defection was removed in 2009 and that defection only had you excommunicated. Excommunication doesn't stop someone from being a catholic, it just stops them from engaging in mass and receiving sacrements.

    For the purposes of catholic marriage the two parties only have to baptised as catholics to demonstrate membership of the church and validate the marriage. As baptism, according to the church, "is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection" that would imply that the membership is never lost.
    No. You’re mixing up two things here.

    It’s true that the Catholic church considers that baptism "is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection"; it’s not true that that bond is “membership” or that it is “being a Catholic”.

    This is easily seen because, if it were true, then the church would regard Ian Paisley as Catholic. It would regard the Queen of England as a Catholic. It would regard the Patriarch of Constantinople as a Catholic. It would regard everyone who has ever been baptised in any Christian denomination as a Catholic. The numbers of Catholics that it claims would reflect this. And, of course, they don’t.

    Baptism is a necessary condition for membership of the Catholic church, but it’s not a sufficient condition. You also need to be in a relationship of communion with the church. (This is what lets Ian Paisley, etc, off they hook; they are not in communion.)

    As a matter of canon law, a relationship of communion is presumed if you were baptised in a Catholic ceremony (and presumed against if you were baptised in a non-Catholic ceremony) but that’s not a irrebuttable presumption. If, in fact, your relationship of communion has ended, then you are no longer - as far as the Catholic church is concerned - a member of the Church. You can re-establish a relationship of communion at any time - and, in fact, they rather hope you will - but, unless and until you do, you’re not a Catholic. You still have a permanent bond with the church (which is why, if you do wish to rejoin, you will not need to be rebaptised) but it is the same bond as Ian Paisley, etc, had. It is not membership.

    There’s no finite or exhaustive list of ways in which, or circumstances in which, the relationship of communion can be terminated. There never has been. There are some fairly obvious cases - e.g. if you formally join a non-Catholic church, or publicly repudiate the Catholic faith, or publish a pamphlet entitled “Why There is Absolutely Definitely No God, and So I Can Lie In on Sundays”. But these are just examples, not the only ways in which you can cease to be a member of the church. You could terminate your relationship of communion in much, um, quieter ways. The church might then not know that you had ceased to be a Catholic (unless you drew it to their attention) but this didn’t bother them; having a comprehensive and up-to-date membership list is not something they ever cared about. They take a position on whether Mark Hamill or Peregrinus is a member of the church when they need to, and not before. And they frequently never need to.

    The “formal act of defection”, even when it was provided in canon law, was never something that you had to do in order to leave the church. It was something you had to do if you wanted your defection to be recognised for certain purposes to do with canon law on marriage. It was felt that, in relation to marriage, it was necessary to have a pretty clear-cut position on whether someone was, or was not, a Catholic (because church marriage laws differ for Catholics and non-Catholics). So they had a rule that said, in effect, “if you were baptised in a Catholic ceremony, then we treat you as a Catholic so far as canon law on marriage is concerned unless and until you go through this formal act of defection”. This would be so even you had done something pretty unambiguous, like publicly joining another church.

    It didn’t work very well. Very few people completed the formal act of defection. Most people who leave the church do so either through indifference to its claims or in a state of hostility to it, and neither group is particularly motivated to comply with church rules or go through church procedures - or, frequently, even to find out that they exist. The upshot was that a lot of people who were, in truth, not in any relationship of communion with the Catholic church were being treated as Catholics so far as canon law on marriage was concerned (but not for other purposes of canon law).

    The irony is that some people - including countmeout - saw the formal act as providing a clear route out of the church, while in practice it was mainly working as an obstacle to leaving, or at least to leaving fully. If you didn’t know about it, or couldn’t be arsed to go through it - then despite the fact that you were not in communion with the Catholic church and weren’t a member - you were treated for marriage purposes as if you were. As the number of ex-Catholics who hadn’t completed the process vastly exceeded, by orders of magnitude, the numbers who had, this was producing bizarre and inappropriate results, so after a few years they deep-sixed the whole thing.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,394 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    KWAG2019 wrote: »
    “Canon law”. Was this once described in an Irish court as having the status of the rules of a golf club?
    AFAIR, it was Michael McDowell, and he said it in the Dail - am willing to be corrected on both counts though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    If he did say it, I think he may have been wrong. I'm dredging this up from the distant past, but I seem to recall that the Irish courts regard canon law in the same way as they regard a foreign legal system, like Portuguese law or New Zealand law or whatever. Which means its mostly irrelevant to cases that come before the Irish courts but, in the rare case where it is relevant, they'll receive evidence from suitably qualified lawyers in the system concerned about the effect of the provisions of that system which are relevant to the case.

    Not that this is really relevant in the present context. The people who want to complete a formal process to leave the Catholic church aren't looking for recognition or acknowldgement from the Irish courts or the Irish state; they are looking for recognition or acknowledgement from the Catholic church of their non-Catholic status. Even if canon law did have the status of golf club rules, it's the golf club rules about membership that determine whether you are a member of the golf club or not.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Baptism is a necessary condition for membership of the Catholic church, but it’s not a sufficient condition. You also need to be in a relationship of communion with the church.

    As per my post:
    "For the purposes of catholic marriage the two parties only have to baptised as catholics to demonstrate membership of the church and validate the marriage." There is no requirement to show any relationship with the church, only baptism.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    (This is what lets Ian Paisley, etc, off they hook; they are not in communion.)

    No, Paisley et al are let off because until they announce a desire to convert to Roman Catholicism, their original non-RCC baptism isn't recorded by the Roman Catholic Church. When they announce such a desire, their baptism
    is then recorded/noted without the need for repeating it.
    This is what you are getting wrong about the need for a relationship with the church. The "relationship" is simply you declaring (or it being declared for you on your behalf if you are a baby) that you want to be a member of the church when being baptised. If you declare as an adult, after being baptised into an different christian sect, then you don't need to be re-baptised.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    There’s no finite or exhaustive list of ways in which, or circumstances in which, the relationship of communion can be terminated. There never has been. There are some fairly obvious cases - e.g. if you formally join a non-Catholic church, or publicly repudiate the Catholic faith, or publish a pamphlet entitled “Why There is Absolutely Definitely No God, and So I Can Lie In on Sundays”. But these are just examples, not the only ways in which you can cease to be a member of the church.

    None of these can do anymore than make you excommunicated and as per my post:
    "Excommunication doesn't stop someone from being a catholic, it just stops them from engaging in mass and receiving sacrements. "


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    As per my post:
    "For the purposes of catholic marriage the two parties only have to baptised as catholics to demonstrate membership of the church and validate the marriage." There is no requirement to show any relationship with the church, only baptism.
    The very fact that they wish to be married in the church is considered to evidence the relationship with the church.
    No, Paisley et al are let off because until they announce a desire to convert to Roman Catholicism, their original non-RCC baptism isn't recorded by the Roman Catholic Church. When they announce such a desire, their baptism
    is then recorded/noted without the need for repeating it.
    No. It's not the recording of baptism which creates a permanent ontological bond etc; its the baptism itself. If that permanent ontological bond is membership, then Paisley is a member, whether or not his baptism is recorded, and even if it is never recorded. [/QUOTE]

    This is what you are getting wrong about the need for a relationship with the church. The "relationship" is simply you declaring (or it being declared for you on your behalf if you are a baby) that you want to be a member of the church when being baptised. If you declare as an adult, after being baptised into an different christian sect, then you don't need to be re-baptised.
    So what your are saying is that baptism is not enough; you need baptism plus a declaration of membership? But that contradicts what you said earlier, and if its true then obviously the permanent ontological bond created by baptism, whatever else it is, is not membership.

    So, if your position now is that membership requires baptism plus something else, what is it that makes you think the something else is a declaration? And what is it that makes you think that the effects of the declaration are irrevocable?
    None of these can do anymore than make you excommunicated and as per my post:
    "Excommunication doesn't stop someone from being a catholic, it just stops them from engaging in mass and receiving sacrements. "
    You are correct about the effects of excommunication; an excommunicated Catholic is still a Catholic. But you are wrong in thinking that these things either (a) always result in excommunication, or (b) only result in excommunication.

    Excommunication is a red herring here, for the reason you point out yourself; defection is what makes someone cease to be a member of the Catholic church.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,779 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The very fact that they wish to be married in the church is considered to evidence the relationship with the church.

    People who have never been catholic can get married in an RC church (provided their spouse is catholic) so does that mean they now have a relationship with a church they've never been a member of?

    There'd be plenty of people in this country who would consider themselves ex-catholics but got married in a church because it was what their spouse / mother-in-law / etc wanted and they considered putting up with a bit of mumbo-jumbo on the day to be worth it.

    They were curious, curious, curious oranj / Curious, curious, curious oranj



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    People who have never been catholic can get married in an RC church (provided their spouse is catholic) so does that mean they now have a relationship with a church they've never been a member of?
    No. It means their spouse does.
    There'd be plenty of people in this country who would consider themselves ex-catholics but got married in a church because it was what their spouse / mother-in-law / etc wanted and they considered putting up with a bit of mumbo-jumbo on the day to be worth it.
    True. But the fact that these people are married in the Catholic church doesn't mean that they are accepted as, or counted as, Catholics. It's their spouse who, having been baptised as a Catholic and having sought marriage in the Catholic church, is taken to be Catholic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The very fact that they wish to be married in the church is considered to evidence the relationship with the church.

    Show me where that equivalence is stated anywhere in the catechism or by any pope or even bishop.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    No. It's not the recording of baptism which creates a permanent ontological bond etc; its the baptism itself. If that permanent ontological bond is membership, then Paisley is a member, whether or not his baptism is recorded, and even if it is never recorded.

    The RCC believes that RCC baptisms create a permanent bond to the RCC (see part 7 here).
    If the RCC believes that any baptism creates a permanent ontological bond with the RCC, and they accept baptisms originally performed by other sects, then by your argument they must automatically assume that Paisley et al are already members. That they don't means that they also require a declaration for the RCC in the baptism (even if that declaration happens after the fact).
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    So what your are saying is that baptism is not enough; you need baptism plus a declaration of membership? But that contradicts what you said earlier, and if its true then obviously the permanent ontological bond created by baptism, whatever else it is, is not membership.

    So, if your position now is that membership requires baptism plus something else, what is it that makes you think the something else is a declaration? And what is it that makes you think that the effects of the declaration are irrevocable?

    I am saying that catholic baptism is enough. The RCC says that even post hoc declaration of a baptism as actually being a catholic baptism is good enough for them. The baptism bond is permanent, and once you declare that the baptism was for the RCC then it is permanently for the RCC. My argument is the same as it always is - the most the RCC can do to you for apostasy or heresy or any crime is excommunicate you, but that doesn't stop you being a catholic in their eyes. If you have anything official that contradicts this, I'd love a link.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    You are correct about the effects of excommunication; an excommunicated Catholic is still a Catholic. But you are wrong in thinking that these things either (a) always result in excommunication, or (b) only result in excommunication.

    Excommunication is a red herring here, for the reason you point out yourself; defection is what makes someone cease to be a member of the Catholic church.

    Defection is the red herring, as it still only results in excommunication. Not to mention it only existed from 2006* and was no longer recognised from 2009 as people started to do it more and more.

    Now, technically it did exist from 1986, were it was automatically recorded in the likes of Germany when people declared they didn't want to pay the Church tax. However, a RCC declaration in 2006 decided that none of these really meant that the people in question actually wanted to leave the church and from 2006 -2009 only a parish priest or bishop could decide if someone wanted to leave the church via an act of apostasy, heresy, or schism. Even so, don't forget that apostasy, heresy, or schism only result in excommunication. The RCC, for a very short time, were nice enough to record that people didn't want to associate with the RCC, but never for once accepted that those people weren't in some way part of their membership. This is all in the link above, here it is again. I'll even quote the relevant section:
    1. For the abandonment of the Catholic Church to be validly configured as a true actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia so that the exceptions foreseen in the previously mentioned canons would apply, it is necessary that there concretely be:

    a) the internal decision to leave the Catholic Church;
    b) the realization and external manifestation of that decision; and
    c) the reception of that decision by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

    2. The substance of the act of the will must be the rupture of those bonds of communion – faith, sacraments, and pastoral governance – that permit the Faithful to receive the life of grace within the Church. This means that the formal act of defection must have more than a juridical-administrative character (the removal of one’s name from a Church membership registry maintained by the government in order to produce certain civil consequences), but be configured as a true separation from the constitutive elements of the life of the Church: it supposes, therefore, an act of apostasy, heresy or schism.

    3. The juridical-administrative act of abandoning the Church does not per se constitute a formal act of defection as understood in the Code, given that there could still be the will to remain in the communion of the faith.

    On the other hand, heresy (whether formal or material), schism and apostasy do not in themselves constitute a formal act of defection if they are not externally concretized and manifested to the ecclesiastical authority in the required manner.

    4. The defection must be a valid juridical act, placed by a person who is canonically capable and in conformity with the canonical norms that regulate such matters (cfr. cann.124-126). Such an act must be taken personally, consciously and freely.

    5. It is required, moreover, that the act be manifested by the interested party in written form, before the competent authority of the Catholic Church: the Ordinary or proper pastor, who is uniquely qualified to make the judgment concerning the existence or non-existence of the act of the will as described above in n. 2.

    Consequently, only the convergence of the two elements – the theological content of the interior act and its manifestation in the manner defined above – constitutes the actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica, with the corresponding canonical penalties (cfr. can. 1364, § 1).

    6. In such cases, the competent ecclesiastical authority mentioned above is to provide that this act be noted in the baptismal registry (cfr. can. 535, § 2) with explicit mention of the occurrence of a “defectio ab Ecclesia catholica actu formali”.

    7. It remains clear, in any event, that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection.

    You can abondon the church (parts 1-6), but the church will not abandon you (part 7).
    Once you have a catholic baptism, then you permanently belong to the church.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Mark, you’re making stuff up to cover the gaps in your argument.

    The quotes from the catechism that you point to say that baptism creates a permanent ontological bond. Not Catholic baptism; not baptism plus a declaration; just baptism.

    As you concede yourself, that permanent ontological bond is not “membership of the church”, if only because, if it were, the church would claim all baptised persons as members, which it doesn’t, and because if it were the church wouldn’t recognise the possibility of non-Catholic Christians, whereas the Code of Canon Law has numerous provisions dealing with non-Catholic Christians.

    So, something beyond bare baptism is required for membership of the Catholic church. What is that something else? You say that it’s a “declaration”; that’s the bit I think you’re making up. Can you point to anything in the Catechism or the Code of Canon Law or anything else which talks about this declaration as constituting membership of the church? I don’t think you can.

    There’s another gap in the argument, if we wish to maintain that the Catholic church refuses to let people leave or to recognise that they can leave. As well as showing that the Catholic church regards membership as constituted by baptism plus this declaration, you also need to show that the Catholic church regards not only the baptism but also the declaration as permanent and irrevocable. And if you can’t find any authoritative statement about this declaration by the church, you’re very unlikely to be able to point to one which says that the declaration is permanent or irreversible.

    In favour of my view that the “something else” is not a declaration but a relationship of communion, I point to the provisions of Canon 204 and 205.
    Canon 204: Christ's faithful are those who, since they are incorporated into Christ through baptism, are constituted the people of God. For this reason they participate in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ . . .

    Canon 205: Those baptised are in full communion with the catholic Church here on earth who are joined with Christ in his visible body, through the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance.

    There’s a clear distinction there between “Christ’s faithful”, everyone who has been baptised, and those who are joined to the catholic Church by the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesial governance, all of which are elements of the relationship of communion. The second group is a subset of the first; it is only those in the second group that are seen as joined with Christ not simply by baptism but “in his visible body” - i.e. in the Catholic church.

    I note the passage you quote about the act of formal defection. I would urge you to read it again, with a more open mind, and to include in your reading the bits that you haven’t quoted here. The very first paragraph makes the point that numerous provision in the Code of Canon Law envisage that people might defect from the church; only a few of those provisions require people to defect “by a formal act”. So the provisions about a formal act don’t confer a right to defect; they restrict the right to defect, by providing that a defection will not be recognised for certain purposes unless it is done by a formal act. This restriction only applies for those limited purposes; for most purposes your defection can be recognised even without a formal act. The provisions of canon law which require a formal act, and the rather more numerous provisions which don’t, are both listed in the first paragraph of the document.

    And that’s still the position. For most purposes, you can defect from the church without any formal act, and that defection will be recognised by the church. For some purposes a formal act is required. The only change made is that the church no longer prescribes a particular formal act, involving communicating directly with your bishop; any formal act will suffice.

    You are right to point out that the “permanent and ontological bond” that links a baptised person to the church is unchanged by defection. But, as we’ve already established, that permanent and ontological bond is not membership, so this is not a claim that people who defect are still members.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Mark, you’re making stuff up to cover the gaps in your argument.

    The quotes from the catechism that you point to say that baptism creates a permanent ontological bond

    .. to the Catholic Church. Read the link again:
    It remains clear, in any event, that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection.
    Baptism creates a permanent bond to the church, that is the RCC's stated position. Playing stupid and trying to claim that the RCC isn't talking about RC baptisms doesn't change that, and neither does semantics about post-hoc relabelling of baptisms as Catholic baptisms don't change that one bit.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    In favour of my view that the “something else” is not a declaration but a relationship of communion, I point to the provisions of Canon 204 and 205.
    Canon 204: Christ's faithful are those who, since they are incorporated into Christ through baptism, are constituted the people of God. For this reason they participate in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ . . .

    Canon 205: Those baptised are in full communion with the catholic Church here on earth who are joined with Christ in his visible body, through the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance.
    There’s a clear distinction there between “Christ’s faithful”, everyone who has been baptised, and those who are joined to the catholic Church by the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesial governance, all of which are elements of the relationship of communion.

    Now you are making stuff up. Canon 204 clearly says that Christ's faithful is anyone Catholic baptised and canon 205 declares that anyone Catholic baptised is in communion with Christ.
    Even taking your reading, it says "full communion", not just "communion", so it is only making a distinction between those fully and not fully in communion. Baptism puts you in communion with the RCC, but to be fully in communion you need to follow the professions, sacraments etc.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I would urge you to read it again, with a more open mind

    Don't patronise me. You still haven't addressed the problem that no form of defection, formal or otherwise, can amount to more than excommunication and excommunication doesn't stop you from being a Catholic in the eyes of the RCC. You are wholesale ignoring a fundamental part of my argument, while trying to play semantics to avoid the rest of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Mark, you’re the one who introduced the claim about “post-hoc relabelling of baptisms as Catholic baptisms”. For the record, the claim is nonsense. I’m pleased to see you describe as “semantics” and “playing stupid”; my joy would be unconfined if you could bring yourself to take the logical next step and withdraw it.

    In fantasy world I also dream that you might go even further, reread Canon 205 and realise that, far from declaring “that anyone Catholic baptised is in communion with Christ”, what it actually says is that, to be in full communion with the Catholic church, you need to not only (a) be baptised, but also (b) be “joined with Christ in his visible body, through the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance”. If (b) is missing, you’re not in full communion with the Catholic church; (b) is not a consequence or outcome of (a), but rather something that is required in addition to (a).

    Looking at what we agree on rather than what we disagree about, I thought we had agreed on at least this:

    1. In the Catholic church’s view, baptism in itself creates a permanent bond with the Catholic church; but

    2. that bond is not membership of the Catholic church; so

    3. for membership something more is required.

    You have previously asserted that what is required is some kind of declaration. You conspicuously ignore all my questions about that. Do I take it that you are no longer relying on or defending that assertion? That’s wise, because I don’t think it’s defensible.

    You make a second claim here, that defection can only result in excommunication by the church, but not in ceasing to be a member. You describe this as "a fundamental part of my argument". Can I ask you where you are getting this from? I think it’s wrong; Canon law does not provide that excommunication is the penalty for defecting, and it distinguishes between those who are excommunicated and those who have defected from the Church; these are two different (if possibly overlapping) sets of people.

    I think the real issue here is that the Catholic church doesn’t have a very clear concept of “membership”; it’s not a golf club, with members and non-members, a membership register, an annual subscription, or anything like that. And maybe part of the frustration people feel about not being able to “leave the church” is that they assume that such things do exist, and they are trying to leave a status of membership which exists only in their own heads.

    It’s fairly clear that, as the church sees it, there are those who are baptised and there is a subset of that group who, having been baptised, are also in a relationship of communion with the Catholic church. Baptism is permanent; you can’t be unbaptised any more than you can be, e.g., unborn in Ireland, and so lose your entitlement to Irish citizenship. The relationship of communion is not permanent; it can be more or less strong, and you can terminate it by defection. Having terminated it, you can resume it, so termination is not permanent any more than the relationship itself is permanent. The church doesn’t really use the term “membership” either for baptism or for [baptism + communion].

    But if you want to use the term membership, then I think [baptism + communion] is what you would apply that term to. Baptism without communion is clearly not membership; people in this category are not claimed or counted as Catholic by the church; they are not reqarded as subject to church law. And if membership is [baptism + communion] then it can be terminated, so far as the church is concerned, and defection is the act of terminating communion.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,394 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I think the real issue here is that the Catholic church doesn’t have a very clear concept of “membership” [...]
    That's about it - the church uses slippery language to avoid tying itself down to unnecessarily prescriptive meanings of any of this stuff - that lovely phrase "the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond" is an excellent example - like, does that even have a single, identifiable meaning? If so, what on earth might it be? It's a tiny piece of word-salad, one of a far larger selection offered by the RCC for the permanent bewilderment of its belongers/members/conferees/bond-holders.

    I'm reminded of something like the following from I suppose it must have been Godel, Escher, Bach:

    Guy 1: What's your name?
    Guy 2: My name is called "Jim".
    Guy 1: Hey, Jim, great to meet you!
    Guy 2: Why are you calling me "Jim"? That's not my name!
    Guy 1: Uh, what's your name?
    Guy 2: My name's Peter.
    Guy 1: Ok, pleased to meet you, Peter.
    Guy 2: I'm not Peter!
    Guy 1: WTF?
    Guy 2: I'm John.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    I don't think we can argue that the church's claims about the consequences of baptism are meaningless, and at the same time are a terrible imposition on baptised people. The essential problem here is that somebody wants the church to have a class of "members of the Catholic church" so that they can leave that class, but the church hasn't created the class they need for this to be possible. I really struggle to see this as a form of oppression by the church.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    In fantasy world I also dream that you might go even further, reread Canon 205 and realise that, far from declaring “that anyone Catholic baptised is in communion with Christ”, what it actually says is that, to be in full communion with the Catholic church ...

    So? We are not talking about being in full communion with the RCC, we are talking about membership. There is nothing that says people not in full communion are not considered members. What's the least communion a baptised person can be with the RCC? Excommunication, it's in the name. Are excommunicated people no longer members of the church? No.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    You have previously asserted that what is required is some kind of declaration. You conspicuously ignore all my questions about that. Do I take it that you are no longer relying on or defending that assertion? That’s wise, because I don’t think it’s defensible.

    The baptism just has to be RC. That can be declared after the fact. This makes no difference to my claims whatsoever.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    You make a second claim here, that defection can only result in excommunication by the church, but not in ceasing to be a member. You describe this as "a fundamental part of my argument". Can I ask you where you are getting this from? I think it’s wrong; Canon law does not provide that excommunication is the penalty for defecting, and it distinguishes between those who are excommunicated and those who have defected from the Church; these are two different (if possibly overlapping) sets of people.

    You patronise me about opening my mind but don't even read my sources :rolleyes:. Try reading my link to the 2006 amendment to the defection process again, particularly part 2:
    2. The substance of the act of the will must be the rupture of those bonds of communion – faith, sacraments, and pastoral governance – that permit the Faithful to receive the life of grace within the Church. This means that the formal act of defection must have more than a juridical-administrative character (the removal of one’s name from a Church membership registry maintained by the government in order to produce certain civil consequences), but be configured as a true separation from the constitutive elements of the life of the Church: it supposes, therefore, an act of apostasy, heresy or schism.

    If you want the Church to recognise that you are truly abandoning them, then your defection must be in the form of apostasy, heresy or schism. And what is the punishment/outcome of apostasy, heresy or schism? Excommunication. The Church recognises you don't want to be with them, but they don't let you go. Excommunicated people are still Catholics.

    Even that aside, the formal act of defection was removed in 2009, so they don't even record your wish anymore.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    So? We are not talking about being in full communion with the RCC, we are talking about membership. There is nothing that says people not in full communion are not considered members. What's the least communion a baptised person can be with the RCC? Excommunication, it's in the name. Are excommunicated people no longer members of the church? No.
    No. The least communion a baptised person can be with in the RCC is not being in communion with the RCC. You don't need to be excommunicated for this; you may never have been in communion with the RCC at all - the Ian Paisley example again. And, as we've already see, excommunicated Catholics are considered to be Catholics, whereas non-Catholics are considered to be, well, non-Catholics.
    The baptism just has to be RC. That can be declared after the fact. This makes no difference to my claims whatsoever.
    I repeat; you are making this up. It is simply untrue to say that the RCC ever issues declarations deeming non-Catholic baptisms to be Catholic baptisms. I have repeatedly asked you for a cite on this claim, and I am aware of why you have failed to provide one.
    You patronise me about opening my mind but don't even read my sources :rolleyes:. Try reading my link to the 2006 amendment to the defection process again, particularly part 2:

    If you want the Church to recognise that you are truly abandoning them, then your defection must be in the form of apostasy, heresy or schism. And what is the punishment/outcome of apostasy, heresy or schism? Excommunication. The Church recognises you don't want to be with them, but they don't let you go. Excommunicated people are still Catholics.

    Even that aside, the formal act of defection was removed in 2009, so they don't even record your wish anymore.
    That last point is kind of the weakness in your argument. It might have been arguable that, until 2009, anyone wanting to make a formal act of defection would have to do something that would attract excommunication, but that's clearly not the case today, since the provisions you quote have been revoked.

    Besides, even if it remained true that a formal act of defection must attract the penalty of excommunication, it wouldn't follow that that was its only consequence. You couldn't say that a defected ex-Catholic had the same status as a Catholic excommunicated for other reasons unless you could point to a statement that said that defection led to excommunication but had no other effect. And of course you won't be able to find that statement, because that's not in fact the position. Defection has much more profound consequences than excommunication, one distinction beign that an excommunication can always be unilaterally lifted by the church authorities, whereas they have no power to nullify a defection - only the defector can do that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,779 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    And, as we've already see, excommunicated Catholics are considered to be Catholics, whereas non-Catholics are considered to be, well, non-Catholics.

    Isn't that the problem. Non-catholics are people who have never been catholics, if you were put through the rituals as a child you are a catholic.

    They were curious, curious, curious oranj / Curious, curious, curious oranj



  • Registered Users Posts: 40,081 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail


    Isn't that the problem. Non-catholics are people who have never been catholics, if you were put through the rituals as a child you are a catholic.

    if you really cared about not being recognised as a catholic by the RCC you would have done something about it when you had the chance. or at least that is what i was told.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,394 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The essential problem here is that somebody wants the church to have a class of "members of the Catholic church" so that they can leave that class, but the church hasn't created the class they need for this to be possible.
    They've asserted the existence of a "permanent, ontological bond" which is similar, but not identical to, group membership. One can deny the existence of that bond and one one's on terms, one is no longer a member of the church, but the church will reject that, saying that it believes that the bond continues to exist, regardless of the beliefs of the bond-holder. It's a fight of beliefs which is as presumptuous as it is nonsensical.

    In the past, I've suggested getting around this by doing the same to the RCC - perhaps a bit like the mormons do - and just carry out some ceremony by which all catholics become permanently, ontologically bound to the Church of Satan or something like that and let's see how that goes down. It's no less juvenile than the things it's satirizing, though it would certainly mirror accurately the complete lack of informed consent present at the vast majority of RCC baptisms.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    No. The least communion a baptised person can be with in the RCC is not being in communion with the RCC. You don't need to be excommunicated for this; you may never have been in communion with the RCC at all - the Ian Paisley example again. And, as we've already see, excommunicated Catholics are considered to be Catholics, whereas non-Catholics are considered to be, well, non-Catholics.

    The least communion a RC baptised person can be with the RCC is excommunicated. Ian Paisley is not and was never RCC, so his being in communion with the RCC is irrelevant.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I repeat; you are making this up. It is simply untrue to say that the RCC ever issues declarations deeming non-Catholic baptisms to be Catholic baptisms. I have repeatedly asked you for a cite on this claim, and I am aware of why you have failed to provide one.

    The person who was baptised makes the declaration, by virtue of announcing their conversion to Roman Catholicism, and then they are formally welcomed into the RCC. Are you saying I am making this up?
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    That last point is kind of the weakness in your argument. It might have been arguable that, until 2009, anyone wanting to make a formal act of defection would have to do something that would attract excommunication, but that's clearly not the case today, since the provisions you quote have been revoked.

    What the hell are you talking about, how is that a weakness in my argument? The RCC doesn't recognise the people who have left it is my entire argument, that they don't anymore even recognise those people who consider themselves left doesn't weaken my point at all.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Besides, even if it remained true that a formal act of defection must attract the penalty of excommunication, it wouldn't follow that that was its only consequence. You couldn't say that a defected ex-Catholic had the same status as a Catholic excommunicated for other reasons unless you could point to a statement that said that defection led to excommunication but had no other effect. And of course you won't be able to find that statement, because that's not in fact the position. Defection has much more profound consequences than excommunication, one distinction beign that an excommunication can always be unilaterally lifted by the church authorities, whereas they have no power to nullify a defection - only the defector can do that.

    Except that my link shows the defection can only result from apostasy, heresy or schism and so can only result in excommunication.
    No RCC authority can lift an excommunication if the excommunicated are not repentant (see the Catholic Encylopedia entry on Excommunication, Section VI Absolution from Excommunication), so it makes it no different to defection.
    You are making up claims that defection results in anything other than excommunication. I have presented evidence straight from the Vatican that it does. You have presented nothing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    robindch wrote: »
    They've asserted the existence of a "permanent, ontological bond" which is similar, but not identical to, group membership. One can deny the existence of that bond and one one's on terms, one is no longer a member of the church, but the church will reject that, saying that it believes that the bond continues to exist, regardless of the beliefs of the bond-holder. It's a fight of beliefs which is as presumptuous as it is nonsensical.
    It's neither similar nor identical to group membership. Unless you're willing to argue that Ian Paisley was, or was claimed as, or ought to have been regarded as, a member of the Catholic church, this equation between a "permanent, ontological bond" and "group membership" is totally bogus.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,779 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    It's neither similar nor identical to group membership. Unless you're willing to argue that Ian Paisley was, or was claimed as, or ought to have been regarded as, a member of the Catholic church, this equation between a "permanent, ontological bond" and "group membership" is totally bogus.

    whoooosh

    Can you address the point raised in my post. Ian Paisley = never a catholic and nobody ever claimed he was.
    Me and millions of others = raised as catholics, went through all the rituals, renounce the faith but are still regarded by this church as 'lapsed' or at best 'excommunicated'.

    They were curious, curious, curious oranj / Curious, curious, curious oranj



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    The least communion a RC baptised person can be with the RCC is excommunicated.
    You keep saying this, apparently in the hope that if you say it often enough we'll overlook the fact that you can't provide any authority for it. It's a vain hope.

    The least communion an RC-baptised person can have with the RCC is not being in communion any more, which is called defection. This isn't hard to grasp.
    Ian Paisley is not and was never RCC, so his being in communion with the RCC is irrelevant.
    Far from being irrelevant, it's the whole reason he wasn't a Catholic.
    The person who was baptised makes the declaration, by virtue of announcing their conversion to Roman Catholicism, and then they are formally welcomed into the RCC. Are you saying I am making this up?
    Yes, I'm saying that you are making it up. Nothing in your cite backs up your claim that a non-RC baptism is retrospectively declared to be an RC baptism. The actual fact, inconvenient though it may be for your argument, is that the profession of faith made by a non-Catholic who is received into the Catholic church has no implications at all for the baptism they have already undergone, and in fact your cite is at pains to point this out; it's important to avoid any "possible misunderstanding of or even reflection upon the sacrament of baptism celebrated in another church or ecclesial community". The signficance of the profession of faith is not that it changes anything about the baptism the candidate has already undergone; it's that it establishes communion between the candidate and the church, and it's that communion which makes him a "member" of the RCC.
    What the hell are you talking about, how is that a weakness in my argument? The RCC doesn't recognise the people who have left it is my entire argument, that they don't anymore even recognise those people who consider themselves left doesn't weaken my point at all.
    It's a weakness because the rule you point to used to say that for certain purposes the RCC would not recognise defection unless people went through a process laid down and controlled by the church. With that rule gone, the position is that you are no longer required to go through a church-prescribed and church-controlled processs in order to have your defection recognised for those or any other purposes.

    I await evidence for your claim that "they don't anymore even recognise those people who consider themselves left". The Code of Canon Law is full of references to people who have defected; the notion that defections are now ignored or denied is absurd. The only change is that certain constraints on how you could defect have been removed.
    Except that my link shows the defection can only result from apostasy, heresy or schism and so can only result in excommunication.
    God, I hope you never do any coding.

    First, it was never the case that defection could only result from an act that would involve apostasy, heresy or schism. As I've pointed out already, and as you seem determined to ignore, the formal act necessarily involving A, H or S was only required for a defection to be recognised in certain limited contexts; in other contexts it you could validly and effectively defect without that formal act.

    Secondly, that rule is now gone anyway; there are no circumstances in which to have a defection recognised you need to complete a formal act necessarily involving A, H or S.

    Thirdly, if you did have to do that, while it might be correct to say that this must result in excommunication, it's obviously wrong to say that it must result only in excommunication. It could have other consequences as well; why not? And in fact canon law does, and always did, provide for it to have other consequences.
    No RCC authority can lift an excommunication if the excommunicated are not repentant (see the Catholic Encylopedia entry on Excommunication, Section VI Absolution from Excommunication), so it makes it no different to defection.
    No, my point stands. There is provision for church authorities to lift excommunications, even if not unilaterally. But there is no provision for church authorities to terminate defections.
    You are making up claims that defection results in anything other than excommunication. I have presented evidence straight from the Vatican that it does. You have presented nothing.
    You have presented evidence that, at one time, defection resulted in excommunication, at least in certain cases. But you have presented no evidence that, either then or now, defection results only in excommunication.

    I, on the other hand, have pointed out that defection does have consequences beyond excommunication. For example:

    - Under canon 194 defection results in automatic removal from any ecclesaistical office, which excommunication does not.

    - Under Canon 694 a member of a religious order is automatically dismissed if they defect; excommunication does not have this effect.

    - Under canon 1986 a marriage between person baptised in or received into the RCC and an unbaptised person needs a dispensation, unless the person has defected (because, since they are no longer a Catholic , the church has no right to regulate the way in which they marry). Excommunication does not have the same consequence.

    - Under canon 1117, if either of the parties to a marriage was baptised in or received into the RCC, the marriage must be celebrated in an RCC ceremony (or a dispensation obtained) unless, again, the person concerned has defected.

    And no doubt further trawling through the code of canon law would find other instances. It's undeniable that the RCC distinguishes between defection and excommunication, that they have different consequences, and the that consequences of defection are more far-reaching.

    If you can find any provision in the Code of Canon Law which treats a person who has defected as still a Catholic, now would be a good time to point to it. And if you can't, now would be a good time to reflect on why that might be.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,394 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    It's neither similar nor identical to group membership. Unless you're willing to argue that Ian Paisley was, or was claimed as, or ought to have been regarded as, a member of the Catholic church, this equation between a "permanent, ontological bond" and "group membership" is totally bogus.
    I don't believe that the good (diploma-mill Dr) Paisley ever underwent a baptism controlled by the RCC, so I'm not sure of the basis upon which you believe that Paisley might be enjoying any kind of bond with the RCC, permanent, ontological or otherwise.

    As regards the similarity between a "bond" and "group membership", well, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck...


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,779 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    I keep reading that word as "defecated".

    They were curious, curious, curious oranj / Curious, curious, curious oranj



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    robindch wrote: »
    I don't believe that the good (diploma-mill Dr) Paisley ever underwent a baptism controlled by the RCC, so I'm not sure of the basis upon which you believe that Paisley might be enjoying any kind of bond with the RCC, permanent, ontological or otherwise.
    The RCC's claims about baptism creating a "permanent ontological bond" are not claims about baptisms "controlled by the RCC"; they are claims about baptism, full stop. They refer to all baptisms, celebrated by anyone.
    robindch wrote: »
    As regards the similarity between a "bond" and "group membership", well, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck...
    Exactly. And Ian Paisley's "permanent ontological bond" with the RCC doesn't look like membership, swim like membership or quack like membership. From which we may conclude that it isn't membership.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,972 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    I keep reading that word as "defecated".
    I . . . I . . . I'm not sure I'd tell people this, if I were you. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The least communion an RC-baptised person can have with the RCC is not being in communion any more, which is called defection. This isn't hard to grasp.

    And, in terms of communion with the RCC, defection only results in excommunication.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Far from being irrelevant, it's the whole reason he wasn't a Catholic.

    He wasn't a catholic because he didn't have a catholic baptism. This is a weak strawman to divert from discussion about people who did have a catholic baptism.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Yes, I'm saying that you are making it up. Nothing in your cite backs up your claim that a non-RC baptism is retrospectively declared to be an RC baptism. The actual fact, inconvenient though it may be for your argument, is that the profession of faith made by a non-Catholic who is received into the Catholic church has no implications at all for the baptism they have already undergone, and in fact your cite is at pains to point this out; it's important to avoid any "possible misunderstanding of or even reflection upon the sacrament of baptism celebrated in another church or ecclesial community". The signficance of the profession of faith is not that it changes anything about the baptism the candidate has already undergone; it's that it establishes communion between the candidate and the church, and it's that communion which makes him a "member" of the RCC.

    My mistake is assuming you weren't going to play semantics for semantics sake :rolleyes:. When a non-catholic baptised convert makes a profession of faith to the RCC, that makes their original non-catholic baptism equivalent to a catholic baptised one. Until they do so, by your own argument, those non-catholic baptisms are not considered equivalent to catholic ones, otherwise the RCC would count the likes of Paisley as a catholic.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    It's a weakness because
    Semantics
    Semantics
    Semantics

    And the rest of your post is just more empty semantics.
    Ok, lets take all you say as fact - you can defect any way you like, the church will recongise it and that defection will make you excommunicated and defrocked and removed from ecclastical office and stop you getting a RCC marriage. Fine.
    Any evidence that defection results in the Code of Canon Law saying you aren't a Catholic anymore? Any point that makes a substantial difference to the fundamentals of my argument?


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,394 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The RCC's claims about baptism creating a "permanent ontological bond" are not claims about baptisms "controlled by the RCC"; they are claims about baptism, full stop. They refer to all baptisms, celebrated by anyone.
    According to the RCC, baptism by another religion isn't proper baptism, so your point - while well-made - isn't relevant.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Exactly. And Ian Paisley's "permanent ontological bond" with the RCC doesn't look like membership, swim like membership or quack like membership. From which we may conclude that it isn't membership.
    Couldn't agree more - not having undergone an RCC-controlled or RCC-specified baptism, Paisley not a member of (or permanently, ontologically bonded with) the RCC.


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