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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    robindch wrote: »
    According to the RCC, baptism by another religion isn't proper baptism, so your point - while well-made - isn't relevant.
    Couldn't be more wrong on this. Any baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is, in the RCC view, entirely valid, and has all the effects that the RCC claims for baptism. Does not need to be celebrated in an RCC liturgy, or administered by an RCC minister, or by an RCC layperson. Anglican, Presbyteran, Methodist, Orthodox, etc baptisms - all entirely and completely valid, and the RCC will not baptise somebody who has already undergone such a baptism because they are already baptised, and baptism is permanent and irreversible.
    robindch wrote: »
    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.
    For the reason just pointed out, this is wrong.


  • Registered Users Posts: 40,102 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail


    This link says that non-RCC baptisms are considered valid if they follow the correct form

    https://www.askacatholic.com/_WebPostings/Answers/2012_08AUG/2012AugHowDoIKnowMyBaptismIsValid.cfm


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,396 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Any baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is, in the RCC view, entirely valid, and has all the effects that the RCC claims for baptism. Does not need to be celebrated in an RCC liturgy, or administered by an RCC minister, or by an RCC layperson. Anglican, Presbyteran, Methodist, Orthodox, etc baptisms - all entirely and completely valid, and the RCC will not baptise somebody who has already undergone such a baptism because they are already baptised, and baptism is permanent and irreversible.
    According to the superficial meaning of the RCC's rules, yes, you're correct - however, as above somewhere, the RCC's language games are where this hill of beans falls flat.

    In order for such a baptism to be valid, the reference during the baptism to the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" must reasonably refer to the RCC versions of these entities and I can't imagine Paisley undergoing a baptism in which this reference was understood and accepted by both parties. Paisley's view of god and Jesus, for a start, would certainly have been different from the RCC's. Equally, one could mean to a different "father, son and holy spirit" to the RCC's versions of these entities during the ceremony, but would that make the baptizee a member/bondholder of the RCC? I'd have thought not.

    Lest you think I'm taking the piss here, using the same words to refer to different supreme beings is a real problem and has real-world consequences, as the christians, including catholics, of Malaysia found out some years back:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-24516181


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    So much for "evidence-based belief".

    Instead of decreeing that "the reference during the baptism to the 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit' must reasonably refer to the RCC versions of these entities" and telling us that you "can't imagine Paisley undergoing a baptism in which this reference was understood and accepted by both parties", why don't you look at the easily observed evidence that the Catholic church does completely accept the validity of baptisms administered by other Christian denominations, and remember that objective reality doesn't care very much about what you can and can't imagine?

    The objective truth is that:

    (a) the Catholic church's teachings about the effects of baptism refer to all valid baptisms, and not only to those celebrated in Catholic liturgies, and:

    (b) the Catholic church accepts as valid the baptisms of any Christian denomination - including the Free Presbyterians - that baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, without any equivocation about "reasonably referring to the RCC versions of those entities".

    This is easily established by abundant evidence of what the Catholic church does in practice when it comes to dealing with people who have been baptised in other Christian denominations; it behaves exactly as you would expect it to behave, given its teachings, and treats their baptisms as wholly valid, and lacking nothing. But accepting this would require you to abandon a much-cherished article of faith; therefore you ignore the evidence and simply appeal to your own rationalisations and even your own imagination as a justification for for continuing to believe what you apparently need to believe. You don't even make a pretence of appealing to evidence.

    The interesting question here is, why do you need to believe this? What is the urgent compulsion that drives you to abandon your own commitment to scepticism, critical thinking and evidence-based belief, rather than allow your faith to be jeopardised?


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


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    This is easily established by abundant evidence of what the Catholic church does in practice when it comes to dealing with people who have been baptised in other Christian denominations; it behaves exactly as you would expect it to behave, given its teachings, and treats their baptisms as wholly valid, and lacking nothing.

    That's not true, your own argument disproves that. Regardless of what else the RCC thinks of Paisleys baptism, the RCC does not believe it is a valid baptism into the RCC. If Paisley wanted to join the RCC, then he would have go through the RCIA. The relevant part is mainly the RCIAs Profession of Faith. This is what brings the person into the RCC and is what is inherently part of RCC baptisms.

    Of course, all of this semantics is irrelevant to the question of whether or not you can leave the RCC after having a RCC baptism.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The interesting question here is, why do you need to believe this? What is the urgent compulsion that drives you to abandon your own commitment to scepticism, critical thinking and evidence-based belief, rather than allow your faith to be jeopardised?

    The interesting thing is that you still have never presented any evidence that defection results in the Code of Canon Law saying you aren't a Catholic anymore. Or any piece of Canon Law explaining how you can stop being considered a Catholic completely. Maybe less of the patronising (really, the whole "atheist argument is really faith" is pathetic and I would have thought beneath you) and more of keeping away from tangents and presenting the simple piece of evidence that would actually prove your argument.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    That's not true, your own argument disproves that. Regardless of what else the RCC thinks of Paisleys baptism, the RCC does not believe it is a valid baptism into the RCC. If Paisley wanted to join the RCC, then he would have go through the RCIA. The relevant part is mainly the RCIAs Profession of Faith. This is what brings the person into the RCC and is what is inherently part of RCC baptisms.
    You seem to be agreeing with my position now! If a baptised person wants to be a Catholic, they don't need to get a "Catholic baptism"; they need to make the appropriate profession of faith. This doesn't change anything at all about the baptism they have already had; the document you linked to earlier says this, and says it with particular emphasis. In particular, it doesn't change it into "an RCC baptism". What it does is to esablish communion between the baptised Christian and the Catholic church, and it's that communion which makes him a Catholic, as opposed to simply a Christian.
    Of course, all of this semantics is irrelevant to the question of whether or not you can leave the RCC after having a RCC baptism.
    On the contrary, it's highly relevant. Once we understand that the distinction between a baptised person and a Catholic is that the Catholic, as well as being baptised, is in a relationship of communion with the Catholic church, then we will readily grasp two things:

    1. The claim that baptism alone, if celebrated in an RCC ritual, is sufficient to make someone a Catholic for ever looks very suspicious, and requires evidence. Does the Catholic church teach that celebrating baptisms in an RCC liturgy creates an eternal communion not created if a different liturgy is used? Where does it teach this? The document you linked to suggests in fact that the Catholic church teaches the exact opposite; a non-Catholic baptism is completely sufficient and lacks nothing.

    2. Pointing to RCC statements that the effects of baptism are permanent and irreversible is clearly enough here, since what is needed is evidence about the permanent and irreversible nature of communion, not of baptism. People to who point to evidence about baptism presumably do so because they can't point to evidence about communion.
    The interesting thing is that you still have never presented any evidence that defection results in the Code of Canon Law saying you aren't a Catholic anymore. Or any piece of Canon Law explaining how you can stop being considered a Catholic completely. Maybe less of the patronising (really, the whole "atheist argument is really faith" is pathetic and I would have thought beneath you) and more of keeping away from tangents and presenting the simple piece of evidence that would actually prove your argument.
    It seems to me the onus of proof lies not on me, but on those who teach that the Catholic church considers membership to be irreversible. Why are they not expected to produce cogent evidence of their claim?

    I've already pointed out that the RCC isn't particularly interested in "membership" as a concept; that would explain why statements about the impact of defection don't use the word "membership", but it creates a difficulty for those who teach that the Catholic church teaches that membership is irreversible, since they will find it hard to prove that the Catholic church teaches much about membership at all.

    My position is that, given that the RCC doesn't teach about membership explicitly, an obvious thing to do is to look at what it does teach about defection, and to see whether defected ex-Catholics are treated in any way that looks like "membership". And the answer is no, they're not; they are treated like Christians who have never been "members" of the RCC. And this seems to me to present a challenge for the "RCC teaches perpetual membership" brigade which, so far, they seem extraordinarily reluctant to take on, or even to acknowledge. They generally give the impression of not feeling that they have to justify their claims with cogent evidence, or at least of not caring greatly that they can't. And if that doesn't make it look like a faith-based claim, well, what does?

    In short, the only people I have seen teaching that the Catholic church believes it to be impossible to leave the Catholic church are atheists. They don't have any obvious authority or particular crediblity on the topic of what the Catholic church believes; it's reasonable to apply some critical thinking to their teachings on the subject, and perhaps even a degree of scepticism. And it doesn't seem to me that this teaching stands up particularly well when interrogated in this way.


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


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    You seem to be agreeing with my position now! If a baptised person wants to be a Catholic, they don't need to get a "Catholic baptism"; they need to make the appropriate profession of faith.

    Your position is that the RCC treats non-catholic baptisms as wholly valid and lacking nothing. As they require those who underwent non-catholic baptisms to do a profession of faith when converting that implies that their original non-catholic baptism was lacking that profession to be considered a valid catholic baptism (catholic baptisms including as part of the right that profession of faith).
    It's very boring to repeatedly have to lay this simple point out to you again and again, if you could please stop being so close-minded then maybe we could move on to the relevant part of the discussion - how to stop being a catholic in the eyes of the RCC, once you have been baptised/converted.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    On the contrary, it's highly relevant. Once we understand that the distinction between a baptised person and a Catholic is that the Catholic, as well as being baptised, is in a relationship of communion with the Catholic church, then we will readily grasp two things:

    1. The claim that baptism alone, if celebrated in an RCC ritual, is sufficient to make someone a Catholic for ever looks very suspicious, and requires evidence. Does the Catholic church teach that celebrating baptisms in an RCC liturgy creates an eternal communion not created if a different liturgy is used? Where does it teach this? The document you linked to suggests in fact that the Catholic church teaches the exact opposite; a non-Catholic baptism is completely sufficient and lacks nothing.

    2. Pointing to RCC statements that the effects of baptism are permanent and irreversible is clearly enough here, since what is needed is evidence about the permanent and irreversible nature of communion, not of baptism. People to who point to evidence about baptism presumably do so because they can't point to evidence about communion.

    1. Read the first paragraph of this post.
    2. The least communion you can be in the church is excommunicated (it's in the name). Excommunicated (or defrocked or removed from ecclastical office) doesn't stop you being a catholic. I posted this before and you ignore it. Any chance you could stop being so closed minded and present evidence that defection results in the Code of Canon Law saying you aren't a Catholic anymore?
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    It seems to me the onus of proof lies not on me, but on those who teach that the Catholic church considers membership to be irreversible. Why are they not expected to produce cogent evidence of their claim?

    I've already pointed out that the RCC isn't particularly interested in "membership" as a concept; that would explain why statements about the impact of defection don't use the word "membership", but it creates a difficulty for those who teach that the Catholic church teaches that membership is irreversible, since they will find it hard to prove that the Catholic church teaches much about membership at all.

    My position is that, given that the RCC doesn't teach about membership explicitly, an obvious thing to do is to look at what it does teach about defection, and to see whether defected ex-Catholics are treated in any way that looks like "membership". And the answer is no, they're not; they are treated like Christians who have never been "members" of the RCC. And this seems to me to present a challenge for the "RCC teaches perpetual membership" brigade which, so far, they seem extraordinarily reluctant to take on, or even to acknowledge. They generally give the impression of not feeling that they have to justify their claims with cogent evidence, or at least of not caring greatly that they can't. And if that doesn't make it look like a faith-based claim, well, what does?

    In short, the only people I have seen teaching that the Catholic church believes it to be impossible to leave the Catholic church are atheists. They don't have any obvious authority or particular crediblity on the topic of what the Catholic church believes; it's reasonable to apply some critical thinking to their teachings on the subject, and perhaps even a degree of scepticism. And it doesn't seem to me that this teaching stands up particularly well when interrogated in this way.

    Evidence has been presented, you are just close-minded to it.
    Defection doesn't mention membership because it is not a method of ending that membership. It is baptism in the Cathechism that mentions membership:
    1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word."
    In a reasonable argument, when someone presents evidence, the onus is on the other side to present counter evidence. You have failed to do that, quite a bit in this thread. It is therefore reasonable to assume you have none.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Your position is that the RCC treats non-catholic baptisms as wholly valid and lacking nothing. As they require those who underwent non-catholic baptisms to do a profession of faith when converting that implies that their original non-catholic baptism was lacking that profession to be considered a valid catholic baptism (catholic baptisms including as part of the right that profession of faith).
    It's very boring to repeatedly have to lay this simple point out to you again and again . . .
    It’s even more boring to have to keep correcting you on this.

    Read this slowly: In the Catholic view, there is no such thing as a “valid Catholic baptism”. There is valid baptism, and there is invalid baptism; that’s it. The validity of a baptism never, ever, ever depends on whether it is administered by a Catholic priest, or in a Catholic liturgy.

    And, continuing please with the slow and careful reading: It follows from this that the purpose of the profession of faith made by non-Catholics who join the Catholic church has nothing to do with enabling their baptism to be considered a “valid Catholic baptism”. The document that you yourself linked to (evidently without reading) makes the point that a non-Catholic baptism is completely sufficient and not lacking in any way.

    , if you could please stop being so close-minded then maybe we could move on to the relevant part of the discussion - how to stop being a catholic in the eyes of the RCC, once you have been baptised/converted.
    1. Read the first paragraph of this post.
    As repeatedly pointed out, it’s wrong.
    2. The least communion you can be in the church is excommunicated (it's in the name). Excommunicated (or defrocked or removed from ecclastical office) doesn't stop you being a catholic.
    Spot the contradiction! Excommunication doesn’t make you “not a Catholic”. Therefore, being excommunicated is not the least communion you can have, since non-Catholics are in less communion that excommunicated Catholics.

    Again, I have pointed this out before.
    posted this before and you ignore it. Any chance you could stop being so closed minded . . .
    Far from ignoring it, I engaged with it. Your response is to ignore the points I raise and simply repost your original material without acknowledge the challenge to it. I’m not the one who’s being closed-minded, Mark.
    . . . and present evidence that defection results in the Code of Canon Law saying you aren't a Catholic anymore?
    I’ve posted suggest why it doesn’t say that. And I’ve pointed out that it doesn’t treat defected Catholics as still being Catholics. You haven’t engaged with any of that, and for all I can tell haven’t even read it. But I’m the one that’s closed-minded, apparently.
    Evidence has been presented, you are just close-minded to it.
    On the contrary, I have engaged with it. It’s people who refuse to respond to the points I make that seem to be closed-minded.
    Defection doesn't mention membership because it is not a method of ending that membership. It is baptism in the Cathechism that mentions membership:
    As I have pointed out before, once again to make this fit your argument you have to assume that, even though it doesn’t say so, this passage is referring to a concept you have invented yourself called “valid Catholic baptism”; otherwise it fails the Ian Paisley test and your argument collapses. But you can’t - without attracting ridicule - argue that:

    1. When the church doesn’t explicitly teach that defection terminates membership, it must be understood as teaching that it does not; and at the same time . . .

    2. When the church doesn’t explicitly teach that certain references to “baptism” really mean “valid Catholic baptism but not baptisms celebrated in other denominations”; it must nevertheless be understood as teaching exactly that.

    You’re taking contrary positions here, in each case choosing a position which supports your pre-existing belief.
    In a reasonable argument, when someone presents evidence, the onus is on the other side to present counter evidence. You have failed to do that, quite a bit in this thread. It is therefore reasonable to assume you have none.
    I have presented other evidence. I have also challenged the cogency of the evidence presented to me. You have dismissed the evidence I raise without engaging with it, and simply ignored the challenges to your own evidence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,825 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    My position is that, given that the RCC doesn't teach about membership explicitly, an obvious thing to do is to look at what it does teach about defection, and to see whether defected ex-Catholics are treated in any way that looks like "membership". And the answer is no, they're not; they are treated like Christians who have never been "members" of the RCC.

    But without a process to defect and a method to formally record that a defection has taken place, how can this happen in practice?

    Let's say I consider myself an ex-catholic, my fiancee is in good standing with the church and insists on a church wedding. Will this be treated by the church as a marriage between a catholic and a non-catholic, or a marriage between two catholics?

    Life ain't always empty.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    But without a process to defect and a method to formally record that a defection has taken place, how can this happen in practice?

    Let's say I consider myself an ex-catholic, my fiancee is in good standing with the church and insists on a church wedding. Will this be treated by the church as a marriage between a catholic and a non-catholic, or a marriage between two catholics?
    Actually, this is going to be largely driven by you.

    Suppose you are besotted with your fiancee and very much want her to have everything her precious heart desires on her Special Day. You can present to the church as a devout Catholic plus a semi-detached, somewhat lax Catholic. If you both identify as Catholics, that won't be questioned; this will be handled as a marriage between two Catholics.

    On the other hand, suppose your relationship is the perfect blend of intimacy and independence. You are not minded to pose as a Catholic and your bespoke would be horrified if you did, and does not want or expect you to. So you turn up as a Catholic and a defected Catholic who has, let's say, a strong aversion to reconnecting with the church in any way. They may try to persuade you of the error of your ways, but if you persist then this will be handled as a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic (which is not very different; your Catholic fiancee will have to look for a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic, but she'll get it).

    Where the rubber really hits the road is where, lets say, you have been married before, in a non-Catholic ceremony - registry office, humanist, Anglican, Free Presbyterian, Hindu; it doesn't matter. That didn't work out, you got a divorce, and now here you are rocking up to the Catholic church looking for a Catholic wedding to your Catholic fiancee. Your ex is still alive.

    They are concerned to establish whether you are married already because, if you are, they won't marry you. What crucially matters is whether you were a Catholic at the time of your first marriage. If you were (or your first spouse was) and you didn't (or she didn't) get a dispensation from the church allowing a non-Catholic ceremony, then that marriage is invalid, you are now unmarried and you are free to marry; problem solved. On the other hand, if neither you nor your first spouse were Catholics at the time, that marriage is perfectly valid, you are still married, and you are not free to marry again.

    Here, obviously, the incentive for you is to say "yes, I was still a Catholic at the time", since that answer, if accepted, will open the door to the church wedding you are now seeking. They'll scrutinise that fairly critically ("they" being the diocesan authorities, the parish priest having by now handed you off to them because this problem is above his pay grade) but unless you have done something silly like formally join another church or author a best-selling book advocating atheism there's unlikely to be evidence that you had completely left the church, so you'll get your way.

    Legalistic? Yes. Scandalous? Probably. Absurd? No argument from me. But what matters here is what all this tells us about the Catholic church view of defection. If you have joined another church or otherwise manifested your non-Catholicness in an obvious and unambiguous action, you have defected by a formal act. They will deny you the church wedding now, not because you are a non-Catholic now - non-Catholics can have church weddings - but because you are already married, because your first marriage is perfectly valid, because at the time you celebrated it you had already defected and were a not a Catholic and so were not affected by the canon law requiring Catholics to marry in a Catholic ceremony.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 33,825 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Bizarre.

    Also what if the church considers a prior marriage invalid, but the law considers it still valid (surviving spouse, not divorced)...?

    Again we're back to those willing to convert to another denomination/religion can do something obvious which the RCC recognises as an act of defection, but atheists don't have that option (and I doubt the RCC is going to start entertaining the Church of the FSM.)

    Life ain't always empty.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Bizarre.

    Also what if the church considers a prior marriage invalid, but the law considers it still valid (surviving spouse, not divorced)...?
    Generally the RCC is very reluctant to celebrate a marriage that isn't going to attract civil as well as religious recognition; canon law forbids it, except in exceptional circumstances. If they take the view that your first marriage is invalid, e.g. because you're a Catholic and got married in a non-Catholic ceremony without obtaining a dispensation, and you turn up looking to marry again they'll generally require you to get a civil divorce of your first marriage before they proceed.

    Same approach applies in countries that have separate religious and civil ceremonies (like France). If you seek a religious ceremony not having celebrated a civil one and with no intention of celebrating civil one they'll generally tell you to take a hike.
    Again we're back to those willing to convert to another denomination/religion can do something obvious which the RCC recognises as an act of defection, but atheists don't have that option (and I doubt the RCC is going to start entertaining the Church of the FSM.)
    Canon law still provides for a "formal act of defection" to be recognised. All that has changed is that a rule which used to say "THIS PROCESS is the only thing that will be recognised as a formal act of defection" has been dropped; there's now no limit on what can count. Is it formal? Is it an act of defection? Then it's a formal act of defection.

    So you can still write to your bishop and say "Sod you and sod your sorry excuse for a church. I'm outta here." They no longer require you to do this, but that doesn't stop you doing it. And then, if and when they need to take a position on whether you're a Catholic or not, you can point to that and say "See? Formal Act of Defection! It was there all along hiding in plain sight!" And they'll say "Yup. Checks all the boxes."


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,396 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    So much for "evidence-based belief". [... ] You don't even make a pretence of appealing to evidence. [...] therefore you ignore the evidence and simply appeal to your own rationalisations and even your own imagination as a justification for for continuing to believe what you apparently need to believe. [...] The interesting question here is, why do you need to believe this? What is the urgent compulsion that drives you to abandon your own commitment to scepticism, critical thinking and evidence-based belief, rather than allow your faith to be jeopardised?
    It's odd that you choose to personalize/politicize it - fwiw, I couldn't care less what Paisley, or any other self-describing christian, believes or believed, nor what the RCC believes or believed, nor whether the RCC claims or believes that Paisley or any other christian was, or was not, baptized into the RCC or any other church, thereby acquiring "membership" or something that looks surprisingly like it.

    What I do manage, however, is to find the whole thing both sad, funny and ultimately very silly - here you have this horrendous organization whose main aim in life is to provide false hope and consolation to hundreds of millions of people, while relieving them of their cash. And they can't even write down a straightforward description of how one acquires membership, or whatever strange quality they conjure up to replace it. It's almost as though all of this hot air was created specifically to bamboozle people.

    Anyway, back to the point at hand - without the unnecessary personal sniping :P
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    [...] why don't you look at the easily observed evidence that the Catholic church does completely accept the validity of baptisms administered by other Christian denominations, and remember that objective reality doesn't care very much about what you can and can't imagine?
    You missed my point by a country mile. Or quite a few country miles actually.

    Yes, of course, the RCC accepts that if Paisley baptizes himself into his own church, then Paisley immediately becomes a member of his own church. The RCC also seems, universally, to accept the validity of marriages carried out by other churches (and let's not get into a definition of what constitutes "a church"). We have also discussed and agreed that the RCC weirdly allows that Paisley can baptize somebody else into the RCC, and that somebody else can baptize Paisley into the RCC.

    What the RCC does not allow, so far as I'm aware, is that Paisley can carry out his own baptism rite intended to baptize himself into his own church, and by doing so, that Paisley acquires that permanent and ontological bond to the RCC.

    Since the rite is essentially the same in most or all christian denominations, the only things which vary from rite to rite are the intentions of the two people involved - the baptizer and baptizee. Hence the conclusion above that the RCC must, by elimination, accept that the intentions of the participants, while unstated, is vital.

    I trust this clears up any remaining disclarity.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    robindch wrote: »
    . . . Yes, of course, the RCC accepts that if Paisley baptizes himself into his own church, then Paisley immediately becomes a member of his own church. The RCC also seems, universally, to accept the validity of marriages carried out by other churches (and let's not get into a definition of what constitutes "a church"). We have also discussed and agreed that the RCC weirdly allows that Paisley can baptize somebody else into the RCC, and that somebody else can baptize Paisley into the RCC.

    What the RCC does not allow, so far as I'm aware, is that Paisley can carry out his own baptism rite intended to baptize himself into his own church, and by doing so, that Paisley acquires that permanent and ontological bond to the RCC.

    Since the rite is essentially the same in most or all christian denominations, the only things which vary from rite to rite are the intentions of the two people involved - the baptizer and baptizee. Hence the conclusion above that the RCC must, by elimination, accept that the intentions of the participants, while unstated, is vital.

    I trust this clears up any remaining disclarity.
    No, it doesn’t. I think what you’re still unclear about it this:

    In the RCC’s view, Ian Paisley’s baptism isn’t just sufficient to make him a member of his own church. It’s sufficient to do everything that baptism in a Catholic ritual does. In particular, it’s sufficient to create the famous “permanent ontological bond” with the RCC.

    And, given that Ian Paisley isn’t a member of the RCC, it follows - inevitably, irrefutably - that, whatever the “permanent ontological bond” is, it is not membership of the RCC.

    And it follows from that that when the RCC church asserts that so-and-so has a permanent ontological bond with the RCC, that is not a claim that so-and-so is a member of the RCC.

    And it follows from that that if Joe Bloggs complains about being claimed as a member by the RCC, and we ask for evidence that the RCC does in fact claim him as a member, he needs to offer better evidence that simply showing that the RCC asserts that he has a permanent ontological bond with them.

    Where you and I differ is that you say that “so far as I’m aware” the RCC does not accept that Ian Paisley’s non-Catholic baptism creates a permanent ontological bond with the RCC. But in fact RCC statements about the effects of baptism and the permanent ontological bond it creates are not qualified in any way by reference to the liturgy used or the identity of the celebrant or the particular community within which it is celebrated. And, moreover, official church statements that discuss non-Catholic baptism always emphasise its sufficiency, its effectiveness, its completeness, that fact that nothing is wanting to perfect or validate it, etc. Mark linked to an official statement saying that earlier in this thread.

    You argue, I think, that the RCC must be taken to assert that the intention of those involved is vital, that the baptism of those who don’t intend to join the RCC is less effective than the baptism of those who do and, in particular, that it isn't effective to create the permanent ontological bond. They must be taken to say this, even though it's not what they actually say - a discrepancy that you describe as "the RCC's language games". But - no offence - you offer no argument as to why the RCC must be taken to say this. I think your argument here is basically driven by a preconception - if we don’t read this qualification into what the RCC says, your belief about what the RCC teaches and believes about baptism is wrong; therefore we must read it in, and the RCC is simply playing a game in leaving it to be inferred.

    If, instead of starting from your belief about what the RCC teaches, we take the RCC's teachings at face value, we come to a different conclusion. For any meaningful concept of “membership” of the RCC, membership requires more than the “permanent ontological bond” created by baptism; it requires also a relationship of communion. Baptised non-Catholics are, as it says on the tin, non-Catholics. And the reason for this is not anything lacking in their baptism, but rather the absence of communion. The Catechism says precisely this; the reason why baptised non-Catholics are not fully incorporated into the RCC is because the necessary degree of communion is lacking.

    This reading accords much better with the available evidence as to what the RCC teaches and believes. Given that, I have to wonder why you are so resistant to it - unless it be that, once we adopt this reading, it is very hard to argue that the RCC considers "membership" to be permanent, inescapable and unaffected by defection.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,825 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Generally the RCC is very reluctant to celebrate a marriage that isn't going to attract civil as well as religious recognition; canon law forbids it, except in exceptional circumstances. If they take the view that your first marriage is invalid, e.g. because you're a Catholic and got married in a non-Catholic ceremony without obtaining a dispensation, and you turn up looking to marry again they'll generally require you to get a civil divorce of your first marriage before they proceed.

    So they'll insist you do something which they think should be illegal, to invalidate a marriage they don't think is valid. :pac:

    So you can still write to your bishop and say "Sod you and sod your sorry excuse for a church. I'm outta here." They no longer require you to do this, but that doesn't stop you doing it. And then, if and when they need to take a position on whether you're a Catholic or not, you can point to that and say "See? Formal Act of Defection! It was there all along hiding in plain sight!" And they'll say "Yup. Checks all the boxes."

    So they do keep formal records of these then? I heard Diarmuid Martin saying they were going to do that but it sounded like a local initiative - which means other dioceses may or may not do it - and IIRC it wasn't actually changing the baptismal register in any way.

    Life ain't always empty.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    So they'll insist you do something which they think should be illegal, to invalidate a marriage they don't think is valid. :pac:
    Yup. That's how keen they are to keep religious marriage and civil marriage aligned.
    So they do keep formal records of these then? I heard Diarmuid Martin saying they were going to do that but it sounded like a local initiative - which means other dioceses may or may not do it - and IIRC it wasn't actually changing the baptismal register in any way.
    Changing the baptismal register is irrelevant. They don't change the baptismal register when you die, but they don't go around claiming dead people as current members.

    On the wider point, because they no longer mandate any particular process, there is no requirement imposed on dioceses to keep records of the process, and in general keeping a Live Register of All Current Members has never been something that has interested them greatly. Your letter will be general correspondence, and it's up to each diocese to decide its own practice for recording general correspondence.

    However the dominant tradition is of obsessive record-keeping - it comes naturally with all that legalism. So, yeah, odds are your letter to the bishop is kept on a correspondence file somewhere. There may not be a "Register of Letters of Defection received by the Diocese, 2015-2020", but if you can tell them the date you sent the letter and the bishop to whom it was addressed to, they can probably dig it up. Or you can just produce the copy of the letter you kept yourself from the time, together with the sorrowful/offended reply that you likely received. (You did keep these, didn't you?)


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,825 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    If (after defecting) you can rock up to them and pretend to be a catholic in good standing looking for the full church wedding, and they can't produce a record and say "nuh-uh! you left!", then it's a waste of everyone's time.

    So we're back to the same old same old :

    Getting in - permanent and irrevocable

    Saying you want out - temporary and we don't think it's all that important, sure you're still one of us really, and you're probably just going through a phase.

    :rolleyes:

    Life ain't always empty.



  • Registered Users Posts: 703 ✭✭✭Iscreamkone


    What do you have to do to get excommunicated?
    Asking for a friend ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,825 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Quite a few things, but the church still regards excommunicated people as still very much catholics, just not good catholics...

    Life ain't always empty.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,705 Mod ✭✭✭✭smacl


    If (after defecting) you can rock up to them and pretend to be a catholic in good standing looking for the full church wedding, and they can't produce a record and say "nuh-uh! you left!", then it's a waste of everyone's time.

    Can we oblige any organisation to keep a database of ex-members though? I like banasidhe's idea of being able make an amendment to the baptismal record noting your defection, where such a record exists. If such a record doesn't exist, I don't see there's anything to be done.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,396 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    What do you have to do to get excommunicated?
    Depends on what kind of excommunication you want, as there are two types ferenda sententia and lata sententia. The first type ("sentence yet to be passed") requires you to do something which then becomes the subject of legal proceedings within canon law and if you're subsequently found guilty, then a judgement is passed by which you are excommunicated. The second type ("sentence already passed") is much more fun as it allows for automatic excommunication, without trial, judge or jury, at the point at which one carries out some act of which the RCC disapproves.

    There's a list of excommunicable offences listed here - haven't read them, but the list is as long as it is legalistic and vague:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_excommunicable_offences_in_the_Catholic_Church


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,396 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    You argue, I think, that the RCC must be taken to assert that the intention of those involved is vital, that the baptism of those who don’t intend to join the RCC is less effective than the baptism of those who do and, in particular, that it isn't effective to create the permanent ontological bond. They must be taken to say this, even though it's not what they actually say - a discrepancy that you describe as "the RCC's language games". But - no offence - you offer no argument as to why the RCC must be taken to say this.
    As above, we (and the RCC) accept that Paisley can baptize into his church and that, using essentially the same rite, the same person can baptize into the RCC.

    So, same rite - two different results. Which can't be right as we know that neither church accepts that Paisley's priests might unwittingly baptize people into the RCC (or conversely, that RCC priests might unwittingly baptize people into Paisley's church). Hence, our assumption that the rite alone, together with whatever minor differences subsist amongst the various christian denominations, is sufficient must be wrong.

    We must infer that something else must happen which causes the correct membership/bondship to be applied - else we'd have a stream of confused Paisleyites showing up in one heaven wondering who Holy Mary is, and presumably equal numbers of bewildered catholics showing up in a different heaven wondering why Paisley's ghost is sitting next to god. If the rite's not enough, then simplest next thing are the intentions of the baptizer and baptizee, or the intention of the deity/deities listening in. The latter seems obtuse, so let's run with the former.

    One could probably avoid the problem by allowing for one church's baptism rite simultaneously baptising somebody into two churches at once, one church being a subset of the other - but that'll just solve one leg of the dilemma, and even then, only on one church's terms; terms which the other church would immediately reject.

    Alternatively, one could just suggest that the rules make no sense, that they result in a contradiction or nonsense, and that baptism consequently means and achieves nothing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    If (after defecting) you can rock up to them and pretend to be a catholic in good standing looking for the full church wedding, and they can't produce a record and say "nuh-uh! you left!", then it's a waste of everyone's time.

    So we're back to the same old same old :

    Getting in - permanent and irrevocable

    Saying you want out - temporary and we don't think it's all that important, sure you're still one of us really, and you're probably just going through a phase.

    :rolleyes:
    There's a big differnce between:

    (a) somebody who insists they are not a member being claimed as a member; and

    (b) somebody who says they are a member being accepted as a member.

    I can see that (a) would be objectionable; I have just never seen much evidence that it actually happens.

    I can't see any problem with (b), to be honest. If you were ever a member of an organisation and say that you still are, most organisations would not, absent unusual circumstances, have any reason to look beyond that. Even if they become aware that at one point you left, most organisations are happy to let ex-members resume their membership.

    Besides, I don't think somebody who tells the Catholic church that he is a Catholic can reasonably complain when the Catholic church treats him as a Catholic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    robindch wrote: »
    As above, we (and the RCC) accept that Paisley can baptize into his church and that, using essentially the same rite, the same person can baptize into the RCC.

    So, same rite - two different results. Which can't be right as we know that neither church accepts that Paisley's priests might unwittingly baptize people into the RCC (or conversely, that RCC priests might unwittingly baptize people into Paisley's church). Hence, our assumption that the rite alone, together with whatever minor differences subsist amongst the various christian denominations, is sufficient must be wrong.

    We must infer that something else must happen which causes the correct membership/bondship to be applied - else we'd have a stream of confused Paisleyites showing up in one heaven wondering who Holy Mary is, and presumably equal numbers of bewildered catholics showing up in a different heaven wondering why Paisley's ghost is sitting next to god. If the rite's not enough, then simplest next thing are the intentions of the baptizer and baptizee, or the intention of the deity/deities listening in. The latter seems obtuse, so let's run with the former.

    One could probably avoid the problem by allowing for one church's baptism rite simultaneously baptising somebody into two churches at once, one church being a subset of the other - but that'll just solve one leg of the dilemma, and even then, only on one church's terms; terms which the other church would immediately reject.

    Alternatively, one could just suggest that the rules make no sense, that they result in a contradiction or nonsense, and that baptism consequently means and achieves nothing.
    No, no. You’re overthinking this.

    Consider three persons, conveniently named A, B and C. A is baptised in an Anglican ceremony. B is baptised in a Methodist ceremony. C is baptised in a Catholic ceremony.

    In the Catholic view (and, as it happens, also in the Anglican view and the Methodist view) each of the three is a baptised Christian. Their baptism is fully sacramental, fully effective; it lacks nothing. It cannot be perfected or improved. Its effects are permanent; they cannot be undone. The baptism cannot be repeated.

    A’s baptism in an Anglican ritual points to his being part of the Anglican community. (Why else would his parents have brought him to an Anglican church for the baptism?) There is nothing immutable about that; he might later become a Catholic or a Methodist or leave the Anglican community without participating in any other community. But until one of these things happens he will be an Anglican. If and when he does leave the Anglican community he doesn’t have to fill out any forms, get any formal discharge, complete any ritual. Leaving the Anglican community will not reverse or undo his baptism and, should he ever wish to rejoin the Anglican community or join the Methodist or Catholic communities he will not be baptised again.

    Same goes for B, who is taken to be Methodist because of being baptised in that community, but may not always be.

    And the same goes for C.

    Can we say “same rite – three different results”?

    Well, we could say that the results in each case are the same. There are two outcomes – a permanent sacramental baptism, and evidence of a non-permanent participation in a particular Christian community. All that differs is the identity of the community in each case.

    Or we could say that the identity of the community is a key point, and that if it differs in each case then we must speak of three different results. A semantic point, perhaps, but let’s accept it for the sake of argument. In that case, we do have three different results. But why would we say that this “can’t be right”? It’s obviously right; these are in fact the results which flow from baptism in real life, as we know from common observation. There’s no contradiction and no nonsense. It’s perfectly cromulent.

    You’re free to believe that baptism “means and achieves nothing”. In this forum that’s an unremarkable view, and nobody is going to take issue with you over it. If you want to persuade others to your view you’re going to have to find more compelling arguments than the ones you advance here, but maybe you’re not bothered about evangelism. Which is fine. Either way, it has no bearing on claims that the Catholic church denies the possibility of leaving the Catholic church.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,825 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I can't see any problem with (b), to be honest. If you were ever a member of an organisation and say that you still are, most organisations would not, absent unusual circumstances, have any reason to look beyond that. Even if they become aware that at one point you left, most organisations are happy to let ex-members resume their membership.

    Yes but membership of an organisation imposes duties - obeyance of rules, perhaps attending meetings, often paying a fee. The RCC along with other churches demands the first two and it encourages, but does not insist upon, the third as well.

    I'm struggling to think of a secular organisation with any meaningful concept of membership, where a member can ignore all the requirements of membership, perhaps even denounce the organisation and those who run it publicly, and then just waltz back in if they feel like it as if nothing happened, without even signing a form, or promising to obey the rules in future, or pay past dues.

    It makes the concept of membership pretty meaningless tbh.

    Life ain't always empty.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,109 ✭✭✭Minime2.5


    Why would any atheist bother their hole wanting to be excommunicated if they fully believe the whole CC is a load of rubbish. In a way giving the whole thing credence wanting that done


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Yes but membership of an organisation imposes duties - obeyance of rules, perhaps attending meetings, often paying a fee. The RCC along with other churches demands the first two and it encourages, but does not insist upon, the third as well.

    I'm struggling to think of a secular organisation with any meaningful concept of membership, where a member can ignore all the requirements of membership, perhaps even denounce the organisation and those who run it publicly, and then just waltz back in if they feel like it as if nothing happened, without even signing a form, or promising to obey the rules in future, or pay past dues.

    It makes the concept of membership pretty meaningless tbh.
    Which gives rise to two thoughts.

    First, it's hard to argue that the concept of membership is meaningless, and that being regarded or claimed as a member is a terrible oppression. If "The church claims I'm a member!" really means "The church makes meaningless statements about me!", where's the harm?

    Secondly, the idea that the concept of membership is pretty meaningless is completely consistent with the point I made earlier; the RCC doesn't really have a concept of "membership". It's (some) ex-Catholics who are fixated on terminating their membership/having the termination of their membership acknowleged. Are you saying that this fixation is, at bottom, meaningless?


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,825 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Perhaps. When countmeout was on the go, I was very much conflicted about it, after all I don't need any endorsement from the RCC for my life choices, and I prefer to have as little interaction with it or any other religion as far as possible.

    Then again, the thought of giving them a polite "f**k you and the horse you rode in on" message did have some appeal...

    I didn't do it in the end, and now I can't!

    Life ain't always empty.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,021 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Perhaps. When countmeout was on the go, I was very much conflicted about it, after all I don't need any endorsement from the RCC for my life choices, and I prefer to have as little interaction with it or any other religion as far as possible.

    Then again, the thought of giving them a polite "f**k you and the horse you rode in on" message did have some appeal...

    I didn't do it in the end, and now I can't!
    Yeah, you can.

    There's a popular misconception that, for a brief period canon law allwed you do do it, but now it doesn't. In fact the corect position was that for a brief period canon law required you to do it (as in, if you didn't do it your defection would not be recognised for certain purposes) but now it no longer does. You could always do it, and you still can; how could they stop you?

    (You'll have to do it without the help of countmeout, of course; they no longer offer the service.)


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


    Forgot about this thread.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The document that you yourself linked to (evidently without reading) makes the point that a non-Catholic baptism is completely sufficient and not lacking in any way.

    It says the water dunking part is sufficient and doesn't need to be repeated, but that a profession of faith is needed to become a member of the RCC. I.e. the original non-catholic baptism requires a profession of faith for the baptised to be a member of church. So when you say that Ian Paisley had a valid baptism, the RCC would agree. But if you said he had a valid Catholic baptism, they would disagree.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Spot the contradiction! Excommunication doesn’t make you “not a Catholic”. Therefore, being excommunicated is not the least communion you can have, since non-Catholics are in less communion that excommunicated Catholics.

    Again, I have pointed this out before.

    I would have thought it obvious that the "you" I am talking about is catholics, not non-catholics (seeing as we are talking about people who are catholic but want to leave the church).
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Far from ignoring it, I engaged with it. Your response is to ignore the points I raise and simply repost your original material without acknowledge the challenge to it. I’m not the one who’s being closed-minded, Mark.

    You might need to check again, because I can't see any response to that post at all, nor any specific response to the request in it for any evidence that defection results in the Code of Canon Law saying you aren't a Catholic anymore.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I’ve posted suggest why it doesn’t say that. And I’ve pointed out that it doesn’t treat defected Catholics as still being Catholics. You haven’t engaged with any of that, and for all I can tell haven’t even read it. But I’m the one that’s closed-minded, apparently.

    And I've posted that it doesn't say anything about stopping being a catholic because it doesn't recognise anyone doing so. Didn't you make a joke about me not being a coder previously? How do you kill a code that doesn't have a recognised kill command?
    And it treats defected catholics as defected catholics, not non-catholics, so that's irrelevant (a defected catholic doesn't need a baptism to stop being a defected catholic).
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    On the contrary, I have engaged with it. It’s people who refuse to respond to the points I make that seem to be closed-minded.

    You have presented your own suggestions, with little to no supporting material and when people showed your flawed logic and disproved your claims with evidence you call them close minded.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    As I have pointed out before, once again to make this fit your argument you have to assume that, even though it doesn’t say so, this passage is referring to a concept you have invented yourself called “valid Catholic baptism”; otherwise it fails the Ian Paisley test and your argument collapses. But you can’t - without attracting ridicule - argue that:

    1. When the church doesn’t explicitly teach that defection terminates membership, it must be understood as teaching that it does not; and at the same time . . .

    2. When the church doesn’t explicitly teach that certain references to “baptism” really mean “valid Catholic baptism but not baptisms celebrated in other denominations”; it must nevertheless be understood as teaching exactly that.

    You’re taking contrary positions here, in each case choosing a position which supports your pre-existing belief.

    Well lets see:
    1. Defection doesn't say anything about termintating membership, therefore defection doesn't say anything about termintating membership.
    2. The RCC is talking about RCC baptisms when it is talking about Baptism incorporating people into the RCC in the Cathechism of the RCC.
    Yeah, I'm not seeing anything contradictory there in my points. I am taking the church by their own words.

    What I am seeing is an incredible amount of wishful thinking on your behalf, that church means something it specifically isn't saying about defection and that the church isn't referring to itself in its own doctrine.


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