Disgruntled Catholics have come a step closer to washing
off holy water they were baptized in as tiny children. Upon request, priests in
Italy must note alongside baptism information the will of adults to leave the
Roman Catholic Church. Bowing to pressure from lobby groups who call the act ‘unchristening,’
the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) recently outlined the procedure.
Both sides disagree on the scope of the phenomenon —
one activist group claims 10,000 people have presented unchristening requests;
the Church says it is trying to do right by a ‘few dozen’ people who wish not
to be counted as Catholics.
Statistics, however, show a large number of slumbering
or disinterested members of the country’s predominant religion — although 98%
of Italians are baptized, only 36% attend mass regularly and over 14% never
attend at all, according to 1999 data from Italian National Statistical Institute
(ISTAT). Baptism records are used for Church statistics and influence whether
last rites and religious funerals are administered.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, CEI president, made it clear
that the Church considers the issue an entirely bureaucratic one. "You
can’t cancel a sacrament any more than you can cancel the act of being born,"
he told newspapers.
…Bureaucratic or not, the policy change is a David-versus-Goliath
type victory for small but persistent groups like the Italian Union of Rationalist
Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR) that has been campaigning for unchristening since
1995. At first, they made little headway with parish priests who refused requests
to modify or cancel baptism records.
If you don’t believe in God why in the world would you spend time campaigning
for unchristening? If if was a nonexistent superstition and nothing else, then
why bother? If your an atheist and believe that your earthly time is all that
you have why spend it in a bureaucratic battle with what your think are non-rational
People who reverted back to paganism in the 4th century had their own rite.
Julian the Apostate
to try to wash away the waters of baptism, washed himself in a bath of bull’s