When somebody resigns from the Catholic Church they will get a condescending reply perhaps.  It will say that the Church loves and prays for them and their baptism will always have a spiritual effect.  The Church says it cannot undo that your baptism obligates you to follow Christ in the Church.  I don't think that means you are now Catholic but that you can restore your Catholic identity by repenting.  The Church regards those baptised people in Hell as former Catholics. The Church tends to make out that those who reject its teaching and leave it are not rejecting it as it really is but a corrupted idea of what the Church stands for.  This is a very prideful idea considering that the Church argues not that it is definitely true as a religion but probably true.  That is where faith comes in.  It is a serious issue for the Church is a massive institutional power and has a secretive side and impacts on politics.  It will lobby against your rights if it thinks it needs to and can.  Cardinal George below links LGBT affirmation to relativism, the view that there is no truth in morality just opinion.  This implies that an LGBT may not realise it, but they are part of the trouble caused by relativists in power.  The Church says that relativism and laziness about moral truth led to Hitler rising to power and he declared it his moral opinion that Jews must be destroyed and this is a good thing.  That is a very heavy and loaded accusation.

A letter from the Cardinal by ZJ — 28 February 2010

Last month, I officially resigned from the Roman Catholic Church. I haven't been to church in several years, and I no longer follow Catholicism or Christianity (not that I really believed it to begin with). However, the Catholic church has an odd policy regarding who they consider a Catholic. If you've been baptized in a Catholic church, as I was, the church counts you as a member for life even if you stop attending. The only way to have this reversed is to formally defect, notifying the bishop of your local diocese that you've left the church. After yet another preposterous moral pronouncement from the pope, I decided to do just that:

Cardinal Francis George c/o Archdiocese of Chicago 835 N. Rush St. Chicago, IL 60611-2030 Declaration of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church I, --------, do hereby give formal notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I do not consider myself part of the church, and I have not attended or donated to any church since 2004.

I do not believe in God, the divinity or resurrection of Jesus, the immaculate conception or assumption of Mary, or the Holy Ghost. I am an atheist and have been working to promote skepticism of religion since 2008. I am especially repulsed by the church's teachings regarding homosexuality. I reject the notion that homosexual desires or the expression of these desires are in any way sinful, disordered, or an "intrinsic moral evil." On the contrary, the church's continual mistreatment of gay people is the true moral evil at work here.

It was a moral evil for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which you are president, to donate $200,000 to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California. It was a moral evil for the church to collect over $500,000 and then waste it all to stop gay people from marrying in Maine.

And it is a moral evil for Pope Benedict to lie to the world and claim that gay people threaten the survival of humanity. When the church forbids gay people from ever loving one another and tells them their very love is wrong and an offense against God, I cannot see this as anything but evil. As a gay man, I have witnessed firsthand the incalculable damage you've done to the human spirit, the wounds borne by the casualties of your war on gay lives. The poisonous dogma of the church is responsible for so much suffering and anguish, I am ashamed to ever have been known as a Catholic. As such, I cannot in good conscience allow myself to be counted as a member of the church. I will not be part of an organization that is working every day to inflict misery upon my friends. Please record that I am no longer a Roman Catholic. I would appreciate written confirmation of this request. Sincerely, --------

A few weeks later, I received a reply:

Dear Mr. --------, I have received your declaration of defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I am sorry for the pain and hurt that I sense beneath your anger. In proclaiming her teaching about the nature of human sexuality, it is not the intention of the Catholic Church to damage the human spirit or wage "war on gay lives." We demand that all people be treated with respect and dignity, including persons with a homosexual orientation. What the Church does publicly challenge is the growing prevalence of a moral relativism and a cultural and individual narcissism that says, "If I want it, it must be my right...I alone know what is best for me." Such an attitude dismisses divine revelation and centuries of moral teaching and conventional wisdom, without ever considering them or attempting to understand the truths they contain. Therefore, we oppose the political agenda that seems to move well beyond securing human rights and dignity to glorifying a person's sexual orientation to the extent that it becomes the core of their identity. This is a terrible diminishment of any human person. "Gay" is, at best, one of many adjectives that describe someone; sexual orientation is not a person's full essence. For the Church not to question those who have forgotten this truth, including those who are homosexual, out of some misguided sense of political correctness would be to fail them in love - and that would be true discrimination. The Church has an obligation to be faithful in her witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ, who invites all to a life of discipleship that begins with a call to conversion, which is never an easy call for anyone to hear.

Mr. --------, with regret I will comply with your request and have your declaration noted in your baptismal record at -------- Church and a copy of your statement kept with this baptismal register. I trust you have made this declaration freely, without coercion of any kind, and clearly understand that leaving the Catholic Church makes you ineligible to receive the sacraments and that you will no longer be entitled to a Catholic burial. Since baptism is an action of Christ himself, no one can undo that; but officially you have left the Church. I see from your birth date that you will soon be twenty-one years old. That is an age of great passion and idealism. While I appreciate your honesty, sometimes as we age, the vagary of the world and its ambiguities seem to increase, and things no longer look so black and white. Should you ever wish to return to the Catholic faith, the Church would welcome you home. I will pray for you as you continue your journey. Thank you.

Sincerely yours, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. Archbishop of Chicago 28 Feb 2010 21:39


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