6,007 people complete website form to defect from Catholic Church


CHURCH DEFECTIONS:A TOTAL of 6,007 people have completed a ‘‘declaration of defection’’ from the Catholic Church in Ireland according to the website www.countmeout.ie

It was set up last July, following publication of the Ryan report on May 20th, and within a month over 2,000 people had completed such declarations of defection.

The website provides a three-step online process that makes it easier for disaffected Catholics to leave the church.

Paul Dunbar, who founded the website with Cormac Flynn and Grainne O’Sullivan, said that on publication of the Murphy report “almost to the hour” there was “a huge surge of interest” on the part of people e-mailing the site seeking information on how they could leave the Catholic Church.

On the afternoon of November 26th last, when the Murphy report was published, there had been “a tenfold increase in traffic”, he said.

On average, 10 – 20 people download the declaration to defect every day, he said, but that this increased with further clerical child sex abuse allegations.

He said they had set up the website because they had found it very difficult to get information when they wished to defect.

The website also highlights the consequences of defecting. It points out that formally leaving the Catholic Church excludes you from Catholic ceremonies, but not from attending such ceremonies.

It could affect your child’s chances of attending the local Catholic-run school, if he or she has not been baptised. Catholic schools have the right to refuse the enrolment of children who are not Catholics.

The efficiency with which the various dioceses handled the decisions by people to leave, varied, with the Dublin archdiocese one of the best. This he attributed to the work of Fr Fintan Gavin in Dublin.