This was a short project.
I sent an email to the local Bishop. He informed me that there really was no way to route out of the Church of Cathol. He further claimed that if one didn't belong to a local parish though that they were not calculated into any estimates of Catholic numbers. I do find this last bit hard to believe as it is well known that Catholic church attendance is declining and strong sense of Catholic identity is lower than it has been in years
, and yet the Catholic claim of a billion hasn't changed in some time. I'm also doubtful because in the response to me it is claimed that since I've only been to mass once or twice as an adult it is, "...highly unlikely that you are on a Catholic roll anywhere." I'm dubious of this for a simple reason, I know that my parents haven't been to mass for at least a decade, and I saw their names on a the St. Mary's directory just this year. Now that may have something to do with my parents but I somehow doubt it.
But here is the response, in full, from Msgr. Andrew Dubois.
Although I do not know you or your reasons for your request, it is with great regret that I received your email. That said, I do respond to offer a few items for your consideration:
· First, an invitation to talk with someone in the Church so as to have the opportunity to discuss questions and concerns you have led you to this decision, if that would be helpful to you. Depending upon where you live, I could help you make a connection with a representative of the Church should you desire to discuss that matter.
· Second, it is my understanding that there is no official process for you to "renounce your Catholicism", except in that you yourself choose not to be registered in a parish. Reports that summarize the number of Catholics are compiled in various ways, but most often from parish census records. If you are not registered in a parish, then you are not be "counted". In fact, you indicate that you have only been to Mass once or twice as an adult; therefore, it is highly unlikely that you are on a Catholic roll anywhere.
· Third, because of our belief that the sacrament of Baptism permanently changes a person at the core of their being, uniting them to Christ in a unique way, a baptism cannot be undone. Once a person is validly baptized, regardless of their denomination or ecclesial affiliation, that person remains a Christian. Again, whether that person, like yourself, chooses to identify themselves with (or not), and participate in (or not), a particular church (i.e., Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, etc.) is entirely up to them.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
God's abundant blessings upon you.
Moderator of the Curia
I don't know how likely I am to pursue this further, because this organization is horrendously tedious. But if I do, I will post the experience on the blog.