Removing a child from the catholic church

Issues relating to promoting a secular state education and raising children in a non-religious home
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Re: Removing a child from the catholic church

Post by lostexpectation » Mon May 31, 2010 3:34 am

robreynolds2 wrote:Hi to all and thanks for your inputs so far. I will try to cover some of the questions raised.

I have been giving a lot of thought to going down the "Data Protection" route but before I decided on what I can do and cant do I would like to wait to consider all angles.

Thank you all for your feedback so far, I really appreciate it!

can i asks again what age your daughters is its important, i think the results of the canon law and data protection will be exactly the same, a notation on the baptismal register that she not member of the church and perhaps a letter to the affect. try it.
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Re: Removing a child from the catholic church

Post by robreynolds2 » Mon May 31, 2010 9:44 am

Sorry yes I forgot to answer that, she is three years old
Morality is herd instinct in the individual - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Re: Removing a child from the catholic church

Post by Feardorcha » Mon May 31, 2010 6:17 pm

I get reminders from a musical society that my membership subscription is overdue. I gave up my membership of that organisation when I moved house 20 years ago but they seem unable to update their records. So by their rules or canons I am a member - it still doesn't make it so.
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Re: Removing a child from the catholic church

Post by Ciaran » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:43 pm

Excuse the lack of reference for this, I'm looking for one and I'll add it if I find it. The data protection route wouldn't work in Ireland at any rate. The church are obliged to give a copy of any info they have on you but as the baptismal entry is a record of a historical event that occurred within the institution, and not just stored personal information. As far as I know none of us can have the reference to ourselves deleted, just the notice of defection added.

Edit: Reference for Data Communications decision It's discussed briefly at
countmeout (Paul)
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Re: Removing a child from the catholic church

Post by countmeout (Paul) » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:16 am

Hi there,
interesting to read this thread. We have had a number of emails from parents wishing to remove children from the church. We have always advised people to go ahead and send in the form and see what happens but nobody has been successful. We know that people under 18 cannot defect themselves, but we assumed their parents could do it for them.

Our view is pretty much as expressed by the OP, that not allowing someone to leave an organisation is a violation of all sorts of rights. It is another clear example of Canon Law superseding State law and is wide open to a challenge. I don't think it would cost a fortune to challenge this, the data commissioners angle is one avenue. The media is another. We would be glad to help in any way.

p.s. in relation to data protection (from the commissioner's website):

What is the aim of these rights?

Data protection rights will help you to make sure that the information stored about you is:

* factually correct;
* only available to those who should have it;
* only used for stated purposes.

The factually correct element is the key here.
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Re: Removing a child from the catholic church

Post by Alan » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:51 pm

So the church are happy parents indoctrinating children when they are a few months old however they do not agree with parents making the decision to remove them from the church at 6 years of age. I find they quite contradictory. The church is full of hypocracy. Also I just want that this message was not intended to offend the parents by mentioning indoctrination. I understand that many people do it for a number of reasons education being 1.
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Re: Removing a child from the catholic church

Post by MyloD » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:03 pm

There's an interesting philosophical argument here that Ygern hit on already. You've essentially removed your child from the church. If they wish to add to their god delusion with a delusional belief that your child is still a catholic, then under their own canon 'law' they believe they have the right to do so.

Civil law overrides canon 'law' within the realms of reality. Canon law does not override state law other than in the case of unchallenged acceptance of those 'laws'. The fact that a man in a funny hat believes your daughter to be a member of his delusional cult is irrelevant until such time as his belief materially affects your daughter.

The only real issue here is that your daughter continues to be counted in a set of statistics. You can't expunge the record of a baptism that occurred presumably with your agreement. The real argument as pointed out by countmeout (Paul) is whether the statistical inclusion of your daughter as a member of the church is factually correct.

The first legal issue would be whether your daughter is capable of making that decision for herself and then whether you as parents have the right to make that decision for her. You must also consider the ways in which your daughter's data is used. If the church maintain a list called, for example, "Benny's List of Cult Members" then the data protection act might apply to that. However, by simply changing the name of that list to "Benny's List of Kids We Watered" that list is instantly transformed into a factually correct historical document.

It would be satisfying to think that the data protection act or some other piece of legislation could be engaged to force one's removal from list of the religulous, however I think the only beneficiaries in a possibly byzantine/tenuous argument might be the legal profession (unless you can find a legal team to work pro bono...).
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Re: Removing a child from the catholic church

Post by Reilly616 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:28 pm


I can only back up what others have said about data protection. Any data kept must be up to date. If it is not, you may request it changed. As your children are under 18, it is up to you to make this request. They must change it within 40 days or tell you why they refuse. The cannon lawyer's opinion doesn't matter to be frank. Cannon law has no standing in this country. Civil law is the only thing they need to pay attention to. I would recommend that you send the church office a letter requesting that they change the information, quoting the legislation. I requested a change and they took their sweet time until I showed them that I knew my rights. This is what I said:

"Section 6(1) of the Data Protection Act, 1988, as amended by the Data Protection (Amendment) Act, 2003 states:

“An individual shall, if he so requests in writing a data controller who keeps personal data relating to him, be entitled to have rectified or, where appropriate, blocked or erased any such data in relation to which there has been a contravention by the data controller of section 2(1) of this Act; and the data controller shall comply with the request as soon as may be and in any event not more than 40 days after it has been given or sent to him”.

Section 2(1)(b) states that “the data shall be accurate and complete and, where necessary, kept up to date”.

As the data is no longer up to date, I am requesting, under section 6(1), that this contravention of section 2(1) be rectified."

If they refuse, then you should contact the Data Protection Commissioner and he will take care of it for you. If you have any questions about my advise, please feel free to ask.
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