A child is baptized again in The Philippines, and it all happens without the child’s consent, it is doomed to permanent membership in the country. Even if the child grows older and converts to another faith, it will be listed as both religions in the statistics of the country and the church. When the child reaches 18, the age of consent in The Philippines, the adult is now left only with the action, either to visit or no longer visit church. Having become an Agnostic or Atheist, it remains a personal description. All forms and application letters can be left blank in the section where religion is asked for. One can draw a line, write Atheist or no religion, but officially the church will still claim membership.
In other countries of the world one can officially sign out of church, and the age of consent is even lower. I will use the example of Germany to make clear, how I trust it should be. At the age of 14, a teenager reaches the age of consent, this includes, next to many other freedoms to decide for oneself now, the freedom to decide whether one wants to sign out of church or changes the religion, or leave religion for good.
Responsible for the resignation is the registry office, mostly located in city hall or the mayors house. The area of the office issuing the form for signing out of the religious community, must be the persons place of residence.
The person quitting the church will receive a certificate. With this certificate and his or her tax card, the registration office will change the persons status accordingly in the tax card, as the state is collecting church tax from it’s members. This church tax is deducted from the salary and equals around 7% if the persons income tax. The state then forwards that amount to the church of membership.
The registry office reports this request and status change to the registration and tax office, and leaving the church will also be reported to the religious organisation of membership.
The tax expires at the end of the calendar month in which the declaration of leaving the church has become effective.
The emergence of a church, religious community or world view follows public law. One can easily take this action from the age of 14, and if one is not incapacitated.
For minors under 14 years a parental explanation letter must be added for the exit. If a child reaches the age of 12, a membership can not be declared against his or her will.
The right to leave the church arose from the State, regarding the fundamental right of non-religious freedom. For the first time it was allowed and introduced in 1847 by Frederick William IV of Prussia. His conditions in Germany were established by law in the context of the culture war.
Treatment in state law
Leaving the church in Germany means that the State can make no legal claims to a membership (church tax collection, participation in religious instruction), what of the negative freedom of religion under Article 4, Section 1 of the Basic Law and of Article 136 WRV follows in conjunction with Article 140 of the Constitution, from this point of view the member, regardless of the religious institutions point of view, the person has resigned.
The churches point of view
The Catholic Church knows no exit from the Faith Community Church, as a baptism can not be undone in their belief, and the Catholic Church sees itself as the community of the baptized.
Yet as the church does not stand above law and government, it took a long struggle having to accept this fact. The following shows how long it took for the catholic church to find an internal solution.
On 24 September 2012 is a “General Decree of the German Bishops’ Conference for leaving the church” came into force with the internal church legal consequences of leaving the church should be clarified by law. The decree was approved by the Vatican, and this is very important to push legal measures to The Philippines, (According to publication, it has been already adopted by the Conference of Bishops on March 15, 2011, but “recognitio” only on 28 August 2012 by the Congregation for Bishops was). State the legal consequences of quitting are enumerated as follows:
– Exclusion from the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick.
– Exclusion of ecclesiastical offices and functions,
– Exclusion from the godfather and the godfather Office
– Exclusion of membership in parish and diocesan councils (eg parish council and parish council and finance committee, etc.)
– Loss of active and passive suffrage in the church,
– Exclusion of the public church membership in associations.
– Church marriage only with the permission of the local Ordinary.
– Exclusion of the ecclesiastical funeral, unless before the death having signed any letter of remorse.
The membership terms of the Protestant church, however knows a church exit. The organisation states, that this must be declared by the authority responsible under state laws leaving the church. Thus, under § 10 of the law of church membership Evangelical Church in Germany:
The church membership ends when:
– Moving away from the scope of this Church law.
– By crossing to another church or religious community under the laws of the member churches.
– With the effective date of the resignation permitted by law.
The Catholic Church is an authoritarian and anti democratic organization and institution.
For countries not yet having the resignation form for signing out of church there are still ways of officially getting out of the catholic church:
In refference to the following website, http://atheism.about.com/od/ideasforatheistactivism/a/Excommunication.htm
This is how to succeed in being excommunicated:
“ It is possible to be excommunicated in a specific, official pronouncement, but this is rarely done. More relevant is latae sententiae excommunication, or automatic excommunication, which can occur for the following reasons according to canon law:
1378: The absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue …incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See
1388: A bishop who consecrates some one a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See
A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See
1398: A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication
These can only be committed by a priest or bishop, so you can’t use them.
1370: A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See
Excommunication isn’t worth assaulting the pope, so this is out.
1367: A person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See
Desecrating a consecrated host isn’t as bad as assaulting a pope, but it’s unlikely that you’d find a way to do this. That leaves one option:
1364: an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication
You need to still be some sort of religious theist to be a heretic or schismatic, so if you are a secular atheist the you’re only option is apostasy.
There is one more basis for excommunication:
1329: Accomplices who are not named in a law or precept incur a latae sententiae penalty attached to a delict if without their assistance the delict would not have been committed, and the penalty is of such a nature that it can affect them
So if one person does something that leads to automatic excommunication, any accomplices that were necessary to the act and who can have the penalty imposed upon them can also be excommunicated. This opens up options for ex-Catholic friends to find ways to help each other get excommunicated.
Process of Excommunication
If you want to be excommunicated, you have to go through official channels. Your local priest can’t help you; instead, you must write a letter to your bishop.
1. Tell him where and when you were baptized (they won’t excommunicate non-Catholics).
2. Tell him of your apostasy; you must describe both an intention of apostasy and an outward manifestation. Apostasy doesn’t count if you didn’t intend it or if it didn’t amount to anything.
3. Explain that you know this means excommunication — ignorance of the penalty would get you off.
4. State that you do not consider yourself a Catholic anymore and want your name taken off the official rolls of Catholics.
If you don’t hear back after a little bit, send the letter again — but this time registered mail with a note that this is your second attempt. If you persist, you should be successful. “
The Philippine Atheists and Agnostics should now go that last step. It is time to no longer accept forced memberships, being owned by the catholic church. As a child we have no free will, and so the age of reason and the age of consent are not existing for nothing. As long as the peoples who don’t want to belong to the catholic organization, or any other religion remain quiet, just no longer attend, the church will still have its numbers to present. It is a matter of self esteem and pride to go ones own way, not only in private, but open, public and officially. The only authority to follow is the law and the government officials. Church law is not universal, and the authority not official, it is self crowned and for it’s members self decided to follow or not.