Catholic Church Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

‘De-baptism’ in Belgium in wake of child abuse scandal

The child abuse scandals rocking Belgium’s powerful Catholic Church are also shaking the faith of followers, with more and more people asking to be struck off baptism registers — a global movement known as “de-baptism“.

“When you don’t agree with an organisation that you never chose to join in the first place, the healthiest thing to do is to leave,” Damien Spleeters told AFP.

In this mainly Catholic country of 10 million people, the 24-year-old is among a growing crowd exasperated by church policy on issues such as AIDS, and angered by revelations last year of massive child abuse by priests and lay workers.

After reports in April that the Bishop of Bruges had sexually abused his own nephew for 13 years, starting when the boy was five, a church-backed commission in September issued graphic testimony of nearly 500 cases of child abuse by priests and lay workers, including 13 victims who committed suicide.

In practise, de-baptism consists in writing to the church where the christening took place. The name is not actually struck off but noted on the baptismal registry, meaning that those who decide to leave cannot be married in the church or expect a Catholic funeral.

The trend has gained a substantial following worldwide with atheist groups and secular societies backing online de-baptism for people who see churches as being increasingly out of tune with modern life.

Watch AFP’s video report

Vatican says condoms acceptable only in ‘exceptional’ cases

In a series of interviews to appear in a book published this week, Pope Benedict XVI says for the first time that while the use of condoms should not be seen as a “moral solution”, it could be justified in stopping the spread of AIDS.

But the Vatican moved Sunday to counter campaigners’ claims of a U-turn in Church policy, emphasising in a statement that condom use was acceptable only in highly “exceptional” cases, AP reports.

Our take: If you don’t play the game, you don’t get to set the rules. What people do in the privacy of their bedrooms is none of the Pope’s — or the Catholic Church’s — business.