La Croix tells us this week that confreres in Belgium are requesting to be “debaptized”. One wonders if our hierarchs in the Vatican are hearing this with ears that can hear and seeing with eyes that can see. It may sound radical but those requesting this are not necessarily radical. They are speaking to the long mistaken preference for institutional preservation over life and lives of lay people, who were sorely abused. Far from Pope Francis “scandalizing the faithful” by departing from the old norms of unthinkingly protecting the hierarchy and the institution, we have not gone nearly far enough. Our kids get it, how these hierarchs — especially in the US, especially in conservative dioceses — have discarded and disregarded young people, women, and so many insisting that our church address and respond to the needs of today, rather than maintaining privileges of bishops and the most wealthy.
A request to be “debaptized” is another cry for the folks at the top to get it, that continuation of inequalities, domination and dehumanization of any sort is a crisis. We need the new proposed constitution for the Catholic Church that has been proposed by a number of theologians and introduced via the Synod on Synodality, but evidently not yet considered in Rome. See https://www.wijngaardsinstitute.com/a-constitution-for-the-catholic-church/ — Editor
Below is a short excerpt from the article in La Croix International Catholic Daily followed by a link to the full article
Requests for debaptism are on the rise in Belgium….
…Scholtès does not hide his sadness about debaptisms, especially considering the context of abuse where the Church has not shown itself in the best light. A documentary titled “Godvergeten” (“The Forgotten by God”), which was broadcast at the end of 2023 on the Flemish television channel VRT, features victims testifying about sexual violence they experienced within the Catholic Church. The documentary shocked Belgium and seems to have led to a significant increase in debaptism requests. The Church does not provide precise numbers, but between 2019 and 2022, the requests fluctuated between 1,000 and 2,000. In 2021 more than 5,000 requests were reportedly recorded.
“In Flanders, this documentary had the effect of a bomb,” said Vincent Delcorps, editor-in-chief of the CathoBel website. “The Church had to hire someone to handle all the debaptism requests that flooded in after its airing.”
Scholtès, who also serves as chaplain at the Saint-Michel College Church in Brussels, has personally spoken with individuals who requested de-baptism. “I don’t know if all of them went through with it, but I respect their decision. However, baptism is the act by which a person is declared a child of God, and from a religious perspective, it always remains,” said the Jesuit.
“The Church should understand individuals who want to completely break ties with an institution they no longer identify with,” insisted Daniel Leclercq, director of the Federation of Friends of Secular Morality (FAML), an organization that has long assisted those wishing to make such requests.
“The rules of European law must apply to everyone – including the Church,” said Kathle en Van Brempt, a member of the social-democratic party Vooruit who is one of Belgian’s representatives in the European Parliament. “The Church will not win this battle,” the MEP predicted.
Read more at: https://international.la-croix.com/news/religion/request-to-be-debaptized-raises-legal-questions-over-data-protection/19081