Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Like many Belgians, I was baptized Catholic as a baby.

Judging from all the news trickling in from the home country (e.g., now this), I got lucky in my dealings with priests as a child, but many others weren't.

I also got lucky in my dealings with priests as an adult -- I've known a great deal of truly outstanding men who chose that field of vocation and lived that life with conviction and faith and deep spirituality, and to great benefit of a lot of others. My own path, in the meantime, has diverged -- I see the existence of a interventionist g*d as quite an untenable hypothesis. This was never reason for me to actively pursue the cancellation of my membership in the church. That membership was simply a benign remnant of my past.

But with the recent wave of stories about child abuse within the church, the repeated cover-ups, and the lack of any serious punishment of the perpetrators, one starts to think.

One of the things I discovered while thinking is that my view on the g*dhead is quite Feuerbachian: Any g*d exists as long as there are people who worship him/her. (Tough news for Zeus; good news, still, for the g*d preached by the little Jew from Nazareth.)

Conversely then, a g*d's worshipers should take the responsibility for the g*d they create -- for that is the g*d that exists and acts in the world.

The Catholic Church's g*d, right now (leaving aside the problem of his existence outside the realm of that church), isn't one I'd like to take responsibility for.

All of those premises can only lead to one conclusion.

Today I did send in my request to the Belgian Archbishop to be 'debaptized', that is, to no longer belong to that church.

Which makes me, unoddly enough, feel both better and a little sad. Killing, as it were, the tiniest of g*ds still living in my heart, and missing that tiny breath, that tiny thump, even though I haven't felt it, never heard it, in the past 25 years.

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