My Act of Defection

When I was an infant, my parents baptized me into the Catholic Church. Like almost all children who grow up in Christendom, at no point was I ever consulted and the ceremony, plus the indoctrination, all took place without my consent. It took me many years to realize the fraud and the dangerous cult that is the Catholic Church, to begin to realize that the high clergy of the church where I was nurtured as a child has always had fascist sympathies and seeded them in the culture, and how detrimental its agenda is to global human rights, and gay and women’s rights in particular. Once I left the church, it’s taken me many more years to overcome the anger of having been lied to on so many fronts.

After having last year compared gay people to the Ku Klux Klan, this year Chicago Cardinal George does it again! Now that gay marriage is likely to be approved in Illinois, he wants to play politics even as he dodges his taxes by writing a lil letter calling gay marriage unnatural.

Let’s put aside the fact that his church has spent 2 billion dollars covering up the crimes of predator priests and that the pope has headed an international criminal conspiracy to cover up child molestation over generations.

Isn’t morality itself unnatural? It’s meant to tame our natural aggression. Nature is completely amoral: there’s cannibalism in nature, some species of birds sacrifice one chick if that increases the chances of survival of the stronger chick.

Plus, dogs, dolphins, octopi, apes, and almost all mammals engage in homosexuality. What does he mean by unnatural, and in what way would that be relevant to ethical questions?

No species exhibits celibacy.

His doctrine is so unsophisticated, feudal, archaic, bigoted and stupid, and his church so lacking in credibility that it’s embarrassing that this type of nonsense is still coming out of his mouth and that he even thinks he has the moral authority to utter this.

But there’s more. The pope has given a blessing during the Christmas holidays to a Ugandan Parliamentarian, Representative Kadaga, who had promised her constituents earlier in December that she would pass the Kill the Gays bill in Uganda as a Christmas gift. She was unable to pass the bill because the Parliament went on vacation but it will be considered during January. News about her visit with the pope, how the pope blessed her (and presumably didn’t admonish her or mention the Kill the Gays bill) and how the papacy has not ever, not once, assumed any type of leadership role with regards to stopping the bill from passing, as well as pictures of her kneeling and kissing his hands, have gone viral in Western secularist media.

Generally, the Catholic Church makes it nearly impossible for people to declare apostasy and formally leave the church: they try to talk you out of it, to convince you to consider returning “home”, to continue treating you like a child. But after exchanging some emails with former Catholic atheists on January 2 of 2013, I figured out what I needed to do and sent this letter to the assistant of the bishop at the dioceses where I was baptized as an infant:

January 2, 2013

Dear (Brooklyn Bishop) DiMarzio,

I am hereby formally defecting from the Catholic Church and request an execution of the Actus Formalis Defectionis Ab Ecclesia Catholica for myself to begin this process in accordance with canons 1086, 1117 and 1174 of the Code of Canon law as well as notification Prot. N. 10279/2006 from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (PCLT).

This request is being made by me personally, freely and consciously in order to sever all bonds of Catholic faith, sacraments, and pastoral governance and constitutes a willful act of apostasy of my part. I am providing herein all necessary information with an explanation for my decision.

I was born on … in Brooklyn, NY and as a matter of custom received baptism as an infant in New York. In 1991, shortly after turning 15, I stopped believing in Catholic doctrine and left the Catholic Church. I have now chosen to leave the Catholic Church in a formal and open manner for a number of reasons:

  • I am not a believer in Catholic teachings or any other salvific or revealed doctrine
  • I am not religious, and in fact consider organized religion to be fraudulent and harmful to society in many ways
  • I exhibit a profound distrust and skepticism of supernatural claims in general
  • I am a gay male and consider the anti-gay doctrine and the open hostility of many in the ranks of your clergy to be insulting to our human dignity and harmful to LGBT youth struggling to come out
  • I am a firm believer in the equal validity of same-sex marriage
  • I am appalled at the culture of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
  • The decision to baptize me, and to raise me as a Catholic, was made without my consent when I was an infant
  • As an adult, I have found that most of the authentic questions I have are best answered within the realm of secular philosophical discourse
  • I find that my political and ethical views are in direct contradiction with those of the Catholic Church and I vehemently disagree with Church teaching with regards to, among other things, human sexuality. I consider these doctrines as harmful, feudal, archaic and irrelevant

The decision and declaration of initiating excommunication is made out of my own free will, being of sound mind, and in full cognizance of the repercussions. I do not expect to ever get married in a church and see no need to be a hypocrite in order to participate in sacraments. I also do not wish to be considered Catholic for census and demographics purposes.

I recognize that many members of your church exhibit a high quality of character and it is not my intent to personally attack you or any member of your staff, but simply to respectfully assert my right and my choice of pursuing philosophy instead of religion and to raise my voice in stalwart dissent against the teachings and actions of Catholic leadership.

For these reasons, I hereby request to be officially excommunicated as soon as possible, to have my name removed from all church accounts, to provide that this act be noted in the baptismal registry (cfr. can. 535, § 2) with explicit mention of the occurrence of a “defectio ab Ecclesia catholica actu formali” and to record that I am no longer a member of the Catholic church according to the PCLT. I want no membership in your church for the rest of my life and expect these wishes to be honored.

Should you require further information to proceed, please advise accordingly. I look forward to receiving official confirmation of this action at your earliest convenience.


….. (signed)

And so there it is. I now await my certificate of apostasy (or whatever they send us post-Catholic gentiles), glad to have not been among the sheep that, while not really believing their lies, still went along with the hypocrisy so that sensibilities of sincere Catholics would not be insulted. I am sickened by the cardinal’s comments and by the pope’s blessing of a woman who has vowed to subject gays in her country to genocide.

I am happy to formally commence the process of excommunicating the Church of Rome from my life. I’m happy to pronounce a firm indictment against at least a small portion of the innumerable crimes that it has engaged in throughout the world’s history, and having finally done this I am happy and proud of my place in history.

“If you never wanted to hurt me, why am I running away?” – Madonna

About hiramcrespo

Hiram Crespo is the author of 'Tending the Epicurean Garden' (Humanist Press, 2014), 'How to Live a Good Life' (Penguin Random House, 2020), and Epicurus of Samos – His Philosophy and Life: All the principal Classical texts Compiled and Introduced by Hiram Crespo (Ukemi Audiobooks, 2020). He's the founder of, and has written for The Humanist, Eidolon, Occupy, The New Humanism, The Secular Web, Europa Laica, AteístasPR, and many other outlets.
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5 Responses to My Act of Defection

  1. Andrew says:

    I thought that formal acts of defection from the Catholic church (Latin: actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica) were not allowed anymore?


    • hiramcrespo says:

      You’re not the first person who tells me that, and I suspected that was the case. The examples of Defection letters I found online had been fairly recent so I submitted it and didn’t get a reply. But in my heart, I am an ex-Catholic and outspoken about the dangers of Catholicism.


  2. Francis Des Ruisseaux says:

    I was born Catholic… Kind of forced into it until I was around 10 years old when I quit. That was over 40 year ago.


  3. Ben says:

    Where did u send the letter to. and did u get a reply


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