Getting De-Baptized

The most interesting religious news articles appear on Sundays. I guess there still is an unspoken rule that Sundays are designated for religious activity, including news. Too bad since so many will miss out on these delicious tidbits.

NPR ran an article this past Sunday that caused even me to raise my eyebrows: Off the Record: A Quest for De-Baptism. Hmm. No one had ever approached me to be de-baptized. I’d been asked to remove their membership from a the local church, but never to have their baptism nullified. But then, I was a Protestant pastor and we have a different doctrine regarding baptism than the Roman Catholic church.

It seems that an elderly French gentleman is taking the Catholic Church to court because they will not nullify his baptism. He no longer believes in the tenets of the Catholic Church and feels it is more honest to leave the church, hence having his baptism nullified. Of course, the church says they cannot accommodate his request.

The Roman Catholic Church has seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist (communion), penance, anointing the sick, Holy Orders (male¬†deacons, priests, bishops), and marriage. While marriage is designed to be one man and one woman ’til death do they part, the church ¬†does annul marriages. Likewise, deacons, priests, and bishops can be de-frocked (that’s a Protestant term. I’m not sure of the official Catholic term). Here are two sacraments where someone’s status can be changed.

So, why not de-baptism?

I realize there are all sorts of doctrinal and theological arguments that can be used against de-baptism. However, it seems to me they have already opened that door with allowing marriages to be annulled. I could never figure out how someone who was married for twenty years could have their marriage annulled? (Besides the money the Church makes in the annulment). What does that do to the legitimacy of the children of that marriage? It seems that is much messier than a de-baptism.

Am I missing something here?

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