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After a Century, the Largest $ Catholic $ Church in North America is Complete

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
Either way, their charitable work s quite extensive Just a few sources, although I cannot verify the accuracy of these:
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health care services in the world. -- Catholic Church and health care - Wikipedia
But this gets into what I was talking about earlier: a huge amount of the health care services "provided by the Catholic Church" are done through Catholic hospitals that provide those services on a fee-for-service basis like a state-owned or privately-owned hospital. Catholic health care is mostly a commercial enterprise, not charity.

Same for education: when the Catholic Church charges tuition for a parochial school or a university, it's just operating a fee-for-service commercial operation.

(AP) -- Once again today, the Roman Catholic Church, by far the world's largest charitable organization, fed more of the hungry, housed more of the homeless, tended to the more of the sick, and educated more of the poor throughout the world than all other organizations combined. -- BREAKING -- World's Largest Charity Feeds the Hungry - Championship Subdivision Football | FCS Football | Stadiums | Blogs | Forums

Number 2 ) how many people make up the Catholic Church?

There are an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican figures. More than 40% of the world's Catholics live in Latin America - but Africa has seen the biggest growth in Catholic congregations in recent years.

That means the charitable organization known as the Catholic Church is 1.2 billion people strong.

Number 3). Is there any other charitable organization that can claim more than 1.2 billion people as members?

No there is not.

Therefore the Catholic Church is in fact the largest charitable organization on earth.
-- What is the basis for saying that the Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world?

They estimate that the church spends about $171,600,000,000 a year. Not a typo... The Economist estimates that annual spending by the church and entities owned by the church was around $170 billion in 2010 (the church does not release such figures). We think 57% of this goes on health-care networks, followed by 28% on colleges, with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6% and national charitable activities just 2.7% (see chart). In total, Catholic institutions employ over 1m people, reckons Fred Gluck, a former McKinsey managing partner and co-founder of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, a lay organisation seeking to improve the way the church is run. -- The Economist Estimates the Catholic Church Spent $171,600,000,000 in 2010
But again: not all of that is actually charitable. I Googled St. Mike's hospital in Toronto (which came to mind as an example of a Catholic organization): yes, they spent $686 million this year on running a hospital, but $501 million was funded by the government through our public health insurance, $80 million came from patient charges and "sales and other revenue", they got a sizeable amount (the exact amount isn't specified) from grants to do research, etc. They're operating under a similar model to a for-profit hospital; why consider one a charity and the other not?

How much of that $172 billion went to the other similar Catholic hospitals out there?

And how much went to church upkeep, parish priest salaries, and other things that really only benefit the parishoners? I remember my ex's church would collect a "flower offering" for Easter every year. While decorating the church with flowers was certainly nice for the parishoners, and while the donors can claim their donations on their taxes, I wouldn't call this sort of thing "charity."

... which isn't to say that the Catholic Church doesn't engage in charity at all. ShareLife - the charitable appeal of the Archdiocese of Toronto - distributed $13 million to its member agencies last year (Financial Statements). But in an archdiocese with
about 2.1 million Catholics (Archdiocese of Toronto), this represents only about $6 of charitable spending per member per year. Edit: and this is for a relatively wealthy city in a first-world country.
 

metis

aged ecumenical anthropologist
Catholic health care is mostly a commercial enterprise, not charity.
Yes and no, especially since the church's "bottom line" is as a non-profit agency, at least here in the States. I cannot speak for other countries.

Same for education: when the Catholic Church charges tuition for a parochial school or a university, it's just operating a fee-for-service commercial operation.
See above.
But in an archdiocese with
about 2.1 million Catholics (Archdiocese of Toronto), this represents only about $6 of charitable spending per member per year. Edit: and this is for a relatively wealthy city in a first-world country.
Before I converted to Judaism, I was involved in our local Catholic church's Christian Service Commission, so I could see where the money was coming from and being dished out to, and let me just say I was absolutely amazed at how much the church was involved in helping all sorts of charities, with some of them not being Catholic.

Also, one must remember that a great deal of the charitable work leaves the country, such as with Catholic Relief Services, which is separate from donations to domestic charities. It is so efficient that even Mennonite and LDS churches were going through CRS in their foreign donations, although I was told that the latter now is just using their own sources.

Either way, the charitable work of the work is impressive, and I can vouch for that through my own experience even though I am no longer Catholic. Matter of fact, I'm gonna be working voluntarily at my wife's Catholic church this Friday, preparing to give around 60 families in her parish that need help providing food and other items, and I did much the same three weeks ago just prior to Thanksgiving (screwed my back up for over a week doing it).

Back to the OP as my point is that we must weigh criticism of any group in terms of what we think they may be doing wrong versus what they may be doing right.
 

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
Yes and no, especially since the church's "bottom line" is as a non-profit agency, at least here in the States. I cannot speak for other countries.
Not-for-profits can operate on a fee-for-service basis. The mere fact that an organization doesn't turn a profit doesn't automatically mean that what it does is charitable.

See above.
Before I converted to Judaism, I was involved in our local Catholic church's Christian Service Commission, so I could see where the money was coming from and being dished out to, and let me just say I was absolutely amazed at how much the church was involved in helping all sorts of charities, with some of them not being Catholic.

Also, one must remember that a great deal of the charitable work leaves the country, such as with Catholic Relief Services, which is separate from donations to domestic charities. It is so efficient that even Mennonite and LDS churches were going through CRS in their foreign donations, although I was told that the latter now is just using their own sources.

Either way, the charitable work of the work is impressive, and I can vouch for that through my own experience even though I am no longer Catholic. Matter of fact, I'm gonna be working voluntarily at my wife's Catholic church this Friday, preparing to give around 60 families in her parish that need help providing food and other items, and I did much the same three weeks ago just prior to Thanksgiving (screwed my back up for over a week doing it).

Back to the OP as my point is that we must weigh criticism of any group in terms of what we think they may be doing wrong versus what they may be doing right.
And my point isn't that the Catholic Church doesn't engage in charitable activities; it's that the claim that it's the world's largest charitable organization is suspect. It isn't primarily a charitable organization, so estimates of its total spending aren't going to give a proper indication of its actual charitable activity.

Your source said that 0.76% of the Church's spending is on charitable activities. In contrast, the Coca-Cola Company puts 1% of its income toward charitable activities. Both are laudable... but neither one reaches the level we would expect of a true charity.
 

Ingledsva

HEATHEN ALASKAN
Either way, their charitable work s quite extensive Just a few sources, although I cannot verify the accuracy of these:
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health care services in the world. -- Catholic Church and health care - Wikipedia

(AP) -- Once again today, the Roman Catholic Church, by far the world's largest charitable organization, fed more of the hungry, housed more of the homeless, tended to the more of the sick, and educated more of the poor throughout the world than all other organizations combined. -- BREAKING -- World's Largest Charity Feeds the Hungry - Championship Subdivision Football | FCS Football | Stadiums | Blogs | Forums

Number 2 ) how many people make up the Catholic Church?

There are an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican figures. More than 40% of the world's Catholics live in Latin America - but Africa has seen the biggest growth in Catholic congregations in recent years.

That means the charitable organization known as the Catholic Church is 1.2 billion people strong.

Number 3). Is there any other charitable organization that can claim more than 1.2 billion people as members?

No there is not.

Therefore the Catholic Church is in fact the largest charitable organization on earth.
-- What is the basis for saying that the Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world?

They estimate that the church spends about $171,600,000,000 a year. Not a typo... The Economist estimates that annual spending by the church and entities owned by the church was around $170 billion in 2010 (the church does not release such figures). We think 57% of this goes on health-care networks, followed by 28% on colleges, with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6% and national charitable activities just 2.7% (see chart). In total, Catholic institutions employ over 1m people, reckons Fred Gluck, a former McKinsey managing partner and co-founder of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, a lay organisation seeking to improve the way the church is run. -- The Economist Estimates the Catholic Church Spent $171,600,000,000 in 2010

Wow! They spend $171,600,000,000 a year on new buildings and their businesses, and only 2.7% on "charitable activities." What falls under "charitable activities"? Transportation costs for proselytizers and bibles to poor countries so they can "take care" of the poor?

It is just sad.

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Skwim

Veteran Member
Wow! They spend $171,600,000,000 a year on new buildings and their businesses, and only 2.7% on "charitable activities." What falls under "charitable activities"? Transportation costs for proselytizers and bibles to poor countries so they can "take care" of the poor?

It is just sad.

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And that was 7 years ago. And I note that their charitable contribution is only 2.7%.

.
 

Glaurung

Denizen of Niflheim
Sport competitions, corporate pay-packets, smartphones and rock concerts have nothing to do with religion. Especially Christianity, which claims they are to lead people to Jesus - (you know, that long haired broke hippy, that said to give away your possessions and follow him)? The church seems to have missed the point.
Religion and charity are not synonyms. And as far as Christ being a hippy is concerned, I don't recall the passage where he drops LSD and encourages free-love amongst his followers.

Anyway, although charity is inculcated in Christian principal, it is not the principal concern. The principle concerns are the due worship owed to God and the salvation of souls. Now, what is the purpose of a cathedral?

Nevertheless, to claim that there just too much need in the world today to ever justify the building of Cathedrals doesn't strike me as honest. You do not lament the billions consumerist society throws into the utterly trivial every day, but building a cathedral? - Oh, won't someone please think of the poor! Sorry, but it doesn't wash with me.

Look at all the great Cathedrals of Europe, was Notre Dame wasteful? Should Justinian I not have ordered the construction of the Hagia Sophia? If people took your thinking to heart we'd live in a cultural desert.
Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Yep, Catholics and the Church do no good in the world. They don't feed anyone, treat the sick or run any charities. The Church certainly doesn't educate millions around the world nor does it teach anything about moderate living. Heck, in one of the richest cities on Earth in the richest country on Earth a bunch of Catholics had the audacity to build a big Church, those selfish jerks.

Cathedrals are good because they glorify God, and we owe to God the best that we can give Him. In the grand scheme of things, no one has been deprived because the Church built a building.

And yes, the Church could sell absolutely everything and feed the world's hungry for a day or two. (Assuming the Church has the money and logistical capacity). But even then, you'd still criticize and attack the Church because the meals weren't tasty enough or something.
 
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Ingledsva

HEATHEN ALASKAN
Religion and charity are not synonyms. And as far as Christ being a hippy is concerned, I don't recall the passage where he drops LSD and encourages free-love amongst his followers.

My goodness you are being snarky and sarcastic, - to people's common sense replies.

The "hippy" reference has nothing to do with LSD and free love - lol. Get a clue. Christians themselves have pointed out his long hair, sandals, free travel, give everything away ideas, feed the poor, and love, love, love. Also associated with modern hippies. And in reality he could have used drugs. We do after all find Priests using such in the Bible.

Anyway, although charity is inculcated in Christian principal, it is not the principal concern. The principle concerns are the due worship owed to God and the salvation of souls. Now, what is the purpose of a cathedral?

The same purpose as a less expensive church.

Nevertheless, to claim that there just too much need in the world today to ever justify the building of Cathedrals doesn't strike me as honest. You do not lament the billions consumerist society throws into the utterly trivial every day, but building a cathedral? - Oh, won't someone please think of the poor! Sorry, but it doesn't wash with me.

There you go again assuming crap. Calling me dishonest for common sense. All that is needed is a simple church building, - monstrous cathedrals dripping in gold - are overkill, - and the money should be spent on the poor. There is nothing dishonest in that sentiment.

Though they are your red herrings, and have nothing to do with a discussion of a religious organization and it's grandeur rather then giving more to the poor, - I will tell you I do not believe the public should fund sports stadiums, and I don't attend such games. Nor do I have a Smartphone.

Look at all the great Cathedrals of Europe, was Notre Dame wasteful? Should Justinian I not have ordered the construction of the Hagia Sophia? If people took your thinking to heart we'd live in a cultural desert.

Yes they were wasteful. Also, a few such temples in the past are much different than the wasted money spent on fancy cathedrals today.

Yep, Catholics and the Church do no good in the world. They don't feed anyone, treat the sick or run any charities. The Church certainly doesn't educate millions around the world nor does it teach anything about moderate living. Heck, in one of the richest cities on Earth in the richest country on Earth a bunch of Catholics had the audacity to build a big Church, those selfish jerks.

There you go again with the sarcastic crap. Not very becoming. Someone has already posted the amounts they spend on charity. Far less then they should, in comparison to what they bring in.

Cathedrals are good because they glorify God, and we owe to God the best that we can give Him. In the grand scheme of things, no one has been deprived because the Church built a building.

That is not what Jesus said or did.

And yes, the Church could sell absolutely everything and feed the world's hungry for a day or two. (Assuming the Church has the money and logistical capacity). But even then, you'd still criticize and attack the Church because the meals weren't tasty enough or something.

Wow. Thanks. This whole post has shown us YOUR Christianity. Sarcasm, attacks, and straight out assumptive lies, just because people think the Catholic church should spend less on objects, and more on the poor and hungry. WWJD!

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metis

aged ecumenical anthropologist
Wow! They spend $171,600,000,000 a year on new buildings and their businesses, and only 2.7% on "charitable activities." What falls under "charitable activities"? Transportation costs for proselytizers and bibles to poor countries so they can "take care" of the poor?

It is just sad.
What's it to you? After all, it's money donated freely from Catholics. Should I dictate to you how you must spend your money? or to any group you belong to?

They do good work, and I know that from being on the inside a few decades ago, at least at the local level. And what they have done internationally impressed the Mennonite and LDS enough for them to give them money to help the poor, especially in Africa.

So, do you belong to any religious organizations? If so, have you done the research on their finances? If not, then why are you complaining?
 

Ingledsva

HEATHEN ALASKAN
What's it to you? After all, it's money donated freely from Catholics. Should I dictate to you how you must spend your money? or to any group you belong to?

They do good work, and I know that from being on the inside a few decades ago, at least at the local level. And what they have done internationally impressed the Mennonite and LDS enough for them to give them money to help the poor, especially in Africa.

So, do you belong to any religious organizations? If so, have you done the research on their finances? If not, then why are you complaining?

You guys are so funny. Complaining? We have been stating fact. It is wrong for a religion to collect billions and give only a small fraction to the poor, when they state that taking care of the poor is their mission.

I was raised Catholic. My extended family still is. I am well aware of what the church says it does, and what it actually does.

I belong to no religious organizations. As I said, - I volunteer at the Salvation Army.

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Glaurung

Denizen of Niflheim
My goodness you are being snarky and sarcastic, - to people's common sense replies.
Common sense would say that Catholics and Catholic organizations can spend their money as they deem fit, without having to entertain the faux pretenses of anti-Christian ideologues. The Church built a cathedral, no one is going to starve because of it.

The "hippy" reference has nothing to do with LSD and free love - lol. Get a clue. Christians themselves have pointed out his long hair, sandals, free travel, give everything away ideas, feed the poor, and love, love, love. Also associated with modern hippies. And in reality he could have used drugs. We do after all find Priests using such in the Bible.
Anyone who really believes that the hippy culture and the principles expounded by Christ in the Gospels have anything beyond the superficial in common is beyond help. The Gospels inculcate virtue, religion and self-sacrifice; the hippies expounded a dysfunctional "philosophy" of sloth, New Age woo and self-destructive hedonism.

The same purpose as a less expensive church.
The vast majority of churches are relatively humble. (If not modernist monstrosities, a fad thankfully dying out). Nevertheless, because we love God, we sometimes want to go out of our way for Him. Again, look at all the great cathedrals that have given so much cultural character to the cities of Europe. There's a reason why they attract tourists by the millions to this day. They're statements, statements of beauty, culture and love for God. (As much as those things may offend you).

There you go again assuming crap. Calling me dishonest for common sense. All that is needed is a simple church building, - monstrous cathedrals dripping in gold - are overkill, - and the money should be spent on the poor. There is nothing dishonest in that sentiment.
I have been on these forums long enough to know that posters such as yourself and the OP are ideologically anti-Catholic/Christian. Any opportunity to attack the Church will never be passed up. This thread itself is nothing but a pretense to bash the Church. No, I don't think you people are all that honest. I don't think you or the OP actually care at all about the Cathedral.

here you go again with the sarcastic crap. Not very becoming. Someone has already posted the amounts they spend on charity. Far less then they should, in comparison to what they bring in.
Because who exactly do you think you are to dictate about what is appropriate and how Catholic organizations should use their finances? It almost as if you think that they owe you something. Well, show the Church how its done; start your own organization and put them to shame.

That is not what Jesus said or did.
I trust you will understand that I am not inclined to take biblical exegesis from you all that seriously.

Wow. Thanks. This whole post has shown us YOUR Christianity. Sarcasm, attacks, and straight out assumptive lies, just because people think the Catholic church should spend less on objects, and more on the poor and hungry. WWJD!
Whilst totally overlooking how your own confrontational conduct may have contributed to whatever acrimony you detect from me.

But you are correct in that there are better things for me to be doing than to bicker with you. Here I'll concede your point (that it's unbecoming, not that you're innocent of this conversation's tone) and refrain from all future interaction with you.
 
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Saint Frankenstein

Here for the ride
Premium Member
I'll admit I'm torn. I, too, enjoy the eye-candy and the basillica is beautiful. The aesthetic beauty is a large part of what drew me to Catholicism in the first place. But I wonder if that money would be better spent elsewhere. For example, the cathedral in my city had a new organ built and installed a few years ago. It cost $2 million. The organ is beautiful and sounds amazing but I was pissed when I found out how much it cost. After all, the cathedral itself is in need of tens of thousands of dollars of repairs which it can never seem to come up with, including the fact that the floor of the choir loft where that decadent new organ is needs repairs else it might have a hole sometime soon! What good is that organ if it ends up falling through the floor. Also, the Catholic Charities of the city, especially JOIN, tends to be cash-strapped so there's a compelling case to be made for that $2 million being better spent elsewhere. The older organ, while not as ornate and large, does the job just fine.

Honestly, Christians are really supposed to be living like communists in the first place, according to Jesus and the lifestyle of the early church according to Acts.
 

Saint Frankenstein

Here for the ride
Premium Member
I belong to no religious organizations
Technically, once you've been through the Rite of Confirmation, you're considered a Catholic forever even if you renounce the religion. You'd just be considered a lapsed Catholic in mortal sin. You'd only have to give a contrite confession and do your penance to be back in good standing with the Church and before God. (They took away the option to formally defect a few years ago.) There. Use that as an in during these debates. :p
 

metis

aged ecumenical anthropologist
Any opportunity to attack the Church will never be passed up.
First of all, a well thought out and articulate post that I believe is spot-on. And secondly, I'm going to say it again, namely that Catholic-bashing is an American pastime in some circles, and at one point in time about a year ago I counted seven active anti-Catholic threads in progress.

Finally, one can criticize the church, which I have done myself since I'm Jewish and am mostly agnostic, but the extreme that some take it to is just terrible. And it certainly is not just Catholics that we see as being the target of religious bigotry as some other groups, especially Muslims and sometimes Jews, also have to feel the barbs of some who feel obligated to stereotype and demean them.

Bottom line: if someone doesn't like the Catholic church, then just don't go to one, but at least be mature enough to just leave them alone-- it's their money.
 

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
Bottom line: if someone doesn't like the Catholic church, then just don't go to one, but at least be mature enough to just leave them alone-- it's their money.
It often isn't, actually.

Setting aside the issue of providing churches with government services without taxing them amounts to a subsidy (I would say that it does), the Catholic Church get directly funded by many governments worldwide. Not by the US, but even so, plenty of non-Catholic taxpayer money from around the world went into the pool of funds that pays for the Church's activitites, including building this cathedral.

(BTW: I have to mention that I made a mistake in a post to you earlier - I started writing a post, got pulled away, and then came back to it. In that interval, your stat about the church putting 2.7% of its spending toward charity somehow morphed into 0.76% in my brain. That number was a mistake on my part)
 

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
Technically, once you've been through the Rite of Confirmation, you're considered a Catholic forever even if you renounce the religion. You'd just be considered a lapsed Catholic in mortal sin.
Also technically, people are completely free to give as much or as little regard as they want to the Catholic Church's opinion about who is and isn't a Catholic.
 

metis

aged ecumenical anthropologist
Setting aside the issue of providing churches with government services without taxing them amounts to a subsidy (I would say that it does), the Catholic Church get directly funded by many governments worldwide. Not by the US, but even so, plenty of non-Catholic taxpayer money from around the world went into the pool of funds that pays for the Church's activitites, including building this cathedral.
These were passed on for a reason, and it's their choice as well as the RCC's.

Why do you feel such an obligation to tell these various groups what they supposedly must or must not do with their own money, including national and state and local governments? I pay taxes for some things I have long apposed, such as financing two nutty wars in western Asia, but this is a by-product with living in a democracy. If you or I don't like it, we have the recourse of filing a petition or contacting our political officials.
 

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
These were passed on for a reason, and it's their choice as well as the RCC's.

Why do you feel such an obligation to tell these various groups what they supposedly must or must not do with their own money, including national and state and local governments?
Tax money comes bundled with accountability to citizens. When a church gets funding from the government, its internal affairs become the business of every citizen and taxpayer.

I pay taxes for some things I have long apposed, such as financing two nutty wars in western Asia, but this is a by-product with living in a democracy.
And while you're one vote and voice out of many, you've always had the right to speak out against this, to seek recourse from your government, and to protest against it loudly but peacefully.

If you or I don't like it, we have the recourse of filing a petition or contacting our political officials.
We also have the option of speaking out, complaining, or criticizing, which is the option you were taking issue with.

No act of the government is beyond criticism or scrutiny. When a government funds a church, that church's affairs stop being purely internal matters. If they don't like this, they can turn off the financial taps and operate on their own resources.
 

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
@metis - in the case of the Catholic Church, there's something else about them that invites extra scrutiny: the Catholic Church's quasi-governmental nature.

While I disagree with the idea that the Holy See or Vatican City "count" as an actual country, the Catholic Church puts them forward as such and they have relations with - and powers within - other countries akin to that of a state.

If the Holy See was truly a country, then they'd have even more scrutiny and restrictions than they have now: their representative could be declared persona non grata and kicked out of the country, they would need permission of the host country to set up an embassy, etc.

If the Holy See was actually a country, then this cathedral would be akin to a consulate, its bishop would be akin to a foreign diplomat, and nobody would be saying "this foreign government should be free to do whatever it wants on American soil." ... but this is the sort of regime the Church is asking to work under, in many ways.
 

Ingledsva

HEATHEN ALASKAN
Technically, once you've been through the Rite of Confirmation, you're considered a Catholic forever even if you renounce the religion. You'd just be considered a lapsed Catholic in mortal sin. You'd only have to give a contrite confession and do your penance to be back in good standing with the Church and before God. (They took away the option to formally defect a few years ago.) There. Use that as an in during these debates. :p

LOL! Thanks, but I don't want back in. :p

I actually called up the church where I was baptized and asked them to remove my name from their rolls, - because I heard they were using them to claim high membership numbers, - even though many of us no longer believe in the church, and are not members. :)

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