This website was set up to fill a void that the now defunct countmeout.ie site fulfilled. Count me out was set up by Cormac Flynn, Paul Dunbar and Grainne O’Sullivan to allow Irish adults, who were baptised as children but no longer identified themselves as Catholic to formally defect from the church.
This involved filling in a defection form and sending it to the parish priest from the area where the baptism occurred. The priest would then make a note on the baptism register formally recognizing that the individual named was no longer a member of the catholic church. This process was set up to facilitate tax systems in Germany and Count Me Out adapted the process for an Irish diaspora. The link below is to this formal declaration of defection.
When Count Me Out was operational over 12, 000 people downloaded the declaration of defection. Many posted their defection letters. However in April 2011 Church law was changed and the option to formally defect removed.
However Atheist Ireland does not recognize church law or state submission to church law and feels that the decision to disband Count Me Out was premature. This website offers a way of informally and symbolically leave the Catholic Church. It has no impact on the Catholic Church’s view of your religious standing but is a way to identify as not catholic. This is a symbolic gesture for supporting the separation of church and state. It does not signify atheism as many religious people also support church and state separation.
This website is produced and maintained by Atheist Ireland an Irish advocacy group. We promote atheism and reason over superstition and supernaturalism, and we promote an ethical, secular society where the State does not support or finance or give special treatment to any religion.
Atheist Ireland is a member of Atheist Alliance International, an umbrella organisation of groups and individuals in the United States and around the world committed to promoting and defending reason and the atheist worldview.
I was born Cork City on the 21 March 1960 and baptised some days later. As a child I was forced to attend church and pray to a God that even at that young age I had no belief in. My father had very little time for the church but would stand outside the door of the church so people would see him as left after mass and he only did that to please my mother and keep peace in our home. As a young single woman I gave birth at the bons secure hospital in Cork City and after my baby was born and they pushed me back into a ward,a nun came flapping in and in anger demanded I tell her what my babies name was going to be and she added your baby is ill she might suvive the night.I said John instantly and she rushed away only for her to come back a few minutes later to tell me I had a daughter and not a son.Sure I did not know because they had not let me see the baby when she was born. I said name her Elizabeth after myself. My mother was annoyed at staff because she wanted a private room for me so no one visiting anyone on the wards would reconise me but they kept telling her they did not have one available. So she put me into a taxi and told me she had paid a young nurse to visit the house once she finished her shift to see to me. I was locked into a room downstairs in the house and remember a visiter calling that night and they asking for me.My mother told them I had gone to visit friends in Dublin for the week. Later that night I heard my father and mother argue. The following day and after several times of asking when can I see my baby,my mother told me that my baby was very ill and not possible. The next day I was woke up by my mother and a nun in the room. She told me my baby had died during the night and the nun came over and told me it for the best. I just cried and covered my head with the blankets,they left the room and I heard the nun say to my mother ohh my I did not image her to look like that, she looks like a decent girl.The following days were full of verbal abuse on how if it ever gets out and the shame and I seeing my mother praying in front of a statue of mary, I should explain I was always a big girl and had hid my pregnancy up to the day I gave birth and they only knew at home because I was forced to agree that the hospital phone them. I ran away that week with the father of my child and got to the UK. We found a bedsit in paddington ridden with mice and I got a job at euro cars petrol station on bayswater road,bedsit £40 a week ,wages £45 a week. 10 months later my father via a friend I kept in contact with phoned me at my place of work.I agreed to meed him two days later at heathrow airport. Sitting at a cafe at the airport with my father he handed me photos of a little girl and I was just about to ask who she was when the penny dropped.My daughter was alive and the nuns had put her with a foster mother up in churchfield,my mother had opened a bank account for the foster mother with £1000 in it for anything elizabeth may need. My father brought me back to Cork and I spent every day for 3 weeks in the home of the foster woman,the first week was not easy the woman resented me being there,the 3 weeks of me being there was for me to learn how to tube week and give meds etc to Elizabeth,she had being born with brain damage and was not expected to live for very long.The second week was easier the woman started to warm to me and told me that she loved elizabeth and had asked the nuns if she and her husband could adopt her and they said it will happen in time,they had me down on their books as missing.Three weeks later I walked out of that fosters mothers house with elizabeth in my arms and my father in car outside to take me to the airport,the poor woman was crying her heart and the two nuns trying to console her,I tried to hug her but was pushed to one sideby one nun who said this is like a death to her get out of here.I have been in the UK ever since,we lived in Camden where we got a council flat and Elizabeth was under good care at the royal free hospital in hampstead and died there at the age of 5. I am 55 now,and an atheist with a loving family around me,my father died some years ago and have not seen my mother in 30 odd years,I wish her no harm but the bond is long gone. I am sorry this is so long ,but just in case a member of the clergy read it. I want to say that I see the Roman Catholic Church as a church of Crime,a Church that is guilty of child rape,a Church that stole babies and I will go to my grave hating it. I am not a Roman Catholic and never was, because I never was asked if I choose to be one. To those reading this,please excuse my bad grammar,it is because I was educated by the nuns.
I am so sorry , I left the church in the 80s I read the Bible studied it and changed my religion, I am so much happier knowing I do not belong 2 an evil church
Hello Elizabeth Mary Cadden.
I have just read your story and it is just horrific. Sadly though it was all-too common.
Where I lived as a young-lad was in the shadow of the local cathedral and such stories were all-to common. I remember many a girl being virtually run out of town so as not to cause embarrassment to the “good family name”. I better stop writing now as I can feel my blood pressure and temper reaching boiling point. The Catholic church have an awful lot to answer for.
Thank you for sharing.
What a powerful story Elizabeth, thank you so much for sharing it. I’m sure it must be difficult to relive it but it is a tale worth telling. My own story has one or two things in common with it.
Like your daughter I too was born and baptised in a hurry due to illness at the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork. My mother was unmarried and did not have very much family support. Thankfully we both lived to tell the tale, but it was touch and go for a while. I would rather not have been baptised but it was my mother’s firm decision at the time and I respect that.
I had a very happy time overall at Catholic Primary and Secondary schools and I’m not certain I would have got a place in them if I had not been baptised.
I share many of your views on the Catholic Church and am delighted to have this opportunity to publicly renounce my membership, if not the ability to officially defect.
Not a Catholic. Need more diversity in Irish schools.
those days will be here soon enough
I renounce the Catholic Church. They need to get out of our schools once & for all…a pack of murdering paedophile hypocrites.
I wish to renounce the Catholic church. They need to get out of our schools once & for all…a pack.of murdering lying paedophile bastards.
The government needs to
Stop pandering to the whims of the Catholic Church – an outdated hypocritical organisation that systematically abused women and children for decades…it enrages me that in 2017 they still continue to exert power and authority over women’s rights in this country and to advocate for the oppression of homosexual relationships while running the vast majority of primary and secondary schools….It’s left me feeling very tired and very disillusioned
Cherrio, up Mayo.
Mayo for Sam, the only thing worshiping in this life.
Cherrio, up Mayo.
Mayo for Sam, the only thing I’m worshiping in this life is the Green over the Red.
Living in Kell, born in Cork 1979 without my consent I was baptised at 12 weeks old in the lough church. I have been treated appalling all my life by his cult: in education, in taxation, in state funded bodies, in health care. Please get me the hell out of it. At least my 3 boys are not baptised nor will they ever be associated with this ridiculous and damaging organisation. Thank you!
I renounce the Catholic Church and all it stands for.
I have been an atheist for twenty plus years and so wish my mind had not been poisoned at so young an age.
I am appalled at the abuse of power, corruption and deplorable, cruel treatment of our most vulnerable members of society at the hands of the church. Nor do I believe what the church is selling. Shaming, fear mongering and judging is not a club I wish to be part of. Count me out.
I was baptised without my consent. I do not adhere to any Catholic dogma or practices. I consider myself non-religious. I have written to my parish office to inform them of my defection but haven’t heard a response.
They never respond
I do not believe in anything that tries to oppress the masses. Especially When that belief is based on an imaginary man in the sky.
I do not believe in the Catholic Church or its teachings and I am not a member of their cult.
I cannot be a catholic because I do not believe in the nonsense the Catholic Church teaches .
I am french girl. I do not to be catholic
I prefer to be athee. Excuse me for this language. I am not a good english. Tank
Nearly 70 now 🙂 Lived through the times of total papist rule and jackboot. I was lucky enough to get my ‘Declaration of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church’ in before the changed the church law.
I gave up on Roman Catholicism back in the 1960’s as a young-lad, but due to parent pressure and the attitude of others I continued for another while performing the role of going to holy mass etc until the age of 24, after that I rarely if ever ventured inside the door of a church. When the option became available to opt out I instantly done so.
As an Atheist the freedom of mind, freedom from church imposed guilt and freedom to use my conciousness is great. I feel very sorry for those who because of fear and those who suffer from blind stupidity will be linked to whatever church/religion rules their lives to the end of their lives.
I’m John from Kilkenny I’m a atheist I don’t have any beliefs on religion and God I’m a atheist nearly twenty years now
I cant login to my account
There is no need for it to remain symbolic. Some poor priest has an appointment with me next week, where I will begin the formal process of leaving this ridiculous institution. Make it official, let them know it.
I want no association with the Catholic Church, which I neither trust not forgive. Unfortunately I received communion and was confirmed as a child, willingly at the time. But you live and learn.