This is what I sent via FedEx about 2 weeks ago:

May 25, 2010

His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony

Archbishop of Los Angeles

3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2202

Re: Formal Act of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church (Actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica)

Cardinal Mahony:

I, Therese Helena Lee, do hereby give formal notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I want it to be known that I no longer wish to be regarded as
a member of the Roman Catholic Church. My reasons for defection are stated

1) To begin, I am an atheist. I do not believe in God, the divinity or resurrection of Jesus, the immaculate conception or assumption of Mary, or the Holy Ghost.

2) I disagree with the church’s position on contraception and abortion. In 1966, after the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Pope Paul VI’s birth control commission presented its preliminary
report to the pope. The commission had overwhelmingly voted to recommend
lifting the prohibition on contraceptives. Then in July 1968, Paul VI released
the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which
reaffirmed the ban on contraception. I was shocked to discover that the ban was
not lifted because three dissenting bishops on the commission had privately
gone to plead with the pope arguing that if the church’s position on
contraceptives was changed, the teaching authority of the church would be
questioned and the faithful could no longer trust the hierarchy. Therefore, in
order to preserve its own authority, the church disregarded the dignity and the
rights of all of its parishioners to determine if and when they would have
children. It even went so far as to
call the use of contraceptives “intrinsically evil.” This shows the church’s
inherent disrespect for its members and a stunning lack of moral leadership. I
believe the person who is in the best position to determine whether or not a
child should be born is a woman—not a man, not the government, and certainly
not the Roman Catholic Church. The church’s position on birth control and
abortion is premised on the idea that a woman’s body does not belong to herself.
In the church’s view, a person’s body belongs to God and only he has the right
to determine its fate. I state here unequivocally
that my body belongs to me and no one else. It is I who possess absolute
authority over my body, and I retain the right to determine if and when I
engage in sexual activity, with whom I engage in it, and whether that sexual
union will result in the birth of a child.
I further state that insisting
that couples use the Vatican-approved “Rhythm Method” alone is offensive, as it
does not account for the fact that this method is highly ineffective and may
not be appropriate for everyone.

3) For decades the Roman Catholic Church has allowed thousands of priests worldwide to rape children. When this abuse was brought to the church’s attention, it simply disregarded the welfare of
these children and transferred the offending priests to different parishes to
rape more children. Furthermore, the church has conspired to conceal these
crimes by refusing to cooperate with the criminal authorities whose
responsibility it is to investigate reports of child abuse and to bring the
perpetrators to justice. In 2001, Pope Benedict XVI—then Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger—convinced Pope John Paul II to put the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith (CFD) in charge of investigating the allegations of sexual abuse.
As head of the CFD at that time, Cardinal Ratzinger was placed in charge of an
“investigation” which amounted to nothing more than a massive,
trans-continental cover-up. As Pope Benedict XVI has conspired with other
church officials to prevent the authorities of various nations from properly
investigating criminal activity, I believe that he is guilty of criminal
conspiracy and should be arrested and tried in a court of law. Fortunately for
him, in addition to being the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, he is also a
head of state, which provides him with diplomatic immunity. This, sadly,
prevents him from being arrested and tried by any nation. For an organization
that claims to value children, the church has had no trouble sacrificing the
welfare of Catholic children worldwide in order to protect its own public

4) It was inappropriate and immoral for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which you have served as Chairman of the Domestic Policy Committee, to donate $200,000 to the campaign
to deny marriage rights to the gay people of California. It was also immoral
for the church to contribute over $500,000 to stop gay couples from marrying in
Maine. Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that gay people threaten the survival of
humanity displayed the church’s inherent callousness and bigotry with regard to
the treatment of gay people worldwide.

It is for the reasons stated above that I cannot in good conscience allow myself to be counted as a member of this church. I will not be part of
an organization that has conspired to commit countless felonies, engaged in
astonishing displays of bigotry, and disregarded the dignity and welfare of its
parishioners more times then can be counted.

I further declare that I am aware of the consequences of this act of defection regarding the reception of the sacraments of the Church, including the sacraments of the Eucharist, marriage and the sick
and also with regard to burial. I acknowledge that I make this declaration
under solemn oath, being of sound mind and body, and in the presence of a
witness who can testify as to the validity of this document.

Please record that I am no longer a Roman Catholic and remove my name from the parish baptism records. I would appreciate a written confirmation of this request.



Therese H. Lee

I also included a witness signature page and information on the parish where I was baptized so they could remove my name. But still, it is up to them, I requested a response, but they could choose to ignore my request.

Views: 39

Comment by Natasha Kenny on June 1, 2010 at 2:57pm
Absolutely brilliant.
Comment by James on June 1, 2010 at 9:29pm
Excellent letter! I hope they grant you your defection and don't just ignore it.
Comment by Heather Spoonheim on June 1, 2010 at 11:28pm
Very well written. I am interested to hear if they actually respond.
Comment by Bruce Williams on June 1, 2010 at 11:55pm
Congratulations on taking the first step in becoming a good person.
Comment by Therese Lee on June 2, 2010 at 9:17am
I will let you all know if I receive a response.
Comment by Laura on June 2, 2010 at 3:04pm
This is really great. I might just want to flagrantly plagiarize your letter (with your permission) and get myself off their list too, since I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic church. Way to go. I look forward to your update.
Comment by Therese Lee on June 2, 2010 at 3:20pm
Plagiarize all you want.


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