'Heresy' Goes Digital

Italians Catholics renouncing their faith turn to the Web for help with 'debaptism'
By Ben Worthen,  Newser User
Posted Jun 8, 2007 11:24 AM CDT
'Heresy' Goes Digital
ITALY. Rome. Pope christens baby in Sistine Chapel. 2000. (NYC19498)   (Magnum Photos)

Cutting ties with the Catholic Church is, in theory, a relatively simple matter known as "debaptism." More and more Italians who aren't worried about the Vatican's formal stance on what it calls "an act of apostasy, heresy or schism" are finding the documents they need online. Wired considers the digital angle on an ecclesiastical process.

Italy is 90% Catholic, but church attendance is far lower, as is the percentage of citizens who use the Web regularly. Still, one site that makes the formal letter available reports 30,000 downloads—and "a traffic spike every time the pope says something unpopular." It even offers an updated document intended to dissuade parish priests from alerting the petitioner's family. (Read more religion stories.)

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