Man takes Church to court for refusing to nullify his baptism

An elderly French man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.

Rene LeBouvier (71) has taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism after losing his faith in the religion.

Though he was raised in a community where Catholicism dominated, Rene changed his views in the 1970s after
spending time with 'free thinkers'.

As he didn't believe in God anymore, the pensioner thought it would be more honest to leave the church and wrote to his diocese and asked to be un-baptised in 2000.

Ten years later, LeBouvier wanted to go further.

Paedophile scandals and the Pope preaching against condoms in AIDS-racked Africa, helped strengthen LeBouvier's opposition to the religion.

Again, he asked the church to strike off his name from baptism records, but when the priest told him it wasn't possible, he took the church to court.

French law states that citizens have the right to leave organisations if they wish and, last October, a judge
in Normandy ruled in his favour.

However, the diocese has since appealed and the case is pending.

Loup Desmond, who has followed the case for the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, says he thinks it could set a legal precedent and open the way for more demands for de-baptism.

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