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On page three of a long "special report" from Reuters titled "In Irish schools, Catholic Church remains master" is this factoid:

… three lapsed Catholics set up a website called CountMeOut, which outlines the steps needed to leave the Church and provides the paperwork to make it official.

Unlike in German-speaking countries, where the state collects taxes for churches, defection is purely symbolic in Ireland. Still, some 10,000 people of a population of some 4.5 million have downloaded the forms that allow them to remove their name from church rolls. It is less clear how many have followed through and sent them on to their parishes.

One of the site's founders, Cormac Flynn, explains what the site means to people: "When they find that there is a way to leave, even if they don't go through with it themselves, it pushes them to consider what it means to call yourself a Catholic."

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October 21-November 3, 2016

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