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In the wake of Canada’s latest Church crisis, where multiple mass graves have been discovered at or near the sites of former Catholic-run “residential schools,” some believers have responded the only way they can: By officially leaving Catholicism.

The CBC spoke to a number of Catholics who decided this crisis was the final straw. (I would argue it should’ve happened a long time ago, but I’ll take it.)

The Church does not compile provincewide figures, but in a statement, the Quebec City Catholic Diocese said that it has seen an increase in the number of requests for apostasy.

“Usually, we receive between three and five per month. In June, we received 16, six of which explicitly mentioned the residential school issue,” Valérie Roberge-Dion, the diocese’s director of communications, said in a statement.

Kim Verreault, a resident of Granby, east of Montreal, is another Quebecer in the process of submitting her apostasy after growing up Catholic.

“I wanted to show my support to the First Nations,” she said. “So I wanted to send a strong message and say, ‘Well, I’m done.’ I don’t want my name to be attached to the Catholic religion anymore.”

To be clear, these actions are merely symbolic. You can always leave the Catholic Church by just not going to Mass, never giving them any money, and not calling yourself a Catholic. But there’s something powerful about telling the Church you want your name off their lists. You want to break every connection you have with them — and you want them to know it.

There are no doubt many other lapsed or former Catholics who also belong to this group of apostates, but for a number of reasons, they’ve chosen not to take that final step. Maybe they have family pressure to at least pretend to be Catholic. Maybe they’re scared of that “apostate” label. But sometimes when you’re repulsed by an organizations actions, it’s not enough to just distance yourself. You need to make a clean break — and you need to make sure the world knows about it.

Good for these ex-Catholics in Quebec for having the courage to finally rip off the bandage for good.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Kerri for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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