I haven't heard back from Bishop Malone just yet—later this week, I'll start calling him to confirm that he received my letter—but Slog tipper Nether has alerted me to this article by Tom Flynn, a man who has tried—unsuccessfully—to receive excommunication from the Catholic Church.

On February 26, 2008, I visited the offices of the Archdiocese of Buffalo, where I left a package for the attention of the Reverend Msgr. David S. Slubecky, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia (yes, that’s his actual title). It included a copy of my baptismal certificate, some copies of my work, and my CV as a secular humanist, atheist, and all-around denier of the faith. There was also a letter requesting excommunication under Canon 1364. I gave assurances that in my heresy/apostasy I had met ecclesiastical requirements that I be (these are the exact words) active, persistent, and contumacious. (Contu­macious—what a great word. Erwin defined it memorably: “I am firm, you are contumacious, he is pig-headed.”) I further affirmed that I was aware of the seriousness of my offenses.

There! I’d proven that I met the criteria for latae sententiae excommunication. In theory, I already was excommunicated, simply by virtue of being such a heretic and apostate. But having the penalty publicly declared by church officials would close the circle and bring my quest to an end.

I should have known those wily church officials would have a counterstrategy. The simplest way to avoid the prospect of even accidentally declaring a latae sententiae excommunication is to say nothing at all.

I am unsurprised to learn that the Catholic church is unresponsive. Acknowledging these requests would be tantamount to admitting that they're wrong on something, which is not standard bishop behavior. I'll detail my excommunication process here on Slog, and I'll be keeping an eye on Flynn's story as it develops, too.