I’m not sure whether this is the right forum, but I do see some connection.
I just read an article that reports that in the Diocese of Limburg, Germany, the numbers of people formally defecting from the Church, that is through disassociating themselves from her through the state (formal membership in a church in Germany is dependant on whether one is listed with the authorities and pays Church tax, if eligible) has increased noticeably in recent times due to the diocesan Bishop being harshly criticised for his “authoritarian leadership style”. Whether that “leadership style” is actually the case is not the issue here. I have never had the idea he was like that.
Anyway, these people (more than 100.000 a year in all of Germany) are taking this step as a means to protest the Bishop, it appears.
Does formal defection from the Church for this purpose lead to eternal damnation?
Here’s why I would consider it possible.
*]He who knows the Catholic Church to be the True Church is called to join (and stay in) her.
*]He who does not follow this calling rejects God and cannot be saved. (Mortal sin).
*]A person in a state of mortal sin cannot receive the Sacraments licitly, constituting (at least in the case of the Eucharist) another mortal sin.
*]Thus, a person who believes all of Catholic teaching (incl. point 1), but formally defects from Holy Church commits mortal sin and excludes themselves from the Sacraments, leading to mortal sin being retained in their soul.
What is your take on this?