About

Member of the Board of the Polish Linux Users Group. Human rights in digital era hacktivist, Free Software advocate, privacy and anonimity evangelist; expert volunteer to the Panoptykon Foundation; co-organizer of SocHack social hackathons; charter member of the Warsaw Hackerspace; and Telecomix co-operator; biker, sailor.

Formerly President of the Board of the Polish Free and Open Source Software Foundation; CTO of BRAMA Mobile Technologies Laboratory on Warsaw University of Technology and a student at Philosophy Institute on Warsaw University.

Table of Contents

languages:
02.07.2016Dzień, w którym cenzura Sieci w Polsce stała się faktem pl 152 13.04.2015Needless haystacks en 151 12.03.2015e-Dockleracje pl 150 19.01.2015Ban on encryption is not about banning encryption en 149 13.01.2015Not Free as in Beer en pl 148 30.12.2014GPG Key Transition en pl 147 18.12.2014Siła wyższa pl 146 04.12.2014Internet in Poland to be porn-free after all? en pl 145 27.11.2014Block everything! en pl 144 02.11.2014Introducing: rysiek's law of unavoidable consequences en pl 143 09.09.2014Stop paedophilia en pl 142 22.06.2014Even with EME, Mozilla will become "the browser that can't" en 141 21.06.2014EuroDIG 2014 en pl 140 19.06.2014Hacker in the Digital Affairs Council en pl 139 30.05.2014Public consultations and anonymity en pl 138 18.05.2014Why being a pirate is not worth it en pl 137 15.05.2014On Mozilla, DRM and irrelevance en pl 136 14.05.2014Not-quite-good-enough-Mundial en 135 12.04.2014Irresponsible non-disclosure en pl 134 29.03.2014Ecologic, Ford and surveillance en pl 133 15.03.2014Otwórzmy edukację pl 132 10.03.2014Blurry line between private service and public infrastructure en 131 08.03.2014IM IN UR MINISTRY, CONSULTING UR INTERNETZ en pl 130 17.02.2014Encrypted VoIP that works en pl 129 11.02.2014So you want to censor the Internet... en pl 128 02.02.2014This is why we can't have nice IRC en 127 31.01.2014Decentralize where your mouth is en pl 126 30.01.2014A link cannot be illegal en pl 125 30.01.2014Copyright reform debate lives on en pl 124 26.01.2014Neat HaCSS, or let's de-JS the Web a bit en 123 27.12.2013Information Account Number en 122 14.12.2013HaIPu en 121 20.11.2013Friends of TTIP and data protection in Brussels en 120 19.11.2013Social media, Polish Pirates style en pl 119 05.11.2013A rude comment en 118 20.10.2013TEDx Warsaw Women and privacy en pl 117 03.10.2013Copyreform at CopyCamp 2013 en pl 116 22.09.2013Long-expected KMail2 rant en 115 18.09.2013Facebook for schools en 114 12.09.2013In which I call upon United Poland parliamentarians to guarantee citizens the right to Internet free of surveillance en pl 113 08.09.2013Complaintivism en 112 04.09.2013It's his own fault en pl 111 19.08.2013Lies, damn lies, and analytics en pl 110 27.07.2013Shortest Internet censorship debate ever en pl 109 22.07.2013How information sharing uproots conservative business models en es 108 22.07.2013Posts' markup is now available en pl 107 11.07.2013Kultura wolna i legalna pl 106 07.06.2013Internet is not a problem en pl 105 05.06.2013Libel Culture en 104 17.05.2013Wojtuś Fatalista i wolność w Internecie pl 102 17.05.2013Why I find -ND unnecessary and harmful en es pl 101 28.03.2013Wolność nasza codzienna pl 100 17.03.2013Nie wszystko korpo co o wolności w Internecie pl 99 15.03.2013♫ Odpowiadam na e-maile ♫ pl 98 11.02.2013One year anniversary of Anti-ACTA en pl 97 30.01.2013Nie ma haka na słabe dziennikarstwo? pl 96 30.01.2013Fighting Black PR around OER en pl 95 29.01.2013HOWTO: effectively argue against Internet censorship ideas en pl 94 20.11.2012Border conditions for preserving subjectivity in the digital era en pl 93 19.11.2012Social blogosphere en pl 92 07.11.2012Embrace fragmentation en pl 91 02.11.2012SERVICES.TXT en pl 90 24.10.2012Apple finally jumped the shark en es 89 24.09.2012Breaking the garden walls en es pl 88 24.09.2012Minister i Kultura pl 87 24.09.2012Melbourne CryptoParty video message en 86 16.09.2012On sailor's sensitivity, or "the starry heavens above me" en pl 85 22.08.2012Black PR around Polish e-Textbooks en pl 84 15.08.2012Regaty utracone pl 83 24.07.2012Hypochristian Love en 82 24.07.2012Some new Layout Goodness en pl 81 17.07.2012Party 2.0 en pl 80 16.07.2012Prawo autorskie po ACTA pl 79 13.07.2012Party as a system hack en pl 78 10.06.2012Are corporations dangerous only in collusion with governments? en 77 09.06.2012Proxies! Proxies everywhere! en 76 05.06.2012Automagic re-publishing from Twitter to StatusNet en pl 75 18.05.2012TPSA/Orange and GIMP, or a word on 5 users en pl 74 16.05.2012Słowo o Warsztatach MAiC pl 73 15.04.2012Schowaj gadżeta pl 72 05.04.2012Perfect ToDo-oid en 71 27.03.2012Subjectively on Anti-ACTA in Poland en pl 70 25.03.2012On copyright in Budapest en pl 69 23.03.2012Kościoła poczucie odpowiedzialności pl 68 20.03.2012Learning to Internet en pl 67 19.03.2012Kościoła wiara w wiernych pl 66 29.02.2012Brussels Safari #1 - EP press conference and ITRE en pl 65 21.02.2012Because ACTA is passé en pl 64 20.02.2012Privacy of correspondence, EU-style en pl 63 17.02.2012Polish PM on ACTA: I was wrong en pl 62 12.02.2012Anonymous vs Corponymous en pl 61 10.02.2012To have a cookie and dowload it too en pl 60 19.01.2012About ACTA at Polish PM Chancellery en pl 59 19.01.2012Free as in United en pl 58 16.01.2012Towarzystwo czuje się oszukane pl 57 10.01.2012Terms of Using the Service en pl 56 05.01.2012Corporate lack of patriotism en pl 55 04.01.2012Terroristcopters en pl 54 03.01.2012IceWeasel and Privacy en pl 53 28.12.2011Good Uncle Stal... Putin en pl 52 25.12.2011Useful Bash defaults done right en 51 21.12.2011Google Mail, or how mail becomes publication en pl 50 20.12.2011Occupy Gotham en pl 49 11.12.2011Copyfraud en pl 48 08.12.2011Multikino Wikipedia FAIL pl 47 27.11.2011Nie miejsce na pl 46 18.11.2011One-way cutting en pl 45 12.11.2011Tolerancja dla Kościoła pl 44 11.11.2011Users and Citizens en pl 43 30.10.2011Adhocracy and Net4Change en pl 42 18.10.2011War on Fun en pl 41 16.10.2011Boli mnie w krzyżu pl 40 14.10.2011Technocomplacency en pl 39 10.10.2011I Can Haz? pl 37 09.10.2011Election Silence in Poland en pl 38 03.10.2011Kibice i kampania pl 36 02.10.2011E-textbooks, Johnny Mnemonic, business and the Net en pl 35 19.09.2011CC Global Streaming/Summit/Party pl 33 19.09.2011Czy jest coś takiego jak darmowe śniadanie? pl 34 12.09.2011Faktycznie Super pl 32 12.09.2011Diaspora-Based Comment System en 31 11.09.2011Conflict of values en pl 30 06.09.2011Wolność słowa to nie wolność od myślenia ani od krytyki pl 29 06.09.2011On-line privacy and anonymity: case in point en pl 28 04.09.2011On being careful with words en pl 27 03.09.2011W obronie QR Code pl 26 31.08.2011Stolica Nie Tak Święta pl 25 29.08.2011Of malware, hot steam, privacy, using one's brain and paedoparanoia en 24 29.08.2011Kragen Thinking Out Loud en pl 23 18.08.2011Ból, blizny, dziewczyny i wiosła pl 22 07.08.2011Worst. Woodstock. Ever! pl 21 27.07.2011Willpower, productivity and cycling en pl 20 19.07.2011Neo FreeRunner as a WiFi Soundcard en 19 10.07.2011A Weekend with lawyers en pl 18 09.07.2011One step closer to ideal en pl 17 04.07.2011Apostasy in Poland en pl 16 28.06.2011YAFR (Yet Another Facebook Rant) en pl 15 19.06.2011Wiara w priorytety pl 14 17.06.2011Important meetings, fun meetings en pl 13 13.06.2011Ooops I en pl 12 30.05.2011Playing with Node.js en pl 11 25.05.2011Mozilla, Google and the Location Bar en pl 10 24.05.2011At Sector 3.0 conf en pl 9 23.05.2011Layout, CSS and RSS/Atom en pl 8 15.05.2011Startup Weekend Network Fun Fun Fun en 7 11.05.2011Nowy szef Bramy pl 6 10.05.2011World's Smallest Open Source Violin en pl 5 10.05.2011Po kolejnym spotkaniu w KPRM pl 4 08.05.2011Inspiracja na niedzielę pl 3 08.05.2011I horizontally the whole blog is that serious pl 2 07.05.2011I can has brag en pl 1

Apostasy in Poland

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It's finally done, I'm an apostate. Well, almost — I just need to get the baptism certificate with proper annotation by mail. I am no longer institutionally tied to the Catholic Church and it feels great.

It all started about 3 years ago. I got to the conclusion that I do not believe in the guy up in the sky, and even if I did — I would not need the Church for that. What logically followed was that a nice "thank you Godbye" note was in order, as I strongly disagree with policy, methods and actions of this organisation.

What was needed

According to a document issued by the Polish Episcopal Conference (Rules of conduct concerning the formal act of leaving the Church, original here), what was needed was:

  • a letter of resignation from the Catholic Church;
  • baptism certificate duplicate;
  • two witnesses;
  • at least two visits to the rector of "our" parish.

Two, as during the first visit one is supposed to reveal the will to leave, rector then has to (according to the document above, and I cite):
(...)should in a personal, full of concern, pastoral conversation establish what are the real reasons for such a decision and with love and prudence try to change that decision and awaken faith seeded in the sacrament of baptism. Hence as a rule the act of apostasy -- if it goes through regardless of undertaken efforts -- should not be done the same day the person wanting to leave the Church announces their intent to the priest, but after a time rector prudentially sets for making the final decision, having such dire canonical consequences.

Apparently nobody seems to care that when I decide to take apostasy the last thing I fancy doing is "a personal, full of concern, pastoral conversation" with a representative of an organisation that I am trying to leave.

Preliminary steps

I got the baptism certificate, found a few templates of the letter (sorry, they're in Polish only), based on those I created a short, succinct version and gone to the rector. That last thing was not an easy task, as the poor overworked man only had a single duty hour on a single day of a week, and exactly when every normal working person is either at work, or at school.

That, I suppose, should be a good sign of priest's "you-are-a-mere-supplicant" take on our case, but I must have ignored it. After all, the conversation was supposed to be full of "love and prudence"...

First StationConversation

Obviously, rector was not amused. Thankfully I don't recall all the details of our conversation, but I do remember that: 1. an attempt was made to convince me that a person not heeding the One True Faith is completely irresponsible, immoral and generally a scoundrel; 2. having taken a course in Logic (and a good one at that) I was shocked to discover that a person in such a high office as the rector, being in a position of authority to many, is unable (unwilling?) to comprehend the difference between an implication and if-and-only-if.

All in all it was both funny and scary. The "personal and full of concern" conversation consisted of him announcing his truths and their supposedly "obvious" conclusions, after which I in a calm manner was showing the gaping holes in his reasoning (no, I will not agree to an assumption that if I am Catholic somehow automagically that makes me moral; and even if I did, it still does not follow that only Catholics can be moral!..); after that the priest would either repeat his reasoning or pound his fist, or — for added rhetorical effect — do both in any order.

Basically the whole conversation was lost time, as rector finally just stated that my letter was too short. Simple statement of intent of leaving the Church is not enough, one "needs to justify". I'll just quote here in response:
Engaging with world-view issues of third parties or justifying to another person one's religion is in our opinion unacceptable in a law-observing state. It is also not required in other countries.
Polish Association of Rationalists.

Long break and a nudge

After that delightful conversation I didn't get back to the topic for about 3 years. I didn't want to drag my witnesses to the end of the charted lands (where I lived) just to hear, e.g., that the justification must be different. Besides I just lost interest. In making any further contact with rector, for example.

Then one day a friend reporter from Sweden wrote that she's going to Poland due to impending Polish EU Presidence and is supposed to write a few articles on social issues (including the Church) — and might I know anybody that would be willing to do apostasy and go on record with it? I asked around, suggested her to write to the Polish Association of Rationalists, and when her desperation to find somebody reached it's zenith — "ah, what the hell" (sic!), thought I, and we decided I will be the guy.

A long expected party

This time I was prepared perfectly. I had three witnesses (one of whom decided at the last moment); I had my (Catholic) girlfriend by my side; I had two Swedish journalists on-board; and I had the letter, calling on the canonical code, the Freedom of Religion Bill, and the Protection of Personal Data Bill (and here is a pdf version; sorry, both in Polish). I have established the "working hours" (up 400%! now whole 4 hours a week!) and the whole gang was afoot with the idea that — after all the sacraments I took — the time is high for my first profanment.

When we got there we were treated with 25 minute wait, a procession (basically about 20 people walking around the church) and some 2 persons waiting in line.

When our queue came I entered the parish chancellery, the rest of the group with me; I tried to explain the rector who all those people were, but he got extremely agitated (taking a photo by one of the Swedish journalists was a bit counterproductive in the circumstances) and showed everybody but me and the witnesses the door (while loudly stating his disapproval and waving his finger).

Insulting Comrade as a supplicant

Either way we got straight to business, I took four copies of the letter out and stated that I would like the additional witness (the one that decided late, so her name was not printed on) to write in; It was a bit superfluous, but I wanted her to be part of the process too. Then it started and Logic raised its ugly head once again.

Namely, the rector asserted that there should be just two witnesses. I steadfastly stood by the notion that there should be at least two — so that there can be three. After quite a bit of back-and-forth between the two of us ("nowhere does it state that there has to be three witnesses!"/"yes, but nowhere does it state that there cannot be three of them."/"but here it states that there should be two!" and so on and so forth) I used the "proprietor" argument: this is my document, prepared by me and presented to you, but I retain the right to change it and make it look the way I wish. And this is the moment we got our first great quote!

You are a mere supplicant here and you should act accordingly.

To be honest I was completely awestruck. First thought: get out, shut the door. But too long it all took already, so as calmly as I was able I explained that "I must strongly protest what has just been said", that I am simply exercising my constitutional rights, and that in no way, shape nor form am I a supplicant here. But I decided to back off the "third witness" thing, abiding the age-old rule that "one should not argue with a fool; he will be brought down to fool's level and beaten with experience".

A short verification of identities ensued, followed by re-writing of witness' data by the rector (even though part of that data was already present on the papers), and finally — signing.

During the whole visit a discussion was underway and I — as surprising as it may seem I do not have much to do with priests — habitually kept calling the priest "Sir" (instead of "Priest" as is apparently customary), to what he vehemently protested. That caused next two great quotes. After yet another "Sir"...

Stop or I will start calling you Comrade — that caused short bursts of laughter from witnesses' direction. I simply opened my arms and said "please do". Unfortunately he was unwilling to take that opportunity.

And the third great quote, after yet another "Sir" in place of "Priest" — Stop offending me! Things should be called by their true names.

That was the quote I honestly did not know where to start with. First, never ever in the Polish language and culture calling anybody "Sir" was considered offensive; quite the contrary, it was an expression of some elemental, fundamental respect. Second — oh how tempted was I to indicate that had I wanted to call things by their true names, precisely that would be something that rector could feel offended with!..

But the papers have already been signed, I got my copy, so we went in peace.

Summary and conclusions

After the whole exercise a few conclusions come to mind. First, apostasy in Poland is an extremely arduous process, requiring closer contacts with genuinely troublesome people. Not much fun. Conversation with the rector cased sudden outbreaks of facepalm every single time. Bureaucracy is absurd — do I really need to go, in person, to my baptism parish, then two times to "my" parish (which could be miles and miles away) simply to leave an organisation I never actually said I want to join (the decision was made for me in infancy)?.. Then there is the royal treatment one gets from the people one has to talk to — as a supplicant, a scoundrel, an immoral person. "With love and prudence".

Nevertheless I believe I made the right choice. Now nobody can manoeuvre me into anything faith- or Church-related. Church statistics (counting the "number of baptised", as manipulative as it is) as far as I know will sadly still include me, but fighting that is the next step.

Report based on my apostasy will be published in a Swedish newspaper. As soon as that happens, I'll link it here.

Thanks

I believe I should thank a few people:

  • Pixel, Kasia, piorek, Kondzi, Sasza, czesiek — thanks for the support and the will of being my witness (and actually doing that where applicable);
  • Basia, My Dear Parents — for support and understanding, discussions and conversations, openness and positive take on it all;
  • Kinga and Kalle — thanks for the nudge and going along with the plan in a fun and relaxed manner.