A group which was established to help disaffected Catholics formally leave the Catholic church via a ‘declaration of defection’ has said that a lack of response from the Vatican has left people in limbo.

was founded in 2009 to help dissatisfied Catholics leave the church. However a change in Canon Law in 2010 has removed this possibility for many would-be defectors.

“The change in Canon Law effectively means these people are barred from leaving,” says Count Me Out spokesperson Paul Dunbar.

Dunbar said countless people have got in touch who want to formally defect from the church.

“We receive a steady stream of emails weekly from people who wish to remove themselves from the church. For some, not attending mass or participating in rituals is enough separation. However, others want a more formal procedure, one in which the church acknowledges a person’s right to choose their religion and officially records this fact.”

In February of this year, Count Me Out wrote to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in order to seek clarification on this issue. Another letter was sent in April, but no response has been received to date.

The organization has since wrote to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin  asking him to elicit a response from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Meanwhile the 50th International Eucharistic Congress continues in Dublin this week and the conferences daily events is expected to draw large numbers.

"We had just over 22,000 e-tickets booked for Congress, some of them were seven day tickets, some three day and a small number of one day tickets," a spokeswoman for the Congress told the Evening Herald.

A ceremony which celebrated Irish Catholic heritage opened the Congress in Dublin on Sunday and attracted  a crowd of 12,500 pilgrims from "all four corners of the world".

Up to 80,000 are expected to attend Sunday closing ceremony and “Statio Orbis” event in Crowe Park.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin talks with choir members before the opening Mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress(CNS photo)