Catholics in the Netherlands, the first country to legalize gay marriage, in 2001, are becoming increasingly wary of the direction their religious head is taking them. After Pope Benedict XVI’s hate-filled anti-gay Christmas rant (his latest of many), it’s being reported by a man named Tom Roes, who runs a website that allows people to “de-baptize” and download documents needed to leave the church, that the traffic on his site has increased from 10 hits a day to 10,000.
More than a quarter of the Dutch population identifies as Roman Catholic, and in 2008, a poll revealed that 90 percent of citizens “strongly” believe in the statement that “gay men and lesbians should be free to live their lives as they wish,” the highest of any country in the world.
The pope took the opportunity, on World Peace Day, to denounce homosexuality as the “downfall of society.” An article was then released in the Vatican’s official newspaper, calling the fight for marriage equality an “unattainable utopia.” In his Christmas speech, the pope described a new “philosophy of sexuality” as the end of humanity.
The pope’s outmoded stance on homosexuality, not to mention his involvement in the cover-up of thousands of child sexual abuse cases since the end of WWII, is turning many people away from the Vatican, and in my opinion, closer to God.
"Of course, it’s not possible to ‘de-baptize,’ because a baptism is an event,” says Tom Roes. “But this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics” if they’ve finally had enough of following a spiritual leader who’s leading them away from their spirit.