Pope Benedict XVI
Thousands of Dutch Catholics are apparently considering leaving the Church over the Pope’s continued anti-gay stance.
Reuters reported this week that a Dutch website that provides information on leaving the Church has seen a massive increase in traffic following the Pontiff’s most recent diatribes against gay marriage.
Site owner Tom Roes, whose website, ontdopen.nl [de-baptise.nl], allows people to download the documents needed to leave the Church, told the news agency that daily visitors to his site had increased from around 10 to more than 10,000.
“Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptised’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics,” Roes told Reuters.
On 14 December, in his message for World Day of Peace 2013, Pope Benedict once again attacked gay marriage, insisting that same-sex unions were a threat to society.
“There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union…” said Benedict.
He went on to say that gay marriage “constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace”.
On 22 December, in his annual Christmas message to Vatican officials, Benedict took the opportunity to continue his homophobic attack.
He railed against the possibility of fluid gender identities and homosexuality, calling these a “manipulation of nature”.
The Pope went on to say that the growing recognition of same-sex marriage around the world is a “crisis that threatens [the family] to its foundations — especially in the Western world”.
“When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child — essential elements of the experience of being human are lost,” he added.
Earlier this month, the 85-year-old Pontiff saw it fit to grant Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga a personal audience, during which he blessed her.
Kadaga has, in recent months, been campaigning in favour of passing her country’s Anti Homosexuality Bill that would imprison and possibly execute gay people.