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Dutch Catholics turn to website to "de-baptize" themselves from the Catholic church

Website allows Dutch Catholics to access official documents that will "de-baptize" them, an increasingly popular procedure after Pope's anti-gay comments.
Baptism 2012 03 31Enlarge
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates baptisms in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City on Jan. 8, 2012. (L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images)

Are you a Dutch Catholic who wants out of the Catholic church? A new website that hosts the official documents needed to leave the fold might be able to help.

Reuters reports that ontdopen.nl (which translated into “de-baptize.nl") has seen hits soar since the Pope's most recent diatrabe against gay marriage, in a traffic avalance that has surprised founder Tom Roes. 

Read more from GlobalPost: German Catholic church denies sacraments to worshipers who don't pay taxes

Roes, who left the church in protest of the institution's cover-up of child sexual abuse, told Reuters “Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptized’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics."

Same-sex marriage has been legal in the Netherlands since 2001, while regular church-goers have been in steady decline in recent years. A 2011 study found that 40 percent of Dutch stated they did not affiliate themselves with any religion.

Religon News Service reported last year that de-baptism is becoming increasingly popular in Europe, in a new trend that has church officials distinctly worried. RNS added that a whopping 181,000 German Catholics left the church in 2011, a new record.

Read more from GlobalPost: Anti-gay Christmas message of Pope Benedict XVI Christmas draws fire

During Pope Benedicti's annual Christmas address, the pontiff stated that gay marriage was an "attack" on the traditional family, wrote the Independent late last year.

The Pope added that, “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.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/dutch-catholics-turn-website-de-baptize-themselves-the-ca