Catholics research leaving church after pope's comments on gays


Thousands of Dutch Catholics are researching how they can leave the church in protest at its opposition to gay marriage, according to the creator of a website aimed at helping them find the information.

Tom Roes, whose website allows people to download the documents needed to leave the church, said traffic on– had soared from about 10 visits a day to more than 10,000 after Pope Benedicts latest denunciation of gay marriage this month.

“Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptised’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or deregister themselves as Catholics,” Mr Roes said.

He said he did not know how many visitors to the site actually went ahead and left the church.

About 28 per cent of the population in the Netherlands is Catholic and 18 per cent is Protestant, while a much larger proportion – roughly 44 per cent – is not religious, according to official statistics.

The country is famous for its liberal attitudes, for example to drugs and prostitution. In April 2001 it was the first in the world to legalise same-sex marriages. – (Reuters)