In the wake of the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage, and the cover-up of child sexual abuse, Catholics in Holland have turned to a website to ‘de-baptise’ themselves.
The website (ontdopen.nl) allows Dutch Catholics to access documents which will de-register them as Catholics and was originally set-up by Tim Roes, who left the church after scandals about the churches’ cover up of child sexual abuse.
In an interview with Reuters, Roe said “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.”
There has been a steady decline in church-going in the Netherlands, with 40 per cent of Dutch registering as having no religious affiliations.
It is not only in the Netherlands. There has been a growing shift throughout Europe of people distancing themselves from the Catholic Church in particular.
In last October in France, 71 year-old Rene Lebouvier won a court case to have his name permanently removed from church records.
In Germany, 181,000 Catholics formally declared their split from the church by filing forms stating that they withdraw from paying church taxes.
According to Belgian researcher Morelli, the movement away from the church is strongest in Germany, Austria and Belgium where people do not want to pay taxes for a church that no longer represents them.