Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial remarks on gay marriage have many in the church re-thinking their salvation. Dutch Catholics seeking to leave the religion are turning to a website that offers “de-baptism” to unhappy Catholics.
Reuters reports that the website, ontdopen.nl (de-baptism.nl), has picked up significant traffic since Pope Benedict’s Christmas speech during which he roundly condemned homosexuality and gay marriage.
“They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves,” the Pope said. “The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.”
He made similar, though not nearly as direct, comments during his Peace Day message earlier this month.
“There is … 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,” he said. “Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.”
Tome Roes, the man who set up the de-baptism website, left the Catholic church years ago over the cover up of sexual abuse within the institution. He said that while there technically isn’t a way to be de-baptized, unhappy Catholics can “unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics.”
Humorously, the website explicitly states that it takes no responsibility for the consequences of a sinful lifestyle, including diseases, natural disasters, or hell.
But the joke is on practicing Catholics in the end, as those who participate in “de-baptism” can’t really surrender their salvation, according to Jeannine Marino, program specialist for evangelization & catechesis at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She told The Christian Post earlier this year that “de-baptism” is impossible, because “we believe that baptism permanently seals the person to Christ and the Church.”