Tom Roes, whose website allows people to download the documents needed to leave the church, said traffic on ontdopen.nl - "de-baptise.nl" - had soared from about 10 visits a day to more than 10,000 after Pope Benedict's latest denunciation of gay marriage this month. Roes said that people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics, but it is not clear how many visitors to the site actually go ahead and leave the church.
About 28 percent of the population in the Netherlands is Catholic and 18 percent is Protestant, while a much larger proportion - roughly 44 percent - is not religious. We are fairly sure that if the Pope lives another few years it will be up to 50 per cent as the Papal equivalent of Prince Phillip is guaranteed to offend more of his faithful. Holland, while being fairly conservative, has a liberal streak and was the first in the world to legalise same-sex marriages. In a Christmas address to Vatican officials, the pope signalled the he was ready to forge alliances with other Far Right loony religious groups to spread the message of hate against gays. The Pope, who wears a dress and insists that he and his friends never marry, claimed that the actions of gays threatened families by attempts to change its "true structure".
Roes left the church and set up his website partly because he was angry about the way the church downplayed or covered-up sexual abuse in Catholic orphanages, boarding schools and seminaries. A report by an independent commission published a year ago said there had been tens of thousands of victims of child sexual abuse in the Netherlands since 1945 and criticized the church's culture of silence.