Dutch Catholics “de-baptizing”

From Reuters:

Website helps Dutch Catholics “de-baptize” over gay marriage

(Reuters) – 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 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.

“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,” Roes told Reuters.

He said he did not know 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, according to official statistics.

The country is famous for its liberal attitudes, for example to drugs and prostitution, and in April 2001 it was the first in the world to legalize same-sex marriages.

In a Christmas address to Vatican officials, the pope signaled the he was ready to forge alliances with other religions against gay marriage, saying the family was threatened “to its foundations” by attempts to change its “true structure”.

Roes, a television director, said he 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.

Allow me also to quote the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium 14:

“They could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it.”

New Evangelization anyone?

It is impossible to “un-baptize” yourself, by the way.

Perhaps because I am a deeply flawed sinner who stumbles in charity at times, I can’t help but think:

“Good riddance.”

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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44 Responses to Dutch Catholics “de-baptizing”

  1. persyn says:

    I share the same struggle with being charitable to such people and also think the same good riddance. I shall pray for us both, Father.

  2. fvhale says:

    I wonder if the website has a link to the Omnium in mentem, the Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio 26 October 2009, which eliminated “formal defection” from the Roman Catholic Church (an option introduced in the 1983 Coded of Canon Law). Once you are Roman Catholic, you are Roman Catholic, now matter how much you might try to behave otherwise.

    Ah, but we always want to re-invent ourselves. Remembering the 2012 Christmas address to the Roman Curia, whether it is one’s faith or gender, modern folk want to “decide that it is not something previously given to them, but…make it for themselves.”

  3. Incaelo says:

    What’s the worst part of this is that many people who are now trying to undo their Baptism (impossible as that is), do so because Dutch media have been publishing lies about the Pope’s recent address to the Curia. While the Holy Father spoke about the importance of the family, our human nature as beings created by God, and also about the dialogue with society and other religions, the media have been spouting nonsense that it was really an attack on gay marriage. So, in essence, these people are the victims of lies and deceptions by a strong secular and anti-religious media.

  4. LisaP. says:

    How about this, you can’t come back to the Church unless you realize that you’ve left it. Hopefully this movement will bring clarity to a few folks. The idea of “de-baptizing” seems directly linked to the perception of the Church as a social club that you can “lapse” in your membership with (how many times have we heard the term “lapsed” Catholic?), or resign your membership in as a protest. Anyone looking into this hopefully does *not* know that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God.

  5. Burke says:

    Why do some people always act with such outraged surprise that the Church teaches what the Church has always taught?

  6. VexillaRegis says:

    @Burke: Yes, some people are amazed that the pope is catholic… and that there are quite a lot of catholics who happily agree with him.

  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I saw an obscure little news item recently – not obviously related to this one – about a Dutchman who had apparently gotten his baptismal name(s) changed or scrapped or whatever somehow formally, in connexion with the relevant diocese – unfortunately it was so obscure that it was not clear to me what exactly had happened or what it all meant. Are there parish or diocesan baptismal records one can get altered or annotated, as the Dutch do things?

    If it is not a strange question, how does valid baptism come into the matter: are all valid baptisms recognized as making the baptized a member of the Church – from which such a one can, since (quoting fvhale) Omnium in mentem, the Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio 26 October 2009, cannot ‘formally defect’ ? Are millions upon millions of validly baptized ‘Protestants’ in fact indefectably members without having the slightest idea that that is so?

  8. KAS says:

    I think it is really sad that these Catholics who want to be de-baptized in order to leave the Church don’t seem to understand that they have already left the Church, cut themselves off from Christ and are in grave danger of hellfire. My prayers that they come to their senses and embrace the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Apologies for the uncorrected “can” in ther penultimate sentence!

  10. StWinefride says:

    Father Z says: “It is impossible to “un-baptize” yourself, by the way”.

    Because…

    “Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ”. CCC1272

    Poor lost sheep…prayers for them!

  11. AnnAsher says:

    Aren’t they all excommunicated anyway ? What’s the point of denying their universal baptism ? Who does it hurt? They expedite their trip to hell which is what the Church is trying to prevent for their own good. Theirs is the loss.

  12. Faith says:

    May God forgive them and bless them.

  13. Sixupman says:

    Holland once had a reputation as a source for ordinations and missionaries. Such is long since gone and the country has already been de-Catholicised these many years.

  14. mamajen says:

    I’m surprised to learn there are that many Catholics in the Netherlands.

  15. Captain Peabody says:

    Ah, the Netherlands: home of the routine, state-sponsored murder of the sick, the weak, the elderly, and disabled infants, of safe, legal, and far-from-rare prostitution, sex-trafficking, drug-trafficking, pornography, abortion-on-demand par excellence, and bitter hatred of anything associated with God or morality. If there is a nation on this earth that has sold its soul to the devil more completely, I have yet to hear of it. I will not say good riddance, for these souls are as valuable as I, and the Church can give great graces even to the most confused of her children–but I will say that this is hardly a surprise. The Church will not survive everywhere, and I fear in the Netherlands it may already be dead. And when the Church goes, so will what remains of the Dutch conscience. God help us, and them.

  16. Gail F says:

    This desire to unbaptize oneself just kills me. If you don’t think any of it’s true, then why bother? And if you do think it’s true… well, then that says something about you, doesn’t it? That you believe baptism does something but you reject what it does. I imagine most people don’t think about it that deeply, they just want to “make a statement.” We live in funny times, when making a statement is more important than what you’re making a statement about. People just don’t want to be told what to do — and that’s because they know very well that often what they want to do is wrong. Rather than do right, they think they can change what’s right and wrong by calling it something else, or not talking about it at all. But they can’t…

  17. Wayward Lamb says:

    These persons very much need our prayers until they open their hearts, repent, and return to a state of grace. In the interim, is it inappropriate to be grateful that these individuals will be the devil on the outside rather than devil on the inside, trying to subvert the Church from within? There is the potential for much good to come from this unfortunate circumstance.

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Dear Captain Peabody,

    I am afraid you are neglecting China, North Korea, and various Scandinavian lands, when you write “If there is a nation on this earth that has sold its soul to the devil more completely, I have yet to hear of it.” And there are “remains of the Dutch conscience” among the Protestant, Jews, and various others, however grievous the situation there is.

  19. Scott W. says:

    Well, I guess the silver lining is that the wolves are stripping their sheep’s clothing.

  20. Phil_NL says:

    To put it in its proper persepctive, Dutch media have been extraordinarily vile against the Church this year. Especially on the sermon of BXVI, they did a hatchet job, and only a few days later the more serious outlets realised that what was reported hadn’t been in the Pope’s speech at all!
    Most mainstream media didn’t bother to correct, of course.

    And since there’s not a thing as politically correct and savvy as defeding gays in the country (except when they are attacked by muslim youths), of course some CINOs (we have a lot of those) decided they would be making good press for themselves by renouncing the ‘INO’ part as well. Nothing particualrly new there, by the way.

    @mamajen: the southern provinces of the Netherlands are historically Catholic, the reformation struck above the major rivers.

    @GailF: it’s all about making a public fuzz so that these loons feel good about themselves.

    @Captain Peabody: while there is much truth in the troubles we have here in the Netherlands, it’s hardly unique. In fact, while the Dutch may have been first with many a bad idea, several European countries tend to leapfrog over it later, such as the Blegians for example. And it’s hardly China here.

    ——
    @Venerator Sti Lot: I think you’re referring to a guy who got his name changed (his baptismal names were his official names too). He had psychological issues; that was a one-off.

  21. pmullane says:

    If you want to leave the Church because she opposes a change to the fundamental nature of marriage, then you never properly understood the Church in the first place.

    This is very sad, instead of just leaving, these people want to make some childish point in leaving. Forgive them father, they know not what they do.

  22. Kypapist says:

    I remember reading back in the mid-1970’s that the changes in the Mass (the “Novus Ordo”) were actually being utilized in the Netherlands before being promulgated after Vatican II; this was being presented as an argument in favor of the changes. The Faith has long been dead in Holland but I have no guess as to why or how. This is especially bewildering when one remembers that all the physicians in Holland opposed the Nazi orders against the sick and handicapped, to the point of resigning.

  23. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Captain Peabody, I hope you are a Dutchman yourself… only a Dutchman ought to write such a disqualification of the Dutch nation.

  24. SKAY says:

    On CNN–
    “On Monday’s episode of “Piers Morgan Tonight,” the British host called for a ‘gay marriage amendment’ to the Bible.

    “My point to you about gay rights, for example, it’s time for an amendment to the Bible,” Morgan told his guest, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.

    “Not a chance,” Warren responded.

    Morgan compared the Bible to the U.S. Constitution, saying the original document should be changed when it no longer suits the times. He called both works “inherently flawed.”

    He has a lot in common with the Dutch who want to be un-baptized.

  25. onosurf says:

    A great wheat/chaff separation is coming during the next 5 years. This is only the tip of the iceberg, we will see much more of this. The good news: it will make the church stronger.

    These people need prayers.

  26. wmeyer says:

    Morgan compared the Bible to the U.S. Constitution, saying the original document should be changed when it no longer suits the times. He called both works “inherently flawed.”

    Speaking of flawed, we have Piers Morgan. Reminds me of the adage that it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

  27. Captain Peabody says:

    Mea culpa on my assessment of the Netherlands, which was not my place to give. In many of its ills, it is hardly unique, and I am sure there are many fine people, and fine Christians, in it. When it comes, however, to evils such as the clinical murder of disabled infants, supported and enforced by the government, I find it difficult to be charitable. May God destroy all our evils and sins, and those of every nation, and spare us his just wrath.

  28. Fr.WTC says:

    Gee, the only way I know to leave the Church is–to go to Hell.

  29. Joseph-Mary says:

    Oh no, father, I cannot say “good riddance”! These are souls and they are created in the image and likeness of God and meant to return to their Creator. These ones are in eternal danger and I pray for such ones who have no one to pray for them. This is what Our Lady at Fatima asked of us–to pray for such ones. May they be converted and find their way to Christ and His loving mercy.

  30. catholicmidwest says:

    A lot of these people don’t understand the Church at all. We have a lot of people like that here too. They think the Catholic Church is just an ethnic or political entity. They really don’t think they’re going to hell if they attempt to “resign,” because they don’t really believe there’s a hell. Bad catechesis. Or no real catechesis, to be honest.

  31. Matt R says:

    Someone above mentioned the altering of baptismal records. I don’t know if this is the case in the Netherlands, but that has been ordered by the state courts elsewhere in Europe.
    Too bad the immense value of baptismal records for historical purpose is lost not only because more and more people are not raising the children in the Church- making it less comprehensive- but because they would never think of this as a reason to simply annotate the record.

  32. acardnal says:

    wmeyer said, “Reminds me of the adage that it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

    I have always known this phrase to be attributed to Pres. Abraham Lincoln.

  33. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Actually, sqpn.com’s founder is from the Netherlands, and that priest’s brought lots of Catholics back to the faith (in the Netherlands and elsewhere). So let’s not get too mouthy about the place.

  34. UncleBlobb says:

    I have learned that, the only way to be completely out of the mystical body of Christ – which includes those who are members and those who are potential members – is to die and go to Hell. I’m just passing on information here.

  35. Will Elliott says:

    Suburbanbanshee, you beat to the punch. I also wanted to mention the great work that Father Roderick Vonhögen is doing with sqpn.com and his Dutch and English-language podcasts. We should offer prayers for his continued ministry both in his parishes and in his online apostolate.

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  37. Athelstan says:

    “What’s the worst part of this is that many people who are now trying to undo their Baptism (impossible as that is), do so because Dutch media have been publishing lies about the Pope’s recent address to the Curia.”

    At some point, people considering such a grave decision to leave or change their religion have a responsibility to find out the facts for themselves. They have the Internet now.

  38. dobrodoc says:

    In a way, I see this debaptizing as a backward apologetic for the truth of baptism “which doth save us”. Many folks insist that baptism is symbolic and not necessary for salvation yet when folks wish to leave the Church or faith, they don’t recite the “sinner’s prayer” backwards. They “UNbaptize” cause deep down they know that it is truly significant, but they don’t know enough that you can’t remove the indelible mark on their soul.

  39. schmenz says:

    Well, yes, the sacrament of Baptism leaves an idelible mark but if these people are apostasizing from the Faith, which it seems that they have already done anyway, then that Sacrament will not save them. If a Catholic leaves the Church willingly (and openly ignoring its teachings is in fact leaving the Church) and dies without the Sacrament of Penance then we can hardly be too optimistic about their eternity.

  40. Fr. Z.: It is impossible to “un-baptize” yourself
    I am glad it is impossible. This makes it easier for any of these poor mistaken people to return.

  41. netokor says:

    I don’t think saying good riddance is uncharitable. We must pray for the enemies of the Church, but we don’t need their destructive malice. I wish others who claim to be Catholic but are not faithful would be consistent and distance themselves as well. Their venom is even worse.

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  44. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    In many European nations, many churches and other ecclesial communities are state-supported through national taxes, and the amounts disbursed to the various churches and denominations is apportioned according to the census of citizens and residents claiming membership in each.

    The more members, the more money goes to each religious body. And fewer the members, the less money goes to each body.

    It would seem that European Catholics who become hostile toward their own Church make themselves yet more resentful over the question of the tax revenue that the Church is receiving on account of their membership, when they no longer wish to be members.

    Here in the U.S., where we (used to) have separation of Church and State, this is not so much of an issue.