- Priest ‘name and shame’ parishioners wanting to leave
- Harm Shilder puts photos on wall of Dutch church
- Insists it’s not blackmail but to ‘persuade them to stay’
PUBLISHED: 15:47 GMT, 10 January 2013 | UPDATED: 15:47 GMT, 10 January 2013
A Dutch priest has found a novel way of getting flaky parishioners to stay in the Catholic church – he posts their names and photographs on the church wall.
Harm Shilder, a priest in Tilburg, Netherlands, ‘names and shames’ those intending to quit his church, but insists it is not blackmail.
He claims he intended for the community to pray for the people attempting to leave the church and to ‘persuade them to stay’.
Schilder said: ‘This is a large parish, and I don’t know everyone.
‘By putting up the photos I thought someone might recognise someone they know who they could try to make stay in the Church.
‘This isn’t about pointing a finger, naming and shaming.’
Members of the church who wish to leave are required to send a letter to their priest along with a photocopy of their identity papers.
It is photographs from these documents that will be displayed in the entrance porch to Schilder’s church in the southern city of Tilburg.
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Last December, Tom Roes, who runs the website aimed at helping people leave the church, said visits to his site had gone from 10 a day to 10,000 after the pope made a particularly vicious anti-gay speech.
He said: ‘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 Schilder said he had received four requests from people wishing to leave the church over the Christmas period.
Around 28 per cent of the Dutch population is Catholic, while roughly 44 per cent is not religio
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