Pope's anti-same-sex marriage stance: Dutch de-baptize, Euro beefcake strip
On December 21, Pope Benedict XVI, in his annual Christmas address to the Vatican, stated the obvious by claiming that same-sex marriage is destroying the "essence of the human creature".
Accordingly, Dutch people have heeded his message, apparently hellbent on finishing off the job that the Mayans failed to do, by flocking to the website Ontdopen.nl (which translates as "De-baptise.nl") to find out how they can leave the Catholic church.
Since the Pope's speech, web traffic to the Dutch-language website has reportedly skyrocketed from 10 visits a day to a whopping 10,000. The website helps Catholics unsubscribe or register themselves (which unfortunately is not quite as easy as defriending someone on Facebook yet somehow potentially approaches the complexity of leaving Scientology).
Needless to say, the Pope is not invited to Dutch foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans' New Year's Eve festivities.
"If every person is unique, as the pope’s representative said in Dublin last week, then why should that unique person not have the right to stand up for their own sexual orientation?" Timmermans said, according to reports. "Why can Romeo marry Juliet but not Julius?"
That is the question.
Holland, may we remind you, was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in April 2001.
The pope had earlier stated in his message for the World Day of Peace that same-sex marriage is a threat to justice and peace.
His message was supported by the examples of how same-sex marriage has transformed Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, and Canada into war-ravaged countries. (In fact, I am writing this as I am running down the street with my laptop to a neighbourhood bunker, narrowly avoiding bombs dropped by the Royal Canadian Air Force, Air Canada, and anti-gay paragliders).
Meanwhile, members of the Romanian Catholic Church had already foreshadowed the Pope's word to the letter by doing the logical thing and getting into the beefcake calendar business.
Not content to simply allow just male British rowing clubs to follow in the footsteps of firefighters and jaunty and self-possessed male librarians, the new Orthodox Calendar claims to feature "12 seductive artistic pictures of Orthodox priests and their guests". The calendar's website describes the priests as "intensely masculine young men" represent different parts of eastern Europe, and by guests, they mean ripped and shirtless buffcake.
For example, the website describes the above sample image thusly: "Vladimir and Yulia are from Ukraine, where they are happy parents of 3 beautiful teenagers. Vitalis plays football and wants to be a doctor like his mother. Timothy dreams of reaching Hollywood and becoming an actor. Paris hopes to embrace the robe and become a priest like his dad."
Other descriptions, like for the above photo, incorporate coy innuendos that will be all but lost on (yet somehow exciting for) the repressed: "Father Daniel has a simple plan to collect enough funds from his church to help needy children in his village. But the size of some men's projects have made his jaw drop."
The site states that "This product is not intended to be used for religious purposes. It is a work of artistic expression promoting the modernity and dynamism of persons involved in the Orthodox Church."