The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Record numbers leave Church in Munich archdiocese

10,744 Catholics formally withdrew from the Church in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising in 2019, the first time that annual departures had surpassed the 10,000 mark since records began.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, in a Sept. 24, 2018 photo. (CNS photo/KNA)

CNA Staff, May 26, 2020 / 08:00 am (CNA).- A record number of people left the Church in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising last year, a local statistical office said Tuesday.

The Munich statistical office told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, May 26 that 10,744 Catholics formally withdrew from the Church in 2019. It noted that this was a fifth higher than in 2018, when 8,995 people left.

Statisticians said this was the first time that annual departures had surpassed the 10,000 mark since records began. Previously, the highest figure was 9,010, set in 1992.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the 66-year-old Archbishop of Munich and Freising, announced in February that he would not stand for re-election as president of the German bishops’ conference. He cited his age and his desire to spend more time in his archdiocese, in the Catholic heartland of Bavaria, which he has led since 2008.

In March, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Bavaria’s public-service broadcaster, reported that people gave a variety of reasons for leaving, including a desire to stop paying church tax, the clerical abuse scandal and the position of women within the Church.

The Church in Germany is largely funded through a tax collected by the government. If an individual is registered as a Catholic then 8-9% of their income tax goes to the Church. The only way they can stop paying the tax is to make an official declaration renouncing their membership of the Church. They are no longer allowed to receive the sacraments or a Catholic burial.

While the number of Catholics abandoning the faith has increased steadily since the 1960s, the Church’s income has risen. In 2018, the Church’s income rose to 6.64 billion euros, while 216,078 people left the Church, according to a report by the German bishops’ conference.

Last year the German bishops announced plans for a two-year “Synodal Way,” bringing together lay people and bishops to discuss four major topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.

They said the process would end with a series of “binding” votes — raising concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge Church teaching and discipline.

In June, Pope Francis sent a 28-page letter to German Catholics urging them to focus on evangelization in the face of a “growing erosion and deterioration of faith.”

“Every time an ecclesial community has tried to get out of its problems alone, relying solely on its own strengths, methods and intelligence, it has ended up multiplying and nurturing the evils it wanted to overcome,” he wrote.

In September, the Vatican sent a letter to the German bishops declaring that their plans for the synod were “not ecclesiologically valid.”

After a back and forth between the bishops’ conference and Vatican officials, the first synodal assembly took place in Frankfurt at the end of January. The second meeting is expected to go ahead, despite the coronavirus crisis, in September.

In an interview May 22 with Der Spiegel, Cardinal Marx discussed his tenure as bishops’ conference president and his new book “Freiheit” (Freedom), published May 25.

He said that, despite being portrayed as liberal, he felt conservative.

“As a 15-year-old, I did not like the fact that after the Second Vatican Council old ceremonies and images were abolished in many places,” he explained. “Traditions are also something important.”


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Catholic News Agency 454 Articles
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

22 Comments

  1. Binding votes raising concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge Church teaching and discipline will likely remain ‘raising concerns’ and nothing more. Germany fits the model of the Cardinal Kasper papal endorsed polygonic dream Church. Many, historian Roberto De Mattei, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, now surprisingly after years of cautious correctness Cardinal Gerhard Muller perceive this as signatories to Vigano’s recent letter that addresses globalization. Polygonia had its beginnings in Amazonia as was foreseen. How pathetic have German hierarchy following Cardinal Marx’ leadership become raising the religious tax while Catholics are leaving in Apostasy droves? A State law than religion can dismiss. How many would return if Cardinal Carlo Martini SJ’s nefarious vision of Synodalism, a disease like vector of radical change embraced by prize pupil then Cardinal Bergoglio, then introduced by now demurely complacent Pope Francis were not put into irreversible effect? What can halt this process of dismantle, if not vigorous stolid yes obligatory address and resistance?

  2. “He cited his age and his desire to spend more time in his archdiocese, in the Catholic heartland of Bavaria, which he has led since 2008.”

    Oh, dear, his poor archdiocese.

    The whole system of the government involvement in the “church tax” system is disgraceful; and having to renounce the Church in order to decide where to offer one’s money is at least as bad if not worse, given that who knows how much of the money goes to things that are un- if not anti-Catholic.

    Pope Francis should perhaps follow Pope St. Pius X’s actions regarding France and funding.

  3. Sad to hear of the Catholics in Germany choosing to keep spiritual distancing from Mother Church and the whole sad irony too ,as to how the divides with roots over money that started centuries ago continue to play out .
    This issue could have contributed too, for the Pope Emer .to resign , not desiring to contend with possible Freemasonry powers behind related decisions of taxes as prerequisite for Church attendance etc : . His choice of name after the homeless beggar saint – Joseph Benedict Labre , whose Feast Day he shares as his birthday , may be prophetic about these homeless members of The Church too .

    Covid 19 – streched a bit, can sound like ‘comevith 19 ‘ 🙂 – March 19 being Feast of St.Joseph ; Vatican having been already consecrated to St.Joseph , hope similar steps in nations and persons would help to open hearts to The Spirit of The Father , to be blessed with wise and speedy resolutions for all these areas , that persons can have the freedom to contribute to good ministries of The Church such as the one below with roots in Poland and not be denied Sacramental attendance .
    https://www.divinemercyart.org/

    • You’ve just cast judgement upon yourself. How did ALL the people, both young and old, suddenly become ‘sodomites’ seeking to ravage two angels ? Well if they were from Sodom that’s kinda moot. If you are from Sodom – you are by definition a ‘Sodom’ite. Let’s try the modern ‘term’- ‘gay’. ALL the people of Sodom were gay – young and old ? That’s what the story says. Must have been something in the unholy water ??

      • “How did ALL the people, both young and old, suddenly become ‘sodomites’ seeking to ravage two angels ?”

        It wasn’t sudden. They had given themselves over to sin for a long time; Genesis 13″13 says 1″And the men of Sodom were very wicked, and sinners before the face of the Lord beyond measure.”

        “Gay” is a word that means bright and cheerful and has been misappropriated to describe perversion.

        “If you are from Sodom – you are by definition a ‘Sodom’ite.”

        Nobody is from Sodom now. It doesn’t exist, having been destroyed for its wickedness; there were not even ten righteous men in the city. Not all of the wickedness was homosexual, but the all men were involved in the attempt to rape the angelic visitors.

        “Must have been something in the unholy water ??”

        In spite of your efforts to be flippant and trivialize their sin (not to mention removing the responsibility from them by blaming it on the water), the people of Sodom chose to do evil.

  4. Raising concerns? Not ecclesiologically valid?
    A shell game, smoke and mirrors.
    Let the post-Catholic German “faith bund” do the plowing, the heavy building and sport the filth and Bergoglio gets what he wants without needing to run to the dry cleaner.
    Catholic ecclesiological theater is off the cliff. Mid-air does not necessarily imply manned flight.

  5. Well the German Bishops have made it clear they have no respect for Catholic Doctrine and intend to become devotees of the zeitgeist. Why on earth would anyone expect the formerly faithful to believe that religious observance has any value to their lives or human society generally?

  6. Is the Catholic Church in the midst of a schism? My family has origins in Baveria and they were staunch Catholics. I don’t believe that at their time in Munich there was forced tithing via tax. However, the following admits that the hierarchy knew of this disgrace. “If an individual is registered as a Catholic then 8-9% of their income tax goes to the Church. The only way they can stop paying the tax is to make an official declaration renouncing their membership of the Church. They are no longer allowed to receive the sacraments or a Catholic burial”. WOW! Catholic?

    “Last year the German bishops announced plans for a two-year “Synodal Way,” bringing together lay people and bishops to discuss four major topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women”.

    What a revelation! Sexual morality, (are married couples exempt from sodomy?), The priesthood, (vague). can we be enlightened? and, once more the ROLE of second class women. Give me a break.

  7. So…technically, that means that the German State is collecting taxes for being Catholic, Lutheran or Jewish but not for being an Atheist, No Religion or Muslim? I wonder when the Liberals in this country adopt the same format. Wunderbar mein sodomite freund, sollen vir tanzen?

  8. morganB:
    “My family has origins in Baveria and they were staunch Catholics. I don’t believe that at their time in Munich there was forced tithing via tax.”
    ******

    I actually had no info about when that began in Germany but just googling around suggests their church tax has been around since the earlier 1900’s.

    I think tithing is a wonderful, scriptural idea & I practise that myself but it would be nice if parishes could utilize it in stewardship programs to provide tuition-free Catholic education to every family who participates. I know of one parish in Augusta, GA that does that & I’m sure there are others.

    Perhaps then Germans might feel their tax isn’t being wasted.

    • Mrs… the Germans are smart, except in the 1930s when Hitler hypnotized the populace with a diatribe of hate against the Jews. Some dots can be connected when my mother’s family came from Ireland, a country whose government was subservient to the Catholic Church. 90% of schools were run by the church. They were obsessed with sexual misconduct. Germany was an autocracy while Ireland was subjected to a Theocracy.

      It took a world war to restore Germany to a democracy. Ireland was restored by Mary Robinson a political stalwart for equal rights.

      I consider that forced taxation is analogous to taxation without representation. Voluntary tithing is my choice.

      • Mary Robinson is pro-contraception and pro-abortion. She did not “restore” Ireland; Ireland was destroyed by her and people like her. “Equal rights,” my foot. The “right” to butcher babies is evil.

  9. Cardinal Marx and his acolytes should resign in disgrace for their destruction of the Catholic Church in Germany. The German Hierarchy has been a disastrous failure, and yet they want to force the Church in the rest of the world to follow their poor example.

  10. I don’t know much about “forced tithing”, but I wouldn’t join the church in the first place if they “told” me what I had to “donate”. That’s point one. Here in America, the church has become so secular that I only give directly to my own Parish. I stopped giving for almost all 2nd collections about 2 years ago, & will never support any “bishop’s initiatives” or CINO charities again – like CRS (which pushes contraception & abortion).

    Point two – we’ve become the church of “nice”, the church of socialism, & have become increasingly secular. Our “leaders” no longer preach the Gospel, they preach “accept everyone & no evangelization”; “mother earth is mad at us”; “sodomy is ok”; “abortion isn’t the pre-eminent social issue of our time”, & other such anti-Catholic nonsense. They raid the Peter’s Pence charity (& others, I’m sure) for their own selfish purposes. They allow so-called Catholic schools to hire people who aren’t true to the faith, while also covering up murals of great people like Christopher Columbus & even George Washington (see ND & GWU). Is it any wonder that people are leaving? There’s no effective, truthful, strong leadership anymore. The pope allows wolves like James Martin to spread the satanic alphabet-crowd agenda, while he himself worships pachamama & “mother earth”.

    The bottom line is that the church of today isn’t the church of God anymore. It’s become the church of greedy, condescending, tyrannical, feminine prelates, who prey on seminarians & have all but driven the good nuns out, while espousing female deacons & even priests. We are in a schism, & have been heading that way since Vatican 2. It won’t change until God Himself sets us straight, or the church hierarchy comes to its collective senses & gets away from the “mother earth” nonsense & back to saving souls & faithfully leading the people.

  11. Not sure whose teachings are more detrimental to the Diocese of Munich, those of Reinhard Marx, or those of Karl Marx. Seems like Reinhard is on well on the way to outdo Karl in terms of getting people away from the “opium of the masses…”

    Way to go brothers Marx!

  12. Well unless Germans come together and look at the future on their heritage,by 2050 there will be more Muslims than Christians in Germany.Hope those leaving will be happy with the Islamic Republic of Germany which is in the making!

  13. I am a Catholic in Africa. I read the above article twice. I admit that I was left with mixed feelings after reading it. One thing that came to mind is that many people when they speak about the Church, or when they condemn something that happened in the Church they tend to throw the whole Universal Church in the bin. This is not to say that we in Africa we don’t have our own challenges, but here the Church is growing and we are happy that the Pentecost Spirit is at work. We are baptizing not only infants but adults as well and many that are leaving other churches for the Catholic Church, and the average baptisms per year are not less than 200 per average size parish. I beg my fellow European Catholics to pardon the priests of the ‘era of the abuses’, and move on. Forgiveness is not forgiveness if it is not painful.
    If anyone wants to leave the Church for an erroneous teaching, that person has a proper reason to leave, however to leave because of the sin of individual priests, while, ….. We follow Jesus and the Church is founded on His teaching.
    May God bless you all.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Record numbers leave Church in Munich archdiocese - Catholic Mass Search
  2. VVEDNESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

Leave a Reply to Judy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*