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Distrust grows as Germans flee the Catholic Church

Germany ; the catholic church;

2022-07-03 08:15:00

There has been a lot of talk last year about the German Catholic Church. During the process called the Synodal Track, very forward-looking reform proposals were made in matters relating to the family. It is a different matter that Vatican approval would be required for its implementation, and “too bold” German ideas have been criticized by a church.

However, all indications point to the fact that although the majority of German high priests are open to changes, and even to an end to celibacy, distrust between believers and the Church is growing. Many people certainly do not trust that changes will actually happen within the church within an expected period of time, while others have lost confidence due to sexual crimes committed by priests.

So the reasons may be different, the numbers of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference on the Exodus are in any case a source of concern for the Church. It is true that when the statistics were announced they tried to hide the data a bit. First, they began the report with the fact that the number of parishes decreased by 68 to 9,790 in 2021. After that, they published data on priestly vocations, and only at the end of the press conference of the Episcopal Conference announced that in 2021, 1,465 people entered the church and 4,116 left, while in the same Time 359,338 (!) He left the church. Many people have never waved goodbye to the Church before, so this year the black letters will be included in the history book of the German Catholic Church:

In the previous record year of 2019, “only” 273,000 people left. On the other hand, the fact that 221,390 people quit in 2020 can almost be considered a success. However, this number is somewhat deceptive, as institutions that record withdrawals and registry offices have been open for much less time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For experts, the shocking new data was no surprise. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that after those intending to resign had lined up in the district courts in recent months and troubling news emerged from the dioceses, the bishops had to prepare for the worst. Bishop Georg Patsing, head of the German Bishops’ Conference, did not hesitate: he said, he was deeply shocked by the very large number of those leaving the Church. He pointed out that based on the figures, it is clear that the Catholic Church in Germany is going through a “deep crisis.”

Concern also for the Church is the phenomenon that

Bätzing also sparked an important correlation, with the data indicating disappointment over the lack of church reforms. This is not a veiled criticism – not only in Germany – of high priests who are vehemently opposed to reforms. This assumption is supported by the fact that the rate of increase in departures was far from this high in the Lutheran Church. Another proof is the Diocese of Cologne. It is run by Archbishop Rainer Maria Wolke, who is considered a conservative and is also a high priest of questionable reputation due to the shadow cast on him in tackling the sexual abuse committed by priests in his diocese. However, the Vatican has not expelled him to this day. It is no coincidence that in no other diocese the number of people leaving the church has not increased as strongly as it did here last year, which also indicates the disappointment of believers: compared to the previous year, 2019, the increase was more than 60 percent, from more than 24,000 to about 41,000. This represents 2.2 percent of the 1.8 million believers in the diocese.

The picture is mixed in other parishes. In other large dioceses, Munich and Freising, as well as in Berlin, the number of people leaving the church was also high, but in other dioceses it increased only moderately compared to 2019. A rapid increase in church exits is associated with a significant decrease in church tax revenue. A study published in 2019 by the Research Center “Intergenerational Contracts” of the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg predicted that the number of members of the Catholic Church would decline by 49 percent by 2060, to a total of 22.7 million.

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