News from Europe

A record number of Catholics left the Church in Munich

10,744 people officially left the Church in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising in 2019. For the first time in history, this number has exceeded 10,000. These figures represent a new sad record and confirm the slow decline of Christianity in Germany.


Germans have various motive for distancing themselves from the Church. On the one hand, some of them explain that they were shocked by the scandals related to paedophilia. As in other western countries, the media have been portraying the Church in a very negative way that influences public opinion into making generalisations. On the other hand, some Germans feel that the Church is somehow “discriminating” against women.

While the secularisation trend in Germany remains unchanged, financial reasons are often behind the decision to leave the Church. In Germany, people who belong to religious communities pay a special tax to finance them. Usually, it is 8-9 per cent tax on their income. These funds go to Catholic dioceses, Evangelical, Old Catholic and Jewish communities.

It is, however, one of the few levies that can be easily avoided. All one has to do is submit the relevant application form to the registry office. However, dioceses treat this as an act of apostasy, denying such people the right to a Catholic burial. In the past, this has given rise to serious controversy.

Although the number of faithful regularly decreases throughout the country, funds allocated to dioceses increased, reaching 6.64 billion euro in 2018 alone. The German Church is, therefore, at the forefront in Europe in terms of financial capabilities.


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