Via Integra

Fr Mark's progressive Anglo-Catholic take on European Christianity

  • This is my collection of material about the current state of the churches in Europe. I am interested in looking at how they are dealing with the pressing issues of our time: the issues of gay people and women in ministry/ leadership are particularly pressing at the moment, as is the area of declining church attendance.

    I would like to see how Europe's traditional religious institutions are coping with the new Europe currently being forged, in which public opinion and ethical attitudes are becoming inceasingly pan-European, and are evidently presenting a series of strong challenges for the churches.

Germany – church membership

Posted by Fr Mark on December 20, 2010

Thousands of Germans quit Catholic Church

Thousands of Germans have quit the Catholic Church in the wake of a series of sex and corruption scandals that have left the institution reeling.

From The Daily Telegraph, 20.12.10:

In one diocese alone, Rottenburg-Stuttgart, by mid December 17,659 had turned their back on the Church, compared to 4,563 for the whole of 2009, according to new research by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper and the DPA press agency.

Augsburg, reflecting a downward trend experienced by most dioceses, saw its flock decline as 11,351 left the Church in comparison to the 6,953 the year, while in Trier 7,029 people quit, a 2,500 increase on the previous year.

“I have never experienced anything like this since my ordination in 1969,” said Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann of Wurzburg, adding that “every single departure is one too many”.

The bishop suggested that the exodus was linked to the sex and corruption scandals that have blighted the Catholic Church this year both in Germany and abroad.

The desertion poses potential financial problems for the Church – under German law a recognised member of a church can donate some of their taxes to the institution, so if people renounce their membership the flow of money diminishes.

It also appears that many disenchanted Catholics are turning to the Protestant church – the diocese of Baden said the number of Catholics converting grew by 20 per cent in 2010.

The Bishop of Osnabruck Franz-Josef Bode falls to the floor at the Cathedral of Osnabrueck. Bode is the first German Bishop to apologize for the sexual abuse scandals 


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