German Catholic numbers rapidly decline

A large number of German Catholics have left the Church in the last year according to new statistics. 

Figures show that the numbers renouncing their faith in 2014 was 22% higher than in the previous year, going from 178,805 to 217,716.

As well as leaving the Faith, this also has serious financial implications for the Church since when German Catholics renounce their faith, they are no longer eligible to pay the state-mandated Church tax.

If a person is baptised as a child in Germany they are considered a member of the Church and liable to pay the Church tax, an arrangement that was formalised in the 19th Century to fund all religions traditions from the taxes of their adherents.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, said: “Behind the numbers of Church withdrawals are personal life decisions that we in each case profoundly regret but also respect the freedom of choice.”