Survey shows Confession is an annual event for some priests

54% of German priests go to Confession no more than once a year, and 42% don’t pray – outside of Mass or the Divine Office – even once a day, according to a survey released by the German bishops’ conference. 

8,600 German Catholics including about 4,200 priests from 22 dioceses, were surveyed between 2012 and 2014. The survey found that Confession was at most an annual practice for 70% of deacons, 88% of community speakers, and 91% of pastoral assistants.

The bishops, in a separate 18-page report, also summarised and commented on the replies of German Catholics to 46 questions raised in the second Vatican questionnaire on the family.

The main criticism, according to the bishops, was that the Vatican was thinking in terms of an idealised image of the family which did not adequately reflect the reality of life in German society.

Many had commented that such idealisation put them off sacramental marriage, and it was clear that there were high expectations that the coming synod on the family would “open new pastoral possibilities” especially for remarried divorcees, the bishops said.