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Catholics ready for Church exodus, poll finds
Photo: DPA

Catholics ready for Church exodus, poll finds

Published: 23 Apr 2010 11:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Apr 2010 11:20 GMT+02:00

The poll of more than 1,000 Catholics by the Forsa Institute published by daily Bild, found 23 percent of Church members said they were thinking of leaving.

Even among those who described themselves as devout, 19 percent were considering walking away, the poll found.

The findings come as the Church faces its gravest crisis of modern times, with decades-old claims of child sexual abuse by priests surfacing in Germany and around the world. The scandal has this week forced the resignation of Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa, who was accused of beating children at an orphanage, though not of sexual abuse.

At the heart of the anger is the belief that the Church is not handling the child abuse affair openly. Just 16 percent of Catholics polled said they believed Church leaders were dealing with the abuse crisis transparently, compared with 77 percent who said it was not transparent.

Just under a quarter (24 percent) of people thought child abuse was more common in the Church than it was elsewhere in the community, compared with 14 percent who felt it was less common and 52 percent who believed it was the same.

Exactly half believed there was a link between celibacy and child abuse, while 44 percent said there was no link.

Yet a massive 81 percent believed celibacy for priests should be abolished, compared with just 12 percent who believed it should be kept.

The disillusionment was felt most deeply by younger Catholics. Among those aged 18 to 29, just over a third (34 percent) were thinking of quitting. Some 28 percent of those aged 30 to 44 were considering walking away, as were 32 percent of 45 to 59-year-olds and 6 percent of those aged 60 or older.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:10 April 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
If these Catholics actually do walk away, at least it will be a start. Maybe the beginning of the end for the church. I hope so.
12:18 April 23, 2010 by auniquecorn
Just a question: If they walk away, Do they still have to pay the Church tax?
13:28 April 23, 2010 by berlinski
Auniquecorn. Nobody HAS to pay the church tax. Simply abmeld from it at the finanzamt.
14:18 April 23, 2010 by Essertpitay
Celibacy is unhealthy...Must be some twisted minded pope in the middle ages who decided celibacy was the way (except for himself I guess...)./.
14:19 April 23, 2010 by twisted
I suspect the pedophilia scandal certainly hasn't helped the church, but I rather suspect it is other things as well. Strike one - While not exactly condemning homosexuality, it strongly frowns against it. Strike two - priest celibacy is just too far out of line in these modern times. Strike three - An infallible pope who probably couldn't find his ass with both hands in the dark...this guy is just out of touch with reality. Add all that to the whole myth of God and the Bible...I am not surprised by folks turning their back on the church or religion in general.
14:56 April 23, 2010 by LancashireLad
@Essertpitay #4 - It was probably the female pope.
15:47 April 23, 2010 by freechoice
hey!! what a great excuse to get away from Roman Catholicism!!
16:10 April 23, 2010 by bernie1927
Not belonging to any faith I really don't have a right to join this discussion, but I am surprised that nobody seems to complain about the hypocrisy. In the old days they did not make any bones about the fact that they were pulling a con job. If you had something on your conscience you could get absolution by paying a fine. That was like a Bernie Madoff scheme and if people were dumb enough to go for it, that was their business. At least they tried to be honest about their intentions. Maybe people will finally wake up??
16:17 April 23, 2010 by PSS
For what it's worth:

I hang out in the conservative Catholic circles. All of the faithful that I know couldn't be more pleased that our beloved Pope is finally clearing out this mucus from the airways of the Church. Thanks, Holy Father. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it!

To the critics of celibacy: there are many celibate people in the world for many reasons - mind your own business.

To the (wink, wink) '25%' of the German Catholics ready to leave the Church: goodbye, farewell, and don't let the door hit your backsides on your way out.

To the people who express shock and dismay that there could be people in the Church who do bad things: welcome back from fairyland.

And, by the way, I am seriously considering giving up the true faith because a few manipulative crypto-homosexuals found that a Church full of millions of kind and trusting people were good hunting grounds - not!

And to the many of you who are deeply offended and shocked people like me would choose to believe a fairytale rather than drink from your fountain of wisdom, I apologize, and suggest that if you go back to your passionate embrace of your television and mind your own business, I will mind mine.

And, don't forget, if you watch a lot of TV you will not have to think deeply about who and what you are as the TV already has this worked out for you. That will save you a lot of time and effort.
17:32 April 23, 2010 by Varya
Hmm. About time that Catholics got tired of the whole house of lies they're living in. Billie Joe of Green Day said it best - "Religion is a bunch of bullshit." And the Catholic Church is a brand of bullshit all its own.
17:46 April 23, 2010 by mexican.wav
PSS?

"Crypto-Homosexuals"

But of course all the abuse happened because of gay people "like me"

Thanks for showing that, despite being a religion with as much contempt for minorities, the "conservative catholic circles" still have so much love to give to everyone.
18:30 April 23, 2010 by wubba
mexican.wav

I found your post to be very entertaining. I especially love how you accuse PSS of using a broad stroke to describe who he/she thinks is the problem with the church "manipulative crypto-homosexuals", which in its own right is an unfortunate classification and use of wordage. What is more amazing, is that after sarcastically berating PSS you turn around and use the same giant brush to describe a religion (and its adherents) as well as "conservative catholic circles". I am not taking sides, I just dislike "do as I say not as I do attitude.

As for Billie Joe Armstrong. I'll be sure to derive my beliefs from someone who sings about masturbating.
18:42 April 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Would you rather derive your beliefs from someone who protects priests who diddle little boys, like our "infallible" friend Ratzinger?
18:51 April 23, 2010 by wubba
No thanks, I prefer to do it from personal reflection. Thank you very much for showing concern for the development of my belief system.

Also, according to Catholic Tradition the Pope is very much "fallible." However when it is an "ex cathedra"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility#Conditions_for_papal_infallibility

It then yes, to the Catholic flock should be considered infallible. I am interested, however, how many Catholics believe in this anymore.
19:04 April 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Yes, I'm aware of that convenient distinction, having been subjected to a Catholic upbringing. When speaking "ex cathedra" on matters of "faith and morals" the pope considers himself infallible. Perhaps that's why he avoids speaking ex cathedra about the moral issue of clergy pedophilia, choosing instead to write pastoral letters to the enabling hierarchy.

I have no concern about the development of your belief system. That's entirely your business. You brought it up in the context of attacking another's belief that "religion is a bunch of bullshit." Hard to argue with that conclusion.
19:08 April 23, 2010 by RosaryMaker
First of all, those considering leaving the faith do not have a good education or formation in the faith. They have no idea what they would be leaving behind. If they did, they would *never* consider leaving. It is the Church, the one, true faith established by Jesus Himself when he told Peter, "upon this rock I will build my church." Peter was the first pope, and he has had successors all the way down to this day--Benedict XVI. This is the only place you will find the Holy Eucharist. It is the true Body and Blood of our Lord, according to His own words at the Last Supper.

Secondly, do not put your trust in people. Trust in the Lord. Our faith is in Jesus, in the fact that He said, "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day....He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him." So the Catholic Church is the only place where you can find His Body and His Blood offered by the successors to the Apostles. If you don't eat His Body and drink His Blood as Jesus says, you will have no life in you. So forget the people, think of THIS! This is most important!

Those accused molesters who are still alive should be tried, and if they are guilty of their crime, go to jail. I believe there are some accusers who are in it only for the payout or as a way to attack the Church. It is easy to see. People ignore protestant, Jewish, and public school teacher (in the U.S.) child abuse. Those news stories are reported then forgotten. People love to harp on the Catholic Church, though. We need to pray for our priests. Most are good men. Pray for their continued conversion.

Finally, celibacy has nothing to do with the sex abuse scandal. To think if we do not have sex for a prolonged period of time, we will simply grab someone weaker than us and commit a sexual act by force reduces us to a level below animal. The sex abuse scandal is linked to homosexuality. In the sixties, many homosexuals entered the priesthood. We see that greatest number of reported cases happened soon after. The link is with homosexuality. If you try to deny it, then you are just turning a blind eye. Political correctness is not your friend.
19:21 April 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I see Opus Dei has weighed in.

One thing about opinions is that they cannot be disproved. My opinion is that the Catholic Church is a criminal enterprise and has done more harm historically than all other religions combined.

To the victims of predatory pedophile priests, the statement that "there are some accusers who are in it only for the payout or as a way to attack the Church" is about as vile as it gets. It is akin to telling a victim of forcible rape that she was "asking for it." Where I come from, the law put an end to that despicable defense a long time ago.
19:48 April 23, 2010 by michael4096
'ts funny. I'm about as anti-any-church as it is possible, but on this thread I feel like a theologian.

Press Release! There are priests that have - and will continue unless stopped - abuse kids. We know! There are non-priests who do the same. The problem is not religion per se but the misguided faith that people have in other people because they are deemed worthy of trust. Now repeat after me: priests are just people, bishops are just people, popes are just people.

Like bad cops, they should be punished proportionately to the trust they accept.

They have also covered up the abuse of others in the interests of their 'faith'. This is much worse! I recently saw a video of a helicopter shooting up a press group in Iraq because they thought the cameras were RPGs. Fair enough, war zone, fog of war and all that. The chopper group then went on to massacre an innocent group who went to help the injured - no excuse this time. Their bosses then went on to cover up the entire episode in the interests of... oh well, I guess they know who's interest, I don't. Only an example, every military everywhere is guilty of cover ups.

So, if we all leave a faith because bigwigs cover up abuse then I guess that puts paid to all militaries in the world.

I would love people to leave their churches. Just as I would love a world without militaries. Somehow, I guess I'm going to have to live with both for a while. But, just as I don't blame all squaddies for Mai Lei, I don't see why believers should be made to feel guilty for Fa. XYZ's escapades in the presbitory.
19:52 April 23, 2010 by wubba
For the record, I was simply giving context to a quotation that was attempted to be used as viable ammunition in an argument in an effort to sway people's opinion. Quotations are useless.

As for your statement about "those that are in it only for the payout" is slightly misleading. I completely agree that what happened to the victims was a horrendous crime and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I think what rosarymaker was referring to people who have NOT been abused taking advantage of a bad situation in the hopes of a capital gain. In an ambulance chaser world, this is not hard to imagine. Note: I am not arguing that this is happening, I am simply stating it is a very real possibility.

Rosary, just because you believe you are right about something does not make it right to another. Prufock is 100% correct about opinions.
20:10 April 23, 2010 by wmm208
Its not like this is noticable or newsworthy because most citizens are mainly athiest...
21:08 April 23, 2010 by Johnny Cash
I love it. At last the 21st century is catching up with these criminals.Beside from this latest scandal lets just count up the native cultures that have been destoyed by these righteous miscreated control freaks. Of course this goes for a bunch of other christian religions as well. Surely in this age we can throw off this myth cobbled together by a bunch of ignorant goatherders in the palestinian

desert 2500 years ago who would crawl under their beds when there was an eclipse of the sun because they thought the world was coming to an end. Surely we have progress further than that. As far as beliefs go , you can believe anything you like , but keep it to yourselves will you and don't go insisting you are right with absolutely no proof. You can believe your umbrella is a golf club if you want to but just try and hit a golf ball 350 yards with it and you will be hurtled back to the truth that it is not a golf club. Maybe you might like to join my church . It is called the church of I don't know. We don't gather to compare clothes on sundays, we don't interfere in other peoples lives, but we do insist we are right. We don't know. When you get a photo of God then come and talk to me , until then just shut up, you are just guessing.
23:58 April 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
My opinion is that everyone is entitled to his or her religious beliefs, and that they should keep them to themselves except among their fellow believers. Belief isn't the problem. Proselytizing is. That goes for all religions, in my humble opinion.
01:10 April 24, 2010 by PSS
"But of course all the abuse happened because of gay people "like me" -Mexican.wav

Dear Mexican.wav,

"You have said it." ---- Sorry, Mexican.wav - that's an inside joke.

No, sad to say, I don't have "so much love to give everyone." I definitely struggle with that. I imagine we all do.

But seriously, Mexican.wav, I don't think that crypto-homosexual predators in the Church are anything like you. You seem like sincere and decent person and I am sorry that I might have hurt your feelings.

Really, I was not addressing the honest and upright people, like you, with whom I might disagree but rather the predators who use the sheep's fleece to hide their hunting. That, like all Catholics that I know, consider not simply a disorder, but the profoundest betrayal of trust and goodness.
01:31 April 24, 2010 by LoMo
I think some people here have forgotten to read the terms of use and FAQ about what's acceptable in these forums. Profanity and behaviour others might feel offensive (regarding religious belief, etc), is really not acceptable.

I'm a forum mod on another site and we don't even allow discussions regarding religion since they tend to end up in the kind of "flame war" we are starting to see in this thread of comments. I'd lock this discussion if I were a forum mod here... and I guess I'd delete quite a few of the posts above, too.

While I'm not a big fan of "the church" and don't believe it truly reflects the teachings of it's original spiritual leader, I wouldn't make blanket statements about people of any faith. And I'm a bit shocked at how insensitive people are being here.

Time to chill, guys. ;-)
11:17 April 24, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"Profanity and behaviour others might feel offensive (regarding religious belief, etc), is really not acceptable."

Not acceptable to whom? This article is about people leaving the catholic church in the wake of horrific scandals relating to the abuse of children by priests and coverups by the catholic hierarchy. Now THAT is offensive behavior, and if it can't be discussed in an open forum, then the forum should not exist.

The Americans are great at small talk, and make it a rule never to discuss religion or politics in polite company. This story is about both religion and politics, and if you don't like the discussion you should move on to another thread that is less threatening to your delicate sensibilities.

Forum moderators are simply petit censors who manipulate discussions to align with their own points of view by deleting posts they find offensive or disagree with. That is the antithesis of what a discussion forum should be.

Profanity is in the eye of the beholder. I find religious proselytizing profane and am offended by it. Others think certain words in the everyday vernacular are profane and are offended by them. So what's the solution? Profanity police? F*ck that!
12:14 April 24, 2010 by mexican.wav
PSS

They are not homosexuals, they are paedophiles, please stop grouping the two together!

I havent actually given a full opinion on this whole church matter to be honest and it has been in my mind for the whole time. When I first heard of the child abuse scandals I wasn't that shocked to be honest, its something that I hear everyday in the news in some form or other. As this all escalated, however, it was so refreshing to watch the church squirm and try and wriggle their way out of this situation but just digging themselves in deeper.

I had no problem with the church in general (I am ex catholic) and was very much of the live and let live policy........until they started attacking the gays.

Far from an advocator of gay rights or even much of a political person, Im much more of a bystander, but boy did the paedophile/homosexual remark from that bishop anger me. How dare someone try and find a scapegoat by flat out LYING to people and trying to bush blame on a social minority. I am kind of sick of people telling me "oh I dont agree with your lifestyle" Im sorry but what is to agree about? As i mentioned before my upbringing was catholic and so you can imagine the pain and horror it cause both me and my family when I "came out" my mum to this DAY still utters the words "I don't agree with your lifestyle" I can never have the proper relationship wherein my long term boyfriend can be accepted into my family, a right every straight person has had for years and I have the catholic faith to thank for that.

For it is these major religions, im not just singling out catholicism, that are responsible for perpetuating a BULK of prejudice in the modern world. It would be wishfull thinking to hope for religion to be abolished or even the catholic church having even a slight reform after this (I imagine it will all just blow over) but Im glad that they got a little stress from this whole situation and that their old scapegoats dont work anymore, to the contrary the whole world was in general appauled by that gay statement.
12:34 April 24, 2010 by Prufrock2010
@ mexican.wav:

You have every right to be appalled. The Catholic Church is militantly anti-gay and was one of the driving forces (along with the Mormons) of the anti-gay initiative in California (Proposition 8) that overturned a landmark California Supreme Court ruling that declared the State's ban on gay marriages unconstitutional. The Catholic Church in California should have lost its tax-exempt status over that foray into politics, but unfortunately there is no political will in America to go after this criminal church where it really matters -- its ill-gotten gains.

My cousin is a Jesuit priest with 3 (count 'em) Ph.D.s. He's also gay. He's so intimidated by the Church's anti-gay policy that he can't even admit to himself that he's gay. The Church's benighted anti-gay stance makes the U.S. military's despicable don't-ask-don't-tell policy seem almost liberal by comparison.

It is therefore no wonder that the Catholic Church would turn to gay bashing and scapegoating to deflect attention from its own well-documented history of criminally molesting children.
23:15 April 24, 2010 by wmm208
Germany leads the world in citizens converting to Islam. Its cool, everyone should join. Sharia law is next!
01:23 April 25, 2010 by Prufrock2010
How do you type with a straightjacket on, peschvogel? I didn't realize they had internet connections at the asylum.
04:55 April 25, 2010 by wetdawg~
Thank God for Sister Schremp>>>she broke me in and taught me all I know today
06:13 April 25, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
"To the critics of celibacy: there are many celibate people in the world for many reasons - mind your own business."

However they haven't taken anti-Scriptural hubristic vows that

set them up for failure.

"Following the doctrine of devils, forbidding to marry, to the destruction and ruin of many,..." 1 Timothy 4

When the priests had the confessional going full bore they simply used the women of the parish. Without that they're going for the children.

Rome is Babylon. As the Bible says, "You will know them by their fruit." Mathew 7:20

As Jeremiah 51:45 and Revelations (or the Apocalypse of St. John if you prefer) 18:4 says:

"Come out of her [Babylon], my people..."

To those leaving the Roman Church grab a Bible and see what God has to say about these things. You'll be pleasantly suprised.
09:09 April 25, 2010 by wpmobley
Celibacy for Christ;s disciples is not sanctioned by the Bible. The primary problem with the Romans is that they are not Bible based.
13:19 April 25, 2010 by homeboy
To David the norseman, I will type this very, very slowly, so you will Understand, GOD-----DID -----NOT------WRITE-----THE-------BIBLE. MAN-----DID, and actually he wrote several. To make matters worse, here in America, we have a bunch of right wing religious nut cases who want to rewrite the bible, AGAIN, to suit their views of what the world should be.
21:17 April 25, 2010 by wxman
This gives catholics who don't give a s**t about their religion anyway a noble elitist self-serving way to depart. Others with greater character will stick around to fix the totally human problems with the religion, like expelling all these sick f**ks once and for all.
00:45 April 26, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Nice thought, but that's like expecting the Taliban to purge itself of terrorists. Not likely to happen any time soon.
02:19 April 26, 2010 by sc123
I have a solution! Let the men marry.
16:38 October 17, 2010 by HS8
I spit on the Catholic Church
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