• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

Catholics quit church in droves last year

The Local · 7 Apr 2011, 10:11

Published: 07 Apr 2011 10:11 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It means that for the first time in Germany, more Catholics abandoned their church than Protestants.

A survey by magazine Christ & Welt, a lift-out carried by weekly Die Zeit, revealed that 180,000 Catholics left the church in 2010, which was a rise of 40 percent on the previous year.

That compared with 150,000 leaving the country's Protestant Church (EKD).

Membership decline was concentrated in the first half of the year, when public anger over child abuse scandals was at its peak, the magazine reported.

Many Catholics had left as a “personal form of protest and expression of disgust,” Cologne vicar-general Dominik Schwaderlapp told Christ & Welt.

The magazine surveyed 27 Catholic dioceses, 24 of which provided definite figures or estimates.

Especially hard hit were the Bavarian dioceses of Augsburg, Bamberg, Eichstätt, Passau and Würzburg, where the number of people leaving the church climbed by as much as 70 percent on the previous year.

Augsburg was the diocese of controversial bishop Walter Mixa, who stepped down a year ago amid allegations that he beat children while he was head of the Schrobenhausen children's home in Bavaria, as well as claims of sexual abuse and alcoholism.

This followed months of revelations about sexual and physical abuse within the church, starting in January 2010 when it emerged that priests at the elite Canisius College in Berlin committed dozens of assaults on pupils in the 1970s and 1980s.

More than 200 cases of such abuse at church institutions throughout the country emerged in the months that followed.

The dioceses of Trier and Rottenburg-Stuttgart, which are regarded as liberal within the church, also suffered more than 60 percent rises in the number of members quitting. The archdiocese of Cologne saw a 41 percent rise.

The Berlin and Hamburg archdiocese each suffered a relatively mild exodus, with the numbers leaving rising by less than 20 percent.

The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

11:16 April 7, 2011 by auniquecorn
yeah, the Catholics always said their church was a pain in the a$$.
11:57 April 7, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
well, good for them that they finally realized what a sick institution the Catholic Church has always been, and I don't just mean the child abuse scandals.

But jeering aside, this should be a wakeup call for the Catholic Church that it can't just keep on turning a blind eye as it has always done, and that it needs to stop putting all the blame on individual Church dignitaries who have molested children and not accepting responsibility for itself as a whole. So far I haven't seen much of that, the Church still does what it has always done... deny, deny, deny, point fingers, and cover up... senile old men are still more worried about the Church's reputation than about putting in place institutional safeguards against child abuse.
12:15 April 7, 2011 by Universalismus
This is a horrible, horrifying, petrifying and gory story.

Terror for the Catholic community. just like the priest photo and its cross.

Who will they sell their garbage Schöpfung story and fear of life doctrine to now?

Article speaks for itself, need not to say anymore

Catholicism = Depression, Fear, Hate, War
12:22 April 7, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
@Universalismus

"Who will they sell their garbage Schöpfung story and fear of life doctrine to now?"

oh, don't worry, there are plenty of other purveyors out there. Catholicism has no monopoly on religious BS.
12:28 April 7, 2011 by Universalismus
@iseedaftpeople

Now you got me on that one.
12:35 April 7, 2011 by bogart57
If you quit your Church does that mean you no longer have to pay your church tax(or whatever it is called in German)? That alone would be reason enough for me to leave any 'House of Worship'.....
13:17 April 7, 2011 by Altdude
Did anyone check to see if membership in The Church of the Holy Frisbee increased concomitantly? That could be the case. People are more and more attracted to the denomination which believes that when you die an ordained thrower must toss a concecrated flying disc which carries your soul to its final reward. I won't go into the entire theology here, but you better pray that a dog doesn't catch it and return it to the Holy Thrower. (That's not really a problem in the Reformed Church of the Holy Frisbee, however, also called the No Doggone Way branch). As we members know, verified by Wikipedia, The Church of the Holy Frisbee is the one true Church, all others being blasphemers and heretics, whose adherent's souls are condemned to the perpetual and eternal Yo-Yo.
14:30 April 7, 2011 by michael4096
@bogart57 - nobody ever has to pay church tax in germany - its a purely voluntary service
14:34 April 7, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
I love these articles which make use of meaningless statistics. If 10 people left the church in 2009 and 20 left in 2010, that is a 100% increase in people leaving the church. Percentages without supporting numbers are useless. "Lies, damn lies, and statistics." Also, what was the root cause of 150,000 leaving the Protestant Church? Could it be that people are figuring out that religion is merely smoke and mirrors?
14:55 April 7, 2011 by auniquecorn
Maybe they went over to the catholic church for a little action.
15:33 April 7, 2011 by fatherknowsbest
There is no question that organized religion including catholicism is on the ropes. The problem is dealing with Islam, a primitive and violent faith which espouses jihad and has millions of adherents many of whom are only a few years out of the stone age. Faith is a very powerful force in the world which is why the islamic threat to a culture with western ideals is so dangerous.
18:11 April 7, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
@fatherknowsbest

"Faith is a very powerful force in the world which is why the islamic threat to a culture with western ideals is so dangerous. "

It must be noted though that Christian fundamentalism is an almost equal threat nowadays to a wide array of social advancements in Western culture that have taken place in the last 40-odd years and wich now define our modern common (if you can call it that) Western culture as such.

either way, personally I don't care much for religion of any kind. I'm an atheist who leads a very happy and fulfilled life based on strong secular humanistic values.
19:31 April 7, 2011 by Englishted
14:30 April 7, 2011 by michael4096

@bogart57 - nobody ever has to pay church tax in germany - its a purely voluntary service

I thought you have to report that you have left the church to stop payments?

also you are always asked about it when seeking work and at the unemployment office.

Also be carefull as in many jobs in Germany you must be in a church,and to rejoin is very hard.

I give this only as a beware sign ,I don't have a god never mind a church.
01:42 April 8, 2011 by bernie1927
I noticed something strange. Not one "believer" has raised his/her voice in defense of any - never mind the catholic - church. How refreshing. I am 84 years old and lost whatever faith I had, back in 1944. Ever since, I have felt liberated, and when my time comes, I will gladly contribute my earthly body to serve as fertilizer.
01:54 April 8, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, I personally see this article as being an "Unfortunate Paradox."

As a very devout Christian, I know that Christianity is actually a profoundly useful concept, when followed properly.

The Christian Church, as with human life in general, only fails when people don't "Do as they should." (Real Conservatism)

The evil and deceptive Spirit of Liberalism has been destroying humanity since day one. If humans were to subscribe to the Spirit of God, then they would have the power to overcome the negative forces. Surely this is the truth.

Non-emotionalism=Real Conservatism=The Spirit of God.
09:03 April 8, 2011 by freechoice
Repent! The End is Near!
11:31 April 8, 2011 by Angry Ami
Damn, that means fewer catholic girls, oh sorry :-P
16:30 April 8, 2011 by Wise Up!
It's not about the sex abuse case that is causing the exodus. It's more part of a trend of secularism happening across Europe. People there no longer believe in God but rather worship the earth. Politicians have become their new gods. When one doesn't believe in God, they just don't believe in nothing; they belive in anything....
20:57 April 8, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
@Logic Guy:

"As a very devout Christian, I know that Christianity is actually a profoundly useful concept, when followed properly. "

whelp... but that's not what's happening in real life. And the Bible holds no monopoly on good moral values (in fact, some of the values proposed in it are rather harrowing and most - moderate - Christians would never in their dreams subscribe to them today). That the Bible is an infallible, and more than that, THE source of good morality is another fallacy surrouding that book, or rather, one that is held up by its followers, both religious institutions and their sheep. I am an atheist but that does not mean that I have no values or moral convictions. They just stem from humanism, not from the belief in some higher being who sanctions or punishes my deeds as he sees fit. And they have worked out very well for me in my life.

As for your other claim -

"The evil and deceptive Spirit of Liberalism has been destroying humanity since day one. If humans were to subscribe to the Spirit of God, then they would have the power to overcome the negative forces. Surely this is the truth."

Wrong again. What you so loathingly refer to as "liberalism" is the fact that mankind has freed itself from the yoke of oppression of the ecclesiastical class, particularly here in Europe, where not too many centuries ago my kind, or for that matter anybody who did not agree with the Catholic Church's teachings, had to fear being hung or burned at the stake.

Now you might say, well, that all happened because the Church didn't heed its own moral teachings of love and forgiveness. But in the end, faith proves to be quite a bit like socialism - not an inherently bad concept in theory, but it falls on its feet woefully when put to the test in reality, and is especially abused by people in power. Add to that the fact that there has never been proof of the existence of any kind of god (and not even the Bible delivers a single shred of proof for the existence of a Christian god, beyond its own circular reasonings).
04:46 April 9, 2011 by volvoman9
@iseedaftpeople Bravo!!!!!
05:26 April 9, 2011 by hanskarl
@ iseedaftpeople

"It must be noted though that Christian fundamentalism is an almost equal threat nowadays to a wide array of social advancements in Western culture that have taken place in the last 40-odd years and which now define our modern common (if you can call it that) Western culture as such."

Not even close. Secular humanism now defines our modern common culture.

"either way, personally I don't care much for religion of any kind. I'm an atheist who leads a very happy and fulfilled life based on strong secular humanistic values."

Hmmmm....lets see............ We forget God, condemn those who do not and then fling glittering accusations at them and when we are done we then worship self..........

And we wonder why the world is going to h3ll in a hand basket. Duh!
19:53 April 9, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, I'm actually grateful that the Atheists here on TheLocal responded. As a Non-emotionalist, I have the character necessary to have a productive debate.

In reality, there are people from all backgrounds that exhibit ethical and moral behavior. Therefore, you can't blame religion on all of the world's problems.

I've noticed that Atheists often use "Old Teachings" from the Old Testament, in an effort to discredit Christianity. What they fail to understand is that laws in the New Testament "Cancels Out" laws in the Old Testament. Jesus was non-violent and therefore so are ALL Christians. You can label yourself as being anything you choose, but obviously that doesn't mean that you are who you claim to be. Proof is in fact, not perception.

Many concepts of various types have been introduced to humanity of the last 3000 years. However, when you combine Christianity with Non-emotionalism, you would get an individual with character that resembles perfection.

If all branches of Christianity we to follow the formula above, then church congregations would actually increase, and do so steadily!
22:42 April 9, 2011 by dizzyblondefrau
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." --Psalm 14.1a and again in Psalm 53.1a

Churches may fail you, but the Bible will not. Don't give too much heed to churches or pastors or whatever, but read and study God's Word.

Our bodies will become fertilizer all right, but our SOUL will live forever in either heaven or hell. Don't believe or disbelieve me, read and study for yourself. You only have now to decide, for God tells us in his Word...

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment".

Don't seek after "religion", seek Christ Jesus!!

"Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near".
18:59 April 11, 2011 by obama bin lyin
How moronic, unless those same/similar people quit the public school by pulling their children out due to the persistent sex abuse scandals that are more prevalent in public schools.
Today's headlines
Nazi POW leaves estate to 'kind' Scottish village
The former German soldier stayed on to work in the Perthshire village for a time after the war. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP file picture

A former Nazi prisoner of war has left his entire estate in his will to a small village in Scotland to show his appreciation for the kindness he received there during his captivity.

US tries to block Chinese purchase of Aixtron
Photo: Oliver Berg / DPA / AFP

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal.

Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress
Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls.

Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

Germany gains record number of Michelin-star restaurants
Head of the Michelin Guide, Michael Ellis (centre) with Michelin-star chefs at a presentation in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Germany had a slew of newly minted Michelin-star restaurants this year, and its top-rated establishments held onto their prestigious three stars.

At last: Germany passes major disabled rights reform
People in wheelchairs watch as the German parliament deliberates on the new disability rights reform. Photo: DPA.

For years people with disabilities in Germany have called for legislation to provide them with better benefits and opportunities in life and work. On Thursday the German parliament passed such a reform - but is it enough?

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,591
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd