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Catholics to exclude church tax dodgers
Photo: DPA

Catholics to exclude church tax dodgers

Published: 20 Sep 2012 14:09 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Sep 2012 10:24 GMT+02:00

Catholics who decide to skip the tax will be unable to receive Communion, be confirmed or go to confession, Die Welt newspaper wrote on Thursday. The rule, which takes effect on September 24, also bars non-payers from becoming godparents or belonging to a Catholic congregation.

Critics have argued that believers can still count themselves as members of the Catholic community and practice their faith without paying the church tax – which amounts to 8 or 9 percent of a person’s income, depending on the state.

A “general decree” published on Thursday by the German Bishops Conference says church-leavers have violated their obligation to make a “financial contribution that allows the church to fulfill its role.”

Die Welt reported that Pope Benedict XVI personally approved the document, which puts an end to months of wrangling over the issue.

Couples can receive an exemption to be married in the church, as long as they pledge to maintain their faith and raise their children as Catholics. But the powers that be can deny church tax dodgers a Catholic burial “if the person who has left the church has not shown any sign of remorse before death.”

Though the bishops’ text avoids the word “excommunication,” the consequences of the all-or-nothing rule are essentially the same.

If a Catholic notifies the registry office that he has chosen to renounce his faith, thereby allowing him to stop paying church tax, he will receive a letter from a priest that includes a list detailing the consequences of his decision – and an offer to meet for “reconciliation” talks.

More than 100,000 people have left the Catholic Church in Germany each year since 1990 – with more than 126,000 deciding to part ways with the church last year.

DAPD/The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:48 September 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
OK, I am not a member of the flock. Off to somewhere sunny withe the tax money saved. The church can find its Paedophile priest payoff money somewhere else.
14:49 September 20, 2012 by raandy
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

How Christian of these folks. I wouldn't pay and I don't want any of their Godly service
14:58 September 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Maybey they need the money to pay off one of their phone bills. http://www.thelocal.de/society/20120920-45087.html
15:03 September 20, 2012 by Legal E
This is one thing that annoys me in Germany. You get persecuted beccause of your faith... yes you do. If you do not pay the tax then you are not Catholic. Sorry Bllox! The Pope still actively pulls the strings in Bavaria thinking he is still the Bishop.

Blackmail and I think the church should concentrate on its real issues not funding their nice pretty churches (which I say are very pretty) and concentrate on what is meant to be a Christian.
15:03 September 20, 2012 by laurencelewis
I am speechless at the obvious stupidity of Catholic leaders, then again, why am I surprised? They continue to blunder around with their feet in their mouths, all the while becoming more and more irrelevant.

It is almost as if they have recognised that modern society no longer needs God and want to ride out their decline in some semblance of financial stability; securing their income to the poor people indoctrinated enough to think that eternal bliss has the cost of 8-9% of their income. - "Herr Schmidt, your alternatives are as follows, sign here to contribute on a monthly basis to the upkeep of arbitrary symbols of religious fervour and piety which bear little relevance to the teachings of Jesus, or suffer eternal agony in the pits of hell" Way to go guys, you're really helping us all through troubled times with that one.
15:08 September 20, 2012 by keeps71
Good, why the debate? Now can we get back to the real problem which is why is the government responsible to collecting this tax in the first place? Taxpayers money spent on collecting religious tithes? That's an effing disgrace right there and no one in Germany even complains. After that they should look at tax breaks for religions as well. Why should non-believers subsidise these obvious cults?
15:15 September 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Without the money they wont be able to maintain their lavish churches. Good. Maybe I will get some sleep on a sunday morning without those bloody bells pounding in my ears. It is a disgrace that an organisation in this day and age in a modern society can dip so deep into peoples pockets using moral blackmail. The state should seek to curtail that power and legislate against such arbitrary taxes being imposed. And to think people in Germany moan about the tax going to maintain the EU and Eurozone. This amounts to even more and there isn't a whimper about it. DISGRACEFULL.
15:16 September 20, 2012 by Legal E
@keeps71... i agree. I thought they seperated church and state in the 1700hrs... but the state still collects it.

When I first found out.. I signed off straight away as it stinks but sadly I found that the locals just shrug and say its what always happened. You are persecuted for your religion. Why no one brings this persecution topic up beggers belief.

Gawd, best go as this is one thing that really riles me. It would be simple, ship my body back to blighty and bury me there (sadly).

Serious question:- Does Muslims and Jews get taxed by the state? Is it not the same.
15:29 September 20, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
How pathetic is that. The Catholic Church is already the world's richest and wealthiest entity, bar none... and yet, they still can't get enough... doesn't their god command that greed is supposed to be some kind of mortal sin, last time I checked?

The Catholic Church is rotten to the core, from its "weltfremd" dogma to the way it has been handling itself in its global sexual abuse scandal. It deserves to be shut down and have its abundant coffers paid out to abuse victims and everybody else who has ever had to suffer under it.
15:38 September 20, 2012 by Dogs_Gonads
Sounds like a great idea. Can i have that in writing please.

If your C of E you don't pay tax here anyway. Not a recognised religious church.

Strange that.
15:55 September 20, 2012 by schneebeck
"Couples can receive an exemption to be married in the church, as long as they pledge to maintain their faith and raise their children as Catholics."

This is so they can perpetuate their flock. Maybe the kids will pay?

Now why wouldn't they offer an exemption for a burial?
16:03 September 20, 2012 by laurencelewis
@ Schneebeck Good point. If the saying "actions speak louder than words" has any truth to it then the Catholic Church's agenda can be heard loud and clear. They only care about our well-being when there is an obvious opportunity to sink their ideological fangs into our necks.
16:14 September 20, 2012 by pjnt
I love it. This will speed up their exit from the system. The more nonsense they spit out the better it is for the rest of us.
16:22 September 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
as soon as I got my tax card and saw the letters RK (Roman Katolic) written on it I asked the beamter to take it off. She told me I had to go to some other office and make a declaration and get a new one issued. I proceeded the same day to this office and signed the declaration. I don't care what the church wont allow me to do. I am a non believer anyway and even if I was a believer, logic would tell me that I shouldn't feel guilty about not paying for my belief.

It resounds back to the days the catholic church was selling indulgences in order to swell their coffers. The next step will be an inquisition and we will be called forth to answer a couple of "questions". Seriously. 2012 and we have a religious order doing this and getting away with it along with messing with our children behind our backs. Next we will be ordered to go on a crusade. Give me a break. I thought the German people were more awake than this.
16:27 September 20, 2012 by raandy
Amen, Brother Berlin fuer alles :-)
16:32 September 20, 2012 by Navigator_B
Schneebeck, yes, the church is laying down the law very strictly for non-payers but is happy to bend the rules to use them as breeding stock for churning out baby catholics.

"More than 100,000 people have left the Catholic Church in Germany since 1990 ­ with more than 126,000 deciding to part ways with the church last year." More people have left last year than in the past 22 years? Those figures don't add up. 
16:36 September 20, 2012 by JCBearss
I am a devout Catholic and I love my Church whole heartedly. I also believe the laws of tithing are important to a healthy relationship with community and Christ. Many social functions that our government must now take care of could be done through private charitable organizations if we all just tithed. Tithing according to the Counsel of Archbishops of the United States is 5% Gross income directly to the Church and 5% to another charitable organization. I love participating in this and am proud to do so. However, after living in Germany and seeing the 9% law in effect I am perplexed. I would love to have the government directly take over my tithing ¦quot;work¦quot; and have it come directly out of my paycheck, even if I could set up a program to donate to charities in the same manner it would be greatly beneficial. If by chance I skip a month it is on my conscious and I have to do penance, it is between myself and God and shows that I put myself ahead of the good of my fellow man and Christ. I would love to see Mother Church relook this and perhaps redesign the tithing in Germany from Napoleonic law to one that has a proper ebb and flow according to the teachings of Christ.
16:58 September 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Hey JCBearss. How about just 5% to another charitable organisation and forget the 5% to the church? Or even a higher % to the charitable organisation and nothing for the church? After all, I think the church should actually be giving a large % of their income to charity also.
17:16 September 20, 2012 by lucksi
I left the church as well a decade ago. Yet I still pay for em. The church gets -aside from their church tax- 50 billion a year in subsidies in Germany alone.
17:38 September 20, 2012 by BR549
All being said, I think Catholicism is still cheaper than Scientology...or??
17:47 September 20, 2012 by Englishted
I was raised as one in the U.K. ,reach a age where I could think and never went to church again ,but I never had to pay church tax in the U.K. does that mean R.C.'s in the U.K. will be on a slower train to the pearly gates ?.

In the town I now live we can't be buried because all the plots are for R.C.s or Protestants , but when you are dead you are dead so who cares.

I don't know where the believers of he who must not be insulted will go ?.
18:00 September 20, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
What is the going rate for each belief? No harm in shopping around before making a choice. Is there a cut price deal or a Two4One deal anywhere. What about loyality bonuses? Is there a minimum sign up period or can one "Abmeld" at any time?
18:02 September 20, 2012 by schneebeck
This might show both sides of the argument. From the Christian Bible. Luke 20,45 - Luke 21,4.

Beware of the Scribes

45 And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, 46 ¦quot;Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the market-places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at feasts, 47 who devour widows' houses and for a pretence make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.¦quot;

The Widow's Offering

21 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, ¦quot;Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.¦quot;
18:12 September 20, 2012 by laurencelewis
@ JCBearss Out of interest, which social demographic do you fall into? You do realise that making a regular payment to any organisation does not absolve you of responsibilities you have towards the people it supposedly cares for. This goes for Church and Charity. Further, the work of the Church and that of Charities is not comparable, the money going to the RC Church must necessarily go to all of its cumbersome institutions, whereas Charities are dedicated towards single causes and at least strive to be financially efficient.

Why in your comment did you sidestep all of the objections raised above and simply state your dedication to your religious institution of choice? This is classic of the God Gang; avoid the issue, avoid the issue, avoid the issue, state belief in God's will, condemn non-believers, repeat ad nauseum until the slow passage of time renders your position utterly irrelevant, but continue anyway, slowing progress towards a better, more harmonious society (see RC position on abortion, same sex marriage, contraception, stem cell research, misguided missions to under-developed countries, tax-evasion, on and on and on it goes).

Keep leaving them people!
18:13 September 20, 2012 by ChrisRea
I think many Catholics got tired of paying contributions to the church (collected by the state and forwarded to the church). Some good friends of mine, husband and wife, decided to "deregister" couple of years ago and since then they are donating the respective money to an NGO in South America. My guess is that many did the same and now the Church tries a desperate approach (threats like the above) in order to keep the money flowing in. It looks like the beginning of the end (of a financially worry-free life).
18:15 September 20, 2012 by marimay
This is nothing new, it is brutally enforced where I lived in Barbaria, I mean, Bavaria. I was raised Catholic. Church every Sunday, bible school, bible camp. I haven't been Catholic since I was 10. As a kid I thought it was all ridiculous. Glad I had control of my own mind even then.
20:25 September 20, 2012 by MaKo
Wow... I guess you gotta pay to pray.
22:05 September 20, 2012 by bobmarchiano
Maybe this is a good time also to examine why most business have to close Sundays

If Metro and others want to open there a business on a Sunday why not.
22:07 September 20, 2012 by Timberwolf
Wheres Martin Luther when you need him? This is sinful on the churches behave. They are surposed to luck after their flock not screw them......oh sorry they have been doing that for years too along with extorsion of their flock. Remember that the men in the long robes and funny hats are the earthly Princes of Gods kingdom and if you look though the ages the prince or kings have always extorted money from their subjects in the form of so called taxes. The faces may change through the centuries but the game remains the same. The preach love and compassion for their fellow man but that is just the smile on their face while all along they just want your money to line their coffers. Men of God my ass. Who else gets to live their live in comfort with money in their pockets for all of lifes needs and all you have to do is preach the Good Word but sure if you don't keep to it your self the higher princes will just send you off to some other happy resort far away so you can do it again. If you don't believe me just look at the Irish Catholic church's record while Rat Zinger allowed it to happen and then claims to have no knowledge....isn't lying a sin too? ah but it is ok for the princes of the church.
22:52 September 20, 2012 by Omufu
I'm protestant, give considerably more than 10% of my income to my church in Berlin. But I'm frei-evangelisch (free protestant - not the official state church) so I give because I want to, not because it's a law. My church gives away 20% of it's income, and all our income is from donations. I feel totally claustrophobic at the idea of being mandated to give 9%. It challenges the definition of 'give' doesn't it? If you have to do it or else, might as well call it 'pay'.

Just wanted to throw another perspective in here. Giving is really awesome by the way! Give and you shall receive (applies to other things too like kindness, respect, etc.).
23:29 September 20, 2012 by wxman
I'm a life long American practicing Catholic who attends mass every week, and all I have to say is: YGTBSM!
09:04 September 21, 2012 by BR549
I'm a life long American practicing beer drinking who attends German fests whenever possible and all I have to say is: BYOB!
09:17 September 21, 2012 by Anglo1
Is there anywhere else in the world that the government collects tax for a church. Why can't people see that most churches or religion is hypocritical in its teaching and the way they conduct their business is often perverse. Wake up people, stop paying and going to the churches and then we will see how the hangers on survive when the rest of society has to earn a living.
12:09 September 21, 2012 by wood artist
Well, we all know that the Catholic Church and the Pope control your access to God, and therefor your access to heaven too. If your priest isn't too busy playing with the altar boys he'll put in a good word for you...if you pay enough. Luther said it was a bad system way back when, but the Church doesn't change willingly.

To bad they stand for nothing that Jesus mentioned, and everything he was against. I suspect he'd have a real problem with "his church" if he came back today, and it only seems to be getting worse.

wa
13:18 September 21, 2012 by Legal E
Sweet mother of gawd... not sure how true this is but.

"About 70% of church revenues come from church tax. This is about €9.2 billion (in 2010)."

Spoke to my dad who thought I was pulling his leg then he stated. "the Pope has form.. not only did he reside over the investigation of child abuse and covered it up. His youth was also questionabl.. Also from my Googling (not sure how correct it is) The Catholic church in Germany is the richest in the world.

So when I stand at the pearly gates and Popey refuses entry for not being a good boy and paying for his Ch Margaux and Pomerols, I think the devil will pay as he surely does not want me there as I will drink all his Jack D.

And the Government charges "collection fees"..

It is a Pay per Pray view.
14:25 September 21, 2012 by Morseman
This an excellent example of the phoniness of a religion invented in the middle ages. If Christ returned today, he would recognize nothing in the Roman Catholic fantasy:

Venal sins, mortal sins, masturbation a mortal sin (yes, I heard an Irish priest telling youngsters that), uncleanliness of women except, of course the virgin Mary, infallibility of the pope, holy water, novenas, litanies, saints' names, and a lot more nonsense, but don't forget to pay your dues in hard cash!
15:51 September 21, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
And don't forget the old showbiz saying. "Bums on seats". The church needs bums on seats to pass the collection bowl around to. It is just one giant financial racket. Pretending to be the middle man between this world and the next. Somewhat like an immobilien Mäkler. After all is said and done, you wonder why the hell you actually needed them in the first place. Having done nothing you couldn't do yourself for free.
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