According to official figures released on Friday (June 26), a record number of Christians left the Church in Germany in 2019, Catholic News Agency reported.
issued showed that 272,771 people exited the Church last year (2019), a significant increase in the 2018 figure of 216,078.
Regarding the statistics, Bishop Georg Bätzing, President of the German Bishops’ Conference, said, “I find the very high number of people leaving the Church particularly burdensome. We regret every departure from the Church, and we invite everyone who has left or wants to leave to talk to us. The number of people leaving the Church shows that the alienation between Church members and a life of faith in the Church community has become even stronger.”
The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), a body representing 20 Protestant groups, also released its annual statistics June 26. It reported that its membership fell from 21.14 million in 2018 to 20.7 million in 2019, a drop of 440,000.
According to the report, departures from the Church in Germany are sometimes motivated by a desire to avoid the country’s Church Tax. If an individual is registered as a Catholic, then 8-9% of their Income Tax goes to the Church. The only way they can stop paying the tax is to make an official declaration renouncing their membership. They are no longer allowed to receive the sacraments or a Catholic burial.
Catholics now account for 27.2% of Germany’s population of almost 84 million, down from 27.7% in 2018. The proportion of Catholics attending church services has fallen to its lowest level, with 9.1% attending in 2019, compared to 9.3% in the previous year.
According to the website
of the Catholic Church in Germany, in 2019, Church marriages declined by 10%, Confirmations by 7% and First Communions by 3%. The number of baptisms also fell from 167,787 in 2018 to 159,043 in 2019.