The following is a July 20 Breitbart article by Thomas D. Williams:
In 2014, the Catholic Church in Germany lost a greater number of faithful than in any previous year in its history for which there are records: 218,000 people – 39,000 more than the previous year.
The figure is exceptionally high, exceeding even that of 2010, the year in which the German Church was shaken by the scandal of sexual abuse of minors.
In a recent article titled “The Bleeding German Church,” veteran Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti examined the German Catholic exodus, tying it to two principle causes, one financial and the other doctrinal.
From the fiscal side, church and state are much more closely allied in Germany than they are in the United States. Citizens declare their religious affiliation on their income tax returns, and depending on which box one checks, a special tax or “Kirchensteuer” goes to the appropriate religious body. The tax is calculated as an additional 8-9% of one’s total income tax payment, rather than as a percentage of income itself.
The Catholic Church in Germany is quite wealthy, in no small part due to the notorious “church tax.” In 2011, Tosatti notes, the German Church received somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.3 billion. Moreover, the Church in Germany is the second largest employer in the country, with only the state employing more people. Many of those employed are non-believers, and the Church’s considerable institutional presence influences people’s rapport with it, tending to create a more formal, and sometimes utilitarian, relationship.
The second proposed cause of German disaffection—and defection—from the Church is an ever more progressive trend away from traditional Catholic belief and practice toward a position often associated with mainline Protestantism.
During last year’s extraordinary Vatican synod on marriage and the family, the German bishops received considerable attention for their push for relaxing Catholic sacramental discipline, especially regarding Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. Heading up the drive was Cardinal Walter Kasper, who further muddied the waters by offending the African bishops, who, as a bloc, represented a more traditional force within the assembly.
Kasper has not been alone, however, in pushing for change. The head of the German Bishops’ Conference came out publicly, as well, saying that the majority of German bishops taking part in the Vatican synod on marriage supported the position of Cardinal Walter Kasper on allowing some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist.
Though Tosatti treats these two factors separately, in point of fact, they seem closely related, with some convinced that the progressive push for relaxed discipline is motivated by a desire to hold onto registered believers and, therefore, to their tax contributions, which make up 70% of total church revenue.
Many believe the German bishops are attempting to stem the flow of Catholics out of the Church by offering them wiggle room regarding traditional Catholic belief and practice, as thousands of Catholics in “irregular” situations have switched their affiliation on tax forms.
The situation has only gotten worse with a recent change in the German tax code.
A Wall Street Journal article last September suggested that Germany’s recently amended code, which closed a loophole concerning income from capital gains, means “church leaders have good reason to expect an exodus.”
As there is no sign of a change in policy at the Vatican, the Germans seem ready to go their own way, regardless of what Rome says.
According to Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Stuttgart, the German bishops will allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion, despite clear instructions to the contrary from the Vatican’s doctrinal chief, the German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller.
The Germans have been the most aggressive and most united group in the Church pushing for an easing of sacramental discipline, and seem determined to go it alone, if need be.
This has been a long time in the works. Back in 1993, three German bishops–Walter Kasper, Karl Lehmann, and Oskar Saier–issued a pastoral letter in which they stated that a dialogue was needed to determine whether the rule prohibiting the remarried from receiving the Eucharist “applies also in a given situation,” arguing that there ought to be “room for pastoral flexibility in complex, individual cases.”
This position was rejected at the time by then-prefect of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
I don’t think that Jesus gave wiggle room. Didn’t someone say yes means yes and no means no? I think that the position of the German Church is pathetic. Perhaps they should refuse money from the government and exist on donations or money from Rome. It’s so sad seeing the destruction of the Church in Germany. Watering down the Faith is not the answer.
Again, watering down the Faith is NOT the answer!
We Want to Help Others… Money can be of assistance, in some cases and with some questions – but Not All.
To take funding from the State is in a bureaucratic manner to have ‘supper with a long spoon’ – and hope that there will be no demands for ‘accommodation’ as in the past.
Dachau Germany was the first concentration camp opened by the Homosex Nazi ‘SA’ Storm Troopers under Pederast founder Ernst Rohm & his boy toy Hitler, and it is said that more Catholic Priests are buried there than in any other single location.
Pander or Perish – its the Gaystapo Way – then and Today.
Why is Islam growing ? Because Moslems practice what they preach. They are dedicated and are on fire for their beliefs. Unfortunately, Catholics and most Christians are not following Christ, and are more content with the world than they are with spiritual treasures. We are dying because we have very little love or devotion for the divine.
They asked young people in England why they were converting to Islam and they answered that Islam teaches what they believe.
Well, Pillar, someone is on fire for their beliefs, that’s for sure. (just ask the unfortunate Jordanese pilot) Frankly, I think people convert to islam because its a simplistic, easy-to-follow religion with materialistic and sensuous rewards promised for behavior that is basically a paint-by-numbers, pyramid scheme. All the gimmicks like praying in public (remember the self-righteous pharisees beating their chests) spouting easy but pious sounding cliches, et al, make it a snap to pick up and you get to kill people, lie, have all the sex and wives you want…what’s not to love? The appeal to women converts completely defies understanding, however, other than it must be the same type of women who marry serial killers and other…
I think that the overbearing male is fulfilling a need for some Christian women who, much thanks to a feminized society, find nothing but acquiescing pablum in Western men. Like some grossly exaggerated fantasy. I forget the article, but one ‘Christian’ convert to Islam stated that marrying a Muslim man gave her, for the first time, the awareness of the need for modesty. Her husband’s protectiveness in this regard made her ‘feel’ cherished….nothing like Christianity. (That blew my mind.)
Unlike society is promoting, having clear boundaries has its appeal at a deep, often unvisited level.
Yes, Ann, like all those ‘bodice-ripper’ heroes we encounter in romance novels that we’ve discussed on other posts…sort of like Rudy Valentino in “the Sheik”? A good example of a Christian male ‘heart throb’ would be Eric Liddle in ‘Chariots of FIre’…not exactly someone women picture tearing their clothes off or cherishing them as he so obviously puts God first. Good point, Ann.
There is also an issue with regard to the toning down of the spiritual aspects of Christianity. The appeasement approach wherein the supernatural is tamped down and underscored so as to ‘appeal’ to the scientific, modern or political mind has left a huge gap as well.
People are inherently spiritual beings. That is why when Christianity attempts to mask itself as modern many seek a more spiritual ‘experience’ elsewhere. If only we flawed human creatures truly understood the inherent value of an Eric Liddle. Loved Chariots of Fire.
MONEY $$$$$$$$$ is the root of all evils.
German (and all other) Bishops should start teaching the Catholic Faith accurately and fully for a change in accord with Sacred Scripture, and also the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition” of 1997 (dark green cover in USA).
Speaking of cliches…it’s the LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF EVIL. If you’re going to fall back on banal explanations, at least get them right.
Right on target as usual, Dana: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Tm 6:10). The Greek word for “love-of-money” is literally “phil-arguria”, “love of silver”.
However, socialists focus on money as evil, because, after all, all capital is itself wicked, of course. They will help you with that.
Yes, Steve , you’ve got it! Our beloved Mother Theresa sought money from anyone she could get her hands on! She understood what to do with it.
Dana most of the German Bishops love money. PERIOD.
That is why they are trying to change the Doctrine of the Faith – to allow Sacrilege – receiving Holy Communion while choosing to continue living in the state of mortal sin.
They believe that this will bring more people and therefore MORE MONEY into their coffers.
Those who are lovers of money – love money.
Start posting those things that will help people not derail them because of silliness.
Ignoring, tolerating or condoning Mortal Sin of any kind sends un-repentant Souls to Hell for eternity. It is not Pastoral, Merciful or Charitable to do this.
Those who choose to continue committing mortal sins must not receive Holy Communion.
CCC: ” 1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace.
Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance. “
CCC: ” 1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place.
Contrition is “sorrow of the soul
and detestation for the sin committed,
together with the resolution not to sin again.”
Condemnation for Receiving Holy Communion Unworthily – – 1 Cor 11:27-30.
Let us not forget that for many years the German Bishops’ Conference also owned Weltbild Publishing Company that produced/sold pornography – even though the Conference were told and objected to by many German Catholics.
The Bishops’ excuse was that it was merely “erotica and not porn”.
After this become known worldwide, they were forced to clean things up a bit in 2013. With Bishops like that – no wonder people have been leaving the Catholic Church in Germany in droves.
If you go the Weltbild website, you will see that things have not been cleaned up.
What is wrong with Germany? Get back to Catholic roots; the Reformation was a disaster – denied the Incarnation, ruined churches, destroyed the idea of personal sin. Thank God for the roots of faith – Germany has produced the greatest Catholics – Ratzinger, Thomas A Kempis, the German women mystics – she will not be abandoned by God. But hey stop polluting the waters of doctrine!
What is wrong with Germany? Let me count the ways. A country that practically single-handedly destroyed the Church with its sanctimonious plundering of its land and sacred (but oh so valuable) objects (don’t follow the 95 Theses, follow the money!!)..has had countless progroms against not just Jews, but ‘questionable’ populations so they had to flee (mostly to this country over the centuries) or be destroyed, brought Western Civilization to its knees through two horrendous world wars and on an on. Read their history all the way back to the Romans…see what Rome discovered back then! What they failed to do with bullets they’re doing with Euros. With Germany you always just follow the money.
I should qualify that by saying just look at the “Bishop of Bling” or the Bishop’s porn publishing company…obviously I’m generalizing. We need look no further than Bishop Athenasius Schneider or Pope Benedict XVI. I’m just making a point in the manner of Thomas Wolfe in “From Our House to Bauhaus”…that there is a segment of German society that really has control ‘issues’ that don’t mesh with the thoughts, beliefs, concerns, economic systems or even freedom to be in the rest of the world. :o) I guess that sums it up in a nutshell.
When we speak of German Bishops we should never say “all”.
“ALL” is rarely true of any group of persons.
‘Most’ or ‘many’ is accurate.
In response to “Catholic Truth” above: Ja, das ist fad milktoast Glauben, was sie wollen, die der “Glaube Bergoglio.” (Yes, it is a milktoast-faith, but that is the Bergoglio faith.)
What is also valuable about this report, which I already knew of before CCD’s focus today (it was reported last week), is that the “Kirchensteuer” or church-tax is a very accurate count, so it is hard for the Kasper-Lehmann-Marx New Church axis to effectively deny. And the fact this occurred in 2014 is clearly attributable to “the Francis Effect.”
It is better for those German Bishops who are heretics and schismatics to leave the Church than bring evil into it. Goodbye and Good riddance.
Otherwise many more Souls worldwide will be lost.
CCC: ” 2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized.
It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he…
All of Europe became very Leftist PC way before the USA did. The Bishops were bought out by the government and they did not want to offend the government so they kept silent—-or even supported Leftist dogma like abortion and homosex and promiscuity. In the meantime, the non-Christians (Muslims)were being embraced. The bishops have done this to themselves and to the Faithful.
First, the German clergy should come back to the Catholic Faith which a huge portion of them essentially have left due to their teachings.
Second, the German Catholic Church has been corrupted by the manner of its funding via the German government tax system. That system is one of the reasons that Catholic Germans are registering as non-Catholics for tax purposes.
In Germany today, unless a person is registered with the government as being Catholic, they are being refused the sacraments by their parishes.
Not all of the German clergy is lost, Xavier (although your point is well taken): Bp Stefan Oster, a Salesian, of Passau (age 50, a smart cookie with a habilitat in theology from the Univ. of Trier in dogmatic theology) is one to keep an eye on. along with 4 other southern German bishops, he headed a letter drafted in opposition to Card Kasper et al, that they would not accept a “re-definition” of Catholic marriage. When the coming battle comes, Oster and the S German dioceses will stand with the Eastern European and African bishops and traditional Catholic teaching. Who knows where the US bishops will be.
It’s really incredibly strange when you think about it, Steve, that we don’t know how our bishops will vote on such basic Catholic teachings as marriage and family. That in itself is some sort of bench mark, isn’t it? Nothing can surprise us anymore.
I can’t recall ever having seen anyone in any church I have attended being turned away for being divorced and remarried. This is just not being enforced in the United States either, except in theory, as far as I am aware, in any state in which I have attended Mass. Am I missing something? I just don’t see many people sitting in the pews these days while virtually everyone else takes communion. Why are we shocked that Germany is openly disregarding Church teachings? As one who is 1/4 German, may I say that Germans have been known to be a tad headstrong when it comes to pronouncements from Rome, as anyone knows who has studied history and/or followed the news for the past 70 years or more.
“In 2011, Tosatti notes, the German Church received somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.3 billion.”
So where did all that money go? Real estate? Fancy cars?
Tom in SJ, you are on target about the vast amounts of Kirchensteuer tax that drives many German episcopates.
However, the media is careful to keep quiet about Card. Reinhard Marx’s similarly vast expenditures. Marx was quick to jump on the now-deposed “bishop of bling”, Limburg bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz von Elst, for von Elst’s approx. $70M USD ($51M Euros) spent on residences and diocesan buildings: but Marx spent on his own episcopal palace ALONE at least $8M Euros (over $10M USD), apparently to bring it up to Card. Marx’s standards. Truly, these are the Princes, and I do mean Princes of the Church (and PJ in San Jose of course welcomed him to his chancery in January as though he were a conquering hero).
The V2 Church in the US is only 20 years or less behind Europe where only 2% of the members attend services on weekends. Its going to happen here too. But don’t fret, it is only protestant like all the other reformed churches started by men. The Roman Catholic Church does truly exist and Christ keeps His promise to be with Her. She exists in the traditional Roman Catholic Parishes throughout the world that hold strictly to preserving the ancient Latin Rite, the 7 Holy Sacraments, and the pure teachings of the Roman Catholic Church instituted by Jesus Himself! Pray that you may find one in your neighborhood and rejoice!
Bruce, correct me if I’ m wrong:
Pre-VII Post VII
Holy Orders Holy Orders
Extreme Unction Blessing of the Sick
Seven Sacraments pre and post VII.
What am missing?
I wish there could be some way, that the Pope and his prelates, could call a THIRD Vatican Council, and discuss all of these terrible problems– and RESOLVE them!! But I know it won’t happen!
Linda Maria, a Third Vatican Council would be a disaster for the Church in the current spirit of the times.
Good grief, Linda Maria, I wouldn’t want a V3, not with the unleashed heretics abounding today. The hijacking at V2, in my view, would look like a cake walk by comparison.
The only resolution will come, again in my view, when the prelates go back to what the Faith actually teaches and then go forward teaching as much without fear of martyrdom and/or losing popularity or $$$. I don’t see that happening in Rome today, not with a secular PR firm advising the Holy Father. The fact that the Vatican actually as a PR firm engaged and is spouting as much confusion as it is demonstrates, again to me, that many have lost their way and are listening and paying the wolves for direction.
How sad it must make them that they won’d be able to drive their big, gas-guzzling cars down that smooth, easy road into hell. Oh, that’s right, either there is no hell or we’re all going to go to Heaven, right? No problem!