FaithWorld

German bishops get tough on Catholics opting out of their church tax

September 21, 2012

(Detail of the western portal of the cathedral in Limburg an der Lahn, Germany, 24 April 2011/Beckstet)

Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops have decreed that people who opt out of a “church tax” should not be given sacraments and religious burials, getting tougher on worshippers who choose not to pay.

Alarmed by a wave of dissenting Catholics quitting the faith, the bishops issued a decree on Thursday declaring such defection “a serious lapse” and listed a wide range of church activities from which they must be excluded.

Germans officially registered as Catholics, Protestants or Jews pay a religious tax of 8 or 9 percent of their annual tax bill. They can avoid this by declaring to their local tax office that they are leaving their faith community.

The annual total of church leavers, usually around 120,000, rocketed to 181,193 two years ago as revelations about decades of sexual abuse of children by priests shamed the hierarchy and prompted an apology from German-born Pope Benedict.

“This decree makes clear that one cannot partly leave the Church,” a statement from the bishops conference said. “It is not possible to separate the spiritual community of the Church from the institutional Church.”

Church taxes brought in about 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) for the Rom

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Things are not as they seem. They look this way for a reason. The
reason is not human-friendly. You have been taught to resist anything
that suggests your world is not as it looks. A message however
continues to shout to you. He is not English. He is not American. The
news of the Eternal Word that became flesh, sent as the Saviour to
spill blood and descend to Hell only to quake forth in explosive
triumph in a rising from the dead as the forerunner for all human
beings forever, came out of Jerusalem to run through all the earth.
His work has nothing to do with religions of men set up in His name as
Hell-led campaigns to hide Him and the reason for His visits. He came
and delivered the promised solution. He came because of an unstoppable
love. The prophets of old called Him Emmanuel, Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Messiah. They
told of a first visit. They told of a second visit. His will for you
is life. Wake up. Or, at least check for yourself. For a start, at
least open the Acts of the Apostles. This should not be kept from you.

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