More and more people are leaving the church in germany – last year, more than half a million people did so. Among the catholics, 272.771 people back the church, 26 percent more than in 2018. A spokeswoman confirmed that this was the highest number ever.
Among the protestants there were about 270.000 people left the church, about 22 percent more than in the previous year. The figure was a rounded-up projection and was allowed to end up just below the previous high mark, a spokesman explained.
There are now 22.6 million catholics and 20.7 million protestants in germany. The figures were announced on friday by the german bishops’ conference (DBK) in bonn and the protestant church in germany (EKD) in hanover.
The president of the bishops’ conference, georg batzing, said there was "nothing to argue" about the figures. Sometimes "courageous changes" were necessary, and that was precisely why the german catholics had initiated the reform process synodal way.
The chairman of the EKD council, heinrich bedford-strohm, told the deutsche presse-agentur: "the current figures are a source of concern to us." He promised: "the church wants to change and is already doing so."During the corona crisis, new digitalized formats emerged that were well received. Bedford-strohm sees an opportunity in corona: "many people are now experiencing that the sudden interruption of their lives and the uncertainty of what will happen next is difficult to bear. Faith gives strength."
In the current year, however, the EKD expects a significant drop in church tax revenues of ten to 25 percent, depending on economic developments. The catholic church also expects significantly less church tax revenue due to corona.
Canon lawyer thomas schuller pointed out that the wave of resignations is independent of current events: "without recognizable scandals, the catholic church loses any binding force, and it seems as if a catholic rather has to justify why he stays in his church," schuller told the german press agency. Women in particular, who had previously been involved in parish work, increasingly drew the consequences from a lack of willingness to change.