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German Catholics "Pay To Pray"

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Thought this was pretty good, and crazy.


A Catholic reform group in Germany criticized the country's bishops Monday for declaring that believers who refuse to pay religious taxes won't be able to receive the sacrament, become godparents or work in church institutions.

The Catholic bishops' decree in Germany last week is part of an attempt to stem the steady flow of people who opt out of paying religious taxes. It declares that they have committed a "grave lapse" and effectively left the church.

But the group We are Church – which claims to represent tens of thousands of grassroots Catholics – said the bishops' decision to freeze believers out if they don't pay up was "the wrong signal at the wrong time."

When a German Catholic decides to stop paying religious tax their parish priest will in future send a letter outlining the costs of such a decision. These include being denied a church burial "unless you have shown remorse in some way before your death," according to a template of the letter posted on the website of the German Bishops' Conference.

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Mussolini and Hitler signed Concordats with the Vatican in the 1930's. Hitler got the first recognition for the Reich from another state, the Vatican, in exchange for millions of German Marks in tax revenue from Germany. However, since scandals such as the child abuses have come to light, the decline in membership/tax payers to the Vatican has been notable.The church tax system in Germany is quite a cash cow for the RCC. For decades, the Catholic church in Germany has been accustomed to dizzying wealth underpinned by tax revenues: $61 billion in from 1998 to 2007, with $6.5 billion in the year 2007 alone.

Associated Press - Germans quit church during 2010 sex scandal- By JUERGEN BAETZ , 07.29.11, 11:25 AM EDT

BERLIN -- The number of people leaving the Roman Catholic Church in Germany jumped by nearly 50 percent in 2010 as an abuse scandal widened, new data showed Friday.Some 181,000 people quit their memberships last year, up from 124,000 in 2009, official numbers released by Germany's Roman Catholic Church showed. Deaths and people turning away from the church heavily outnumbered baptisms, which reached a record low, putting one of the world's wealthiest and most influential Catholic Churches further in decline. Over the past twenty years, the number of members of Germany's Roman Catholic Church has fallen from 28.3 million to 24.6 million or 30.2 percent of the country's population in 2010, the data showed.

The numbers are easily tracked because members pay a church tax unless they formally leave the congregation - the same reason the declining membership has led to increasing budget shortfalls for the church. Leaving the church in Germany starts with a visit to the local court or registry office where the applicant completes an official declaration of withdrawal before a court official. The court then sends notifications to the parish, the employer and the local registration office.Excommunication from the church ensues automatically and one's baptismal certificate is endorsed to that effect.The German Catholic church has meted out the penalty of excommunication to 1.1 million former members from 1998 to 2007.


I could see that allowing the ones wanting to be exempt of taxes to remain Catholics could cause the Church tax- payers to resent an equality with non-payers. Again man-made rules show their shortfalls. Doing things the way early Christians did regarding voluntary contributions and not such elaborate places of worship nor inventing a clergy class to have to wage was a far fairer simpler system.

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