German congregations loosing faith in church

A study published by the University of Freiburg in May concluded that the number of people belonging to Germany's two Churches will drop to half by 2060.

German congregations loosing faith in church

The largest religion in the country faces a set back as the prominent churches - The Catholic and The Protestant in Germany has a large fall on their membership, the last year.

The Catholic Church itself records a fall of 216,078 members while the Protestant church counts to a loss of around 220,000 members in 2018. The data was published by German Bishops' Conference and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).

The two groups account for 53.2% of the country's total population of over 83 million.

The survey by the website Kirchenaustritt (church exit) in 2017, quotes the reason depicting the huge loss the churches had. About 45 percent of people who officially left the church did so to avoid paying the church taxes. The same reason also applies to members of Jewish congregations as well.

A church tax (Kirchensteuer in German) is the tariff imposed on the members of some religious congregations in Germany. Both the Protestant and Catholic churches are legally permitted to collect this tax from their members, which amounts to around 9% of their taxable income. This, in turn, helps both the churches to generate billions of Euros as their assets.

Unless they renounce their membership with an official declaration, the money is automatically deducted, just like the payroll or social security taxes. But, the membership renunciation is a free choice. Thus a large number of believers opt-out of the 'membership hardship'.

The financial burden can't be computed as the only reason for people to quit their church membership. Although no statistics exist regarding the reasons for the departures, surveys conducted by church officials in recent months suggest a connection to sexual abuse scandals emanated in the Catholic Church recently. The dire need of the summit on pedophilia of the Catholic clergy desired by Pope Francis in February this year also highlights the severity of this matter worldwide.

India too has witnessed horrifying truth of sexual abuse by clergy from years now. Be it the Franco Mulakkal's arrest, Sister Abhaya's murder case or a stoic silence of the church in the case of Kerala priest Fr. Robin, all these do affect the trust of people towards its religion. Kerala, the state that raised the highest number of nuns is currently eyeing towards 70-75% dropouts from the convents, thus lining a story of 'Unsuccessful Nunship'

The other reasons for declining membership in the two Churches of Germany include adults leaving the church, fewer baptisms, and an aging population.

The worrying decline yet tends to continue. A study published by the University of Freiburg in May concluded that the number of people belonging to Germany's two Churches will drop to half by 2060.

While the number of Christians is dwindling, the number of Muslims is increasing in the nation. Currently, there are an estimated 4.7 million Muslims in Germany, a substantial increase compared with an estimated 3.8 to 4.3 million in 2011. According to the Pew Research Center, by 2050 one in ten Germans will be a Muslim, and by 2070 at the latest, the global Muslim population will have outstripped that of Christians.