No tax, no sacraments -

decrees German Catholic Church

Sounds like a bargain to me:

Germany has had a system in place since the 19th century of asking residents to either officially declare their religion and pay a church tax, or to be classed as "non-religious".

Why does the individual have to pay a church tax but the church itself are not taxed? (I’m presuming Germany has the same religious tax breaks most of the world’s countries have)

Germany's Roman Catholics who refuse to pay a church tax will be barred from receiving the sacraments or becoming a godparent, under controversial new restrictions entering into force on Monday.

In a move decried by a progressive Catholic group, the German bishops’ conference last week issued a decree, saying it was “worried” about the Catholic Church’s dwindling numbers and wanted to stem the decline.

Confession, Holy Communion, confirmation in the Church or anointing of the sick – unless the patient’s life is in danger – are now out of bounds for anyone who leaves the Church, the decree which took effect Monday stated.

Becoming a godparent is also off-limits, it said.

So the catholic church in all its wisdom decides to force the tax on the already dwindling flock? Sounds like a really, REALLY good plan amidst the raging European/US financial crises.

I do wonder whether they still need to give Sunday alms and the regular 10% as well?

From Wiki:

About 70% of church revenues come from church tax. This is about €9.2 billion (in 2010).

I find it noteworthy that in Europe, where most countries have official state churches, religion continues its precipitous decline, whereas in America, where there is very strict separation of church and state, religion flourishes more than anywhere outside the Islamic world.

I wonder whether in Europe people see the church as just another bureaucratic branch of government? Perhaps that leads to cynicism about religion? Or perhaps something else is at work?

Anyway, if we have any fiction writers here, here’s an idea for a futuristic story: the Vatican is on its last legs, with membership of the Catholic church having declined to a few last, mostly aging, stragglers spread out over the planet. With dwindling membership comes dwindling supplies of money and influence, and there is increasing pressure for the Vatican to dissolve and just become part of Italy. The last pope begins to have doubts about his faith…

Could make for some very interesting drama, not? :slight_smile: