At her blog, Charlotte Was Both, Amy Welborn reminds us of the official position of the German Conference regarding reception of the Sacraments by those who refuse to register and pay the ‘Church Tax.’
Obviously, there is a lot of discussion regarding the Synod, much of that discussion being driven by Cardinal Kasper of Germany, who is just going on and on and on about compassion and mercy and such.
Plenty of people are talking about all of that. What hardly anyone is doing, however is even trying to move beyond the ideological narratives, and raising questions about the German church tax.
For that is really the most pressing issue facing the German Catholic Church. And I really wonder why any of our highly-praised religion journalists are completely ignoring this issue and don’t even seem interested in connecting the dots or even asking Cardinal Kasper directly about how the Catholic Church in Germany understands and practices issues related to Church membership and the sacraments. And taxes.
Welborn also notes:
So far this year, the number of Germans leaving the country’s Protestant and Catholic churches has reached its highest level in 20 years, twice last year’s level—a surge many clergy and finance experts blame on the changes in how the tax is levied.
From, The Catholic Thing, she quotes:
Some European journals are also calling for a reconsideration of the close financial link between Church and State in Germany. The Church draws a hefty income from this so-called church tax, and the clergy are paid rather large salaries by the state. Most Americans would be a bit shocked to learn that German bishops make between €8000 ($10,965) and €11,500 ($15,763) a month, depending upon their seniority. That comes to between $131,000 and $189,000 a year. Priests make less – but still far more than their American brother priests.
On Kasper’s continuous interviews in advance of the Synod on the Family:
Well, first you should be wondering why the head of a national church that is dying should have this constantly-turned on microphone on this issue. Why are we even listening to him? Aren’t we supposed to be listening to the Church from places where it is actually alive and growing?
Okay, back to Germany. Here’s how the German bishops responded to the growing exodus. Back in 2012, they issued a decree.
This decree declared that if you’re Catholic, and you un-register with the German government and don’t pay the church tax…you’re basically excommunicated. From, you know, the Eucharistic Table of the Lord. You can’t be buried out of the Church unless you’ve repented. Heck, you can’t even chair the social committee.