30 Percent of German Catholics Are Considering Leaving the Church After It Suffered Record Losses in 2019

German bishops fold their hands in prayers during a service to open the annual bishop’s conference in Fulda, September 25, 2007. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Two weeks after the Catholic Church in Germany announced a record 272,771 people formally left the Catholic Church across the country in 2019, a new survey released Thursday says some 30% of the church’s more than 22 million members are considering similar action.

The survey, conducted by the research institute INSA Consulere for the Catholic weekly newspaper Die Tagespost, shows that nearly a third of respondents agreed with the statement “I am a member of the Church and can imagine leaving the Church soon,” the Catholic News Agency reported.

Some 54% of Catholics disagreed with the statement, 9% said they did not know, and 7% did not respond to the statement.

Germany has a population of just under 84 million. Of that number, 22,600,371 or 27.2% are members of the Catholic Church, according to official statistics.

Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, said in a statement on June 26 that while some of the decline can be attributed to changing demographics he was concerned that the Catholic Church was no longer inspiring people to stay.

“Of course, the declines are also due to demographics, but they also show first of all the fact that, despite our concrete pastoral and social actions, we no longer motivate a large number of people for Church life,” Bätzing said.

“I find the very high number of people leaving the Church particularly burdensome. We regret every departure from the Church and we invite everyone who has left or wants to leave to talk to us. The number of people leaving the Church shows that the alienation between Church members and a life of faith in the Church community has become even stronger.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair