No tax, no sacraments, decrees German Catholic Church
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.
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”.
A change in status from being a member of a religion requires a formal procedure to “leave the Church”, as an increasing number of Germans have done, mostly from the Catholic Church but also from the Protestant faith.
The levy amounts to between eight and 10 percent of income tax, depending on where the person lives. [more]