359,338 left the German Catholic Church in 2021, a record number in the country which reflects “a deep crisis”, admitted the head of the Bishops’ Conference.
Georg Bätzing said at a press conference that he was “deeply shocked by the extremely high number of people leaving the church”. These latest numbers are worse than previous years: 221,390 left the Church in 2020 and 272,771 in 2019.
More than a million have left the Roman Catholic Church since 2018. The number of those who officially belong to the institution is 21,645,000, but most not regularly attending religious services.
One of the reasons given by the Episcopal Conference to explain the record number of kirchenaaustritte is the effect of surveys on sex abuse scandals inside the Church.
But the Roman Church in Germany is also experiencing strong LGBT outflows among priests and other church workers, as well as heated theological debates surrounding the the celibacy of priests and the role of women in the direction of the church.
Less than half of Germans today are members of the Roman Catholic Church or the Evangelical Protestant Church (EKD), which announced in March that it had lost 2.5% of its members in 2021, falling below the 20 million member mark.
In 2007, Catholics and traditional Protestants still made up 61.5% of Germany’s population, according to the news site Pro Medien Store.
Nevertheless, the total number of Christians in Germany is higher when the members of free evangelical churches (whose church attendance is much higher) and other Christian denominations are counted.
Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
– “A deep crisis”: the Catholic Church in Germany records a record loss of members