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German bishops’ leader defends sanctions against Catholics who withdraw from Church rolls

Catholic World News - September 26, 2012

The president of the German episcopal conference has defended the bishops’ controversial new policy barring Catholics from the sacraments if they have formally withdrawn from the Church.

"There must be consequences for people who distance themselves from the Church by a public act," said Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg. More than 100,000 people have made such a “public act,” removing their names from the list of Catholics who pay the “church tax.”

If a German citizen is registered as a member of a recognized faith, a portion of his tax payments are conveyed to that religious body. By withdrawing from the official roster, Catholics can escape the tax. But the German bishops have announced that by such a formal act, a Catholic makes “a deliberate and willful alienation” from the Church and should no longer receive the sacraments.

Archbishop Zollisch made a point of reminding reporters that the German bishops’ policy, which has the force of canon law, won approval from the Vatican.

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  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Sep. 27, 2012 9:12 AM ET USA

    The German hierarchy should abolish this out-dated method of tithing in order to raise revenue for the Church. The German Catholics should contribute to the support of their pastors in the same way that the rest of the Church does - by voluntary contributions based on actual income on a weekly basis by money in the offertory plate.

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