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Mass exodus from Catholic Church in Austria

Catholic World News - January 13, 2010

Austrian Catholics left the Church in record numbers in 2009, Deutsche Press agency reports. The dissident group We Are Church claims that the exodus was motivated by “self-defense,” and claims that the departures began when Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of the controversial Bishop Richard Williamson. A spokesman for the Vienna archdiocese offers a different explanation, saying that tough economic times make people reluctant to pay the “church tax” that is required for registered believers.

Austria’s population is now 66% Catholic—down from 89% in 1961.

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  • Posted by: Chorherren - Jan. 13, 2010 4:34 PM ET USA

    Alas, this is hardly surprising since this poor Church has suffered from so many mistakes due to its leadership, rationalistic theology, absent catechesis, deracinated priesthood and a general malaise. It is only surprising that the collapse has not been more severe.

  • Posted by: adamah - Jan. 13, 2010 4:25 PM ET USA

    "Church tax" as required for registered believers? I guess they have a different set of Sacraments of Initiation over there.

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