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German Catholics, shaken by scandals, leaving Church in large numbers

March 26, 2010

German Catholics are leaving the Church in droves, and confidence in Church leadership has been severely sapped by the sex-abuse scandal in that country, according to a survey by Stern magazine. The survey found an unprecedented rate of defection from the Church, with only 34% of the Catholics surveyed indicating that they trust the Church and 39% ready to trust the Pope. Those numbers have fallen dramatically in recent weeks; a similar survey in January found majorities of 56% of Catholics trusting the Church in 62% trusting the Pope.


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  • Posted by: skladach - Mar. 26, 2010 4:58 PM ET USA

    Every year the German Catholic and secular media run stories on how many Catholics formally left the Church this year so as not to be charged the church tax (which is collected from Catholics or Lutherans by the government). So this year a few more left. Was it the economy? Was it the "new" excuse? This is not international news!

  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Mar. 26, 2010 4:17 PM ET USA

    "Leaving the Church" is an actual legal act in Germany. You are taxed to support your religion. To leave your religion you must swear out a form at a govt. office. Thus, it is much easier to get definite numbers there than it is here -- very German, I guess.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Mar. 26, 2010 2:38 PM ET USA

    "When the Son of Man returns, will He find any Faith?"