Skip to comments.Pay to pray: German bishops stop weddings and funerals unless religious taxes are paid
Posted on 09/28/2012 1:42:44 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
The road to heaven is paved with more than good intentions for Germany's 24m Catholics. If they don't pay their religious taxes, they will be denied sacraments, including weddings, baptisms and funerals.
A decree issued last week by the country's bishops cast a spotlight on the longstanding practice in Germany and a handful of other European countries in which governments tax registered believers and then hand over the money to the religious institutions.
In Germany, the surcharge for Catholics, Protestants and Jews is up to 9pc on their income tax bills - or about 56 (£45) a month for a single person earning a pre-tax monthly salary of about 3,500, AP reported.
For religious institutions, struggling to maintain their congregations in a secular society where the Protestant Reformation began 500 years ago, the tax revenues are vital.
The Catholic Church in Germany receives about 5bn annually from the surcharge. For Protestants, the total is just above 4bn. Donations, in turn, represent a far smaller share of the churches' income than in the US.
With rising prices and economic uncertainty, however, more and more Catholics and Protestants are opting to save their money and declare to tax authorities they are no longer church members, even if they still consider themselves believers.
"I quit the church already in 2007," Manfred Gonschor, a Munich-based IT-consultant, said. "It was when I got a bonus payment and realized that I could have paid myself a nice holiday alone on the amount of church tax that I was paying on it."
Gonschor added he was also "really fed up with the institution and its failures".
Such defections have hit the Catholic Church especially hard it has lost about 181,000 tax-paying members in 2010 and 126,000 a year later, according to official
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
There is Church tax in Germany WHATTTTTT
I don’t get it WHY
In Germany, everyone has a choice: about 9% of your tax bill is set aside either to donate to a religion or to simply go straight to the government.
If someone claims they are Catholic, but doesn't tick the box, the bishops are making a very important point: if you are going to deny that you belong to the Church at tax time, why should we believe you now that you say you are a member?
It isn't about money - since any individual's allotted contribution might be a few euros or nothing at all, depending on their taxable income.
It is about people renouncing their faith publicly, and then reclaiming it when they need something from the Church.
The Church tax was instituted in order to keep the peace in a religiously divided country.
To an American it is bizarre.
To a European it is obvious.
That is when its stops being a real church.
That's nice and dramatic, but it has the disadvantage of being untrue.
You must work for MSNBC.
I thought Martin Luther addressed this practice quite well.
Correct. He helped pioneer the takeover of private Church finances by government officials.
This line in the article is completely incorrect.
If the money is not donated it is not kept by the taxpayer.
It is kept by the government. No one is saving any money by not approving the donation.
If you opt out of church tax in Germany, you cannot do it by form.
You have to go to the parish office or to city hall to make your declaration in person.
You basically make a point of publicly declaring that you do not consider yourself to be a member and you renounce your adherence to your religion.
And that tax was likely a main culprit behind secularization as it made the churches unresponsive to the needs of the congregations.
The point of the system in the first place was to make Protestants and Catholics equally loyal to the government, since no matter the religion of the politicians in charge, no one's church would be subject to defunding.
So, yes, the net effect was to make the state the master of the Church in economic matters and therefore to encourage secularism.
If people officially announce ---for the record, to the government --- that they have left the Catholic Church, why would they be demanding Sacraments? Is the Church legally required to offer sacraments to non-Catholics now?
Very recently FReepers were supporting that priest in the Archdiocese fo Washington who refused Holy Communion to a woman who was a practicing lesbian and Buddhist. But in this case the Catholic Church is supposed to say, "That's OK, Catholic Sacraments are a public utility now"?
The complicating factor is that in the 19th century, the German state seized a lot of buildings and property from various churches, and then instituted this form of funding as a kind of reimbursement. It's not the sort of thing that's done in the USA --- for which I'm glad, because under our Constitution it would be considered "excessive entanglement" --- but it's a voluntary collection from people who voluntarily identify as Catholics. Same for Lutherans, or whatever church they want to designate.
It's certainly no question of money. It is contrary to Canon Law to charge for a Sacrament, or deny any person a Sacrament on account of money. It is a question of having made a public rejection of Catholicism.
would Martin Luther be turning over in his grave
or. with and after Luther did German’s just switch such state-church ties from the old instiutions to the new???
Sermon or no sermon, the churches get paid so why be concerned with trying to meet the needs of the people?
1. It is none of the governments business whether someone is a member of a church or not.
2. Church has no business being intertwined with Caesar.
An evil FASCIST practice of having government guarding the gate of the church and holding its treasury box.
“It is about people renouncing their faith publicly, and then reclaiming it when they need something from the Church.”
That may be, but ONLY because the Church has involved the state in collecting money for it through taxes in the first place.
If Germans had American-style separation of Church and state, what would the German churches be doing - going broke?? If so, what does that say about the true level of the “faithful” and whose fault is that?
Let the German chuches come out and oppose the special tax-donation in the first place, proposing an equal reduction in German taxes so congregants have more money in their own pockets, and maybe the Churches then won’t need support from the state. Until then I say it’s their fault for supporting a churchp-state financial relationship that shouldn’t exist in the first place.
This article totally misrepresents the facts at hand. In order to be exempt from the German Church tax one must declare they are no longer a member of a church, whether Protestant or Catholic.
Why should the Church allow people who have lied in order to avoid the tax use the services of the Church? If you claim you are not Catholic you should not expect to get married or receive other sacraments. The Church does get financial support through these taxes.
Church members whether if it is through taxes (as in Germany) or private tithing need to support their churches. Churches have expenses too.
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