For decades the churches in Germany have lost members, and now the process has accelerated: Almost 440,000 people left in 2018. The Catholic Church calls the development worrying.
The number of people leaving the church in Germany has increased in the past year. 216,000 people would have left the Catholic Church in 2018, said the German Bishops’ Conference in Bonn. This is 48,500 withdrawals more than in 2017, when 167,500 people turned their backs on the Catholic Church. Overall, the number of Catholics in Germany fell by over 300,000 to 23 million last year.
The Protestants left 220,000 people from the church, which is a bit more than the Catholics. The number of withdrawals in 2018 was 11.6 percent above the previous year, said the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) in Hanover. The total number of Protestants fell by 1.8 percent to a good 21 million. This roughly corresponds to the decline of 2017.
The EKD Council Chairman Heinrich Bedford-Strohm said that every exit hurt. However, unlike in the past, one could freely decide whether one would like to stay in the church. “We are grateful for the many people who today choose to be members of their church out of conviction.”
On the Catholic side, the Secretary of the Episcopal Conference, Hans Langendörfer, described the development as worrying. One reason for the increased number of withdrawals was certainly the abusive study published in September. This triggered a great debate. “Many do not believe us anymore that we act consistently and resolutely against perpetrators,” explained Langendörfer the German press agency.