Germany: Catholic Church sees record drop in membership

Deutsche Welle

June 26, 2020

More than half a million people officially left the Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany in 2019, new figures show. Just over half the population now belongs to one of the two main denominations.

Germany’s top Catholic body said Friday that a record 272,771 people left the country’s Catholic Church in 2019, and that the number of baptisms and weddings taking place in churches also dropped sharply.

The number compares with some 216,000 people canceling their membership in 2018, and beats the previous record of around 218,000 in 2014 by a large margin.

The chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, said the statistics could not be made to look good in any way and that the drop in baptism and wedding ceremonies showed the “erosion of a personal attachment to the church” particularly clearly.

The German Protestant Church (EKD) also had cause to be concerned about its membership numbers, with 270,000 people leaving in 2019, an increase of 22% on the year before. The figure equals that of 2014.

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