The Catholic Church in Germany has clearly significantly more withdrawals of older church members reported last year than the year before. This is the result of a newspaper survey.
According to the "Rheinische Post" the screen that appears in Dusseldorf almost twice as many people aged over 60 left the Church in 2014 compared to the year before. The survey took place in the 27 German dioceses, of which eleven have surveys of departures by age group.
In the Diocese of Essen according to the report, from 764 people aged over 60 left last year compared to 341 in 2013. In the Archdiocese of Hamburg, the number has risen from 330 to 886, it said. In Freiburg in 2013, 950 senior citizens left the Catholic Church, a year later there were 2,185. The Diocese of Bamberg recorded an increase of 1,470 withdrawals to 2,074, and the diocese of Limburg withdrawals increased from 399 to 537.
The proportion of senior citizens in the withdrawals is however still relatively low: it lies in the various dioceses at about six to eight percent, according to the report. However, in the Diocese of Münster now one in ten are older than 60 years.
The Viennese pastoral theologian Paul Zulehner spoke in view of the development of an "epochal upheaval" in the church. "The institutions do not contribute any more, it counts only as a personal decision", Zulehner told the newspaper. In his estimation, in the coming years, a sort of "representative, sympathetic churchiness without membership" could arise similar to trade unions.
Even as a whole last year, the two major hurches in Germanyhave lost more members than in previous years, . According to published figures in July, there was in the Catholic Church a decline of 230,000 believers and in the Protestant church of 410,000. In 2014, the Catholic Church lost almost 218,000 people -in the previous year it had been nearly 179,000. The Protestant church in 2014 lost significantly more members than in previous years.