Thursday, January 10, 2008

No Pope effect in Austria

This says nothing about the Pope but volumes about Austria, probably the most anti-clerical country in Europe. I was constantly amazed by the way that the Pope would say important things on Sunday observance and liturgy, for instance, that were totally unreported by the press, who came back with the constant refrain that the Pope was not addressing the needs of the Faithful. He was, it was just that they weren't listening.

It is in strong contrast to the positive response that the Pope has received in Bavaria. But even if he had been from Austria, he would still have received the same treatment in Austria.

Cathcon translation of Kein Papst-Effekt: Gleich viele Kirchenaustritte wie 2006 «

The same number leave the Church as in 2006.

Despite the Papal visit in 2007, more than 36,000 Catholics left theChurch. In the dioceses which he visited, Vienna and Graz-Seckau, no positive effect was palpable.

The hoped for strengthening of the Church by the visit of Pope Benedict XVI did not take place, the number of withdrawals from the Church remaining at the previous year's level. As kathpress reported on Tuesday, in the year of the Papal visit 2007 36,858 sheep were lost from the Catholic flock. In the previous year, this was 36,816. Also, the level of new and re-arrivals into the Church remained at 4,800. In 2004, the Catholic Church had to accept with 51,731 departures the biggest wave of emigration since the beginning of the computer-based records in the early eighties.

At the locations of the Pope's visit, Vienna and Mariazell, there was also little change in the number of those leaving: In the Archdiocese of Vienna, there were 11,649 who no longer wanted to pay Church tax, 19 more than in 2006. In the Diocese of Graz-Seckau, a total of 5,698 left the Catholic Faith, three people fewer than in the previous year.

The number of Catholics presumably remains constant

No specific figures are available on children's baptisms and Catholic immigrants, therefore, the total number of Catholics in Austria can only be estimated. According to kathpress, the figure is 5.6 million. In the home dioceses in 2006, 5,631,587 people held to the Roman Catholic faith.

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