Germany’s Catholic Church lost 216,078 members and Protestant churches lost some 220,000 in 2018, according to data published on Friday by the German Bishops’ Conference and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). The losses have hit hard the two main Churches of the country, as members pay up to 9% of their taxable income as church taxes.
Hans Langendörfer, secretary of the German Bishops’ Conference, described Friday’s figures as a ‘worrying’ statistic. “Every departure hurts,” said Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, president of the EKD. “Since people today, unlike in the past, decide out of freedom whether they want to belong to the Church, it is important for us today to make even clearer why the Christian message is such a strong basis for life.”
A study published by the University of Freiburg in May concluded that the number of people belonging to Germany’s two Churches will drop by half by 2060. The main reasons for declining membership in the two Churches include adults leaving the church, fewer baptisms and an ageing population, the researchers said.