No tax, no sacraments, decrees German Catholic Church


BERLIN—Germany’s Roman Catholics who refuse to pay a church tax faced controversial new restrictions from Monday, barring them from receiving the sacraments or becoming a godparent.

In a move decried by a progressive Catholic group, the German bishops’ conference last week issued a decree, saying it was “worried” about the Catholic Church’s dwindling numbers and wanted to stem the drop.

Confession, the Eucharist, confirmation in the Church or anointing of the sick – unless the patient’s life is in danger – are now out of bounds for anyone who leaves the Church, the decree, which took effect Monday, stated.

Becoming a godparent is also off limits, it said.

Germany has had a system in place since the 19th century asking residents to either officially declare their religion and pay a church tax, or to be classed as “non-religious.”

A change in status from being a member of a religion requires a formal procedure to “leave the Church,” as an increasing number of Germans have done, mostly from the Catholic Church but also from the Protestant faith.

The levy amounts to between eight and 10 percent of income tax, depending on where the person lives.

A report in April 2011 showed that pedophile priest scandals in Germany had contributed to a 40-percent rise in the number of Catholics leaving the Church a year earlier.

Since early 2010 and in common with other countries, Germany has been hit by revelations that hundreds of children were physically and sexually abused in institutions, all but a handful run by the Roman Catholic Church.

Although the new decree permits a religious marriage for anyone who has left the Church, it stipulates two conditions – an okay from the local religious authorities and a promise to keep the faith and uphold the religious education of any children in the Catholic faith.

However, the bishops’ decree said “if the person who has left the Church has not displayed any regret before their death, a religious burial may be refused.”

A progressive Catholic movement reacted angrily to the move.

“It’s a bad decree coming at a bad time,” the “We Are Church” (“Wir Sind Kirche”) group said in a statement.

“Instead of tackling the reasons for Church-leaving in large numbers, this bishops’ decree is a threat to the people of the Church and is not going to motivate people to remain loyal or to join the community of those who pay their church tax,” it said.

Germany’s population of nearly 82 million is about one third Catholic and one third Protestant.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • berdengleon

    wow…i am a catholic and i find this is no different right now with INC, with its imposition of tithes,oh man, what has gotten over our heirarchy, what then for other catholic congregations on other countries?is this what really our GOD wants?anyone?

    • victoria_views

      The Catholic church must accept people not according to their capability to pay church tax or tithes but as worshipers.

  • Ommm

    Seems the church in Germany is selling tickets to heaven…but the followers have finally figured out their  pedophile  priests only have counterfeit tickets available….

    • opinyonlangpo

      With one third of the population remaining compared to the Philippines, it just shows that the Germans are really more intelligent than Filipinos.

      • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

         I think its 1/3 Catholics and 1/3 Protestant Catholics.

  • jga94

    What?!And I thought the CBCP was bad enough….

  • TotoyKalentong

    sounds like “indulgencia”

  • tagalinis

    this only shows that religion is a commercial endeavor!

  • opinyonlangpo

    The German Catholic Church is suicidal, no wonder they are now just one third of their population and after few decades more they will just be one thirtieth.

  • John_Galt_II

    Umaalis na sa church ang mga German. Mga Pilipino na lang ang mga uto-uto!

  • blainz

    “Germany has had a system in place since the 19th century asking residents to either officially declare their religion and pay a church tax, or to be classed as “non-religious.” ”

    The Philippines should have a law like this. Let the various religions set a tax on their own members and leave the non-members well enough alone. Complete with BIR forms. Then we’ll see just how much they’ve inflated their purported memberships and how much they rake in.

  • Dynamic

    This is not all about church affiliations.This is all about you;given the choice of your own free will.The best church in the World is you because God lives in you…

    • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      Umm. Yes and No.

      Basically, that is true. God lives in you.

      But then, individually, things can go awry since different people believe differently. If one ‘mis guided’ individual suddenly believes that God, is speaking into him, to bring a rifle on a tall watch tower and start to snipe people. Or that the God inside him is speaking to gather the flock and do a Jim Jones.

      Well, the point is, sometimes, individual interpretation of the bible or of what the person interprets as the word of God from within may go wrong, or mis-interpreted at the least.

      • Dynamic

        Evil spirits and demons can do that too and claim that they are Gods just the same.They can dictate or instruct anyone they choose.The most vulnerable ones are drug addicts and religious extremist(jihadist) on any religion or group,politically motivated or otherwise…

      • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo


        That is why there is that specific (and important) use for religion. Somehow, an individual interpretation goes thru a group of people, and decided collectively whether the God’s words as spoken to one man is either true, or not. It weeds out those who may choose to listen to do harm, than good.

        And so, God might reside within one person. But it would be prudent that when God talks to that person, that person consults the church, just in case it wasn’t God that was talking in the first place. In which case, do more harm than good.


    KITAM?  No money, no honey.  It’s all about moolah in da church-a.  Marami ng namumulat sa katotohanan sa buong mundo ….unti-unti ng nauunawaan ang matagal ng nabistong raket ng RCCh mula pa sa panahon ni Martin Luther.  It’s all about moolah.  Mananakot na naman na sa imp$%&no mapupunta kundi susunod sa kanila.  Anong klaseng religion yan?  Anong uri ng paniniwala yan?  Anong sistema ng pagtulong sa kapwa yan?  Sa halip na tulungan sa pamamagitan ng encouragement, e, dadaanin sa pananakot na kung an-ano ang mangyayari kapag hindi sumunod sa gusto ng mga naka-sayang puti’t helmet?  ONLI in da RCCh!

    • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo


      • UrHONOR


  • Hey_Dudes

    Are these holy people now in the blackmail business?

  • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

    is it a tithe or a tax?

    would the collected money go to the church, or it would go to government?

  • Eureka_Naiba

    This is clearly another mistake by the Catholic Church . . . mistakes after mistakes, wrong dogma after wrong dogma.  Tapos nagtataka pa sila kung bakit paunti na nang paunti ang nagsisimba sa kanila?

    Hay naku, manalamin nga muna sana sila.  Imbes na aminin nila sa sarili nila kung anu-ano ba ang pinagagagawa nilang mga mali para maituwid nila, eh mas ipinipilit pa rin nila yung mga buktot nilang pamamaraan.

    Kaya nga ba umalis na din ako sa pagiging Katoliko.


    An unfortunate development indeed! Based on my personal view, most of those who are considered to have ” left the Church ” are more personally inclined to consider themselves as non-practicing Catholics. This is a paradigm shift in Catholic Faith which the Church should address with liberal, instead of too secular, considerations. The Church has been confronted by issues on sexual abuse committed by few priests. Unfortunately, the Church has not been transparent about this issue-i.e, resorting to huge out-of-court settlement with the victims, no serious punishment meted on the erring priests thus they are inclined to commit the offense again. The trust to the Church is something for the latter to gain from the non-practicing Catholics whose faith though remains amongst them. Blessed be . . .


  • ThePatriot

    Unfortunately, this is the church’s fault, Money and faith can’t go together, classifying people base on their attendance makes it worse. You can’t blame the drop of Catholics there, after all, It is your belief that determines your religion, not your religion determines your belief. Back in times, Christian is not a religion, it is a group of people who believes in Jesus Christ, became a formal religion through his disciples after he was put in the cross. So, really, the word “church” is a group of people believing in Jesus Christ, with all the fellowship and one-mind one-body one-soul thinking. I doubt you’ll find any religion like that nowadays. Unless it is Satan’s religion, they could show the world their religion like that, but once you turn your back, they’re the worse people you have ever known. 

  • johnpierre

    Self destruction… a prophesy of the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • virgoyap

    This kind of paying tax in the Catholic Church surprises me, Mayron pa lang ganito refusing the Sacraments to those who will not pay church tax.This is no different from other religion in the Philippines. I don’t know what might be the reaction by the Catholics if this is applied in the Philippines. Maybe it will increase the number of drop-out Catholics.


    Somewhere else, the policy of wives is “NO TAX, no SEX.”

  • ryan andres

    hahaha…the lengths this desperate religion goes to boggles the mind…

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos