Sunday, 13 July 2014

Catholic Church "Untrustworthy"

The Catholic Church in Germany is witnessing an astonishing collapse in public trust and is haemorrhaging members at an unprecedented rate. According to a Forsa poll recently 65% of Germans said they found the Catholic Church untrustworthy.

This trend has been linked to the 'bling bishop' scandal in which Catholic Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was found to have spent millions of euros of church money on his own private house. He later 'resigned'. Once again ordinary Catholics had to endure the embarrassment of yet another Catholic cleric abusing the power and trust his position gave him.

In Germany, a tax is levied on church members by the government unless they specifically deregister from the church with the local town hall. Officials in city after city across Germany have reported a huge increase in deregistrations not only from the Catholic Church but also from Protestant churches following this scandal. This has been dubbed the 'Tebartz effect' by officials.

Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst, "The Bishop of Bling".
In Cologne the numbers deregistering from the Catholic Church doubled in October 2013 compared to the previous month and deregistrations from the Evangelical Protestant Church rose by 80 percent with long queues forming. In Paderborn, also in North Rhine-Westphalia, Catholics deregistrations tripled over the same period. Osnabrück and Bremen also reported increases.

The largely Catholic state of Bavaria also saw huge rises in deregistrations. In Munich the number double to 1250 and it tripled in Regensburg, Nuremberg and Passau between September and October 2013.

Detlef Pollack, a sociologist from Münster University, said that this sudden jump is part of a steady trend away from religion in Germany as living standards and standards of education rise.

This news is another blow for German Christianity following a poll by Forsa in former East Germany which found 52.1 percent self-identify as Atheists and only 25 percent self-identified as religious. Even more troubling for the Church, the same poll failed to find a single East German under the age of 28 who did not self-identify as Atheist! Many young people are still voluntarily undergoing a sort of Atheist confirmation ceremony known as Jugendweihe (literally, youth consecration) which was introduced under pre-unification Communism. The Protestant church in former East Germany is now losing twice as many members per year as it gains.

As Peter Thompson of the Guardian, writing before the 'Tebartz effect', pointed out, this process is not confined to Germany but is following the same trend across Europe:

Secularisation processes are under way throughout the continent and the role of religion and the church in modernity are being questioned everywhere, from gay marriage to women priests to abortion and on to whether the EU should identify itself as a Christian entity. The question should perhaps be whether it is actually folk atheism that represents the future of Europe.

The idea that the EU should formally identify itself as some sort of Christian entity is absurd given this steep decline in Christianity in member states and Christianity's increasing association with the conservative, authoritarian and reactionary wing of politics in an increasingly secular, Atheist Humanist Europe.

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  1. Yes! Europe is leading the way away from this dreary nonsense. I hope we'll eventually see similar figures here in the US.

  2. I believe the Catholic Church is a colossus with feet of clay, an obsolete church in urgent need of modernization to survive in the long run.

    Here's a news article that illustrates this: .

    BTW, why not learn from this video: ? It's about a fatwa said to permit "Anal Jihad" for Muslim Brotherhood members. Also the Catholic Church needs creative solutions to delicate religious problems.

  3. I have been listening to BBC Radio 2 on quite a few mornings these past few weeks. They have a section whereby someone will preach for about 5 minutes. I find it amazing how the story of creation complete with Adam and Eve keeps popping up as though it is a matter of truth and fact. Bearing in mind all the scientific measurements and data available to us how come the BBC allows these smooth talking beguilers to proliferate? I fancy that Justin Welby who educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied history and law. For 11 years - five in Paris and six in London believes that the Bible is a more accurate pursuant of truth. That the world is only 6 thousand years old and the first humans where Adam and Eve is plainly daft in the light of evolution no longer being doubt. I suspect other motives at play. David Cameron has suggested we all need to return to church makes me feel that a new attempt at re-establishing religion in the UK is at hand. Even Nigel Farage is talking God.

    1. I wouldn't be surprised to see a last desperate bid to cling to what little power and influence the church has and to enlist the full weight of the establishment, but I can't see any future for the CofE. It's heading down the pan and good riddance to it. I think it'll be a wacko fringe cult within a generation.

      "Thought for the Day" on BBC R4 in the mornings has no place in a news and current affairs program and illustrates how the church needs to insert itself into other programs to get anyone to take any notice.


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