Information sign in front of the legal application office in the Cologne Higher Regional Court
Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd / dpa
In 2022, Cologne is heading for a new record in church exits.
This is the result of the figures for the District Court of Cologne, which the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” (Tuesday edition) evaluated.
Accordingly, by the end of the year, more than 21,000 people will have left the Catholic or Protestant Church.
That is around 2000 more than in the previous record year 2021.
According to the newspaper report, representatives of both churches spoke of sad numbers.
With a view to the crisis surrounding the diocese leadership under Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the chairman of the Cologne Catholic Committee, Gregor Stiels, identified a "Woelki factor" as an "accelerator" for the resignations.
Stiels accused the archdiocese of having lapsed into "inactivity and shock".
The evangelical city superintendent Bernhard Seiger spoke of an "unwanted joint liability" with the Catholic Church.
The exit numbers on the Protestant side are lower in Cologne than on the Catholic side, but higher than before the corona crisis.
"Many people probably primarily notice the daily media reports that concern the crisis issues of the Catholic sister church," explained Seiger.
Cardinal Woelki returned at the beginning of March from a break that had lasted since October.
He went to this after persistent criticism of his communication and his handling of the abuse scandal.
In March, he announced that he had offered Pope Francis his resignation.
It has not yet been decided.