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More and more people are leaving the church - "Many say: That's enough"


The trend shows a clear direction: the church is shrinking. Since the publication of the abuse report in 2022, the number of people leaving the district has increased significantly year-on-year. The deans look at the statistics with concern.

The trend shows a clear direction: the church is shrinking.

Since the publication of the abuse report in 2022, the number of people leaving the district has increased significantly year-on-year.

The deans look at the statistics with concern.

Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen - One scandal chased the next.

The Catholic Church is confronted with serious allegations of abuse and numerous requests for reform.

Since the abuse report was publicly released in January 2022, more people than in previous years have broken with the Church.

In some municipalities in the district - for example Icking - the number of people leaving has almost doubled - from 34 in 2021 to 66 last year.

Allegations of abuse are often the reason for leaving

The trend is also confirmed by the statistics from the registry offices in the district.

Although you don't have to give any reasons for leaving the church, the administrative staff still realize that in 2022 sexual assaults within the church were very often the decisive factor.

By the way: Everything from the region is now also available in our regular Bad Tölz newsletter.

"We've never had so many resignations," says Petra Konrad, registrar of the city of Wolfratshausen.

In recent years, an average of 150 people have left the church in the city.

"In 2021 there were already an extremely large number, and 2022 was the total outlier" (see table).

If someone gives reasons for this step, it is about the scandals within the church or about financial aspects.

From the publication of the report, there was a wave of resignations.

"Some days we couldn't do much else," says Kronwitter.

In Kochel am See, too, the exit numbers in 2022 were “extreme”

"The resignations increase from year to year," agrees Nicole Lutterer, manager of the municipality of Kochel am See.

But: “2022 was extreme.

Some mentioned cost reasons, but many of course also the cases of abuse,” reports Lutterer.

"Many say quite clearly: That's enough."


Leaving the church has increased significantly.

© Source: registry offices

In Kochel am See and Schlehdorf, Catholics in particular have left the church.

This also applies to other registry offices.

In Reichersbeuern, Sachsenkam and Greiling, for example, a total of 99 people declared their withdrawal from the church in 2022.

“Twenty of them were Protestant and 79 were Catholic,” says Michaela Hering from the Reichersbeuern administration community.

"But there are also significantly more Catholics living in the district," says Lutterer.

People often do not differentiate between the Catholic and the Protestant Church

According to the Evangelical Dean Heinrich Soffel, the fact that Protestants are also leaving the Church due to scandals in the Catholic Church is not a new phenomenon.

"When it comes to negative headlines, people often don't differentiate between the Catholic and the Protestant Church," he says.

However, it can also be observed the other way around that in the event of a scandal in the Protestant Church, Catholics react by leaving.

However, Soffel assumes that many exits also have something to do with inflation and increased energy costs.

"Financial hardship definitely plays a role."

People are involved without being church members

He also notes that many no longer define their church affiliation through membership and church taxes.

"We have many people who are active and committed who are not church members." Soffel is not surprised by the high number of people leaving.

“We are notified of every exit.

It has been hinted at throughout the year.” Nevertheless: “It hurts a lot.”

If you ask the Catholic dean and Dietramszell pastor Thomas Neuberger about the statistics, he is depressed.

“The debates about all the problems within the church have been going on for years.

It was clear that it would come back.” If he finds out that someone is leaving because of the abuse, Neuberger can understand that.

He himself is often annoyed about the handling of the processing.

“For example, the word misconduct is often used within the church.

I totally resent that.

It wasn't wrongdoing, it was a horrific crime.” For the dean, however, the church is more than the people who committed the crimes.

"I cannot live out my faith without being part of the faith community."

Pastor would like to have more conversations with people who are turning their backs on the church

He wishes he could have more conversations with people who have left the church.

"In the Dietramszell parish association, everyone who leaves gets a letter from me with an invitation to an interview." However, hardly anyone accepts the offer.

Nevertheless, the door to the church is open to everyone, and re-entry is always possible.

"That happens in Dietramszell once or twice a year."

With regard to the reform wishes, he thinks that the church "maybe" missed to clearly signal to all people that they are welcome.

"At least that's how I see it and will continue to use it in my work.

The fact that many do not feel welcome in the church is a gigantic loss.” Neuberger is not surprised by the wave of departures.

"But it makes me incredibly sad."

You can find more current news from the region around Bad Tölz at Tölz.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-01-16

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