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Guest pelmetman

Tax on Germany's Christians

 

25 million Catholics

Tax worth 5bn euros (2010)

24 million Protestants

Tax worth 4.3bn euros

German population 82 million

 

 

Germany's Roman Catholics are to be denied the right to Holy Communion or religious burial if they stop paying a special church tax.

 

A German bishops' decree which has just come into force says anyone failing to pay the tax - an extra 8% of their income tax bill - will no longer be considered a Catholic.

 

The bishops have been alarmed by the number of Catholics leaving the Church.

 

They say such a step should be seen as a serious act against the community.

 

All Germans who are officially registered as Catholics, Protestants or Jews pay a religious tax of 8-9% on their annual income tax bill. The levy was introduced in the 19th Century in compensation for the nationalisation of religious property.

 

"If your tax bill is for 10,000 euros, then 800 euros will go on top of that and your total tax combined will be 10,800 euros," Munich tax accountant Thomas Zitzelsberger told the BBC news website.

 

Catholics make up around 30% of Germany's population but the number of congregants leaving the church swelled to 181,000 in 2010, with the increase blamed on revelations of sexual abuse by German priests.

 

Alarmed by their declining congregations, the bishops were also pushed into action by a case involving a retired professor of church law, Hartmut Zapp, who announced in 2007 that he would no longer pay the tax but intended to remain within the Catholic faith.

 

The Freiburg University academic said he wanted to continue praying and receiving Holy Communion and a lengthy legal case between Prof Zapp and the church will reach the Leipzig Federal Administrative Court on Wednesday.

 

"This decree makes clear that one cannot partly leave the Church," Germany's bishops' conference said last week, in a decision endorsed by the Vatican.

 

'Wrong signal'

Unless they pay the religious tax, Catholics will no longer be allowed receive sacraments, except before death, or work in the church and its schools or hospitals.

 

Without a "sign of repentance before death, a religious burial can be refused," the decree states. Opting out of the tax would also bar people from acting as godparents to Catholic children.

 

"This decree at this moment of time is really the wrong signal by the German bishops who know that the Catholic church is in a deep crisis," Christian Weisner from the grassroots Catholic campaign group We are Church told the BBC.

 

But a priest from Mannheim in south-western Germany, Father Lukas Glocker, said the tax was used to do essential good works.

 

"With kindergarten, with homes for elderly or unemployed, we've got really good things so I know we need the tax to help the German country to do good things."

 

While the decree severely limits active participation in the German Catholic Church, it does hold out some hope for anyone considering a return to the fold.

 

Until now, any German Catholic who stopped payment faced eventual excommunication. Although the measures laid out in the decree are similar to excommunication from the church, German observers say the word is carefully avoided in the decree.

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Amazing that this was the country that started the Reformation!

Personally, I believe we should keep church and state completely separate.

Govt shouldn't collect money for churches (as in this example), nor should it fund "faith-based" education. (State education should include teaching ABOUT faiths, but "faith schools" should be financed by their adherents).

Chaplains (of all faiths) should have access to those who want to see them in hospitals, schools, prisons, the forces etc, but should be paid by their own organisations, not by the insitutions they visit.

And as for bishops in the House of Lords - don't get me started!

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That reminds me, as a young TV engineer working in Birmingham, I called at a back to back house in the poor district of Bordesley. The lady of the house had no partner, but 7 or 8 young children and obviously lived in poverty. While I was there a priest called in and started talking to the children. I thought that was nice to see him concerned over this struggling family. Before he left he said to the mother, have you got the little envelope for me dear. I could not believe, it she took money out of her purse, put it in the envelope, gave it to him , then he left, and there was me thinking that he had come to help her, but all he came for was to collect dues for the church.

Brian B.

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When I first worked in Germany it was through Dutch agents working for cash in the hand no tax or insurence which meant we were paid more than the German lads which they weren't happy about.

The German lads said work direct for H Decker and Co which I did, Decker said are you prepared to pay the optional church tax on top of your normal deductions? I said yes and things worked out better for me, better jobs, more money and no resentment off the German lads, I had been working the equivelent of the English "lump"

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thebishbus - 2012-09-24 8:18 PM

 

That reminds me, as a young TV engineer working in Birmingham, I called at a back to back house in the poor district of Bordesley. The lady of the house had no partner, but 7 or 8 young children and obviously lived in poverty. While I was there a priest called in and started talking to the children. I thought that was nice to see him concerned over this struggling family. Before he left he said to the mother, have you got the little envelope for me dear. I could not believe, it she took money out of her purse, put it in the envelope, gave it to him , then he left, and there was me thinking that he had come to help her, but all he came for was to collect dues for the church.

Brian B.

And how much of that money never saw the church coffers but ended up in the priests back pocket eh?

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Guest pelmetman

"Until now, any German Catholic who stopped payment faced eventual excommunication. Although the measures laid out in the decree are similar to excommunication from the church, German observers say the word is carefully avoided in the decree"

 

I thought this just shows that our standard religions are only in it for the money *-).................I have recently been excommunicated by Mr Kindle 8-)..............Talk about paying for your sins...........15 euro's for 10 hours wifee *-)

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thebishbus - 2012-09-25 12:52 PM

 

Oh no Malcolm, surely not, aren't these religious leaders paragons of virtue.????? :-D

Brian B.

Some time ago a local Catholic priest died and left a substantial amount of money, questions were asked as to how someone who took vows of chastity and poverty could accumulate so much money?

And it wasn't as though he came from a monied family, could it have been a case of a pound for me and a pound for the church?

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I can't remember exaclty (perhaps Tony can correct me if I get it wrong! :D ) but I believe that 10% of your income is supposed to be paid to your church. When I was young I often saw my Mum put a small 'envelope' in the collection bag as it was passed round and wondered what it was, it was only when I was older that I realised ... however I find it very hard to understand that, whilst we were extremely hard-up, money was given to, and expected to be received by, the church. :-|
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vindiboy - 2012-09-25 7:57 PM

 

The Church is one of the richest organisations in England yet they expect you to pay to visit  Cathedrals etc, not likely, turn them into Whetherspoons I say, before they become  Mosques.

 

There's "churches" and "churches" Malc. Not all have vast reserves, or strongrooms full of art treasures!

 

Those who are committed to a particular church should be the ones who support its work (and staff), NOT the taxpayer. Then a church sinks or swims according to whether people are willing to support it. Hence the envelopes Mel remembers.

Yes, some churches do insist on members giving a "tithe" (10%). Personally, though I decided a long time ago this was something I wanted to do myself, I've NEVER told my congregations they "ought" to do that. The most I'll ever do is encourgage committed members to consider what they feel they should give - to the church or any other good cause. Then I leave it to God to decide whether we survive or not!

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Guest pelmetman
Tony Jones - 2012-09-25 10:22 PM

 

Yes, some churches do insist on members giving a "tithe" (10%). Personally, though I decided a long time ago this was something I wanted to do myself, I've NEVER told my congregations they "ought" to do that. The most I'll ever do is encourgage committed members to consider what they feel they should give - to the church or any other good cause. Then I leave it to God to decide whether we survive or not!

 

Bless you Tony........your starting to restore my faith in your church at least ;-).............But don't get too excited I'm still an infidel at heart :D

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An idiot Catholic Priest in Southampton has banned  a group of Ladies from doing YOGA in the Church Hall, saying it  is un Catholic as it is based on Hinduism, what utter crap, the ladies just want to relax and exercise, I wonder if they were Pornographers or  Paedophiles they would have  been welcome, bloody religion, I am glad I have none except to  do good for  my fellow man.
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Guest Peter James
Tony Jones - 2012-09-24 7:54 PM

 

Amazing that this was the country that started the Reformation!

Personally, I believe we should keep church and state completely separate.

Govt shouldn't collect money for churches (as in this example), nor should it fund "faith-based" education. (State education should include teaching ABOUT faiths, but "faith schools" should be financed by their adherents).

Chaplains (of all faiths) should have access to those who want to see them in hospitals, schools, prisons, the forces etc, but should be paid by their own organisations, not by the insitutions they visit.

And as for bishops in the House of Lords - don't get me started!

 

There are a lot of very nice people in the Church and you sound like one of them.

But I am still an agnostic.

Because you don't know any more about God than I do.

And I know nothing.

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Guest Peter James
Tracker - 2012-09-24 8:04 PM

 

Waddya mean become an atheist - been one since I was old enough to decide!!!

 

 

Old enough to decide is too late. If you are cristened at the Church of England you will be counted as one of them for life. There are Bishops in the House of Lords on the basis of representing 25 million people, including you.

Mind you I can't understand Atheism any more than religion.

We don't know there is a 'God'

But we don't know there isn't.

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Guest pelmetman
Peter James - 2012-09-28 8:49 PM

 

 

Mind you I can't understand Atheism any more than religion.

We don't know there is a 'God'

But we don't know there isn't.

 

Hedging your bets then Peter? ;-)

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