Ties to church life lost?

Ties to church life lost?

The diocese of Hildesheim has again recorded an increase in church departures for 2019. 8.048 people turned their backs on the church, 1.030 more than the year before, the diocese announced Friday.

The total number of the members went on 581.460 (2018: 593.360) back. Hildesheim Bishop Heiner Wilmer said the numbers signal "how much baptized people have become alienated from our church".

Some people might have financial reasons for leaving, but others would have lost their attachment to church life and resented the fact that, from their point of view, internal church reforms did not happen quickly enough. "In addition, our church has deeply disappointed the trust of many people through the numerous cases of sexualized violence and abuse of power."

The church must target its actions at people, Wilmer demanded. "We live in a time when people are actively choosing something, including faith."Passing on the faith depends decisively on personal encounters, he said. All Christians could contribute to this by living their faith with enthusiasm and conviction.

Falling numbers in sacraments

The diocese also reported declining numbers for sacraments. The number of baptisms decreased by 306 year-on-year to 3.114, that of the first communions by 190 to 3.568. 761 couples were married in church in 2019, 53 fewer than the year before. The number of church funerals decreased by 240 to 5.276 back

On Friday, the German Bishops' Conference had published the latest church statistics for 2019. According to the report, the number of people leaving the Catholic Church in Germany as a whole has skyrocketed and reached a new record high.

272.771 people left the church last year. This represents an increase of 26.2 percent; in 2018, there were 216.078.

The previous highest number was more than 217 in 2014.000; at that time, the abuse scandal, the financial affair surrounding the Limburg bishopric and changes in church tax collection had led to the high figures.

In total, 22.6 million people still belonged to the Catholic Church in Germany in 2019. Catholics thus account for 27.2 percent of the total population. In 2018, the figure was 23 million, or 27.7 percent. However, there are also demographic reasons for the decline: The number of burials in church was 233.937 well above the number of baptisms at 159.043.

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Christina Cherry
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