“New quality reached”

About 250.000 Catholics have left their church this year – that's the estimate of sociologist Michael Ebertz of the Catholic University in Freiburg. This would mean that for the first time the Catholic resignation figures would be higher than the Protestant ones. Besides it would be the highest value since establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany.

If the figures are confirmed, this would be a doubling of the number of resignations compared to the previous year and, , said Ebertz to the newspaper "Sonntag Aktuell" published in Stuttgart. In his view, a "new quality" has thus been reached. The main reason for the increase in the number of resignations was the discovery of sexual abuse in Catholic institutions.

According to the sociologist's observations, the type of person leaving has changed. In the past, it was mainly men under 40 who left the Catholic Church because they wanted to save money, but now more and more women, older people and sometimes entire families are leaving as well. Since the denominations have grown closer in recent years anyway, the step toward the Protestants is no longer so difficult. Something had changed here, he said, because until now people had mainly left for "denominational no-man's land".

Protestant regional churches report rising numbers of entrants, especially in southern Germany. In Bavaria, according to the "Suddeutsche Zeitung," more than 5.000 people joined the Lutheran regional church; in previous years, the number hovered around 3.500. In Baden, the number of people joining the regional Protestant church increased by 20 percent.

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