Much bloodletting and a ray of hope

Much bloodletting and a ray of hope

The German Bishops' Conference published the latest church statistics on Friday. According to the report, the number of people leaving the Catholic Church in Germany rose significantly in 2018. What is the development in the individual dioceses??

In the archdiocese of Cologne, 18.472 people left the Catholic Church. That was about 4.500 more than in 2017, as the archdiocese announced on Friday. The total number of members decreased by 29.090 to now 1.942.733 Catholics back. It was also helped by the fact that the number of burials, at 19.976 (2017: 19.945) that of baptisms with 13.988 (2017: 14.051) far exceeded.

The classic form of the church no longer corresponds in many places to the reality of people's lives, said Vicar General Markus Hofmann. Many would thus no longer be reached. But at the same time, she says, it is "increasingly important for others to rediscover the church as a community of believers".

Hofmann said challenges for the church of tomorrow emerge from the statistics. "We need to be more attractive to people again and get them excited about our faith and our church, a church that encourages participation and grows stronger again in the future."

The archdiocese recorded 3 for 2018, according to data.348 weddings (2017: 3.389). 14.402 (2017: 15.101) children went to the first communion, 7.669 (2017: 8.525) Young people were confirmed. On average, 152 celebrated.115 (2017: 166.037) people, and thus about 7.8 percent (2017: 8.4 percent) of Catholics in the archdiocese attended Holy Mass on Sundays with. There were 243 admissions to the church (2017: 286), while readmissions totaled 653 (2017: 737).

Archdiocese of Paderborn loses members

The Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Paderborn also lost more members in 2018 than in the previous year. 9.369 people left the Catholic Church in the diocese, compared with 7 in 2017.347, as the archdiocese of Paderborn announced on Friday. In total, there are 1.491.856 (2017: 1.517.370) Catholics in the archdiocese.

Every individual who leaves the church is "a loss for the community, and leaving hurts," said Paderborn Vicar General Alfons Hardt. The resignation is mostly preceded by a process of estrangement. "Here it is our task to keep people in the community of the church, to address them, to accompany them and to invite them again and again to listen together to the free and joyful message of God for us people and to put it into practice in the midst of our world," said Hardt. He was convinced that the message of life of the Christians could be attractive for all.

According to Hardt, the increase in the number of resignations is also due to the study on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, which the German Bishops' Conference presented last year. "I can understand all too well the hurt and disappointment associated with this," said the vicar general. "As a church, we stand on the side of victims of sexual violence, we also cooperate with state authorities on the basis of the applicable guidelines." The church is also committed to prevention, he said. Hardt: "We must continue to implement and communicate this in order to regain lost trust and confidence."

In 2018, according to diocesan data, 299 (2017: 354) people had re-entered the Church and 176 (2017: 167) had changed to the Catholic Church from other denominations. The number of baptisms fell in the archdiocese of Paderborn to 10.013 (2017: 10.302). Moderate declines were recorded for first communions (2018: 10.848; 2017: 11.035) to record. In contrast, there was an increase in confirmations, (2018: 9.456, 2017: 7.696), church weddings (2018: 2.580, 2017: 2.424) as well as burials (2018: 16.751, 2017: 16.490).

Diocese of Trier also losing members

The diocese of Trier is also getting smaller. At the end of 2018, about 1.34 million Catholics lived in the territory of the Diocese of Trier, according to the diocese on Friday. The year before, the figure was around 22.100 members more. Decreased, he said, the number of baptisms with 9.057 (previous year: 9.441) as well as the number of first communions at 9.642 (previous year: 10.005). On the other hand, the number of confirmations is 7.857 (previous year: 7.158) and marriages 2.285 (2017: 2.187) slightly increased.

About the same level as the previous year was the number of burials. Increased, according to the data, the number of resignations with almost 11.000 (previous year: 8.027). The number of readmissions and admissions of people of other denominations was about the same as the previous year, 317 and 84 respectively.

In view of the current figures, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Trier, Ulrich Graf von Plettenberg, said: "We must dare to take new steps if we want to bring our message of God, who turns to people, more 'into play' again."Changes in attitudes, working methods and structures are urgently needed. This must happen now, he said, because "we can see very clearly from the figures how many people are leaving the church". The first structural changes would already take place with the founding of the first 15 parishes of the future at 1. January 2020 visible. In addition, new concepts for various areas of pastoral care are to be presented at the end of the year.

Rising number of people leaving the church in the Aachen diocese

The Catholic Church in the Aachen diocese also recorded rising resignation figures for 2018. 7.086 people left the Catholic Church in the diocese, 1.506 more than in the previous year, as the diocese of Aachen announced on Friday. In total, 1.021.002 (2017: 1.037.352) Catholics in the diocese, which corresponds to half of the population in the diocesan territory.

Especially after the publication of the study on abuse in the Catholic Church, the number of resignations increased significantly, the diocese announced. "I can understand that people have lost confidence in the church in the face of suffering that we cannot even begin to measure," said Andreas Frick, vicar general of the Aachen diocese. "We must do everything possible to prevent further suffering."The Aachen diocese stands for a consistent stance of zero tolerance, for unreserved clarification, close cooperation with the public prosecutor's offices and transparency

Faced with declining attendance at church services in the diocese, Frick said, "It's clear that we are no longer reaching many people. We must learn to retell the Gospel message."According to the diocese, 260 people re-entered the church in 2018 and 67 changed to the Catholic Church from other denominations. The number of baptisms in the Aachen diocese dropped to 7.146 (2017: 7.189). There were decreases in confirmations (2018: 4.113; 2017: 4.575) and first communions (2018: 6.924; 2017: 7.383) as well as in church weddings (1.632, 2017: 1.647) given. The number of ecclesiastical burials had also increased by 67 to 11.282 decreased.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: More Catholics due to influx from Poland

According to the German Bishops' Conference, the Catholic Church in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania comprised 55.219 inhabitants, 402 more than in the previous year. Due to an influx from Poland, Catholic parishes in the border region have been recording growing numbers for years. Overall, about 3.5 percent of the state's residents are Catholic.

Genn: We have lost relevance for people's lives

The Catholic Church in the diocese of Munster records rising numbers of people leaving the church in 2018. 11.442 people have left the Catholic Church in the diocese, 2.746 more than in the previous year, as the diocese of Munster announced on Friday. In total, 1.853.185 Catholics in the diocese.

"We have lost relevance in people's lives," said Munster Bishop Felix Genn. The numbers could not be glossed over. "People vote with their feet on whether they consider us credible and trustworthy and whether the community in the Catholic Church appears to them to be fundamentally necessary for a good and successful life." Unfortunately, this no longer applies to many, said the bishop.

Certainly, the study published last year on abuse in the Catholic Church was the triggering moment for many people to turn their backs on the church, according to Genn. "We cannot undo the crimes that priests have committed against children and young people. We can only do everything in our power to relentlessly come to terms with the past and to let those affected experience that they are at the center of coming to terms with it.". Everything must also be done to prevent sexual abuse in the future.

The church must now very soon "flip the switch," Genn continued. People should be able to experience that the church wants to be there for them. "We want to be a church that enriches life. We must succeed better than in the past," said the bishop.

In 2018, according to diocesan data, 369 people had re-entered and 210 had switched to the Catholic Church from other denominations. The number of baptisms increased by 13 to 14.565. According to statistics, there were declines in confirmations (2018: 12.189; 2017: 13.006) and first communions (2018: 14.713; 2017: 15.436), while more couples were married in church (3.682, plus 35) have been. The number of burials rose by 519 to 20.517.

About 3.600 people leave the church in the Osnabruck diocese

About 3.600 people left the Catholic Church in the Osnabruck diocese in 2018. That was about 800 more than the year before, as the diocese announced on Friday in Osnabruck. According to statistics, this is the highest number of departures in more than 20 years. In total, there are now 552.990 Catholics (2017: 557.121) in the diocese.

The reasons for the resignations are complex, but in any case the abuse scandal has left its mark, said Osnabruck Vicar General Theo Paul. In addition, people's attachment to faith and the church is declining. Paul spoke of an "institutional erosion". However, this also affects other social organizations. In the abuse problem, the diocese is trying to win back lost trust through "consistent processing" and prevention.

Diocese of Hildesheim loses 7.442 Catholics

In the diocese of Hildesheim last year, 7.018 people left the Catholic Church. That was a good 1.500 more than the year before, as the diocese announced on Friday in Hildesheim. The number of Catholics decreased overall by 7.442 to now 593.360.

"The numbers are not pretty, but they don't discourage me," said Bishop Heiner Wilmer. The decision to leave the church is mostly a long process, he said. The church must learn from this. Thus, above all, the self-inflicted scandals would have to be dealt with and made impossible in the future by an "effective system of control and separation of powers".

In addition, the church must be open to dialogue with the faithful and show them appreciation, the bishop said.

This is especially true of criticism they have voiced. They also said there were good reasons to continue belonging to the church. This also needs to be talked about much more.

The diocese reports positive figures for baptisms in 2018. Their number was slightly down from 3.334 in 2017 to 3.420 increased. There were also with 2.492 confirmations 356 more than the year before. Admissions and readmissions remained almost constant at 367 (2017: 364). 814 couples were married in church, 43 less than before. First communions fell by 184 to 3,235 children (2017: 1,235).760.

Archdiocese of Hamburg loses over 4.000 members

In 2018, the archdiocese of Hamburg lost 4.151 members and now counts 398 according to data.425 Catholics.

In previous years, the archdiocese's membership had continued to rise, contrary to the nationwide trend: The reason was a positive difference between inflows from mainly Catholic countries and outflows from the Hanseatic city of.

In the Archdiocese of Hamburg, which includes Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein as well as the Mecklenburg region, 1.235 children (2017: 1.232) received the sacrament of baptism, 30 people (2017: 45) entered the church for the first time, and 119 cases (2017: 157) were readmissions.

German Bishops' Conference published figures

The German Bishops' Conference had published the latest church statistics on Friday. According to the report, the number of people leaving the Catholic Church in Germany rose significantly in 2018.

216.078 Catholics left their church. That is around 29 percent more than in the previous year (167.504) and about 0.9 percent of all Catholics in the country. The secretary of the bishops' conference, Father Hans Langendorfer, spoke of a "worrying" statistic in view of the second highest number since reunification.

In total, just over 23 million German citizens thus belong to the Catholic Church, compared with 23.31 million in 2017.

Its share of the total population fell from 28.2 percent in 2017 to 27.7 percent.

Editor's note: The article will be added to on an ongoing basis

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