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Catholic Church in Germany lost a record number of members last year

Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference. Courtesy: Diocese of Limburg

CNA Staff, Jun 26, 2020 / 07:30 am MT (CNA).-

A record number of Catholics formally left the Church in Germany in 2019, according to official figures released Friday. 

The statistics issued June 26 showed that 272,771 people exited the Catholic Church last year, a significant increase on the 2018 figure of 216,078.

In a June 26 statement, Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, said that he did not wish to “gloss over” the figures. 

He said: “Of course, the declines are also due to demographics, but they also show first of all the fact that, despite our concrete pastoral and social actions, we no longer motivate a large number of people for Church life.”

“I find the very high number of people leaving the Church particularly burdensome. We regret every departure from the Church and we invite everyone who has left or wants to leave to talk to us. The number of people leaving the Church shows that the alienation between Church members and a life of faith in the Church community has become even stronger.”

The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), a body representing 20 Protestant groups, also released its annual statistics June 26. It reported that its membership fell from 21.14 million in 2018 to 20.7 million in 2019, a drop of 440,000.

According to the new figures, the number of Catholics in the country decreased from 23 million in 2018 to 22.6 million in 2019.

Catholics now account for 27.2% of Germany’s population of almost 84 million, down from 27.7% in 2018.

The proportion of Catholics attending church services has fallen to its lowest level, with 9.1% attending in 2019, compared to 9.3% in the previous year. 

Formal departures from the Catholic Church in Germany are sometimes motivated by a desire to avoid the country’s church tax. If an individual is registered as a Catholic then 8-9% of their income tax goes to the Church. The only way they can stop paying the tax is to make an official declaration renouncing their membership. They are no longer allowed to receive the sacraments or a Catholic burial. 

Meanwhile, the number of admissions to the Church fell from 2,442 in 2018 to 2,330 in 2019, while readmissions decreased from 6,303 to 5,339 in the same period.

In 2019, church marriages declined by 10%, Confirmations by 7% and First Communions by 3%, according to the website of the Catholic Church in Germany.

The number of baptisms also fell from 167,787 in 2018 to 159,043 in 2019

In Bätzing’s own diocese of Limburg, 9,439 people left the Catholic Church in 2019, 1,459 more than in 2018.

The bishop, who succeeded Cardinal Reinhard Marx as bishops’ conference chairman in March, said that the Church should respond not by “chasing after a spirit of the times,” but by recognizing the “signs of the times,” as called for by the Second Vatican Council.

He said: “This sometimes requires courageous changes in our own ranks. That is why last year we set out on the Synodal Way of the Church in Germany to ask what God wants from us today in this world.” 

“We will take the figures published today seriously and bring them into the discussions of the Synodal Way.”

The “Synodal Way” is a two-year process that brings together lay people and bishops to discuss four major topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.

The German bishops initially said that the process would end with a series of “binding” votes — raising concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge the Church’s teaching and discipline. 

In June 2018, Pope Francis sent a 28-page letter to German Catholics urging them to focus on evangelization in the face of a “growing erosion and deterioration of faith.”

“Every time an ecclesial community has tried to get out of its problems alone, relying solely on its own strengths, methods and intelligence, it has ended up multiplying and nurturing the evils it wanted to overcome,” he wrote.

Last September, the Vatican sent a letter to the German bishops declaring that plans for the synod were “not ecclesiologically valid.”

After a back and forth between the bishops’ conference and Vatican officials, the first synodal assembly took place in Frankfurt at the end of January. The second meeting is expected to go ahead, despite the coronavirus crisis, in September. 

In his letter to German Catholics, the pope said that participants in the “Synodal Way” faced a particular “temptation.”

“At the basis of this temptation, there is the belief that the best response to the many problems and shortcomings that exist, is to reorganize things, change them and ‘put them back together’ to bring order and make ecclesial life easier by adapting it to the current logic or that of a particular group,” he wrote.

PAT SAYS

What is happening now in Germany is happening world wide.

Through the sexual abuse crises and the daily revelations of corruption worldwide the RCC is regarded by many as not only dysfunctional but in fact evil.

What was it the pope said? “The smoke of Satan has entered the church”.

For so long, with the absence of an international media, people did not know what was really going on in the RCC.

But nowadays if a priest abuses a little girl in Australia we know about it within hours in Europe.

Thanks to the international media the whale like body of the RCC is ripped open on the international beach and its ineards are there for all to see.

The RCC is decomposing on a daily basis for us all to see.

Finally, the beast is being slain.

“And this is the work of the Lord and a marvel for our eyes”.

TODAYS HOMILY FOR TODAY

https://www.podbean.com/ea/pb-ws2bs-e15e05

107 replies on “Catholic Church in Germany lost a record number of members last year”

Wonderful news! Freed from the morally insidious influence of the clergy.
These people are now liberated to serve Christ (should they so choose) rather than freeloading clerical parasites.

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Sadly Pat, your reaction to the German statistics is shallow, disingenuous, ignorant and hate filled. You seem intelligent but you gloss over many social, cultural, philosophical, historical, anthropological and political advancements and their influence on religious faith, beliefs and practices. Yes, the awful clerical abuses have contributed hugely to people leaving and dederting the church but change takes place all the time. The evolution of thought and our knowledge and understanding of life and how our brain functions are all relevant when talking about our changing attitude to religion. Your gleeful and self righteous response is unnecessary. There is a place for the Christian community to exist – our witness to Christ and his gospel are still urgent and significant. Thank God our CHURCHES reopen this Monday and I am looking forward to welcoming back our very wonderful parishioners. I am not without hope nor do I share your very unkind sentiments or your almost hate filled response. With God’s blessings and a safer environment I look even more forward to our weekend congregation of nearly 2,000, even if extra masses are required. We do not require the sick, pessimistic sentiments you peddle.

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@ 11:58pm
This blog is simply citing that which is happening in Germany and given the COVID-19 crisis and churches being empty for 3 months it is somewhat pertinent to discuss church attendance numbers and dwindling congregations.
Now if this blog’s title were either ‘Flower arranging’ or ‘Discussions in cake baking and choux pastries’ then your words would have more worth.
I for one am leapping for for joy thatthis period of reflection has allowed the world to take stock of what is true and worthy.

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11.58, you said of Catholics that they were ‘deserting’ the Church, as though it were being treacherously ill-used.
You are a priest, aren’t you? And clearly you have learned little or nothing about this unholy mother, since you see her more as the betrayed here than the betrayer.
Pat Buckley is right to hate this monster. And she is a monster, but such is your loyalty to her thst you refuse to see the truth about her.
Forget all the fancy talk about philosophical, historical, anthropological, etc influences on a declining Church: it’s pompous and it’s meaningless. It’s also desperation on your part to face the bleedin’ obvious: that your clergy have brought this on themselves through their historical arrogance, conceit, vanity, pride, general worldliness, theological grandiosity… Anything else? Oh, yes: the rape of innocent children, its covering up, and the breaking of generations of parental hearts.
If the RC institution could be personified, it would not be unlike those many stylised images of Lucifer we’re all familiar with.
We should all rejoice that this ugly beast is being exorcised from the world, not by clergy, but principally by so-called ‘secualar and atheistic’ media.

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Maynooth produced active sexual predators to go into Ministry. Pat this is not 30 years ago but within the last 10 years. Young adult men were groomed and raped in the seminary as an means of control. The Male abusers who targeted young 18 to 19 years old in the seminary are still either in Maynooth or in active Ministry. Pat before the assaults took place you know who had to give his approval similar to McCarrick.

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The one who gave the approval did Attend the famous Jersey shore beach house with summoned seminarians for a pool party and other forms of activities which we all know about. This Senior Irish Priest is a monster.

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3.17 a.m.
If you know someone was raped you are obliged to report it to the Garda. If you don’t, you are committing a crime.
Give the time of your posting and the subject, most readers will draw their own conclusions. You are a cowardly liar.

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Oh my word! 8-9 % tax from individual’s income: that’s 8 or 9 Euros for every 100 € or 80 or 90 € for each 1,000 €. That’s for each tax paying adult registered RC per household.
I’m assuming there are caps / leverages but quite possibly not as they will be classed as an ‘official’ body and have charity status etc.
In the words of my friend, Sandra, “Fuck them right off, girl. Now…” 😂
Even when I was doing my training I never put a penny in the basket, but I did help with cleaning, Sunday meal for the homeless and bits and bobs / bobs about place.
The reason I never put money in is because they refuse to ordain women to the priesthood, among other issues.
+Pat, could using a sledge hammer to crack a nut be a good thing at all…?? Lol

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One, possibly pedantic, point. The article gives the impression that church tax is part of one’s income tax. It is not. It is a separate, additional (but voluntary) tax. The connection with income tax is that the amount of church tax payable is determined by the amount of the taxpayer’s liability to Income tax: a sum equivalent to 8 per cent of that liability in Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg and 9 per cent in the other Lander.
As is well-known, the consequence of opting out of church tax is deprivation of church marriages, funerals etc. A woman of whom I have heard from friends opted out, then wanted a church wedding to please her parents, and went through a difficult re-admission process.
Years down the line I wonder whether she has opted out again!

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My sense is that the German bishops are aware of what the problems are in the Church and what they want to do about them, but that they are frustrated in their desire to discuss and move ahead by the Vatican. If you listen carefully, you will find the usual issues about marriage / divorce / re-marriag, communion, sexuality, sexual morality, clericalism, celibacy, ordination of women – all the things that we talk about on this blog, and which so many laity in the Church talk about and want some movement. I wish them well. There are no brainer solutions available to intransigent and existential problems which the Church has faced for a long time. No wonder so many Catholics in Germany are giving up on a Church that seems stuck in damaging and dysfunctional ways of the past. The German bishops know exactly who has left, because in order to leave you withdraw your permission for your taxes to go the the Church of your choice, so the bishops know the figures. They know the outflow it is not sustainable and that they need to do something. I wish their synod well.

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You can rest assured that the Vatican is frustrating change in the German Church, especially if it has anything to do with ending compulsory Church taxes. (They are indeed compulsory, not voluntary, if a Catholic wishes to avail of the Sacraments.)
The Vatican is highly likely to be siphoning huge sums of money from the annual revenues of the German Church. As ever, it is mammon, not love, that turns the world of the RC Church.

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THE TABLET AUGUST 2019

The German Church’s income rose by 3.3 per cent to a record 6.64 billion euros in 2018, despite the massive exodus of 216, 078 German Catholics in the same year.

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THE TABLET AUGUST 2019 — The German Church’s income …
___________________________________________
https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11971/fewer-catholics-but-more-income-for-german-church-
QUOTE — ,,, The main reason for the increased church tax income was higher wages in Germany and hence increased revenue from income tax. A compulsory church tax of between 8 and 9 per cent ( it varies from state to state) is withdrawn by the state Inland Revenue Offices at source …

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THE LOCAL GERMANY 2013

The €31-million bill for Franz-Tebartz Van-Elst’s residence, including €15,000 on a bath tub and €350,000 on built-in-wardrobes, has put the finances of the Catholic Church, much of which comes from taxpayers and state subsidies, into the spotlight.

Carsten Frerk, an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church in Germany, estimated its wealth at around €430 billion with about €140 billion of that in capital, the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported.

Frerk researched the church’s ledgers for a year for a book published in October 2010. But only a small part of the church’s finances are public and many of their records remain secret.

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10.18, simony is endemic, systemic, and entenched throughout the RCC, not just in the German Catholic Church; but the Germans are more honest about it.

Every time you cross, for a Mass for example, a priest’s palm with your hard-earned silver, you are actually paying for the privilege. Oh, I know that priests predictably counter with the cant and bluster that the money is…is an offering to help support the priest financially, and…and that the Mass cannot be purchased. And so breathlessly and interminably on. It is all bullshit, of course. Lying, clerical bullshit.

Catholics are being deceived by priests: there are NO Masses additional to the one and only Mass: that of the Last Supper. And Jesus didn’t charge one red cent for it. Unlike a priesthood he did not establish.

So if you want your loved ones remembered at Mass, simply unite them to that first and only Mass, 2000 years ago.

Stop funding RC lying, clericalist balderdash.

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Mass attendance was high in Germany before Vatican II, as it was elsewhere. It has collapsed. No doubt I’ll be told that it’s correlation, not causation, however a declared major purpose of that Council (which few have read) was the evangelisation of what it called “modern man” in its dated language.

We can be certain that had Mass attendance soared after Vatican II we would be told unceasingly that Vatican II was the reason.

The irony is that the Churches that forced through the most change: Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium, are the most kaput.

This book is a thoughtful reflection on that experience in the Anglosphere.

https://www.ft.com/content/4c1e590e-b8fd-11e9-8a88-aa6628ac896c

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10.51, now don’t be mischievous by raising fallacious hypotheses about Vat II. You know that Mass attendance would have fallen, even faster given the more entrenched clericalism, had Vat II not occurred. VAT II SLOWED DOWN THE EXODUS.

This ecumenical council has become the whipping boy for a discredited clergy and institution who are bringing about their own demise in correlation with sociological change worldwide that has brought better and more highly educated Catholics who awakened to the dictatorial, medieval world superstitious humbug being disseminated by a church whose hypocrisy is its Achille’s heel.

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The John Paul II library in Maynooth (though it’s usually referred to officially as just the library and the JPII bit will be dropped soon) was largely funded by the German church tax.
Germany bankrolls the Vatican, especially since Peter’s Pence donations have collapsed in this pontificate and long before lockdown pilgrimages and general audience figures also collapsed, with a knock-on effect on the Vatican’s main sources of income: the museums, coins and stamps.
Vatican reliance on German funding is unhealthy.

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Didn’t Littletwat suddenly discover Roman Catholicism in Germany ? Just wondering, just asking….!

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Now, thinking about it, I’ve suddenly seen a resemblance between Littleton and Goebbels. That high pitched thin screeching voice. That constructed, fabricated propaganda. All the dressing up.

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I see there was trouble in Tooting Bec last night and the police had to disperse illegal music ravers. Could Littlewank be responsible ? Was he there ? Was he on the Common ? Why ? Are there any bushes ? Questions, questions, questions…..

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Perhaps JPL was visiting and took Litlleboy to the rave ? Perhaps Littletwat and JPL have set up a ‘bubble’ together ? Are they an item ? What is the level of intimacy between them ? Could Littllewisp satisfy a power bottom like JPL ? So much to ponder on a Sunday afternoon……

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Tooting Bec Common was the site of a barracks in the Napoleonic War. I taught at a school next to it. Part was infamous for daylight and evening prostitution; another part was allegedly a gay cruising ground. Both are a healthy distance from the said priest’s church, though are right next to the Anglican Bishop of Southwark’s residence. Used to see him walking his labrador.

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Liberal humanism including the so-called Enlightenment, far from being contrary, has much to thank Christianity for. Human rights and the integrity of the individual grew out of Christianity, not from the Classical world, and they have not been apparent in rival ideologies such as Communism and Islam. Naturally the Church panicked in the face of Revolution and Modernism, just as Vatican II came to be seen by traditionalists as a runaway train, as human freedom entails loss of control.

I do not accept that there is a absence of spiritual yearning and desire for something better in the modern world, but it is certainly true that people have fallen out with the models of community and practice generally on offer from the established Churches. If anything the fall-out from main-stream Protestantism is even more marked – Germany is a good example.

My feeling, as an older thoughtful Catholic, is that the Churches, Catholic and Reformed, have simply nothing to say to me which I cannot access better and more honestly expressed elsewhere. So if I think that, there is no way the Church can communicate effectively with the young. Even before COVID-19 I had stopped going to Mass, being no longer prepared to sit through sloppy half-hearted liturgy and listen to ill-thought out pious bull-shit, possibly rounded off with a pastoral letter warning of the perils of marriage equality. Sorry, Father, but we have all – mostly – moved on: nobody is listening.

Very aptly recently +Pat quoted Philip Larkin’s “This Be The Verse” which puts everything very neatly:

“But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.”

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Yes, all parables are worthy of reflection, and of their nature have a particular resonance in different times and circumstances of our lives. I think it is useful to consider the ground in the Sower as not pertaining to different groups of people, but as an analogy of the individual soul who journeys through periods of conflict and uncertainty and, one hopes, progresses to greater discernment and maturity.

Thank you for the question. I am sorry we bore the smut-raker at 11:36 am. It is disappointing to read the vile remarks concerning Father Littleton yet again. What pleasure is to be gained from these gratuitous insults which amount to online bullying? From what I have seen of Father Littleton thanks to this blog, I think he has much growing to do of his own – but that equally applies to me for example – but he does not deserve these relentless assaults on his integrity.

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You must be depressed if you are quoting Larkin, that misogynist, racist, porn addict, gin-swilling Thatcherite bigot and versifier of lowered sights and diminished expectations.

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Thank you! I like the notion of “diminished expectations”! What floats your boat each morning, if I might ask?

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11.36am You are probably a gay scandal yourself or one waiting to happen. What a freak you are wanting to read salacious gossip and scandal. Get a life sleazebag.

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@12:09, your comment on the parable of the sower is excellent. I’d never thought of it in that way but it seems right. My life of faith has been complicated, with periods of great certainty punctuated by doubt and indifference, the latter getting longer as I grow older. I often think of my mother, who despite having a much harder life than mine, never grew cynical (one of my vices) and had a childlike faith to the end.
As for the other repetitive stuff about the young priest, I am as bored as I am bewildered, and it’s good that people don’t react. I don’t think Pat should publish it, just because he can.

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Dear @2:38pm I wouldn’t necessarily equate your self-described indifference as lack of faith, but possibly more accurately a more self-confident and mature acceptance of the complex reality of things. Doubt is the opposite of certainty, not of faith. There is a strong correlation between faith development and healthy psychological development ( viz work of James Fowler after Erikson and others ). As one matures, it is no longer imperative to be “right” and categorize everything in terms of binary opposition.

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3.53, oh, come now! ‘Faith’ vs ‘certainty’? Is there a sliver of semantic difference between them? After all, if one isn’t certain about something or someone, then one, by definition, cannot have faith in what actually may not be.

Correlate that.

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Tomorrow is the Feast day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
Pope Francis is the Successor of Saint Peter.
Upon this Rock I build my Church.
It is also the day New Archbishops obtain their Palliums but Dublin has not been announced yet.

it is one of the few Holidays of obligation however in some places it was transferred today instead of tomorrow

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2.06, to call someone the successor of Simon Peter is meaningless and pointless. In fact, it shows the weakness of Roman Catholicism: its wrong preoccupation.

What is important is that one be a successor of Christ, not of Simon Peter.

Then again, perhaps it is, after all, supremely fitting to call popes ‘the Successor of Simon Peter’, because they all, traditionally and daily, betray Christ once, twice, and thrice…just like their role model, Simon Peter.

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There is still life left yet in the out going Archbishop of Dublin
Well done (at last) to Archbishop Diarmuid martin for taking on the Government on the number of 50 in the Churches no they gave in and allowed more.
The Church of Ireland has decided to take contact details of everyone who attend but Our Archbishop said NO as they do not do that in shops.
I do not know what the Oratory will come under likely the same as the Church of Ireland.
Even in New York this week the court have decided in favour of the Church.
Maybe Cardinal Nicolls was frightened to challenge them given the enquiry he was at and left as a clown

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Jim at 1.17, you can’t hide. Only two bishops mentioned in this post – that’s a lower than average number. Feed your obsession and list another 10.

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At 2:57pm – what risible ignorance you display of the Catholic Faith. Jesus Christ cannot have a “successor” because He reigns forever and ever. He is the Head of the Church. The Pope is merely His earthly “prime minister”. Christ remains for ever. Popes die just as Peter did. That’s why Peter has successors. You really are a theological ignoramus. Yes, Peter denied Christ but he repented. The two letters of Peter in the New Testament give us insight into the converted Peter who had matured in the Faith. Why am I even bothering 🙄

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5.42, why are you bothering indeed, cos you’ve posted absolute rubbish.
Don’t priests refer to themselves each as an ‘alter Christus’? 😅
If Christ can’t have a successor, however morally pale by comparison, then why does the Gospel say that he sent the disciples out in his name, to do precisely what he did, bar save the world, of course. But wait! Don’t priests talk even in these terms? Of saving souls?
Bother instead to study the self-attributions of Catholic clergy historically before you start offering nonsense as counter-argument on this blog.

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If you do a little research you’ll find that neither of the NT letters attributed to Peter is considered by scholars to have been written by Simon Peter the fisherman from Bethsaida.

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At 6:01pm – it is all done in Christ’s Name and the power of His Spirit – not in place of or “instead” of Him. It depends ENTIRELY upon Him so they are not “successors” of Christ Who is eternal and remains really present by His Spirit. Neither are they “other Christ’s” in the sense of replacements. There can be no replacing Christ. The theology is obviously lost on you though eh? And you sound very much like that horrible “Magna Carta” who recently got the royal order of the Boot 😉

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I read that article. The only thing missing from it is Reese’s failure to reckon with the sense of jubilant martyrdom which these conservatives nurture in themselves. They are as fanatical as the jihadis, and they will never give up.

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The Catholic Church is the largest private sector employer in Germany, with around 1 million workers on its books. It is terrified by people formally leaving, or not registering in the first place.

Just as in Ireland, lapsed Catholics in Germany keep up very loose ties through rites of passage (baptism, First Holy Communion, requiem Masses) but in Germany that costs euros through the church tax. More and more Germans are formalising their lapsed state, threatening the huge infrastructure the German church has built up.

To keep the flock and their euros, the Germans try to be ever more heterodox, thinking that itchy ears preaching will keep people onboard. The Anglicans keep on trying that but it does not work.

https://www.technology.org/2014/09/16/catholic-church-become-largest-private-employer-germany/

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The catholic church in Germany is heterodox. Really?
The Anglicans similarly? Really?
What’s the primary cause of your disgruntled position? Hardly an excess of faith, hope or love?

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@4.43, I am the poster at 4.08.
Let me quote you from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. After all, you provided the link to it.
1. THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH
144 ‘To obey…in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its TRUTH (aka “certainty”) is guaranteed by God, who is truth itself.’
This very quotation confirms what I said at 4.08. Faith is belief in the certainty of that in which a person places belief or trust.
If certainty is lacking (for example, in the objective existence of God), then faith is not possible.

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I met a fair few German sems when I was studying in Rome. I was always flabbergasted by their arrogance and self-belief. You’d expect a bit more humility from a people with their history. I have a friend who’s a senior official in the EU and he told me that if you go to a meeting in Brussels it’s usually chaired by a German.

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2.44, I wouldn’t rely too much on anything written by that hyper-conservative, Damian Thompson. The man is even less open to debate than he implies about Walter Kaspar. I should know: he blocked me on social media when I contested one of his posts.

That is the abiding sin in conservatives of any (but especially religious) stripe: their sense of inbred dogmatism.

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4.18, no; just truthful.
Dogmatism is a self-righteous attitude; truth is not, because it exists objectively.

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@4.16, my goodness! You ARE easily inspired, aren’t you?
If you were thinking of Mulryne, I find it not inspiring, but disturbing that a man who seeks to serve Christ joined a religious order with such a history of savage human repression, torture, and murder. Which in turn is part of an overarching church that is now globally recognised as a bye-word for ‘evil’.

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Rev Mulryne is in charge of students in his order? Not sure if he has an academic qualification in theology or philosophy or any other area but I did see that he recites the words of mass in Latin on occasion.

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Pat, it’s very disappointing that after a few days break from MC you’ve let him back on again. Some of the anonymous posts are his, clearly. The blog’s atmosphere and content improved sharply with his absence.

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I am aware he is back. He is not welcome. If some of the comments appear to be from him??? I would prefer if we did not even mention him.

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More than one false assumption crammed into the observation at 4:08 pm. Maybe take a look at 1 Corinthians 13: 9-12 or Hebrews 11:1. You are not wrong that the CCC takes your view that “Faith is certain” (157) quoting Aquinas that “the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives” – which is a circular argument if there ever was one, and the only way you could reach that conclusion is by suspending the very critical faculties which make you human. No wonder Bertrand Russell gave so little space to Aquinas in his History of Western Philosophy on the grounds that he was not a true philosopher at all but surrendered his judgment to the RCC thought machine.

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@4:55pm -Bertrand Russell??? 🤣🤣🤣 And he wouldn’t be just a todie wee bit biased now of course would he? You couldn’t make it up. What a prat!

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The sponging Irish Clergy are now complaining that they have lost loads of cash and spending money over the blessing of graves. People not able to gather this year therefore no collection – another freeloading exercise. God does have a sense of humour after all.

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@7.44pm They should go out and get a proper job then like rest of us if their current work is slack, top up their income. They wouldn’t last a day in a proper job anyroads

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@6.06pm priests blessing graves and expecting money for it? Are you having a laugh? You are having us on surely. Does this nonsense still go on? Well that is a surprise to me. Sure any lay person can sprinkle holy water on a loved ones grave and say a little prayer of blessing for free. Dear God I thought the church in Ireland had moved on. A lay person can baptize a baby under danger of death so why can’t they bless a grave? My cousin lives outside Malaga where there is no clergyman for miles. He conducts the Catholic local funerals. Would his prayers be less relevant blessing a grave? What a load of old nonsense. By the way he refuses to take any money for the funerals as most are his neighbours and friends.

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8.31, your friend is a model priest, for indeed that is what he is. Unfortunately, the theologicsl snobbery inculcated in so-called ‘ministerial priests’ will recognise neither his priesthood, nir his example.

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Pat, are you watching the new version of Alan Bennett’s ‘Talking Heads’? I saw them the first time around, in the series broadcast a few years ago. It was Thora Hird’s best performance, I’d say.
The writing seems a bit dated now, mannered even.

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Why would anyone in their right mind want to read any Vat II document on a Sunday evening ffs or any evening? What planet are you on? Chill out and relax for God sake man. Have a wee dram instead hen

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Sure now lads hi. Isn’t it time to forget about the teams and think about the game. Look at all this inclusion and racist stuff. Sure now does that apply to the church but. Jerseys off.lads Attitudes appropriate. Tis the law but byehi

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In reply to 5:46 and 6:28 pm Father Copleston and Betrand Russell conducted their exchange with the greatest courtesy and respect, and it remains a model of the BBC at its best, which characterized the old Third Programme before it turned into Family Favourites. I am also privileged to have heard Father Copleston lecture, and recall his conversations with his friend A J Ayer. I am not sure that Copleston was convincing regarding necessary being nor in his assertion that God is necessary to morality. However, he most certainly would not have described Russell – or indeed me if I am your target – as a “prat” nor made tasteless and entirely irrelevant references to Russell’s private life.
Please do not use invective as a substitute for informed comment. We had enough of that with the very much unmissed MC. Perhaps you are he: if so, piss off!

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@8.17pm You sound just like an old ex Anglican trying to impress us with your knowledge – always a classic sign. Another classic sign is you obviously have had a few too many sherries from lunchtime which is another Anglican trait.

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Re @4:08 and @6:19, a couple of observations:
1. “truth” is always an interpretation of reality and often a deliberate distortion;
2. if you think that “faith” is dependent on the certainty of the objective existence of God, there can be no “faith”, and you are making a category error.

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8.31, you are quite wrong. And your own post disproves your argument.
On your first point, if truth is an interpretation of reality, then that reality preceded any interpretaion of it . It has, therefore, unattributed self-affirmation and self-identity.
What you allude to here is perception, a category independent of truth and entirely subjective and impressionistic. Which is a fancy way of saying that it exists only in the mind of the beholder.
Faith is most definitely dependent on the certain existence, at least in the mind of the person, that what is believed actually exists. Whether or not it has objective existence is neither here nor there: provided the person believes in that existence wholeheartedly, and unequivocally, faith in that reality is possible.
I made no category error.

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It’s great to see philosophy dicussed in the blog comments, Pat. I found it too difficult when I did it in Maynooth, unfortunately.
The alleged private life of Russell is irrelevant. I wonder their debate is on the BBC iPlayer? A lot of old stuff is on it, e.g. the John Freeman interviews in the 1960s, including his encounter with Evelyn Waugh.

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Yes he has, but it is by some nutter of a family and the allegations are completely false. Police Scotland love to bag a Priest. He will be cleared in weeks.

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Sadly the last priest that was cleared by the PF and the Police.
Archbishop Tartaglia has Never let him back yet and he was not even charged.

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Father B that is shocking but not surprised that you refer to the family as a “Nutter” family.
Strange that the Police has charged him yet they say Children not Child.
Just wonder how many in your parish that you refer to as nutters.
Sadly the nutters are the ones who give to you all the time.
You maybe correct and he will be back in a few weeks with promotion like in Maryhill or better still a Monsignor or a Canon.

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