Browsing News Entries

Record number of German Catholics left Church in 2021 (Pillar)

While the German bishops advanced their “Synodal Path” as a means of renewing the Catholic Church, official statistics showed that a record 359,338 German Catholics formally removed themselves from parish registers last year.

That figure represents a major leap from the previous year’s number of 221,390 defections from the Catholic Church. Over the past decade, the average annual exodus has been slightly over 200,000, for a total of over 2 million.

The German bishops’ statistics showed fewer than 1 million Catholics attending Mass regularly. Thus the number of practicing Catholics is less than one-half of the number who have left the Church in the past ten years.

Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the German bishops’ conference, admitted that he was “deeply shaken” by the latest figures, which “show the profound crisis in which we find ourselves as the Catholic Church in Germany.” But he remains committed to the Synodal Path, pledging that the German hierarchy would “courageously continue on the path the Church has chosen.”