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(LifeSiteNews) – German Catholics are leaving the Church in record numbers.
The German Bishops Conference published the statistics report for 2021 on Monday, June 27, 2022. According to the report, 359,388 people left the Catholic Church in Germany in 2021, compared to 221,390 in 2020. That is an increase of around 62% from the previous year and the highest number ever recorded in a single year.
The number of sacraments administered to the faithful went up in 2021 compared to the year before, due to fewer Covid-related restrictions. However, fewer sacraments were administered in 2021 than in the pre-Covid year 2019.
The Catholic Church in Germany had around 21.6 million members in 2021, which amounts to about 26% of Germany’s population. The number of priests went down from 12,565 in 2020 to only 10,313 in 2021. There were only 62 ordinations to the priesthood in 2021.
In 2021, Germany had a population estimated at 89.3 million people in total.
The president of the German Bishops Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said he was “deeply shaken” by the figures. The numbers attest to the profound crisis in which the Catholic Church in Germany finds itself. Bätzing added that it is not only people who have had little or even no contact with their parish for a long period who are leaving: there is more and more feedback that people who were previously very involved in their parishes are also leaving the Church.
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Bishop Robert McElroy (right) is to be made a cardinal in August, despite his inaction on allegations against notorious ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
We all have a responsibility to speak up when serious wrongs are being brought to our attention, but McElroy didn't.
SIGN this petition to demand Pope Francis not reward a bishop who failed to report allegations against McCarrick
The Bishop of San Diego was told about serious sexual wrongdoing by McCarrick in 2016 when psychotherapist Richard Sipe, who had interviewed numerous victims of McCarrick, sent him a detailed letter, but McElroy sat on that information and is now being made a cardinal.
Appointing him to the College of Cardinals is not only an insult to those who suffered clerical sex-abuse, but also to those who are intent on ridding the Church of such evil.
This decision to make McElroy a cardinal must be reversed, and the only way to make that happen is with pressure from the laity.
SIGN and SHARE this petition to stop the appointment of Bishop McElroy to the College of Cardinals
Sipe told McElory that numerous seminarians and priests reported sexual advances and activity by McCarrick in a letter that also detailed extensive abuse by other clerics.
"I have interviewed twelve seminarians and priests who attest to propositions, harassment, or sex with McCarrick," the psychotherapist told McElroy in the 2016 letter, adding: "None so far has found the ability to speak openly at the risk of reputation and retaliation."
McElroy, who claims there was no corroborating evidence, could have brought the allegations to the pope, or even to the Papal Nuncio, but instead ended the correspondence with Sipe, himself a clerical sex-abuse victim.
It would take another year for the truth about McCarrick to slowly emerge in public.
SIGN the petition to stop Bishop McElroy being elevated to the College of Cardinals
Turning a blind eye to serious allegations of sexual wrongdoing is reprehensible in any context, but particularly when a bishop, a shepherd of souls, does so.
He also supports giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, contrary to the Church's teaching, while he has concelebrated LGBT Masses as bishop and claimed Fr. James Martin's attempt to normalize the LGBT ideology is "fully consonant with Catholic teaching".
The sad truth is that McElroy is not fit to continue as a bishop, let alone become a cardinal.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to stop the rot that continues to tarnish Christ's Church.
We must do what we can to clean up this mess now.
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Photo: Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Robert McElroy (Lisa Bourne/LifeSiteNews & Diocese of San Diego/YouTube)
Bishop Bätzing implied that the ecclesial scandals were an important factor in the large number of people leaving the Church. He defended the Synodal Way by saying that “with the Synodal Way as an impulse for internal reform and renewal, important steps in the right direction” were taken. According to Bätzing, this renewal triggered by the German reform “obviously did not reach the faithful yet.”
According to the report, the number of German Sunday Mass adherents went down as well. In 2021, 4.3% of Catholics attended Mass on Sundays; this was down from 5.9% in 2020. In 2019, 9.1% of Catholics still attended Mass on Sunday.
Bishop Bätzing noted that millions could be reached through online and radio church services. He believes the idea that “churches will become fuller again or that the number of believers will increase again” has to be abandoned.
READ: Head of German bishops’ conference defends controversial ‘Synodal Path’ against critics
While criticism of the Synodal Way by conservative and traditional Catholic media outlets in Germany regarding the statistics report was to be expected, even a secular mainstream media outlet offered a similar. An opinion piece in the German newspaper Die Welt called into question the liberal reform process in the Catholic Church as the universal remedy for all the Church’s problems and suggested that hard questions like that are not reflected on by the German Episcopate.