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KNA InternationalSeptember 01, 2023
People walk outside the Cathedral of St. Peter and the Church of Our Lady in Trier, Germany, May 15, 2020. The Catholic Church in Germany has continued to lose members with resignations reaching record high in 2022. (OSV News photo photo/Julia Steinbrecht, KNA)

Bonn (KNA) Despite a record number of people leaving the church, there are more baptisms and marriages in German Catholic dioceses, according to the figures from the German Bishops’ Conference for 2022 and into 2023. This is shown in a brochure with key data from the Catholic Church in Germany, which was published on Friday.

According to statistics published at the end of June, around 522,652 members officially left the Catholic Church in Germany last year. Thus, at the end of 2022 there were still 20.9 million people in the church.

With a view to the high number of departures and current crises, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Baetzing of Limburg, explained: “Being honest and being a relentless taskmaster: These must be the consequences of the deep crisis of the loss of trust and a lack of credibility in the church.”

“The church changes, it has done so again and again over the centuries. And we can do our part and with faith and trust in God and look for possibilities together.”

In addition to the current figures, the working aid deals with the tense situation of church and society in Germany and around the world. It points to Christian perspectives – for example when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) or the fact that the covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine have increasingly brought social issues into the focus of society. Helping people in need and the work of relief organisations play a role, as does the topic of “Sexualised Violence: Prevention, Intervention and Reappraisal”.

Baetzing thanked all employees and volunteers who gave the church a face – and appealed to the faithful not to give up despite the crisis: “We must continue to stand at the side of the people, unwaveringly.”

In this context, the bishop also referred to the Synodal Path, the project for reforms within the Catholic Church in Germany, and his hope that a new culture could be experienced in the future: “The church changes, it has done so again and again over the centuries. And we can do our part and with faith and trust in God and look for possibilities together.” The next three years will be a “phase of implementation”, writes the general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, Beate Gilles. She is convinced that the experiences of the German reform process can also be incorporated into the upcoming World Synod.

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