German churches to see sharp drop in membership by 2060

Combined Shape

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s two main Christian churches will lose millions of members over the coming decades and will have to tighten their financial belts as a result, according to a study published Thursday.

Researchers at the University of Freiburg predict that the combined membership of the German Catholic and Protestant churches will drop from about 45 million now to 34.8 million by 2035 and 22.7 million by 2060.

The study, which was commissioned by the Catholic German Bishops Conference and the Evangelical Church in Germany, blamed the decline on a number of factors, including more members dying than children being baptized, and adults deciding to leave the church.

Members of the Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany pay up to 9% of their taxable income to the church, generating billions of euros a year for the two institutions.

Low unemployment and steady growth in Europe’s biggest economy have boosted the two churches’ combined income to around 12 billion euros ($13.5 billion) in recent years. But the study predicts that inflation will push churches’ spending on salaries and building maintenance to 25 billion euros by 2060, creating a major shortfall.

Trending:
St. Louis Prosecutor Who Charged McCloskeys May Soon Lose Her Law License

“These changes will happen and it’s good to focus on the questions of tomorrow during the present economically good situation,” said Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who heads the Evangelical Church representing various strands of Lutheran and Reformed Protestantism.

“We won’t panic over the projection but align our work accordingly,” said Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German Bishops Conference, adding that he sees the study as “a call to missionize.”

Recent immigrants to Germany, who have swelled the population to about 82 million, have largely been Muslim or haven’t registered as church members, though the Catholic Church has gained some members from Eastern European migrants.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation