Catholic bishops in Germany are bracing for a major drop in church taxation revenues as a result of the coronavirus crisis, reported the German Catholic news agency, KNA.
In Germany, wage-earners who declare membership to a religious faith pay a church tax deducted from their wages by state financial authorities and passed on to the churches. The state itself keeps about three per cent of the tax money.
“It is going to be a painful process,” Bishop Georg Batzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, warned following a video conference with fellow diocesan bishops.
KNA reported the bishop said there still were no reliable estimates as to how great the drop in church tax revenues would be.
“The corona pandemic is forcing us to enter a process in which we must weigh what we as a Church can still afford in the future and what we must say farewell to,” he said.
Revenues from church taxes depend greatly on the number of people employed and on economic developments in Germany. The German bishops’ conference reported Catholics paid some 6.6 billion euros in church taxes in 2018.
Picture: A priest celebrates Holy Thursday Mass via livestream on 9th April 2020 at a nearly empty church in Bonn, Germany. (CNS photo/Harald Oppitz, KNA).