Author Topic: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax  (Read 1822 times)

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Offline Jetavan

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German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« on: September 21, 2012, 03:06:23 PM »
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PARIS (Reuters)- Germany's Roman Catholic bishops have decreed that people who opt out of a "church tax" should not be given sacraments and religious burials, getting tougher on worshippers who choose not to pay.
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The annual total of church leavers, usually around 120,000, rocketed to 181,193 two years ago as revelations about decades of sexual abuse of children by priests shamed the hierarchy and prompted an apology from German-born Pope Benedict.
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Catholics who leave can no longer receive sacraments, except for a special blessing before death, the decree states.

They cannot work in the church or its institutions, such as schools and hospitals, or be active in church-sponsored associations such as charity groups or choirs.
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The bishops conference said local pastors would invite all leavers to meet to discuss their reasons for quitting, explain the consequences and offer a chance to rejoin the church.
This might actually help the Church in Germany.

Do Orthodox in Germany also pay a tax?
If you will, you can become all flame.
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Offline jmbejdl

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 03:28:09 AM »
I don't believe so, no. Certainly the last time I checked (we were looking to move out there at the time) Orthodox were not included.

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Offline Gorazd

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 07:46:09 AM »
Do Orthodox in Germany also pay a tax?

No, they don't. I think EP and ROCOR would have the right to levy such a tax, but they have decided not to do that.

Offline primuspilus

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 07:57:30 AM »
What is this tax? I've never heard of it.

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Offline Gorazd

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2012, 08:15:27 AM »
What is this tax? I've never heard of it.

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Well-established religious communities in Germany can obtain a legal status called "Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts" (might be translated as "corporation under public law"). These then are entitled to levy an additional income tax on their members, through the IRS equivalent. The largest religious communities in Germany, that is the Roman Catholics and the Lutherans, do so. Also most Jewish communities. That is why more and more Germans declare themselves to be without confessional affiliation - the are not necessarily Atheists, they just want to avoid that Church tax.

Offline VarangianGuard

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 08:29:27 AM »
Church tax was quite normal in earlier times.
One part of your taxes went to the Church and the other to the King.
In modern times, many Western European countries have governments which continue to fund churches, but through the general taxes and not through a special church tax which the governement collected on behalf of the church. In Germany, the church tax has not been abolished yet and is collected by the state on behalf of the church. In other countries, the church tax was abolished and included in the general tax. (Another way for the governments to seize power over the churches, probably.) As Gorazd says, it is the same system for every recognised religious entity.

For a doctrinally immensely corrupt (from a trad Catholic perspective) hierarchy like the German Catholic hierarchy, it is a blessing to receive that tax since they continuously get funding for their Modernist activities. The church there is rich and that allows it to pose as a body full of life, which is contrary to reality. The RCC in Germany is as dead as the RCC in Holland and is a rotten corpse beneath the golden cover.
However, they fear that many Catholics will opt out and then they resort to intimidation and force to keep the donors and their wealth. The soul has been out of the equation for years.
Probably the best example there is  of  "pay, pray and obey", except for the prayer part of it. It should be "pay, modernize, destroy, ecumenize and obey" in stead.

Offline Alpo

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 08:57:34 AM »
In other countries, the church tax was abolished and included in the general tax.

Germany is not alone. There are several other countries which still have the church tax.
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Offline VarangianGuard

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 09:23:06 AM »
Oh yes, I know.
Sorry if it was misleading, but I did not say in all other countries, but rather "other countries".

Offline Gorazd

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 09:27:44 AM »
One important point is that in Germany, the established religious communities are free to levy that tax or not. The Orthodox jurisdictions that have the necessary status do not levy these taxes in Germany. Also, the Baptists would be entitled to levy the tax, but they don't.

Of course, with modernism and all, not many Roman Catholics in Germany believe anymore that church membership is necessary for salvation. So, many have left already. Others do want to find a way to remain in good standing, but without paying the tax. And that is what the current discussion is about.

Offline Alpo

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 01:48:40 AM »
I must say religious tax of 8 or 9 percent of their annual tax bill is pretty high. Maybe they could lower it a bit in order to retain their faithful.
Quote from: Severian
the people on this forum have to stop taking themselves so seriously. None of us are some modern-day Athanasius, we all just have nothing better to do.

Offline Gorazd

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 05:57:39 PM »
I must say religious tax of 8 or 9 percent of their annual tax bill is pretty high. Maybe they could lower it a bit in order to retain their faithful.

It is 8 or 9 percent of the German income tax. That's not that much, because in Germany, things like retirement, social and health contributions etc are calculated separately. In Finland, all this would be part of one big income tax.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 01:18:19 PM »
UPDATE:

Quote
A press release Sept. 20 said the decree had been approved in August by the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops. It added that parish priests would be asked to write to departing Catholics, inviting them to meet and explain their decision and have the consequences explained.

The Associated Press reported that the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany, ruled Wednesday that Catholics who opt out of paying religious taxes must automatically leave the church as well.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 01:18:44 PM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Offline Gorazd

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2012, 01:35:53 PM »
The Associated Press reported that the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany, ruled Wednesday that Catholics who opt out of paying religious taxes must automatically leave the church as well.

That's not entirely correct. In fact, the ruling says that whoever opts out of the tax is not considered a member of the Roman Catholic Church for state purposes anymore. As for his standing in the RCC from a theological point of view, that is completely up to the RCC and the state cannot interfere with that.


Offline Jetavan

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 01:46:52 PM »
The Associated Press reported that the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany, ruled Wednesday that Catholics who opt out of paying religious taxes must automatically leave the church as well.

That's not entirely correct. In fact, the ruling says that whoever opts out of the tax is not considered a member of the Roman Catholic Church for state purposes anymore. As for his standing in the RCC from a theological point of view, that is completely up to the RCC and the state cannot interfere with that.
So it seems you're saying that if someone opts out of the tax, that the person could still be a full member of the Catholic Church in Germany, meaning that they can receive all the sacraments, etc.?
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2012, 01:58:22 PM »
More on the German Court ruling:

Quote
BERLIN — A top German court ruled on Wednesday that Roman Catholics must pay their church tax in order to remain a member of the Church and participate in its rites.

The Federal Administrative Court's ruling came two days after a decree by the German bishops' conference took effect, barring Catholics from receiving the sacraments or becoming a godparent if they refuse to pay the levy.
....
The court in the eastern city of Leipzig ruled against canonist Hartmut Zapp from Freiburg, who in 2007 declared at his local civil register office that he would no longer pay the church tax but remained a member of the Catholic denomination.

That prompted the archbishopric to lodge a complaint against him and the case has been back and forth through several courts.

Partially leaving the Church is not possible, the Leipzig judges decided, saying anyone wishing to be part of the Catholic denomination could not call on the state to limit the Church's right of self-determination.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Gorazd

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2012, 02:24:19 PM »
So it seems you're saying that if someone opts out of the tax, that the person could still be a full member of the Catholic Church in Germany, meaning that they can receive all the sacraments, etc.?
No, I am saying that this is up to the church to decide, not to the state.

It used to be that the one who refused to pay was excommunicated directly. But the bishops have just published a new guideline that says a local priest should have a talk with people who stop paying the tax, and convince them to start paying again. If they continue to refuse paying, they can receive church penalties.

Offline choy

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2012, 03:15:37 PM »
A good reason to 'dox  ;D

Offline Jetavan

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2012, 03:24:09 PM »
So it seems you're saying that if someone opts out of the tax, that the person could still be a full member of the Catholic Church in Germany, meaning that they can receive all the sacraments, etc.?
No, I am saying that this is up to the church to decide, not to the state.

It used to be that the one who refused to pay was excommunicated directly. But the bishops have just published a new guideline that says a local priest should have a talk with people who stop paying the tax, and convince them to start paying again. If they continue to refuse paying, they can receive church penalties.
So headlines that say things like "German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax" are actually misleading because the German bishops are not getting "tougher" but are instead getting more compassionate, by entering into dialogue with those who refuse to pay the tax, whereas before those who refused to pay would have been simply excommunicated?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 03:25:02 PM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Gorazd

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2012, 04:37:26 PM »
So headlines that say things like "German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax" are actually misleading because the German bishops are not getting "tougher" but are instead getting more compassionate, by entering into dialogue with those who refuse to pay the tax, whereas before those who refused to pay would have been simply excommunicated?
Also not exactly. It was Rome who told them they could not excommunicate them automatically. So they do get "tough" by excommunicating them half-automatically again, and by fighting in court for the tax.

Offline ICXCNIKA

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Re: German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2012, 05:12:35 PM »
Isn't this Simony?