Germany’s Roman Catholics are to be denied the right to Holy Communion or religious burial if they stop paying a special church tax.

A German bishops’ decree which has just come into force says anyone failing to pay the tax – an extra 8% of their income tax bill – will no longer be considered a Catholic.

All Germans who are officially registered as Catholics, Protestants or Jews pay a religious tax of 8-9% on their annual income tax bill. The levy was introduced in the 19th Century in compensation for the nationalisation of religious property…

Alarmed by their declining congregations, the bishops were also pushed into action by a case involving a retired professor of church law, Hartmut Zapp, who announced in 2007 that he would no longer pay the tax but intended to remain within the Catholic faith…

Unless they pay the religious tax, Catholics will no longer be allowed receive sacraments, except before death, or work in the church and its schools or hospitals.

Without a “sign of repentance before death, a religious burial can be refused,” the decree states. Opting out of the tax would also bar people from acting as godparents to Catholic children.

Hilarious. Religions established with state support that says they can collect taxes should have remained in the 19th Century, a final chapter in a state history book.

  1. dusanmal says:

    @Eideard “The levy was introduced in the 19th Century in compensation for the nationalisation of religious property…” – not hilarious. You don’t want to pay tax for property stolen FROM the Church by the state and used for you – at least Church has right to deny you services.
    Yes, it was in 19th Century. Still, the only proper way out of the tax is to return the property. Only way for the Church to exercise right to that property is denying services to those who refuse to pay. Simple property law.
    Even simpler – one can see the roots of German Nazis in this 19th Century grab by the power of the state. You allow strong Government, it will end in Nazi-like oppression. We have chance right now to stop similar process in the US by stopping the growth of Fascist Government.

    • NobodySpecial says:

      The church property was due to it’s claim that it owned essentially all of Europe based on the Holy Roman empire.

      So handing it back would be about as likely as the US handing back all the property to the native Americans.

      • stormtrooper 651 says:

        A bit like our Federal Govt claiming they own everything and everyone in the US, except they send heavily armed goons round if you don’t pay their taxes which they give to their friends at solyndra or buy Colombian hookers for their SS.

    • MajFauxPas says:

      I think any modern day president would know not to abdicate to a militarist or fascist usurper. Am I wrong?

  2. spsffan says:

    Silly, silly, silly. The German government should return the property to the church(es), stop the 8% payroll tax, and tax the church(es) and temples as regular businesses.

    Then the church can provide or deny services to its sheep errr ahh, customers, on any basis they see fit. Kind of a “No pay, no pray” arrangement!

    • orchidcup says:

      I offer a discount pay for pray service. Deposit a small donation into my Paypal account and I will send you a prayer cloth that has been blessed with supernatural powers.

      After one use, the prayer cloth is depleted, so you will need to renew your donation to receive another prayer cloth.

      You won’t find a better deal anywhere.

  3. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I’m not getting anything from a quick google. Can anyone explain what is going on?

    THE STATE takes ownership of Church property and now Jews have to pay a tax in order to do what?

    Seems to me about 3-4 issues have been conflated together?

    • NobodySpecial says:

      When modern Germany was created by Bismark out of a bunch of tiny principalities a few of them were papal states – the head of the country was the pope.
      In return for the pope no longer owning large bits of Germany there is a tithe (a church tax) administered by the federal govt.

      You can fill in a simple form and say you aren’t a member of a church and they don’t collect the tax – the church is just complaining that people tick the box and yes still expect to go to church, get married in church, and be buried by the church.

      • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

        Thank you. so… this is a tax, collected by Germany to Pay to Rome? Why do the Jews pay it? Why the protestants?

        I can see what you say happening. Pretty stupid to “revolt” and then pay a tax especially when the Vatican Guard could probably be taken out with sling shots.

        Is this a forever tax, or is the obligation being paid off? Lots more questions as things still aren’t clear.

        • NobodySpecial says:

          Nobody HAS to pay it. It’s a box on a form.

          It just lets the govt handle all the deductions and tax stuff for you – just like how some US companies let you make charity donations directly and they appear on your pay slip.

          I don’t know if protestant churches can join the scheme – I suspect they can.

          It’s just a rather more teutonically efficient version of passing the collection plate around on a sunday

          • John F. Opie says:

            Um, I actually live in Germany and filed my taxes yesterday. I do not belong to a church (my wife does, and we file joint returns). In the German state of Hessen, the tax authorities have decided that non-registered partners have to pay just like their registered partners. Costs me around $600 a year…

            And it is collected for all “official” churches from all those registered as being one religion or another. If you do not belong to one of the official churches, you’re free of the obligation. The official churches, basically, are catholic, protestant (including all the various incarnations from evangelical to lutheran), jewish and muslim. No mormons, no scientologists, no buddhists, etc.

            The monies are given to the head of the officials churches and makes up a signicant portion of their budgets.

  4. ECA says:

    The Church can change certain rules to FIT their needs,
    but cant give the WHOLE truth of religion?

  5. orchidcup says:

    This case illustrates the fact that God is greedy.

    If I don’t pay a tax on my income, I will go to hell without absolution and atonement.

    God always wants His percentage. No exceptions.

    Funny thing is, God is invisible and omniscient presumably does not need money.

    Somebody somewhere is being scammed out of their money.

  6. NewformatSux says:

    It’s merely a mandatory death insurance payment.

  7. Ken says:

    Time to shop for a new religion!

    • orchidcup says:

      Today only I am offering a discount religion at a bargain price.

      Send 3% of your earnings to my Paypal account monthly and I will interpret the Bible for you and send a Bible verse of the week to your email account.

      Send a special love offering of $100 and I will send you a prayer cloth and a string of beads that have supernatural powers.

      An autographed glossy color photo of Jesus is free.

  8. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    You have to truly admire our forefathers for having the foresight to purposefully avoid enshrining religion in our Constitution.

  9. Airsick says:

    So much for the Catholic Church in Germany then.

  10. Grandpa says:

    I did hear that Germany was over run by Allah hugging immigrants. This will surely make it an Allah country.

  11. UncDon says:

    Holy Communion? Last Rites? Exorcism?

    There’s an app for that. No need to visit a church.

  12. sargasso_c says:

    The article is worth reading. The church in Germany provides welfare services and housing, hospitals and retirement homes.

  13. worstwriter says:

    The price the z’Germans pay for the(ir) church(es) is well worth it compared to the united mistakes. Alone the non-profit and thereby tax-free designation of American’t religion has to be part of the current fail-upwards free-for-the-few authoritarian state that both scares and truly entertains the world today. Alone the connect between the batshit wingnuts of the GOP and the church-state-continuum ad nauseum should be enough to make rational thinking people wake up. But who could expect the dreamers of the American dream to ever wake up? Rant on.

  14. John F. Opie says:

    Sorry, this is really nothing new whatsoever: rather, someone challenged the law and lost. This has been the way things are in Germany since the country was created out of a series of annoying small states (to make a large state that has certainly been annoying in the past).

    The deal for German believers is that this is a tax levied on members of established religions to support German church activities. If you don’t want to pay for the churches, you can simply withdraw from church membership. The case mentioned ut supra is someone wanting a free lunch, i.e. not paying the tax, but continuing to be a member of the church.

    Doesn’t work here in Germany. End of story.

  15. NewformatSux says:

    In America, the official church is Islam. The President will do its bidding if other countries riot. Media mentions of Mohammed have gone from 10% to 70% saying ‘Prophet Mohammed’. Now we hear many mentions in the news of “THE Prophet Mohammed”.

  16. MartinJJ says:

    Talking about scam artists in a dress. It’s about time the last Pope disappears into a cloud of black smoke. That will definiately end their endless child abuse also.

  17. msbpodcast says:

    They all demand that you suspend disbelief long enough to listen to their particular brand of BS.

    It always starts and with “There a guy in the sky…” and end with “and that why you must give us all of your money“.

    Catholics lost out to Lutherans in Germany a long time ago. (Remember the 95 theses Luther nailed to the door of the “All Saints church” on the 31st of October 1517, in Wittgenstein.)


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