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.