German voters will go to the pools on September 26 to vote for a new federal government and a successor to long-time Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led the country since the year 2005. The question of how a clearer separation of Church and State can be achieved in light of an increasing number of German Catholics turning their backs on the Church will be one of the challenges facing the new government.
The Church in Germany received 6.76 billion euros from the church tax in 2019, an increase of more than 100 million euros compared to 2018. The rise is believed to be due to the growth of Germany's economy in 2019.
While the number of Catholics abandoning the faith has increased steadily since the 1960s, the Church's income has risen. In 2019, a record number of Catholics left the Church in Germany, with 272,771 people formally leaving.
Pope Francis took the historical step of writing a 28-page letter to German Catholics in 2019, urging them to focus on evangelization in the face of a "growing erosion and deterioration of faith" in their country. More recently, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI., who hails from the German State of Bavaria, expressed strong concern about the lack of faith within Church institutions in Germany.