Berlin, Germany, Jul 22, 2019 / 09:55 am
Continuing a years-long trend, the Catholic Church in Germany saw a significant drop in membership this past year, losing more than 200,000 members in 2018.
According to the German Bishops’ Conference, the Catholic Church in the country declined by 216,078 members last year. Protestant churches saw a similar drop, with 220,000 members leaving during that time period.
Fr. Hans Langendörfer, SJ, secretary of the German Bishops' Conference, said the numbers show a need for the Church in Germany to be “more self-critical and constructive.”
“The current statistics are worrying. There is nothing to gloss over about the numbers, they confirm a trend that has shaped the Church in recent years,” he said in a statement.
Adding that a loss of trust and credibility has caused great damage, the priest went on to say that Church leaders must examine the question of how to make the Catholic Church a welcoming environment, where people can find hope and feel at home.
Recent sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church could be contributing to some of this drop, according to surveys cited by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).
However, Church membership in Germany has been declining for years.
Priestly ordinations have also plummeted. In 2005, a total of 122 diocesan priests were ordained in the country. Ten years later, just 58 men were ordained priests.