In 2019, in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, whose head is Cardinal Archbishop Reinhard Marx, principal craftsman of the German synod, a record number of faithful left the Church, as indicated by official statistics published on May 26, 2020.
“Let us accept the fact that there are several paths of faith,” said Cardinal Marx to the newspaper La Croix, on March 28, 2019. Could it be that the multiplicity of these paths has confused the Cardinal’s faithful? According to the Munich Bureau of Statistics 10,744 of the faithful completed a “leave the church” application in 2019, up from 8,995 the year before.
The Institute of Statistics specifies that it is the first time that the number of these leavings has exceeded the 10,000 mark. A first since its creation in 1947.
The exit in question consists of making a request to the State, to no longer be registered as a Catholic. In Germany, part of the tax is paid to religious leaders, depending on the registration given by the citizen. Thus, 8 to 9% of the amount of the income tax of a Catholic goes to the Church. “Leaving the Church” is therefore a refusal to pay this tax.
Last March, Bavarian Radio conducted a survey of those who had decided to leave the Church: the main reasons alleged were the desire to no longer pay the church tax, moral scandals, and the place of women in the Church, deemed too small. Some reasons demonstrate a growing lack of faith, but sometimes also a weariness in front of the evasion of the current clergy, especially in Germany.
Rather than fighting inch by inch against the growing secularization of society, by enthusiastically preaching Catholic faith, morals, and doctrine, the Church in Germany seems to the contrary to have followed in its footsteps, in launching its “synodal path” in Frankfurt, January 29, 2020, with the slogan: “anticipate public opinion,” as already summed up by an official of the German Conference of Bishops (DBK), in La Croix of March 23, 2019.
For his part, Cardinal Marx is not without contradiction. On May 22, 2020, when interviewed by the weekly Der Spiegel, he declared that he did not like the progressive label that has been pinned on him. As proof, he says he feels a conservative soul vibrate in him (sic). The proof: “When I was 15, I did not like the fact that after the Second Vatican Council, the old ceremonies and traditional images were removed in many places.”
Words that give you something to think about. This sentimental attachment to the ancient liturgy did not prevent the cardinal from wanting to overthrow dogma and morals in launching the synodal path.