Germany: Church Statistics Remain Concerning

Source: FSSPX News

St. Martin Church and Cologne Cathedral

The German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) published the Catholic Church in Germany Statistical Data 2023 on June 27, 2024. The situation, although slightly better than last year’s, is nevertheless extremely concerning, as the President of the country’s episcopal conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, Bishop of Limburg, acknowledged on the website

The numbers of those leaving the Church have declined compared to last year: 402,694, compared to the 2022 figure of 522,821 departures, but the statistical office notes that this is however the second highest figure in the history of Church exit statistics. If we add “deaths, entrances, and moves,” the number of Church members in Germany decreased by 591,718 faithful.

At the national level, the statistics still count around 20.3 million Catholics as of the reference date of December 31, 2023. One year earlier, there were still 20.94 million. According to provisional calculations, 18.56 million people belong to Protestantism in Germany. The majority of Germans are no longer Christian.

The figures for sacramental and ecclesial life for the year 2023 are decreasing. There were 131,245 baptisms (compared to 155,173 in 2022). The number of marriages in the Church reached 27,565 (35,467). There were 151,835 first Communions (162,506) and 105,942 confirmations (110,942). 226,179 funerals were celebrated (240,144).

The Number of Priests Is Decreasing

The number of parishes has slightly decreased to 9,418 (compared to 9,624 in 2022). In 2023, the statistics counted 11,702 priests (11,987). There were 38 priestly Ordinations in 2023 (34 secular and 4 religious).

Practice has very slightly risen to 6.2% (from 5.7%), but with strong disparities between dioceses. The Diocese of Regensburg presents a practice of 9.9%; in Passau, it reaches around 7%; and in Cologne, only 5%. 

For comparison, in 2023, Protestants lost more members than ever before: there were 380,000 departures. The departure rate again slightly increased to reach 1.98%, a record figure.

At of the reference date of December 31, 2023, around 18.6 million people belonged to one of the 20 regional Churches of the EKD (Protestant Church in Germany). This corresponds to a decrease of around 593,000 and 3.1% compared to the previous year.