Switzerland: Considerable Loss of Faithful in the Canton of Zurich

Source: FSSPX News

The poster campaign of the Church in Zurich

The Catholic Church in the canton of Zurich published statistics for 2023 on February 14, 2024. They reveal that 13,900 people turned away from the Church in the canton of Zurich in 2023. “In 2022, there were 7,222, an already record figure in the history of the Zurich Church,” the communiqué underlined.

Cath.ch reports: “At the end of 2023, the Zurich population included 23.3% Protestants and 21.7% Catholics [...] around 720,000 members. More than half of the canton does not belong to any religious community.” For both Protestants and Catholics, this is the greatest loss of members ever recorded in the space of a year.

Close to 1,000 people indicated the reasons for their departure, or 7% of those leaving. Abuses within the Swiss Catholic Church appeared at the top of the list. Priestly celibacy and discrimination against women in the Church were cited in the second position, most often together. 

The management of homosexuality was cited multiple times. Some pointed out that the Church was not conservative enough, others alluded to savings in ecclesistical tax. 29 people said they had gone to the Protestant Church or had the intention to do so.

“The figures for those leaving the Catholic Church in the canton of Zurich are overwhelming and exceed all fears. It is time to act, and to act urgently,” the Catholic Church at Zurich stated.

Indeed, losses in Church membership have an immediate consequence on ecclesial finances. Also, a campaign was announced on February 21 to “improve the Church’s image, strengthen its credibility, and fight against departures.”

It is therefore planned until the end of March, the distribution of advertisements on online portals in the region as well as in the three largest train stations--Zurich, Stadelhofen, and Winterthur. Advertisements will also be posted on Google and social media. Finally, the parishes and ecclesial communes of the canton have various materials for communicating on site.

The objective of the campaign aims “to raise awareness and show where and how the Church can get involved through fiscal contributions.” It is aimed in particular, the communiqué specifies, at persons aged 20 to 45