UPDATE: German court: Catholics who don’t pay religious tax must leave church | National Catholic Reporter

UPDATE: German court: Catholics who don’t pay religious tax must leave church | National Catholic Reporter.

The above article on NCR adds more details to the story coming out of Germany about Catholics being refused the sacraments if they opt out of paying the Church Tax. As with all news stories, one must be cautious about believing sensational head lines. And this head-line, to our North American sensibilities, is sensational indeed. It raised my ire when I first read about it, but I kept hoping that perhaps there was some miscommunication…some cultural nuance that we were missing.

Well, recent statements by Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, president of the German Bishop’s Conference, leave no room for nuance…

Clearly, someone withdrawing from the church can no longer take advantage of the system like someone who remains a member,

The church is a ‘system’ that we ‘take advantage’ of? What happened to graces freely given and freely received? What about the institutional church taking advantage of the people she is called to serve?

“We are grateful Rome has given completely clear approval to our stance.”

What??? This kind of bullying tactic has the approval of the Vatican? This does not bode well for the “New Evangelization”. While bishops from around the world prepare to gather next month to discuss how to draw souls back to the the faith, some are intentionally alienating those who are struggling to stay in the midst of this mess. They just don’t get it!!!

The archbishop said each departure was “painful for the church,” …and “The Catholic church is committed to seeking out every lost person.”

OK, call me a skeptic…but is the pain coming from lost souls, or lost income?

“At issue, however, is the credibility of the church’s sacramental nature. One cannot be half a member or only partly a member. Either one belongs and commits, or one renounces this,”

I respectfully disagree – vehemently – with the good bishop. There are many good souls in our church who struggle with certain teachings or issues. In the midst of their struggles, some stay. Some need to take a voluntary exile to ponder and rethink their faith. Some just cannot afford to give large donations to the church. Some choose not to give financial support as a protest. Through it all, many still identify themselves as Catholics. After all, the sacrament of baptism is indelible. Do not judge our faith or our commitment based on the money we give. It is not only unfair. It is offensive.

In his opening address Monday to the bishops’ meeting, Zollitsch said the church needed “a long perspective, deep breath and patience” to cope with current challenges, as well as a capacity for dialogue with “social groups and circles alienated from the church.”

This really does have to be the kicker! Spot the hypocrisy anyone? This comment screams a lack of understanding. Yes, WE need to take a long, deep breath and have patience with these church leaders. Their actions and tone reflect an authoritative need for control and power, not a desire for dialogue. They need to take a closer look at the cause of the alienation of so many from our church. Perhaps a mirror would help in this regard.

Sigh….. Please forgive my own tone in this rant. Anger does little for dialogue. But sometimes I just need to let off some steam…

6 thoughts on “UPDATE: German court: Catholics who don’t pay religious tax must leave church | National Catholic Reporter

  1. You are certainbly entitled to letting off a little steam. I was just re-reading Circular 9 by David Fleming, SM. In it he talks about, ” a Church [and a Marianist Family] who live the Gospel in Mary’s style will be a dynamic community of love, service, freedom, hope, and compassion.

    It will know how to be present to others in their joy and hope, their grief and anguish; it will be a people of the Magnificat, a servant Church
    with a missionary dynamism…
    …It will encourage creativity, recognizing that it always has more to learn, looking with trust to the future and the Lord’s Paschal promise of new life.

    It will be a Church and Family that is simple and close to the poor, seeking to serve them.

    When it exercises the authority given to it by the Lord, it will seek to serve rather than to dominate, fostering communion among people, seeking
    unity but not uniformity, and avoiding personality cults.”

    What a wonderful Church that would be!

  2. You are so much like a vatican II christian. Lumen Gentium asks for initiatives & dialogue between bishops & laity. I don’t see where laity has a gender.
    Please give me an address & I will attach a trilogy of catholic synods that is supportive of your blog & an idea for a book ‘Joseph builds a new home” about Joseph & Jesus returning as carpenter & apprentice.


  3. I know there are many who say, “How dare they be angry at the Church?” Why shouldn’t we be angry? You cannot have justice with out the energy that comes from anger; anger is not a bad thing. Jesus got angry when the temple was violated, the temple is again violated! Justice in our Church demands substantial change because the whole system is not working. The bishops in Germany and elsewhere can do anything they want to lay people, because they see us as different for them. They are the elite and the rest of us do not matter. I think the Spirit is inspiring this anger, grief, outrage, shock because only these strong emotions will bring the energy for change. “Come Holy Spirit and rattle our cages”.
    Ray McCracken

  4. Amen Isabella, you rant for the faithful…those who struggle to live the Gospel message and be true to their Baptismal calling in troubled times. I keep thinking about what Jesus said about money changers and rendering to Caesar. Sigh!

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