Originally Posted by SgtSchultz
My understanding was that more people pay the tax than attend mass.
This is correct.
The numbers in the table are the % of Catholics in different countries that attend mass on a weekly basis, not the % of the general population.
In Germany a person gets signed up as a Catholic or Protestant (or whatever) when they get baptized and after that they are considered a member of that religion. When they are taxed, a % is taken out for the support of the religion that they are signed up for. In Germany, it's 8 or 9% of your income taxes that you donate, according to the estimates I'm seeing.
The law in Germany allows people to "opt out" of paying these Church taxes, but in order to do so the person has to "disaffiliate" with the Church. IN order to do this, you go to the local government offices and sign papers. There have been recent articles in the news about this.
There are similar systems in several countries in that geographical region. Austria and Switzerland have similar systems, and some of the Scandinavian countries also have a Church tax.
It's an old system and there has been controversy about it for a long time. The latest bit of controversy is just more of the same.