Catholics to exclude church tax dodgers

Check out this one folks!

What do you think of it? I live in Germany and I am appalled. I do not pay the tax as a full-time student, and being in my maternity leave and all. Besides getting a job in Germany for a non-German is also tricky at best, so even after finishing my studies and my leave, no guarantee I find one. If I don’t, I won’t have income tax to pay tax from, and hence I am not Catholic? :shrug:

Thank you, Rafaela, for posting this news, startling though it is.

Is the German Church so desperate for funds? Or are they trying to pare rolls?

For anyone who reads German (which I do not), here is a link to the press release from the German bishops. The official documents are linked at the bottom of it.

And here is a translation of the article which appeared in Die Welt

It’s one of the uniquely German issues arising out of the 30 Years War, and one of the reasons why the USA chose separation of church and state when it came into being.

Surely you would not be penalized if you couldn’t pay it?


The article says you must pay 8-9% or your income. If you are out of work and have no income, then 8-9% of Zero is Zero.

Therefore, you should not have to pay a tax. :smiley:

Isn’t that simony? For heaven’s sake in Germany too. Home of that hotheaded Marty Luther. And poor little Tetzel was just creatively raising voluntary funds by mixing in (an inadvisable as it turned out) plug for sacrificing (monetarily but voluntarily) for the souls in Purgatory.

Maybe Jesus will tell the good Catholics of these regions where the fish are with the coins in them to pay this “temple tax”.

Matthew 17:24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”

25 “Yes,” he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him,

  • “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?”*

26 When he said, “From foreigners,”*** Jesus said to him, "Then the subjects are exempt.***

27 But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you."

Religious taxes are an old tradition. But not one Jesus approved of. Rather one he put up with.

Idea: Put fish with this scripture in the envelopes - pay the tax in increments of 30 pieces of silver ($3 in dimes American). Coins are still money - though mostly they just break vacuums these days. :wink:

There are a lot of poor people who can not pay tax

This would be simony, if it is as the article implies. It is sin to charge or pay for sacraments like the article describes.

Catholics who decide to skip the tax will be unable to receive Communion, be confirmed or go to confession, Die Welt newspaper wrote on Thursday. The rule, which takes effect on September 24, also bars non-payers from becoming godparents or belonging to a Catholic congregation.

Though the bishops’ text avoids the word “excommunication,” the consequences of the all-or-nothing rule are essentially the same.

If a Catholic notifies the registry office that he has chosen to renounce his faith, thereby allowing him to stop paying church tax, he will receive a letter from a priest that includes a list detailing the consequences of his decision – and an offer to meet for “reconciliation” talks.

Here is the difference. It is a renunciation of the faith, not merely a refusal to pay the church tax. It is again support for a “Formal act of defection” which is controversial and of late, had no juridicial effect in the Church. If someone renounces his faith, then clearly he cannot receive the sacraments. It has little to do with whether he is paying taxes and more to do with his apostasy.

This is a concession to a growing movement in Europe, that of “un-baptism”. European atheists have been demanding for some time that they should have a way to remove themselves completely from Church rolls. Normally, the most the Church will do for someone who makes a formal act of defection is make another notation in their sacramental record. There is no method for destroying records, and rightly so. Baptism itself is an indelible mark on the soul, and ontologically, there is no such thing as “un-baptism”. But here is the Church formalizing a procedure for it, and drawing accusations of simony along with it. Not an ideal situation, IMHO.

Would “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” belong here?

Simony seems to be the case according to the Catholic Encyclopedia

This article is about the people who formally renounce the faith so that they don’t have to pay the tax, not about those who lack the means.

After raising the question of simony … it occurred to me that Catholics are supposed to support their Church, financially if possible (I think!). Somewhere in the cobwebs of my memory near the “Easter Duty” file there are duties to the Church.

If someone has these offhand, it might be good to post them.

It might be that the Bishops are within their rights.

When I was a kid in Northern Illinois in the early 1960s, my Catholic school (which was GREAT for the most part), regaled us with the duty of “tithing”. Giving one tenth of one’s income off the top of one’s earnings to the Church.

It’s mentioned in the Bible, but the cries of the faithful soon relegated this teaching into retreat - with the explanation that it wasn’t a command but an appeal (as I remember it).

Did the hunt myself. Did not post details about what “material support” could be. Is this just money? Works? Time serving? All of the preceeding?

The Duties of Catholics as Listed in the Catechism

  1. To attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and rest from servile labor.
  2. To receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year, if aware of committing a mortal sin.
  3. To receive Holy Communion at least once a year, between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday.
  4. To observe the fast days and abstinence days established by the Church.
  5. To contribute to the material support of the Church

The Duties of Catholics added by the U.S. Bishops

  1. Obeying the Marriage Laws of the Church
  2. Join in the Missionary spirit of the Church

Sounds like a variation on the old method of raising money referred to in the old couplet, “Wenn das Geld im Kasten klingt, die Seele in den Himmel sprengt.” Sounds like a case of “shooting yourself in the foot” to this American.

I am curious what Dr. Peters finds out.

Skimming secular news reports on the recent decree by German bishops concerning Catholics paying, or not paying, the Church tax, I am sure only that the story is considerably more complex than reported. It won’t do to comment on such a story from afar armed only with secular journalists’ takes.

Church taxes are not at all uncommon throughout Europe, though Germany has the most extreme example. This applies not only to Catholics but to all Germans, regardless of confession. It is the primary means that churches in Germany have of raising revenue.

I personally don’t agree with the idea (I think each individual should have to voluntarily support the Church through donations outside of tax), but it is what it is.

The problem is that by renouncing their membership in the Church to the State officials, the people referred to here have formally renounced the Faith. Technically, that makes them apostates (or at a minimum schismatics).
Can. 751Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.
And what is the penalty for apostasy or schism?
Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3.
The actual decree from the bishops state:
Die aus der Kirche ausgetretene Person

  • darf die Sakramente der Buße, Eucharistie, Firmung und Krankensalbung – außer in Todesgefahr - nicht empfangen,
    außer in Todesgefahr means outside the danger of death. Again, strictly in accordance with Canon Law.

For somebody who might call this simony:
Can. 222 §1. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers.
Think about it in this country: to have a child baptized, you need to be an active member of the parish in which the child is to be baptized. To have a child confirmed, the same thing. To get married in the Church, the same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I never have liked the idea of a Kirchensteuer, but if the German people don’t like the idea of this, they should work to change their laws…not renounce their faith in order to avoid the requirements of their laws.

German bishops defend exclusion of Catholics who stop paying tax

Interesting; I was unaware of the tax on German Catholics. One wonders if this contributed to the low attendance at Sunday Mass in Germany. On the trips I have made to Germany, I have always been dismayed by the empty Churches there. They have beautiful large Churches that are basically empty all of the time. I wondered how they could continue to support and maintain these Churches with such low attendance. Apparently this “tax” has kept money flowing in. Maybe this is why people do not attend Mass; they think they support the Church through the tax and do not have to attend Mass. It sounds like as long as these absent Catholics continue to pay their tax, they will remain Catholics in good standing.

Weird, Catholics in Germany who live their faith but do not pay their tax are booted out while Catholics in America who do not live their faith (or contribute to the support of the Church) are considered Catholics in good standing??? Am I missing something or is something wrong here?

Yep, you’re missing something. Germans who live their faith will not be denied sacraments. Read my posts for more information.

Did you read the link to the Catholic News Service article on my post? It seems to disagree with your assessment.

“WARSAW, Poland (CNS) – The German bishops’ conference defended a controversial decree that said Catholics who stop paying a church membership tax cannot receive sacraments.”

If you publicly stand up and declare that you are not Catholic to avoid paying the Church tax (Jews & Protestants pay it too) which pays your Pastor’s salary and pays for the upkeep of your parish Church, do you have the right to ask to receive Communion or expect to be married and/or buried by the Church?

Good Catholics don’t formally renounce their faith without any duress at all.

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