[quote="Melchior, post:10, topic:299327"]
No, this has completely to do with how the German tax system works. You get taxed XYZ amount, then Germany sends it to different places, including churches. To attempt lower their taxes, some people legally declare they are not Catholic.
After the changes to Canon Law in 1983, technically no one can "leave" the Church, Baptism is permanent. But with German tax laws as they are now, some wish to not support the Church any further, so they want a legal means to not call themselves Catholic, especially if the Church needs to run reports to determine membership so they can get the proper money from the government.
What this will do will allow people to leave the Church in a civil sense, thereby they will not pay money through taxes.
Actually, the last change to Canon Law regarding an Formal Act of Defection was much more recent than 1983.
This is a concession to the growing movement in Europe of "un-baptism". Atheists want to remove their names completely from Church rolls. This will not remove their name (as far as I know) - that would be unwise and destructive to the integrity of sacramental records. This will put an official notation in their record that they have made a Formal Act of Defection.
I don't think you can invoke this just by failing or refusing to pay taxes. That would clearly be simony. I am sure that the Holy See has given this a critical look. Perhaps it is necessary to avoid a larger scandal. But this isn't just about paying taxes. This is about ex-Catholics attempting to renounce the Church entirely. The taxes are just part and parcel of renunciation. The media, of course, is playing up the angle of simony for sensationalism. Is it really any surprise? Don't buy into it.