In the southwest: Significantly more people leaving the church since the beginning of the year



Friborg – Since the Munich abuse report was published at the end of January, significantly more people in Baden-Württemberg have left the church than in the previous year. In the first three months of the year, the number of people leaving the church was twice as high as in the same period of the previous year. This was the result of a survey by the German Press Agency in six cities in the southwest.

According to the municipality, 1,183 people in the Baden city of Freiburg had declared their withdrawal from the church by April. In the previous year, 561 people had left the church. At 813, the Catholic Church accounted for the majority of those leaving this year in Freiburg.

On January 20, the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) presented an expert opinion on behalf of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The experts came to the conclusion that cases of sexual abuse in the diocese had not been dealt with appropriately for decades. They assume at least 497 victims and 235 alleged perpetrators, but at the same time from a significantly larger number of unreported cases.

►In Ludwigsburg, too, the number of people leaving has increased significantly year-on-year. While 230 people from the baroque city left their Catholic and Protestant communities between January and March last year, the number had risen to 342 in the first three months of this year. The Catholic Church was particularly hard hit with 183 people leaving.

In the cities of Ulm and Konstanz, the number of people leaving the church was also higher than in the previous year. While 405 people in Ulm and 390 in Konstanz distanced themselves from the church in the first months of 2021, the number of people leaving the church this year was already 569 in Ulm and 467 in Konstanz.

The registry office in Heilbronn also recorded an increase in exits at the beginning of the year. As of April 10, the agency had completed 354 resignations, just over half of them from the Catholic Church. In the same period of the previous year, 244 people had submitted such an application. In Karlsruhe, on the other hand, the number of people who turned their backs on the church increased only slightly. By the end of March 2021, 840 people had left their Catholic and Protestant communities at the registry office, but the number of people leaving this year by the end of March was 898.

A spokesman said that the evangelical state church has been observing a noticeable increase in the number of people leaving since 2018. The abuse debate acted like a “trigger” for resignations, but on the Protestant side it also brought Catholic siblings to join.

According to the state church in Baden, it lost around 30,700 believers last year. “The numbers leaving are distressing, because we miss every person who leaves the church,” said Bishop Jochen Cornelius-Bundschuh. In these days, when many people are afraid and feel helpless, one needs trust in God, he said.

The Archdiocese of Freiburg and the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart did not want to comment on the subject of leaving the church, referring to the evaluation of the number of members in the summer.

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