Posted by News Express | 25 October 2012 | 4,367 times
Millions of Catholics in the West are leaving the church to express their anger over the failure to take strong disciplinary action against priests who molest minors, it has been reported.
The exodus is worse in Germany, the home country of Pope Benedict XVI, and among the worst hit is the Pope’s former diocese, Munich and Freising.
“In 2010, 181,000 Germans left the Catholic Church, an increase of 50 percent on the previous year. Last year 126,000 left,” said a report in Britain’s Daily Mail.
“Over the past twenty years, the number of members of Germany’s Roman Catholic Church has fallen from 28.3 million to 24.6 million or 30.2 percent of the country’s population,” the paper added.
It disclosed that the Pope’s attempt to reverse the trend and bring back those who left have proved unsuccessful as reforms introduced “after his visit to Germany in the autumn of last year did little in the way of causing a mass return to the fold by people who had left.”
According to Daily Mail, “The diocese that recorded the highest member loss in 2010, was Munich and Freising — the Pope’s former diocese — where 21,600 people alone left the church.”
On the reason for the exodus, the report stated: “Many parishioners said they were sickened that offending clergy were often simply moved to new jobs where they were free to commit more crimes.”
It said that “the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, begged forgiveness for ‘everything those working for the church have done’ as he presented a report that showed more-than 250 priests and religion teachers sexually or physically abused children in the diocese over the past decades.” It quoted Marx as vowing: “We want to learn from our bad mistakes and misconduct of the past.”
On efforts being made to appease leaving Catholics, the report said: “In its response to the abuse scandal, Germany’s Bishops Conference has publicly and repeatedly showed remorse, changed the relevant guidelines for the clergy and offered up to euro5,000 compensation to victims of abuse by clergy or church officials while they were minors, but it gave no total number of victims.”
News Express learnt that Germany is not the only country in Europe hit by the exodus. In Austria, figures published earlier this year by the Austrian Bishop’s Conference indicated that 87,000 Austrian Catholics left in 2010, a 64 percent increase over the 53,000 who formally had their names struck from church registries in 2009.
*Photo: Pope Benedict XVI.
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