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I linked to this story this morning as part of Morning Briefing, but so many people have either asked me about it or pointed it out to me, I thought I should revisit it:

German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax

Alarmed by a wave of dissenting Catholics quitting the faith, the bishops issued a decree on Thursday declaring such defection “a serious lapse” and listed a wide range of church activities from which they must be excluded.

Germans who notify their local tax office they that they are on longer practicing Catholics can put a halt to the 8-9 percent of their tax bill that goes to the church. And they have been doing that at an increasingly alarming rate since 2010, some 180,000 a year.

So Thursday the German bishops, reportedly with the approval of the Vatican, have decreed that these leavers have forfeited access to the sacraments and other church services like burials.

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If they don't pony up the church tax, they can't be godparents or sing in the choir. They can't work for a church institution (like schools or hospitals) or volunteer in parish groups or charities.

“This decree makes clear that one cannot partly leave the Church,” a statement from the bishops conference said.


Read more here
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