The Guardian, Cif Belief: The folly of German bishops making Catholics pay

A decision to make outcasts of German Catholics who do not pay church tax has drawn outrage from members

The German Bishops’ Conference issued a decree last week warning those who opted out of paying the country’s “church tax” that they would no longer be entitled to the sacraments, to a religious burial or to play any part in parish life. The measure, which only just stops short of formal excommunication, has shaken the German Catholic church at a time when it is already facing serious challenges. The drive to designate non-paying adherents as outcasts who have committed “a grave offence against the Christian community” has been met with distaste by both liberal and conservative Catholic groups in Germany, and the issues that this case raises go right to the heart of the shifting nature of Catholic identity…

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