From THE HERALD (Scotland):

Germany's Roman Catholic bishops have decreed that people who opt out of a "church tax" should not be given sacraments or religious burials. Germans who are officially registered as Catholics, Protestants or Jews pay a religious tax of 8% or 9% of their annual tax bill. They can avoid this by declaring that they are leaving their faith community.

Catholics who leave can no longer receive sacraments, except for a special blessing before death, the decree states. They cannot work in the church or its institutions, such as schools and hospitals, or be active in church-sponsored associations such as charity groups or choirs. They cannot be godparents for Catholic children and must get a bishop's permission to marry a Catholic in a church ceremony. If the person who left the Church shows no sign of repentance before death, a religious burial can be refused.

No, no, no! There are certain lines that you just cannot cross. Having to pay for the sacraments is about as out of order as you can possibly get. Heck, the Roman Catholic church didn't even demand such payment before the Reformation.



  1. Paying for ecclesial services is known as Simony, named (ostensibly) for Simon Magus as described in the book of Acts and has been an issue throughout history. Your pic, though, I must say is spot on and made me laugh.

  2. Thanks, Tim. I’m not 100% averse to people paying for religious services but I am 100% against people having to. Any percentage tax is a tax on the poor. Times are hard. perhaps the German bishops should just decree that their rich congregants, especially any who happen to be bankers, should donate a lot more to the church coffers.

  3. MP there is a cost to being a Roman Catholic. The cost is being a Roman Catholic. As a non-Roman I am not permitted the sacraments of Rome. In order to obtain them legally I must profess to all the Roman Magesterium’s hogwash. How can you say that that is not a cost?

  4. I don’t think we have any right to decide who has access to the sacraments and who doesn’t. If they want to ban them from the Catholic Mens’ Club, fair enough.

    People have suggested to me that I make my podcasted services, subscription only. That might solve my financial problems out overnight. But it would be wrong.

  5. Neither the Catholics nor the Protestants will agree to forgo Kirchensteuer; they both need the money too much. The Vatican sure isn’t getting that kind of money from Ecuador and the World Council of Churches would lose over 25% of its budget overnight if the Germans and Austrians and Swiss stopped being automatically taxed. They claim it makes them more “prophetic”-like the Episcopalians in the USA who have real estate and financial cushions, they don’t have to worry what the people “in the pews” say about their public statements.

  6. This is the sort of stuff that drove my father’s family, the Thiens, to be Freethinkers and to leave the German empire for what became Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where great-great-grandpa set up a town where all religion was forbidden. (Irony: there is now a church of one sort or another on every street corner in that little town and a Missouri Synod seminary on the hill just outside! And then I went and became a priest. Poor great-great grandpa.)