Saturday, 7 February 2009

Spiegel: Wave of Excommunications - Catholics leave the Church out of anger for the Pope and their church

AUSTRITTSWELLE: Katholiken verlassen aus Wut über den Papst ihre Kirche,1518,606024,00.html

Translation by Google Translate:,1518,606024,00.html&prev=_t&usg=ALkJrhiwubvUkk_MUrJ4EH8sIxBrZmWzfw
I made some minor grammatical corrections in the version below:

Wave of Excommunications: Catholics leave the Church out of anger for the Pope and their Church

From Merle Schmalenbach; 6 / 02 / 2009

First it was the rehabilitation of a Holocaust denier, then the miserable management of the Vatican: many believers are so angry that they are resigning from the church. In Mannheim theologians seek to control the damage - with a hotline for the angry people.

Berlin - "Out of this Church," said the Tageszeitung daily, this Friday. Beneath it prints out an excommunication form to the church. The reader can tick whether he thinks the church to be "misogynist, hostile to Jews, paedophile, hostile to gays, reactionary" or simply too "Ratzinger". On page 14 followed by a "taz service for Catholics," the legal situation and costs are meticulously listed, the title is "easy exit".

Papst Benedikt XVI.: Austritte von Katholiken
Zur Großansicht

Pope Benedict XVI.: Resignations of Catholics

In many municipalities this is the reality: In Freiburg on Wednesday alone twelve Catholics excommunicated themselves from the Church, according to the civil registry director Dominique Kratzer. For comparison: in the entire February 2008 there were just 27 excommunications. Dominique Kratzer suspects that it is due to the Pope's debate: "Many have said that they disagreed with the church for quite some time now and were unhappy and now were fed up."

Similarly in Stuttgart: "You can see a similar certain trend," says Verena Rathgeb-Stein from the central registry office. Normally here two to three people resign per day since the debate is running, there were up to eight resignations daily.

Even the District Court of Krefeld reported an increased number of excommunications this year and already 77 resigned from their Roman Catholic Church - in the past year, there were only 55 during the same period. Although there were always waves leaving for economic reasons [Germany has the Church Tax], said spokesman Thomas Nomrowski. But this time some people had said explicitly that it's not about money, but "due to the Pope."

The communicty of Bremen saw a number of angry Catholics: Two said in their resignation "explicitly" on the choice of the Pope, reported the theological secretary Ulrich Schratz.

Especially high are the exit numbers in the city of Regensburg: Between the 22nd January and 4 February, are 38 departures as: "This represents an increase of 40 percent when the figures are compared with the previous year," says the employee Susanne Hauer. "That's really a lot."

Father Hans-Joachim Martin is struggling with a hotline to keep each member. The service was initially introduced only for Catholics in Mannheim, but meanwhile it is introduced throughout Germany: "We are being overwhelmed with calls," says the Jesuit priest. Five theologians are on duty, but on Thursday 500 Catholics called. "The majority is horrified about what was reported from Rome, and feel personally affected. Many fear that the Pope will the Church back," says the Father.

Approximately one in ten callers asks to resign from the Church. The father tried to move to stay: "I tell them: Are you demonstrating against the Pope? Passt once, it's about you, against the pope or is it because of your belief? take a look at the history to see what type of Popes we had."

There were also callers, who side with the Vatican and complained about the media. But Father Martin says: "The information policy of the Vatican is unprofessional. They have to clean their own nose."

He is horrified by a third group of callers, the minority: "Some are anti-Semites. One has literally said that everything was a campaign of the Jewish Mafia, others deny the Holocaust, it is shocking.

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