Skip to comments.Catholics to exclude dodgers of church tax
Posted on 09/21/2012 9:19:48 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
ROMAN Catholics in Germany who decline to pay the country's church tax will be denied communion, confession and a religious burial under moves signed by the Pope that, in effect, excommunicate them.
The decree, issued yesterday by Germany's bishops and approved by Benedict XVI, seeks to end a long-running dispute over the implications for Germany's 24.6 million Catholics of opting out from a church tax. It will block churchgoers who choose not to pay the optional levy from becoming godparents or belonging to a Roman Catholic congregation.
The church tax, which is collected by provincial authorities and is between 8 per cent and 9 per cent of income depending on the state collecting it, raises almost 5 billion ($6.2bn) a year.
"The declaration of leaving the church before the competent civil authority ... is a deliberate and wilful alienation from the church and is a grave offence against the Christian community," states the decree, which comes into effect this weekend.
The document does not use the word "excommunication" but spells out "legal" sanctions that amount to the same thing.
Until now, Catholics have been permitted to remain members of the church even if they choose not to pay the tax.
The issue was forced on to the agenda by the refusal of a prominent Catholic academic to pay the tax. Hartmut Zapp, a retired canon lawyer, was taken to court but claimed his religious rights. "What bothers me is that a member of the church of Christ loses his soul because of a declaration before a state authority," he said.
His appeal verdict at the Federal Administrative Court is expected soon.
There were also warnings that the rule would further reduce the popularity of the Catholic Church in Germany. The number of German Catholics fell by 181,000 in 2010, according to figures published by the German Bishops' Conference.
Herbert Frahm, a former Catholic, said: "I have resigned from this hypocritical club. There are many ways to do good with the money I have saved from the church tax. Leaving the church does not change anything about my religious beliefs. I am extremely doubtful whether Jesus Christ would pay his church tax to stay in this club."
Germany's bishops risk being seen as "keen to impose money-grubbing sanctions", warned the newspaper Die Welt in an editorial.
The church tax, which is collected by provincial authorities and is between 8 per cent and 9 per cent of income depending on the state collecting it, raises almost 5 billion ($6.2bn) a year....Until now, Catholics have been permitted to remain members of the church even if they choose not to pay the tax.
Benedict is always ready to party like it’s 1399
I admit to not being a good Catholic, but this sounds like a really crappy thing to do.
What?? There’s a church tax in Germany for Catholics? Did we go back to the 17th century?
I thought the Catholic church did away with “paid salvation” hundreds of years ago.
How on earth is this close to legal??
"What Would Jesus Do?" indeed.
8-9 percent of income as a church tax? wtf
Protestants also pay a church tax, unless they similarly opt out.
It sucks — a lot of German laws suck. What about poor people who can’t afford the 8-9% tax, you can’t blame them. The whole system sucks. [They can’t home school either, parents can and have been thrown in jail. A German family won political asylum in the US because they home schooled their children.]
I knew about the tax, we had a German exchange student. She told us that everyone pays, you pick a group and that’s where the tax goes.
It’s sorta like coerced pretend tithes.
I believe the idea is that German citizens "check a box" on their income tax forms as to their religious affiliation, and the German government funds state-recongized churches based on the response, instead of the churches being funded by private/direct donations. I've seen similar taxing programs in Spain and Canada. I'm guessing the church's response in Germany is along the lines of "If you deny Me before men, I will deny you before the Father".
From Acts 5:1-5
But a man named Ananias with his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property, and with his wife's knowledge he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. (Acts (RSV) 5)
These are just a few reasons that its bad not to contribute to the Church if one is a member of it.
Wikipedia's church tax entry (yes, I know the Wikipedia warnings) claims that the tax is 8%-9% of the income tax collected. With income tax rates up to 45%, that means the church tax would be less than half the listed rate.
I’m struggling to understand this article. Is it a national tax, imposed by Germany, and only collected by the Catholic Church? Or, is it a Catholics-only tax, imposes by the Catholic Church?
Reminds me of my dad’s uncle. When he died the family was told that the Church would not say his funeral Mass because he had not kept up with the collection envelopes (had to take him across the river to another Diocese for the funeral).
My local Church steadfastly denies that they would ever do this. Does burn me though that they’d stop serving the Eucharist to cheap Germans but not to Kathleen Sebelius.
I have no opinion on the church tax, but Matthew 17:24-27 shows Jesus paying the Temple tax.
So refusing to pay a compulsory tax = promising that all this money came from the sale of my property, thus, “look how “holy” we are”?
Guess you missed what their actual sin was, it sure as heck wasn’t refusing to tithe 10% of the sale.
“Until now, Catholics have been permitted to remain members of the church even if they choose not to pay the tax.”
In 2009 the tax law was overturned in a case of a man that declared he left the organization but not the Catholic faith. The Catholic church appealed and the law was reinstated so the payment and collection returned to being involuntary on all registered Catholics.
Withdrawing from the church was the only way to avoid the tax and that meant excommunication.
The state collects the tax and is paid a small fee for so doing. This as of last year.
Sorta. It seems they must declare they are leaving the Church.
The church tax is only paid by members of the respective religious corporate body under public law . Those who are not members of a tax collecting denomination are not required to pay it. Members of a religious community which is a corporate body under public law may formally declare to state authorities that they wish to leave the community (this is commonly referred to as “leaving the church”). With such declaration, the obligation to pay church taxes ends. The concerned religious organisations usually refuse to administer rites of passage, such as marriages and burials of (former) members who had seceded. To rejoin a religious corporate body under public law one would get one’s declaration of re-entry officially recorded.
“Does burn me though that theyd stop serving the Eucharist to cheap Germans but not to Kathleen Sebelius.”
The German tax is for all (recognized) churches not just Catholic.
There are still state churches in Europe and many countries have a church tax.
“A church tax is a tax imposed on members of some religious congregations in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Sweden, some parts of Switzerland and several other countries.”
You are getting it wrong. The tax is not compulsory, one can decide not to be taxed. Similarly, one can decide not to enter the doors of the Church as well.
But there is an honesty that comes with receiving the goods of the Church and actually providing for what one is receiving.
There is however, a dishonesty in stating on your tax form that you are not Catholic and not providing for the means of the Church when you are reaping all the spiritual benefits.
Its the same dishonesty against the Holy Spirit, that St. Peter accused Ananias of. Its not just lying to men but to God.
Matthew 17:24-27 shows Jesus paying the Temple tax.
No Communion Order to Follow Sebelius to Washington
thanks! ...i’m still amazed at how much Freeper know,
and how much i learn from them...
Thanks! I’m glad at least one of the 50,000 Catholic politicians in this country who never met an abortion they didn’t like is being called out for it.
You have a point.
Can. 213 The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments.
However, Can.843, elaborated by setting the limits of that right. It is based on three factors: 1) appropriateness of time, 2) proper disposition of the parishioner, and 3) if they are not prohibited by law.
More often there is a case by case evaluation for individuals regarding the sacraments. The case in Germany is pretty clear.
Lying on a tax form in order to dodge both an obligation of every member of the faithful and the obligation to civil law is a big no no.
Ananias and Sapphira led everyone to *believe* that they gave all the profit from their sale to the common good. Under Church rule at the time, 100% was not *required*, only what you promised to give. Ananias and Sapphira LIED to God/Holy Spirit about the amount thinking they would be praised more, while hiding part of the sale. You are 180 degrees out of phase in trying to compare Acts with a secular State's decrees.
What St Peter is pointing out in that passage, is that at no time was it ever impossible for Ananias to fulfill the obligations of his membership.
This is not the USA with its Constitution. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s...” Fiat money is a creature of the State and thus belongs to Caesar. Taxation, even of churches, is a political act that does not affect morals or the tenets of Religion. Even here in the USofA an attempt to tax churches is a political fight, not a religious one, but Americans are on better ground, having a Constitution that says “Congress shall make no law...”
You are not reading my posts. Try to turn down the accusations and think about this logically.
The claim that I am stating that the Church is right to deny this is two-fold on the fact of dishonesty: lying to the Church and lying to the state. It also has a third problematic issue, that of apostasy.
Denying ones membership in the Church on an official public document is a form of apostasy. They, in effect, are claiming not to be in communion with the Church at the same time they partake of the sacraments of communion (Isn’t there a big problem there?).
As for the reading of scripture, it is meant to point out the dishonesty.
I would also note that your reading of the scripture is incorrect, because the word of “praise” is never mentioned in the text. I can only think that your interpretation is extra-textual and therefore eisegetic.
Wow! A blast from an unsavory past. I guess they don’t want Catholics in Germany.
No, it's not the state that says you're required to pay a tax, it's the churches (all of them). Since the state already has the infrastructure to collect income taxes, there's an agreement between the churches and the state that makes the state collect the church tax as well.
The state doesn't get the money and couldn't care less one way or the other. In fact, it has been voiced that the churches should collect their own damned taxes and not burden the state (= all taxpayers) with providing that free service.
Do you support this in the United States?
It's the churches that demand the tax. The state merely acts as a collection agency. So you're saying the catholic church doesn't want catholics in Germany? How silly.
So your eternal soul is based on this tax commissioned by a godless State? Either join the Church and pay up or quit the Church, lose your soul, in some opinion, thus *compulsed* (With your eternal soul) over a godless tax. Might want to consult the Holy Spirit with that one since the Apostles/Paul constantly went against the State wishes that cost them their worldly lives.
Silly goose. That’s what I said. The “they” in the sentence I wrote was referring to the Catholic church - not Germany.
I think you have it incorrect. The Lies are not than made good by being resentful of the misuse of authority of the state. I agree with you completely that there is a huge problem in providing loyal support to a state that supports atrocity.
The lies refer to a persons official claims as to who they are. If they are taxed for the support of the Church, there is no injustice (they were obligated to support it anyway).
If they are claiming they are not a Catholic Christian, when they actually are, they are denying Christ and they are lying to legitimate authority. They are lying to God’s Church when they enter the Church and profess faith in Christs Church while publicly declaring they have no faith in it, that they have no membership.
If such a law were on the books in the US it would be difficult to justify, given the vast differences between US Law and the Laws of Germany.
If such a law were on the books in the US and found justifiable on constitutional grounds (Note: I seriously doubt it), than they would be justifiable (Because Catholics are obligated to support the Church).
I’d say this to some (but not all) Catholics in America. They would be better off, and closer to Christ if they actually did pray, pay and obey.
If they prayed more they would receive more of his grace for their providence, and would actually have a stronger faith.
If they actually did start supporting their Church, they might find that there would be and actual Church in which to worship in, and an institution able to care for their welfare. They might just come to understand that important concept that giving is sometimes as costly as a cross, to which every Christian is required to carry.
If they actually did start obeying the Church on important things like, oh contraception, pre-marital sex, and other doctrines, than they might, just might, be less accursed for their sins.
It is a semi-voluntary national tax, imposed/collected by Germany and distributed to various state-recognized and authorized churches (i.e. if the state doesn't recognize you, you don't get a cut). Think of it like multiple checkboxes on the 1040 long form, akin to "Check here to contribute $2 to the Presidential Election Fund".
Your not getting it. One who lies on a tax form about who they are, is lying about who they are.
Its that simple.
Any religion that requires payment of money for access to its sacraments is a cult, in my opinion. See, for example, Scientology (payment required for “auditing” and “clearing”) and Mormonism (verified tithing required to access Temple and receive secrets of protection and salvation). Is this really a road Catholics should be going down, too?
And now this Church plus a bunch of Protestant Churches have no problem being married to a Secular State in order to get their cut. Right, how typical in a man-made traditional way, give me a break. Christ leads to salvation, Him only, not a man-made bureaucratic entity.
thanks for clarifying that!
...the correct (smaller) amounts, and the fact it applies to support of any church, puts it in a different perspective.
(plus the earlier person who mentioned that Jesus himself, paid temple tax...)
Ah, so the Catholic Church is a cult?
I’m glade to be with the “true believers” than. The problem with cults are not the obligations they impose. All real religions impose obligations.
It is with the untruths of their creeds that they can be judged, not upon whether a person is obligated to follow them.
We have some of that unsavory past in colonial America. E.g., The Puritan/Congregational Church was the official ‘state church’ in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. They were funded by local taxes and governed hand-in-hand with the civil authorities.
In man’s long history the melding of government and religion, with various combinations, is the norm. State churches and tax funding still exist in parts of Europe. Our current system of religion/government/tax/tax empt etc., is a relatively new formulation.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.