Germany: The Rise of Islam

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church – Berlin. Prescient.

Jan Fleischhauer, a journalist of the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, coined an expression to define the free fall of German Christianity: Selbstsäkularisierung (“self-secularization”). It is the Church being liquidated?

The German Bishops’ Conference just released the data on the decline of Catholicism in Germany for 2016. In one year, the German Catholic Church lost 162,093,000 faithful and closed 537 parishes. From 1996 to today, one quarter of the Catholic communities have been closed. “The faith has evaporated,” said Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, the Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1982 to 2007.

Christians in Germany will become a minority in the next 20 years, according to Die Welt. Around 60% of the country is currently Christian, with 24 million Catholics and 23 million Protestants. But that number is falling by 500,000 a year through deaths alone. “Those statistics are embodied by what visitors observe in German cities on Sunday: largely empty churches”, the Catholic theologian George Weigel wrote.

German Protestantism is facing the same crisis.

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  • Martin B

    “The faith has evaporated”

    You’d think this sort of thing would weigh heavily on a Pope’s mind. But no, not Bergoglio’s.

  • andycanuck

    Corrigendum: It appears the “162,093,000” should be 162,093 instead although the one report just uses “Over 160,000” now.

  • Blacksmith

    I can ertainly understand why the Catholic church is in decline, with all of its problems you tack on the Marxist pope and it is painfully obvious.

    • lavallette

      And the Protestants? What is their problem?

      • LittleRed1

        The church is part of the state. The German government oversees a lot of the administration and funding of approved churches (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and a few more). I suspect, and this is strictly based on my own experiences and research, that tying the church to the state hurts both. When I lived in Germany in 1994, a number of people I knew were Protestant but had checked off “atheist” on their tax and other forms so they wouldn’t get an extra 10% taken out for the church. Not certain if that is still the case or not.

        • DMB

          I wish this was the same case in Islamic countries were in many cases the Mosque is the state.

      • DMB

        Just look at the United Church of Canada for example. Many of the churches have removed crosses on the buildings and replaced them with rainbow flags and it’s leader is an atheist. Today in many Liberal protestant denominations you will hear a social justice sermon something out of an NDP convention rather than any reference to Jesus Christ which you will hear in conservative protestant denominations. Listening to a social justice rant is not why people go to church.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Western European countries are secular now, not Christian. That’s a big difference. Here in the U.S., we have separated church and state since 1791, However, since our traditional values tend to be Bible-based, this separation served to generate various sects for good or bad. As a result of the 1st Amendment’s free exercise clause, we have beheld the rise of the Quakers, the Shakers, the Mormons, the Christian Scientists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, various black church sects, Reform and Conservative Judaism, even Scientology. Whereas European states were marked by religious coercion for centuries, American toleration allowed religion to maintain its good name for a long time.