Austrian Catholic Church Reports Falling Membership, Rising Income | National Catholic Register

Austrian Church authorities announced that 4,301 people joined the Church or joined for the first time in 2021 – more than in 2020, when 4,068 joined or joined the Church.

VIENNA, Austria — The Catholic Church in Austria reported a drop in membership and an increase in income on Wednesday.

New statistics published on January 12 showed that the number of Catholics in Austria decreased in 2021 by around 1.6%, from 4.91 million in 2020 to 4.83 million as of December 31, 2021.

The Central European country, located in southern Germany, has a total population of nearly 9 million.

A total of 72,055 people officially left the Church in Austria in 2021, compared to 58,727 in 2020 and 67,794 in 2019.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language media partner, reported which the Church has also published financial figures for the year 2020.

They showed that Austrian dioceses received 484 million euros (about $550 million) from the bond Contribution of the Church in 2020, compared to €481 million ($546 million) in 2019.

Registered Catholics in Austria pay about 1% of their taxable income to their local diocese, which is 75% of the Church’s annual income.

Rising revenues and declining membership are not unprecedented in the Catholic Church in Europe.

If a person is registered as a Catholic in Germany, 8-9% of their income tax goes to the Church. The Church has received more money church tax than ever in 2019 despite losing a record number of members. This increase would be due to the growth of the German economy in 2019.

The Austrian Bishops’ Conference on Wednesday did not explain the increase in church contribution income in 2020, a year marked by the global COVID-19 recession.

But the president of the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Franz Lackner, thanked Catholic taxpayers in his archdiocese of Salzburg for their contributions.

“Every euro of the church’s contribution makes possible our commitment and dedication to the people of our archdiocese,” he said. noted January 12.

Austrian Church authorities announced that 4,301 people joined the Church or joined for the first time in 2021 – more than in 2020, when 4,068 joined or joined the Church.

In addition, 545 people made use of their “right to withdraw” in 2021. People invoking this right first declared their intention to leave the Church, but decided not to take the step after contacting the leaders. of the Church within three months.

Wednesday’s figures showed a significant drop in the number of baptisms, with 32,521 in 2020 and 44,977 in 2019.

The Church said many baptisms have been postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As the country continues to fight the pandemic, a Rosary initiative launched in Austria is grow all over the world.

Austria is set to become the first Western country to introduce compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 from February 2022 – a move that has prompted large-scale street protests.

The bishops of Austria have suggested that the obligation is admissible if it is used as a last resort.

Commenting on the official departure of 6,335 people to the Archdiocese of Salzburg in 2021, Bishop Lackner invited Catholics leaving for the Church to speak with him.

“Pope Francis repeatedly invites us to dialogue together. Ultimately, a new credibility is needed – in the Church as well as in each individual. We have to keep working on that,” he said.

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