Monday, October 6, 2014

Reform? What About That German Tax?

As the Synod is discussing issues concerning marriage and the family, we will expect the German bishops to push for communion for the divorced and civilly remarried as they have done so far in the months leading up to the meeting. However, I draw your attention to an article by Amy Welborn in which reflects on the German Church tax which has enriched the Church in Germany. She notes that as the German bishops lobby for communion for those in irregular relationships, they refuse the Eucharist, and other sacraments, to those Catholics who do not pay the Church tax. What do you call that?

Given his example and his urging poverty on the Church, I think Pope Francis will have to tackle this issue. Is it not time that the obligatory tax be abolished? The bishops of Germany have been dogged in their refusal to do so, but perhaps Francis should be even more dogged in his efforts to make them toe the line. The Church in Germany is not to have special privileges because of its wealth, yet many in the Church have concluded that the vast donations flowing down from the Rhine into the Tiber have led to expectations among the Germans, particularly those not known for their orthodoxy. Time to dam that flow. 

Having listening to Francis's words on poverty and simplicity, I expect him to deal with this issue sooner rather than later.

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