Sunday, July 17, 2011

Catholics leaving in Germany and Austria

he abuse crisis goes on an on, not just in the US but also in Europe, most dramatically in Ireland at the moment. In countries where the church is recognized by the state and receives tax money, massive numbers of people leaving means a dramatic drop in revenue.

Reuters report on situation in Germany:

(Reuters) -Jul. 17, 2011 German police have arrested a Catholic priest on suspicion of sexually abusing a child, Der Spiegel magazine reported on its website, citing the prosecutor's office.

The news of the arrest comes days after the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, one of the countries worst affected in a series of abuse scandals in Europe last year, said it would open its files to independent investigators, allowing a search as far back as 1945.

Joachim Geyer, spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Braunschweig, said an arrest warrant had been issued against the priest. The alleged victim's mother had pressed charges, according to the weekend report on magazine's website.

The case took place several years ago and investigations had been running since early July. Police moved forward the arrest -- initially planned for next week -- as the priest was about to go on a trip with minors organized by the church.

The prosecutor's office was not immediately available for comment.

Some 180,000 Germans left the Catholic Church in 2010, a 40 percent jump over the previous year, as allegations priests sexually abused children for decades shook the faith, according to a study published in April.

The number of people quitting the Church surpassed the total of those leaving main Protestant churches for the first time in post-war Germany, the study by the magazine Christ & Welt said.

In nominally Catholic Austria, formerly the Holy Roman Empire, we learn from Austria News

Dalai Lama more trusted than Catholic leaders

The Dalai Lama is the most trustworthy religious personality to Austrians, a new survey has found.

Pollster OGM interviewed more than 500 Austrians to find they put more faith into the Tibetan Buddhism’s 14th Dalai Lama than Viennese Roman Catholic Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn and Pope Benedict XVI.

Ariel Muzicant, head of the Jewish Community in Vienna (IKG), and Austrian Islamic Denomination (IGGiÖ) President Anas Schakfeh did worse than the Catholic leaders, OGM said today (Fri).

Around 65 per cent of the overall 8.5 million people living in Austria are Catholics, down from 89 per cent in 1961. With 87,393, more Austrians than ever before left the Church in 2010, up by 63 per cent compared to the previous record year 2009.

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