That is the conclusion of a German cardinal regarding his country’s Catholics, as reported by the Catholic News Service; and validates the obvious conclusion that when organizational leadership is involved in scandalous behavior, the organization suffers, which is even more potent within our Church who stands upon revealed truth.
MAINZ, Germany (CNS) — A German cardinal warned that the number of Catholics leaving his country’s church is “alarmingly high” and urged an end to “scandals and vexations” involving clergy.
“There’s no doubt these figures must make us think. We’ve obviously suffered a loss of trust and credibility which has rarely happened so violently,” Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz wrote in a column published in the Aug. 3 issue of Faith and Life, the diocese’s weekly newspaper.
“The church isn’t just another club, and all efforts must now be made to prevent more scandals through repentance and renewal,” wrote Cardinal Lehmann, a former president of the German bishops’ conference.
The column followed the release of new church data that showed a sharp increase in Catholics removing their names from parish and diocesan membership rolls.
Catholics made up 29.9 percent of Germany’s population of 82 million in 2013, according to church figures published July 18. In comparison, 29 percent of Germans claimed membership in the Protestant Evangelical Church of Germany.
Registered departures slowed during the 2005-2013 pontificate of German Pope Benedict XVI, but jumped again to nearly 179,000 last year, from more than 118,000 in 2012. More than 10,000 Catholics joined or rejoined the church during the year, according to church data.
Departures doubled to nearly 8,000 in the troubled Limburg Diocese, where Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst resigned in March after controversy emerged over expenditures for his residence and a diocesan center.
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