Catholic Deanery Freiburg presents current figures.
(BZ/fri). The Catholic Church in Breisgau has seen a significant decline in its membership. At the beginning of the year, 77,081 Catholics lived in the area of the city deanery of Freiburg, which includes the municipalities of Gundelfingen, Merzhausen, Horben and Au, 2,582 fewer than a year earlier, a decrease of 3.2 percent. According to the dean’s office, this is largely due to the 2,260 people who left the church. As a result, the number of resignations has increased significantly. In 2020, 1,226 exits were recorded.
The Catholic Church also recruits members outside of the city deanery. In the parish of March-Gottenheim, which includes six parishes, their number shrank by 4.3 percent in 2020 and 2021. The proportion of church members who attend church services is also declining. Their share in the city deanery of Freiburg fell from 5.2 to 4.39 percent. However, the number of first communion children and confirmands increased from 620 in 2020 to 701 in 2021. The number of baptisms also increased from 303 to 398. However, these increases are presumably also due to the fact that these sacramental acts were temporarily suspended and postponed in 2020 due to the corona pandemic.
“The high number of people leaving the church can only upset us, and in our experience there is a lengthy decision-making process behind every single one – we take that very seriously and have to be questioned here,” Dean Alexander Halter is quoted as saying in a statement. At the same time, the reasons for leaving, as shown by talks and contacts with Catholics who have left, are not necessarily to be found where they occur, i.e. in the parishes. Franz Wehrle, senior pastor in the parish of St. Georgen-Hexental, confirms this: “We still don’t stand a chance against the general trend caused by the misconduct of some of those responsible in the church.” Some members acknowledge that good work is being done in the parishes and resign anyway.
The Dean’s Office also reports that the pastoral care teams on site are always available for discussions before and after a departure. You also get in touch with those who are leaving by letter. “And one thing I would like to say to everyone who has taken this step of leaving: Our doors will remain open at all times,” Dean Halter is quoted as saying in the press release.