Roman Catholic Church extracts tax on pain of damnation
According to the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, any Roman Catholic – no matter how pious and devout – who refuses to pay the ‘Church tax’ is no longer a member of the Roman Catholic Church: ie, they are excommunicated. His Grace is loath to talk of simony or indulgences, but the extraction of money for the administration of the sacraments or the assurance of salvation simply isn't very Christian; indeed, it is quite evil
Church giving or tithing ought to be voluntary, from the heart, and with joy (2Cor 9:7). Yet the reality is that around 70 per cent of the German Church's revenue comes from the Church tax, so it is rather useful for paying the bills (and court fees). But you only need to look at who introduced the tax in Austria to see what a thoroughly bad idea it is. Such an inheritance ought to make the vigorous enforcement on pain of excommunication rather unpalatable to Christians. It would appear that the Roman Catholic Church in Germany is serving Mammon, not God.
His Grace received the following email on this matter from one of his Roman Catholic readers. Speaking of her reaction on hearing about this tax, she wrote: ‘...frankly, as a Catholic, it made me vomit’:
As a lifelong Catholic, I thought there was very little that the Church could still do to horrify me. I watched the betrayals of the spirit of Vatican II. I watched the horrors of the child abuse scandals and the unbelievable behaviour of those that tried to cover them up. I watched the routine crack-downs on anything resembling the intelligent questioning of the Church that is actually required of Catholics by Canon Law but punished severely if practised (ask numerous brave Catholic theologians who were silenced or censored).His Grace weeps for those whose spiritual life is disturbed by this ecclesiastical bullying. "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs" is a couplet attributed to Johann Tetzel, a German Dominican preacher who was well known in the 16th century for selling indulgences. Against him, there arose a protestor who wrote 95 theses as a disputation against all clerical abuses. One wonders how long it will be before the Roman Catholic Church in Germany produces another Martin Luther to declaim this evil. It appears there are already one or two emerging in the 'Catholic Blogosphere'.
Why this latest development should have hit me so hard, I have no idea. Unless it's for the sheer stupidity that has been displayed.
If you have the patience, you might wish to take a look at this link. If you haven't the patience, a short summary of it is this:
In the German taxation system, Germans officially registered as Catholics, Protestants or Jews pay a religious tax of 8 or 9 percent of their annual tax bill. They can avoid this by declaring to their local tax office that they are leaving their faith community – and many do. In the past years there has been a massive exodus from the Church, mostly in the wake of the sex abuse scandals. Now Rome has upped the stakes.
On Thursday – with the knowledge and full approval of the Vatican – the German bishops issued a decree stating that Catholics who left the church ‘to avoid paying the tax’ would be excluded from all the sacraments – Communion, confession, Catholic burial. The only exception to this was the anointing of the sick. They may not act as a Catholic godparent, and they must ask their bishop's permission to marry a Catholic.
In other words, a Catholic who withholds their ‘tithe’ from the Church for any reason, even if they donate that same tithe voluntarily to a Catholic charity, is excluded from the sacramental life of the Church.
There is a name for this. And it is simony.
Simony, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, is ‘the act of paying for sacraments and consequently for holy offices or for positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24. Simon Magus offers the disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, payment so that anyone on whom he would place his hands would receive the power of the Holy Spirit’ (source: Wikipedia).
For any Catholics out there who still care enough, it is forbidden under Canon law.
I'm sitting here with my head in my hands. Even now, somehow still a Catholic, I have watched what my Church has done and what it has failed to do, and I have told myself that we are a pilgrim Church. We have had Popes who were adulterers, murderers, heretics, schismatics. The Church has gone on because it is greater than the fallible men who have attempted so many times to run the Barque of Peter onto the rocks.
We'll probably survive this too. But just how, how, how could the men in Rome manage to do something this stupid?
Please don't try to answer that.
Olivia Cook (Mrs)