Germany’s bishops have a clear message for the country’s 25 million Catholics: The road to heaven requires more than faith and good intentions; it requires tax payments, too. Last month, German bishops warned that if members of the Catholic Church don’t pay the country’s church tax, they’ll be denied the sacraments — including baptisms, weddings and funerals.
In increasingly secular Europe, Germany is one of the few countries where the state collects a special levy from tax-registered believers and hands it over to three organized faiths. Registered Catholics, Protestants and Jews pay a surcharge of up to 9 percent on their income. The Catholic Church alone received some $6.5 billion in 2011. In issuing the stringent new decree, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the president of the German bishops’ conference, said that not paying taxes for the church is a grave offense, and that sacraments will be banned for those who distance themselves from the church.
Let me summarize this for those not in the Catholic Church in Germany: pay what you owe the Church or you’re going to hell! Man, I wish we had that in America for the Baptist church. Darn German Catholics, they come up with all the fun ideas first….