Is Germany’s Catholic Church in an Existential Crisis?
“The Catholic Church is dying an agonizing death in front of the eyes of the social public,” canon lawyer Thomas Schüller told dpa news agency. According to reports published on June 28, a record number of 522,821 members left the German Catholic Church in 2022. In 2021, 359,338 Catholics left the church, an increase from 272,771 in 2019. Compare these numbers with 2005, when only 89,565 left the church—that’s the year German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope.
Scandals are increasing for the church. And more and more members are leaving. The Trumpet, however, expects a sudden turnaround.
On Tuesday, June 27, German law enforcement officials searched several buildings of the Archdiocese of Cologne in an ongoing investigation of the archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. The allegation is that he provided false testimony regarding his awareness of reports of clergy sexual abuse within the archdiocese, German Catholic News Agency reported.
The Catholic Church has weathered many crises. Yet it appears extremely difficult for the church to regain strength after recent scandals. Furthermore, the church is divided on how to deal with the crises. Some advocate a more liberal approach, yet this may not be a solution as the more liberal Protestant Church in Germany saw a record of around 380,000 people leaving last year. Others believe the solution is to return to more traditional beliefs. Such infighting and division are contributing to the church’s decline.
Yet in its almost 2,000-year history, the Catholic Church has weathered countless crises, scientific revolutions, enlightenments, wars and divisions. The Western world has been impacted by how the Catholic Church has responded to these crises (read “Crossroads for Catholicism” for more information). You might argue that our modern society wouldn’t allow the Catholic Church to influence the world today in the same way. The Bible, however, reveals that the most dramatic Catholic resurgence is yet ahead.
In his free book Isaiah’s End-Time Vision, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry discusses Isaiah 47. This prophecy about the Catholic Church may provide a clue as to how it will overcome the current crisis. A much stronger authoritarian church will reunite with its Protestant daughters and enter into strong cooperation with the state. This may seem unimaginable today, but it is perhaps the church’s only way out of the crisis.
While current trends show the Catholic Church in decline, the Bible boldly proclaims that this crisis will be overcome. Read “Returning to the Fold,” by Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry, to understand the Bible’s detailed forecast about the Catholic Church.