How rich is the Catholic Church in Germany?

31

The Bishop of Limburg's lavish new headquarters sparked anger at the Catholic Church's use of money in Germany. Its wealth has been estimated at €430 billion with interests ranging from television stations to mineral water. 

The €31-million bill for Franz-Tebartz Van-Elst's residence, including €15,000 on a bath tub and €350,000 on built-in-wardrobes, has put the finances of the Catholic Church, much of which comes from taxpayers and state subsidies, into the spotlight.

Carsten Frerk, an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church in Germany, estimated its wealth at around €430 billion with about €140 billion of that in capital, the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported.

Frerk researched the church's ledgers for a year for a book published in October 2010. But only a small part of the church's finances are public and many of their records remain secret.
 

Written By: Alex Evans
continue to source article at thelocal.de

31 COMMENTS

  1. The RCC has always been hand in hand with amassing property. An agent of the ruling class in many countries, it urges the workers to focus on the afterlife in the sky instead of the real life here and now.

    Of course why their God allows such an unequal world, where some 30,000 children die every day of poverty related issues, must forever remain a theological mystery.

    • In reply to The Article:

      Its wealth has been estimated at €430 billion with interests ranging from television stations to mineral water.

      An obvious question: Is/Are “mineral water” and “holy water” the same thing?

      • In reply to #8 by IDLERACER:

        In reply to The Article:

        Its wealth has been estimated at €430 billion with interests ranging from television stations to mineral water.

        An obvious question: Is/Are “mineral water” and “holy water” the same thing?

        According to RCC rules holy water (or other blessed objects) cannot be sold. There are also ways around this rule. For instance, if you should happen to see Lourdes holy water being offered for sale it’s not the blessed water that’s being sold — it’s the container that’s being sold. One can also ask for a “donation” for a blessed object to circumvent the rule.

      • In reply to #8 by IDLERACER:

        Its wealth has been estimated at €430 billion with interests ranging from television stations to mineral water.
        An obvious question: Is/Are “mineral water” and “holy water” the same thing?

        Depends where you are ….. sometimes tap water and holy water are the same thing. I heard from an Irish friend that at the sacred shrine of Knock they lack the required natural spring, so they have a row of taps, blessed annually by the Bishop of Galway to make what gushes forth into holy water.

    • In reply to #1 by Mr DArcy:

      Of course why their God allows such an unequal world, where some 30,000 children die every day of poverty related issues, must forever remain a theological mystery.

      Surely this is clear evidence that organised religions are man-made? The leaders of organised religions are hypocrites … I see no mystery.

      Peace.

  2. Mr DArch

    The RCC has always been hand in hand with amassing property. An agent of the ruling class in many countries, it urges the workers to focus on the afterlife in the sky instead of the real life here and now

    That is what I’ve never got about Christianity. I’ve a brief notion of the new testament and as far as I can ascertain a hell of a lot is of the “do unto others” and “give to the poor” and “rich capitalist bastards are going to get stuck in the eyes of needles before they get into heaven” etc. A sort of communist manifesto with added deity

    Yet when I look to the RCC or the religious right of the good old US of A I kinda get the feeling they’ve missed the very message of their faith along the way somehow. I’d have thought your average Christian should have been singing the red flag and fighting for human rights. Oh well how would a simple atheist understand.

  3. Off-topic: the links from Planet Atheism to stories on this site keep getting redirected to the main site. It’s profoundly annoying, and I am beginning to get the impression that it’s deliberate — that some idiot at your organization thinks people WANT to have to look at the main page every time they follow a link. Please fix that, whatever is causing it. If anything, it’s making me stop following your links at all, because I hate your main page with a passion — it puts all the crap I don’t want to read at the top, and looks more like a massive ad for your foundation than an informative website.

    • In reply to #4 by The Vicar:

      Off-topic: the links from Planet Atheism to stories on this site keep getting redirected to the main site. It’s profoundly annoying, and I am beginning to get the impression that it’s deliberate — that some idiot at your organization thinks people WANT to have to look at the main page every time th…

      FYI, there is a “Feedback” icon that should show up in the lower left corner of every page, click on that and you get a form to share your ideas with the site admins. Although if you are going to call the people who work on this site — and who are all either volunteers or severely underpaid — if you are going to start out calling them “idiots” if I were the site admin I would keep doing whatever it is that annoys you most.

  4. Wow, the Irish bailout was only about 1/3 of that.

    The church’s largest public form of income is the “church tax”, a system whereby taxpayers register their membership of a church or religious group, and a percentage of their tax goes to that church.

    The tax dates back to the medieval tithes, a one-tenth share of goods collected by churches in the Middle Ages.

    How the hell can the RCC expect to be viewed as anything other than a bunch of greedy, self-centred bastards when they still collect money in this way? Those taxes should be going to people who need it, not to some f**ker building a palace.

    Germans may avoid the tax by registering as having “left” the church, but it costs money to do so – in strongly-catholic Bavaria, opting out will set you back €31 in fees.

    This is tantamount to extortion.

    The Catholic Church collected €5.2 billion in church tax in 2013, a 15 percent increase on 2000. But in order to keep up with inflation, it would have needed an increase of 22 percent.

    They don’t need to keep up with inflation – the corpulent feckers are way ahead of the game.

  5. These are important numbers to keep before the public. It might help discourage tithing. However, by this point the interest is probably the main source of income. What they need are some massive lawsuits. If juries knew just how wealthy they were, they might be more generous in settlements.

  6. The thing about this money is that it doesn’t cycle (except for when a mid level extravagant whacko redoes his house)…. In the US, it is a yearly withdrawal out of the economy with little recycling back into the economy. It is only a matter of time before the steady flow outward drains the system past it’s ability to sustain itself. Oh, wait, that’s already happened.

    See “government shutdown” and “inability to pay your debts”…. Still they take take take….

  7. what is the situation with church tax in germany?
    Can you opt out, I seem to remember you can. This to me is a bit arse over tit, surely you should have to opt in. I bet then even most catholic church goers wouldn’t contribute.

    • In reply to #13 by jjbircham:

      what is the situation with church tax in germany?
      Can you opt out, I seem to remember you can. This to me is a bit arse over tit, surely you should have to opt in. I bet then even most catholic church goers wouldn’t contribute.

      You can opt out, however you have to go to the local court and pay a fee (here in north rhine-westphalia it’s 30 €). There is a recent court decision that you can’t opt out of paying church taxes and still consider yourself a member of the church and receive the sacraments. (link in german: Welt.de)

      But if you work in a church run hospital, kindergarten or nursing home they are legally allowed to fire you when you leave the church.

  8. It’s a pity that the brainwashed followers of this cult cannot see that they are just worshipping a multi national corporation without a product. This must be the most profitable company in the world, people hand over their cash and get nothing in return. The most they get is an illusion or if they are unlucky they fund the abusing of another child.

    At least in macdonalds you get a burger at the end of the queue.

  9. The article points out how pervasive the RC Church is throughout the German economy. Besides TV stations and mineral water companies they control countless kindergartens, hospitals and nursing homes. I met some Germans who worked at a Catholic home for mentally handicapped children who told me they were not religious but were told it was a condition of their employment to tithe to the Catholic church. I believe I was told the tithe was also a reduction of their taxable income, so you are ahead of the game by refusing to pay the tithe but not by the entire amount of the tithe.

    • In reply to #17 by Billy Joe:

      Lessons from History, No.1

      Henry VIII

      Actually you can thank Anne Boleyn for that one, Henry would never have left the Catholic church if she hadn’t flashed her assets at him and then refused to sleep with him without marriage, it’s possible that this was a deliberate ploy to separate england from the Catholic Church because she was against the pope and part of the new protestant movement.

  10. mischi,
    So you have to pay the german government 30 euros just for being born. Wow.
    I demand all governments pay me £ 1000 per year for continuing as a government, if they wish to no longer exist as a government just send me a one off payment of £2000.
    How does that work?

    • In reply to #19 by jjbircham:

      mischi,
      So you have to pay the german government 30 euros just for being born. Wow.
      I demand all governments pay me £ 1000 per year for continuing as a government, if they wish to no longer exist as a government just send me a one off payment of £2000.
      How does that work?

      No, you become a member of the church when you are baptised.

  11. Jesus Christ is reputed to have said something to the effect that, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    But of course hypocrisy of this magnitude is par for the course in this outfit.

  12. And, if I recall correctly, the Vatican is still suing the governments of Poland and the Ukraine to regain more land than the church controlled at the height of Polish expansion in the seventeenth century!

  13. This is astounding and very lucrative….call yourself a religion and you don’t pay tax like every other human on the planet and the government give YOU millions in subsidies and all the common people pay you something every week with their own hard earned tax whether they agree or even know …then RC church further shaft people by owning insurance companies …..Ha that figures …..anyone who’s house is destroyed by lightning will know that the insurance won’t pay out if the damage is caused by an ‘act of god’ ?? Maybe they’ve changed the wording of that clause to ‘weather’ these days ….The church owning banks…very shady !!!! well that’s them got every angle of corruption and control covered and of course schools also get a lot of government subsidies too while the Catholic Church educates in its own special way…Even that isn’t enough for the greedy bastards as they elicite every little donation from people and rich or poor parishioners leaving the church large estates of property in their wills – they are ridulously loaded and finally to add insult they make alcohol in their breweries…..some of which being – fortified wines that make for nasty drunks….there are just so many reasons to run from the Catholic Church as far as you can….never drink, don’t bank, quickly graduate school, and don’t get insurance…

  14. I see that this has become a big enough embarrasment for the Vatican to act!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24638430

    The Vatican has suspended a senior German Church leader dubbed the “bishop of bling” by the media over his alleged lavish spending.

    Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is accused of spending more than 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on renovating his official residence.

    The Vatican said it deemed “appropriate… a period of leave from the diocese” for the bishop.

    The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the matter.

    “A situation has been created in which the bishop can no longer exercise his episcopal duties”, a Vatican statement said.

    It said a Church commission would rule on the matter, but did not say where Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, 53, would go or what he would do while the inquiry was held.

    When Bishop Tebartz-van Elst flew into Rome last week it was reportedly on a Ryanair flight. Budget travel is perhaps not quite the style of the “bishop of bling”, but it was more appropriate given his mission.

    He was here to explain to the Pope his $42m palace renovation job. And waiting for that meeting cannot have been comfortable. Would the Pope mention the bishop’s $20,000 bathtub? Or the $34,000 conference table?

    Everybody knows that building projects can get, well, out of hand. But of all the popes, Francis was least likely to be sympathetic.

    At the centre of his message has been the need for the Church to connect to the poor and the deprived. Francis has criticised clerics who live too lavishly. He has told them not to live “like princes”, and he has himself chosen to stay in a Vatican guest house rather than move into the very much grander papal apartment.

    The head of Germany’s main lay Catholic group, the Central Committee of German Catholics, Alois Glueck, welcomed the Vatican’s decision.
    He said: “Pope Francis’s decision offers the chance of a first step toward a new beginning in the Limburg diocese, because the situation has become an increasing burden for the faithful there, and in all of Germany, over recent weeks.”

    First-class flight

    >

    Bishop Tebartz-van Elst – and his spending habits – had become infamous in Germany, where many people pay Church tax to the state. The tax raised 5.2bn euros for Catholics and 4.6bn euros for Protestants in 2012.

    Calls were made for the bishop to resign after he was accused of lying under oath about his spending.

    He was criticised for a first-class flight to India to visit the poor.

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