Christmas is for Church Members, Say German Politicians

Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 12:17 pm


People attending midnight mass at German churches may have to bring their tax returns with them in the future, if two politicians have their way: They've called for Christmas services to be confined to regular visitors who pay church tithes.

German politicians have said midnight mass on Christmas Eve should be reserved for people who have paid their church tax.

Thomas Volk, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats in the southern state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg, said many regular churchgoers were angry that they can't get a seat because of the onslaught on churches at Christmas.

He told Bild newspaper: "I'm in favor of having church services on December 24 open only for people who pay church tax."

Germany's Catholic and Protestant churches are still largely funded by tithes, which are collected by the federal tax office. Germans have the right to opt out of paying tithes -- by leaving their church.

So it upsets some tithe-paying religious folk to find their normally underpopulated churches crowded with people at the holidays. The head of the business-friendly Free Democrats in the Berlin city assembly gave support to Volk's proposal, telling Bild that members should be handed tickets to guarantee them a seat during a crowded service.

It remains unclear how such rules should be enforced -- or whether people attending midnight mass should bring their tax returns with them.



The CDU (Christian Democratic Party) is is our conservative party, the FDP (Free Democrats) is Germany's liberal (= classical liberal = libertarian) party.

In the local news, I just watched the bishop of our Ptotestant church (Evangelical Church of Westphalia) and the Catholic archbishop (archbishop of Paderborn vehemently rejecting suchl suggestions ...

Berlin's daily Tagesspiegel reported on Sunday that last year 246 000 people attended Protestant church services on Christmas Eve in the capital, versus an average of just 17 000 on a normal Sunday.

Scuffles broke out among churchgoers two Christmases ago at the Berlin Cathedral, the city's biggest church, over available seats.

Last year the church distributed free tickets to members guaranteeing them a seat at the Christmas Eve service, and is doing the same this year.

But some church leaders say reserved spots in the pews send the wrong message.

"We should not be giving the impression that there is a two-class society in the church," said Stefan Foerner, spokesperson for Berlin's Roman Catholic Archbishop.

"Jesus would not ask whether someone paid their church tax or is baptised." - AFP
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Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 02:47 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
walter :

is any thought being given to re-introduce the KLINGELBEUTEL ?
"klingelbeutel" is a (sort of) collection plate with a bell attached to get the attention of sleepy or tardy parishioners .
even pretending to be in deep prayer wouldn't save you from being "awakened" .
they were quite common in the protestant churches in northern germany in days gone by .
lore has it that , particularly rich merchants wouldn't hesitate to take some change out of the klingelbeutel if they thought the coin they had just dropped in was not being rewarded with a sermon praising their services to the church suffiently .

KLINGELBEUTEL : ring , ring ! please make your contribution !

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Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 09:18 pm
If the churches sold tickets just for the holiday service, all would be solved, I would think? Guess what religion already does that.
old europe
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 09:44 pm
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 09:53 pm
@old europe,
old europe wrote:


No Judaism. Specifically, the Conservative or Reform movements of the faith. The Orthodox might have another paradigm, since most do go to schul (school in Yiddish/German) on a regular basis.
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Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 10:04 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Good grief, Walter. (reading along)

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