Bishop of Bling: So why is Germany's Roman Catholic Church so wealthy?
The pope's decision to suspend Gemany 'bishop of bling' is drawing scrutiny to the Catholic Church's wealth in Germany. Here's a closer look at why Germany's Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest branches in the world.
2. No sacraments for shirkers
With growing numbers of German Catholics leaving, the church last year announced that those who don't pay the church tax would be denied sacraments including weddings and burials, along with the right to serve as godparents. This posed a difficult decision for some Catholics. One Berlin man who had deregistered told the radio show Marketplace: "Obviously, when you die, no priest is going to come to your funeral so that’s a downside. But that’s a few years from now.” After the church's announcement, a Federal Administrative Court rejected a legal challenge from a retired professor of church law who wanted to keep attending but not pay the tax. The court ruled that there could be no partial church membership.