Germany’s Roman Catholics are to be denied the right to Holy Communion or religious burial if they stop paying a special church tax … – an extra 8% of their income tax bill ….
The levy was introduced in the 19th Century in compensation for the nationalisation of religious property. ….
Unless they pay the religious tax, Catholics will no longer be allowed receive sacraments, except before death, or work in the church and its schools or hospitals. ….
Opting out of the tax would also bar people from acting as godparents to Catholic children.
“German Catholics lose church rights for unpaid tax“, BBC News, 24 September 2012.
This news story caught my attention because Austria, where I now reside, has a religious tax (Kirchenbeitrag. or ‘church contribution’) amounting to 1.1% of annual earnings for Catholics and 1.5% for Protestants. Catholics outnumber Protestants in Austria, but presumably not because of the lower tax!. A resident can avoid the religious tax by officially declaring that he or she is not a member of the church. I am not aware of any penalties suffered by those making such a declaration, but they might exist. Perhaps because of the tax, contributions to collection baskets on Sunday are predominantly euro coins rather than paper notes, at least in Roman Catholic masses. (I have never attended a Protestant service.)