Is Germany’s church tax ‘miracle’ over?

(Luke Coppen. The Pillar).

Each year, the journalist Peter Winnemöller noted, hundreds of thousands of people formally left the Catholic Church in Germany. But year after year, church tax income continued to grow. But what Winnemöller facetiously called the “Kirchensteuerwunder” — the church tax miracle — may be over. The German bishops’ conference announced July 8 that church tax revenue was 6.51 billion euros (around $7 billion) in 2023. That’s a lot, of course, but it marked a 5% drop on the year before, when church tax income was a record 6.84 billion euros (roughly $7.4 billion). What exactly is the church tax? How is the so-called miracle even possible? And is it truly coming to an end?