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No pay, no pray: Court backs German Catholic rule
First Published Sep 28 2012 01:27 pm • Last Updated Sep 28 2012 01:28 pm

Berlin • Germany’s top administrative court has ruled that Catholics who opt out of paying religious taxes must automatically leave the church as well.

The court’s verdict Wednesday is a victory for the Catholic Church in Germany, which receives more than (euro) 4 billion ($5.14 billion) annually from a surcharge of up to nine percent on income tax bills of registered Catholics.

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The judges at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled against retired German theologian Hartmut Zapp, who wanted to leave the church as an institution but remain a member of the Catholic community.

Germany’s bishops announced last week that believers who refuse to pay the tax are committing a "grave lapse" and as a result won’t be able to receive the sacrament, become godparents or have a religious funeral.




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