About 160,000 Catholics left the Church in Germany last year, new figures show.
The number represents an improvement on 2015, when 180,000 faithful left the Church – or opted out of paying a church tax compulsory for members. Nearly a third, or 23 million, people in Germany are Catholic.
Fr Hans Langendörfer, bishops’ conference secretary, said: “We should not forget our real mission in the figures … to joyfully proclaim the Gospel.”
In a recent interview, Cardinal Gerhard Müller commented on the decline, saying: “Active participation is very much diminished, also the transmission of the Faith not as a theory but as an encounter with Jesus Christ has waned. Religious vocations the same.”