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Présence des sacrements

According to the official data of the churches, the number of participants in religious services declined during the last 50 years. The data on participation in the sacraments, notably the Lord’s Supper, are of particular interest. A sharp decrease from almost 12.000.000 participants in 1960 to only 3.103.000 participants in 2010 can be observed among the Catholics. Within the Protestant churches, however, the pattern of participation is marked by downward and upward trends. Thus, the number of participants first decreased slightly between 1960 and 1970 but then increased to 10.722.000 participants in 2000. From then on, the participation rate declined again to 9.549.000 participants in 2010.

Official data of churches 1960-2010 (participants in church sacraments)

Catholics (Roman Catholic Church)Protestants (Evangelical Church)*
1960 11.895.000 7.727.000**
1970 10.159.000 6.813.000
1980 7.769.000 9.056.000
1990 6.190.000 9.391.000
2000 4.421.000 10.722.000
2010 3.103.000 9.549.000

Source : Statistisches Bundesamt (ed.) Datenreport 2006, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Bonn 2006 ; Sekretariat der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz (DBK), Katholiken und Gottesdienstteilnehmer 1950-2010 ; Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD), Statistik über die Äußerungen des kirchlichen Lebens in den Gliedkirchen der EKD im Jahr 2010, Hannover 2011 ;
* Annual participation in Lord’s Supper.
** 1963 value

Data from social surveys also attest a widespread decline in church attendance among the German population over the last 20 years. In Western Germany, the percentage of respondents who attend religious services at least once a month, declined from 33,9% in 1990 to 24% in 2008. In the same way, the percentage of respondents who practically never go to church, increased from 19,7% to 27,1% in 2008. In Eastern Germany, church attendance is generally lower than in Western Germany and has declined even further over time. Thus, while in 1990 16,6% of respondents stated to attend religious services at least once a month, this number decreased to 8,8% in 2008. Likewise, the percentage of respondents, who practically never go to church, increased to 69,5% in 2008.

D 14 septembre 2012    AMatthias Koenig ASabine Trittler

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