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Rome & the World: What about the German church tax?

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Shutterstock | Alessandro Colle

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 11/04/22

Other headlines today: German nun turning 106 and fascinating story of a rabbi who will be knighted by the pope

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press about the Church and the major issues that concern Catholics around the world. The opinions and views expressed in these articles are not those of the editors.

Friday 4 November 2022
1. Should the German Church tax be abolished? 
2. A rabbi who worked on Jewish-Catholic relations to be knighted by the Pope 
3. Cardinal Müller: Benedict XVI is almost a Father of the Church|
4. German nun celebrates her 106th birthday
5. Family of murdered American-Palestinian journalist asks Pope to push for justice

While the German Synod is attracting a lot of attention for its particularly reformist proposals concerning sexual morality or the place of lay people and women in the Church, the American media outlet The Pillar shines a spotlight on an important economic characteristic of the Church in Germany. At the origin of its immense wealth is its church tax, which in 2021 collected up to 6.7 million euros. However this policy is a matter of debate because, although it allows the Church to gain important resources, it has also made it very dependent on this tax. The decline in the number of tax-paying church members, which has been evident for years, could lead to a collapse in this structure. This is another reason for many German reformers to push for a change in the Church, in order for it to correspond more to the demands of those who are leaving it. Markus Reif, finance director of the wealthy Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, considers the demands for the abolition of the tax to be “somewhat populist.” Many jobs depend on the tax, he explained, as well as a great deal of aid to poorer churches around the world. For him, the option proposed by the German Synod, meaning to give taxpayers a greater say in how the Church uses these funds, is the most viable.

The Pillar, English

2A rabbi who worked on Jewish-Catholic relations to be knighted by the Pope

Rabbi James Rudin, longtime interreligious affairs director for the American Jewish Committee, will receive the prestigious decoration of Papal Knight of St. Gregory for his work on Catholic-Jewish relations. He is one of the few non-Catholics to receive this honor. Only eight other Jews have been knighted by this order, which was created in 1831 and recognizes personal service or exceptional work in favor of the Catholic Church. A Reform Rabbi and writer, James Rudin traveled extensively and met with popes, presidents, Protestant denominational leaders and world-renowned evangelists as part of his efforts to improve Jewish-Christian relations in the aftermath of the Second World War and the Holocaust. “For more than 50 years, Rabbi James Rudin has worked to advance Catholic-Jewish relations, and interfaith relations on a wider scale, with extraordinary skill, dedication, and success,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, in a statement, where he also praised the impact of his efforts on future generations through his foundation. Rabbi Rudin, 88, said his relationship with Catholics goes back to his youth in Alexandria, Virginia. At that time, Jews and Catholics were largely outnumbered by white evangelicals who viewed them with some disdain. In elementary school, a teacher asked Rudin, the only Jew in the class, and his two Catholic classmates to leave the room during a reading of the New Testament. Thus these “little kids” were “singled out and humiliated, standing outside the classroom” together. Later, as an Air Force chaplain in Japan and Korea, his closest colleague was a Catholic priest with whom he collaborated on Catholic-Jewish programs. Rudin later co-founded the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at St. Leo University, where he has taught Judaism for many years. It is here that on November 20, Cardinal O’Malley will confer him this special honor, on behalf of Pope Francis.

Religion News Service, English 

3. Cardinal Müller: Benedict XVI is almost a Father of the Church

Benedict XVI’s work addresses important and current issues, reaches non-intellectuals and has earned the respect of non-believers, says the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Alfa y Omega, Spanish

4. German nun celebrates her 106th birthday

Sister Agathina Straub is 106 years old. Looking back on her long life, she remembers the good things as well as the painful ones. The Vincentian nun from Untermarchtal also shares what keeps her strong today and how she prays.

Katholisch.de, German

5. Family of murdered American-Palestinian journalist asks Pope to push for justice

Six months after American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering an Israeli raid on a West Bank refugee camp in May, her family is calling on Pope Francis to help seek justice for the late Al Jazeera reporter.

Catholic News Reporter, English

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