Church goers in the cantons of Zurich and St. Gallen have been leaving the catholic church at an accelerated pace recently, reported SRF this week.
Churches in most of Switzerland’s cantons receive much of their funding from voluntary church taxes. The canton of Vaud is the exception. There all taxpayers automatically contribute to the funding of churches, unable to opt out except at a municipal level. This means that in nearly all cantons, every time someone leaves the church they take their money with them, something that reduces the work churches can do in the community.
Over the last two weeks, 178 people have left the parishes of Zurich, Winterthur, Uster and Dübendorf, a number the church would normally lose over a period of three months. In the parish of St. Gallen, 120 people left over the same period, a rate five times higher than normal.
The departures follow the publication of the results of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse in the church in Switzerland that has so far revealed more than 1,000 cases of abuse.
Even before the investigation many, young people in particular, were already drifting away from the church. The institution’s attitude towards homosexuals, history of institutional sexism and vows of celibacy chime little with modern social mores.
SRF article (in German)