EWTNews
29-Dec-2000 -- EWTNews Brief

FEWER AUSTRIANS BECOMING CATHOLIC, MORE LEAVING

VIENNA, Dec. 28, 00 (CWNews.com) - Austria's government statistics agency has said more Austrians formally ended their affiliation with the Catholic Church last year than joined it.

OeSTAT said that of the eight million people in the country, most of them Catholics, 43,632 left the Church and only 3,387 joined. That was the highest level of people exiting the Church since Austria began keeping the statistic in 1959.

The report gave no reasons for the defections. Authorities are able to keep track of church membership because Austrian Catholics must formally renounce their religion if they wish to cease paying an automatic church tax calculated according to their salaries.



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