ILLUSTRATION - In dieser symbolisch nachgestellten Szene verlässt ein Mann am Mittwoch (22.12.2010) die katholische Kirche St. Johann in Bremen. Wer der Kirche den Rücken kehren will, kann seinen Austritt in Bremen auch selbst bei den Kirchen möglich machen. Bremen ist das einzige Bundesland, in dem der Kirchenaustritt nicht nur beim Standesamt angezeigt werden kann. Er ist auch bei den Kirchen beider Konfessionen selber möglich. Protestanten müssen das Kirchenamt dafür allerdings ausdrücklich um ein Gespräch bitten. Die katholische Kirche hingegen bietet den Austrittswilligen im "Atrium" ein Gespräch an. Foto: Ingo Wagner dpa/lni (zu dpa-KORR lni 0329 vom 22.12.2010) +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

In the Archdiocese of Berlin, more people left the Catholic Church last year than ever before. A total of 10,748 Catholics turned their backs on their church, according to statistics released Monday. “This is the highest number since we started collecting the data,” said Archdiocese spokesman Stefan Förner.

Overall, the Archdiocese, which includes Berlin and parts of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and a few communities in Saxony-Anhalt, still had 384,324 church members as of December 31, 2021.

That is 10,871 fewer than a year earlier. This net loss includes deaths, as well as entries and baptisms, in addition to exits.

In 2020, the statistics had shown 7,287 people leaving the church. In 2019 there were 10,068 resignations and in 2018 exactly 8165.

Förner pointed out that the figures for 2021 should be seen in connection with the first pandemic year 2020, in which church life was somewhat suspended in connection with corona restrictions. Some exits, but also baptisms or weddings may have been postponed to 2021.

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Nationwide, 359,338 Catholics turned their backs on their church last year, as the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) announced on Monday. This is also a negative record.