Barely one in six Germans now say they have confidence in the church, since the emergence of the child sex abuse cases in the country, according to a poll carried out by German magazine Stern.
This result is accompanied by government statistics showing that people in dioceses affected by paedophile priests are leaving the Church, said a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Munich has lost 472 Catholic worshippers this month alone, nearly four times the number for the past three months.
The figures are precise because Germans must register and deregister if they worship or not, as the church is funded by a tax levy on each parishioner, which works out at about €800 ($1170) a year a person.
In Passau, Bavaria, media reports say 300 people have left this year. A diocese spokesman, Wolfgang Duschl, said: "There has been a significant and rapid increase in the number of people who have been leaving the church, even in the last few days. More left in March".
Other dioceses reporting a rise in the number of departing faithful are Augsburg, Wurzburg, Ulm and Nuremberg. Southern Germany is the bastion of the Catholic faith in Germany. The north is mainly Protestant. About 30 per cent of Germans are Catholic.
The Stern poll found that fewer than one in four said they trust German-born Pope Benedict. Only 17 per cent of respondents said they trusted the church and 24 per cent the Pope.
The poll found that even among Catholics, only a minority trusted the church or the Pope. Only 39 percent had confidence in the Pope, down from 62 per cent at the end of January, and 34 per cent trusted the church, down from 56 percent.
Germans abandon Catholic Church (Sydney Morning Herald)
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