Some say you cannot serve both God and money, but a top German court has ruled that Catholic worshippers must do just that.
In Germany, registered Catholics pay a religious tax, which is up to nine percent of their income tax bill.
Last week, judges dismissed a legal challenge by a retired law professor who wanted to remain in the Church without stumping up for the levy.
The court ruled that he must ‘pay to pray’.
Magnus Lux, a member of the We Are The Church association which represents Catholics who oppose the tax, said the decision was legally wrong.
“Six years ago, the German Council for Legal Interpretation stated clearly that exiting the public institution does not mean one has renounced one’s beliefs. That difference is very important,” he said.
However, some Catholics question the loyalty of those faithful who say they want to remain in the church without picking up the bill.
David, a worshipper in Munich, said: “The one who does not understand the connection between religion and solidarity has already left the church. I can’t really understand people who leave because of the tax.”
Germany introduced the levy in 1803 to compensate for nationalised religious properties.
Protestants and Jews also pay a similar tax.
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