Almost 34,600 people left the Catholic Church in Switzerland last year. That’s 300 more departures than the previous record figure from 2021.
This content was published on October 29, 2023 – 13:02October 29, 2023 –
At the end of 2022 the Catholic Church had 2.89 million members in Switzerland, according to the Swiss Pastoral Sociological Institute (SPI) on Sunday. The Swiss paper SonntagsBlick was the first to report on it.
The SPI expects the resignation figures to rise even further in 2023. The institute cites the report on the history of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland as the reason.
“In recent weeks and months, the Catholic Church has lost reputation and trust,” the SPI said. There’s talk of systematic cover-ups, protection of perpetrators and other allegations, it said. “This costs credibility.”
The cantons of Basel-City, Aargau and Solothurn recorded the most resignations in 2022. In contrast to resignations, admissions have been at a low level for years, according to the SPI. In 2022, 1,080 people joined the Catholic Church.
Protestant church faces similar trend
According to the survey, the Catholic Church is not alone in the high number of departures. Last year, 30,393 people left the Protestant Reformed Church. That is more than in 2021, when 28,540 resignations were registered. The membership of the Protestant Reformed Church in Switzerland was around 1.92 million at the end of 2022.
The church statistics of the SPI are based on its own surveys in the parishes, as well as data from third parties, namely the Federal Statistical Office.