Believing without contributing? Developing a theoretical model for the system of church financing of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany

Biermeier, Christoph (2019) Believing without contributing? Developing a theoretical model for the system of church financing of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This thesis analyses the financing system of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany (RCCiG) from both, a church membership- and financial-viewpoint. The RCCiG invites laymen with expertise in secular aspects of ecclesiastical being to contribute to an ideal system of church financing (Gemeinsame Synode, 1977, p. 213). Additionally, public interest in church financing has increased recently. Uhle (2015, pp. 5-6) explains this based on three recent incidents: (i) the debate on the Staatsleistungen, i.e. payments by the state based on historical titles, (ii) the Causa Limburg, where the Bishop of Limburg created a financial scandal while renovating his residence, and (iii) the modification of the church tax on capital gains. This study is relevant for both, ecclesiastical practice and academic theory. Practically, the problem is that church financing is embedded into an ever-changing environment that is challenged by the powers of secularisation. Hence, the continuation of church disaffiliations implies shrinking church tax revenues, which are the primary source of the income as only church members pay church taxes. This implies uncertainty about the size of the ecclesiastical budget which is necessary to secure pastoral care in 10,280 parishes for 23.6m Catholics and to remunerate 180,000 direct employees of the RCCiG (Deutsche Bischofskonferenz, 2017d, pp. 7-41). Theoretically, a financial analysis of church financing in Germany is missing, and there is an identified gap in the literature. Thereby this hermeneutic systematic research adopts academic and non-academic documents within a non-reactive data gathering method and it abstains from interviews because relevant church representatives are reluctant to engage into empirical inquiries. However, the author’s presentation of a paper based on this thesis at a conference in June 2018 encouraged this approach and revealed the interest in the outcomes of this study. Thus, by using a Husserlian understanding of phenomenological reduction the study covers the legal and socio-economic external environment of, as well as church-internal preconditions for church financing. Thereby, the thesis entails elements from autoethnography to facilitate interpretation based on (1) the researcher’s stance to the Church, i.e. being a church member and a former church employee, and (2) the researcher’s academic and professional background, i.e. finance. This position is summarised as an auto-ethnographic hermeneutic systematic investigation. The outcome of this research is a new theoretical model of the financing system of the RCCiG and it systematically captures all church financing instruments and puts them into relationships with ecclesiastical benefits.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Roman Catholic church, Germany; Church finances; Church taxes
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2019 10:07
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 12:48

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