MAINZ / LIMBURG – The corona crisis also causes massive financial problems in the German churches. The diocese of Mainz officially announced a budget freeze from April 20, apparently the first German diocese.
The neighboring diocese of Limburg also has an impact on budget planning – but there will initially be no ban there, said bishopric spokesman Stephan Schnell when asked by this newspaper. The Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) had previously told the news agency EPD that measures as far-reaching as in the diocese of Mainz were not currently being considered But one thing is clear: All Catholic dioceses and regional Protestant churches, even if they may not have announced a budget freeze – at least officially – have been faced with considerable financial challenges in the coming months.
The finance director of the diocese of Mainz explains the economic consequences.
The reasons for the problems: Firstly, no church tax payments because the church tax depends on the amount of wage and income tax, and massive declines can be expected here due to the Corona crisis. The Evangelical Church in Germany expects church tax revenues to be 10 to 15 percent lower – although it is not yet possible to pct how long the crisis will last. Further burdens for the churches: losses due to closed church conference halls and canceled events, failures in collections and rental income, and finally no longer paid parental contributions for church kindergartens and schools.
In Mainz, all of this led to the official announcement of a budget freeze on April 20 due to the Corona crisis and its foreseeable economic consequences.
All expenditures and job advertisements already approved in the households are initially suspended, exceptions require the written approval of Vicar General Udo Bentz, the diocese announced. Subsidies for construction work by church congregations would also be handled more restrictively than in the past, said finance director Christof Molitor. Payments based on contractual obligations as well as wage, salary and pension obligations towards employees would, of course, be made.
In the neighboring diocese of Limburg, they do not want to take the step of a budget freeze yet – but, as spokesman Stephan Schnell told this newspaper: “We are introducing strict budget discipline.” Revise all planned and requested construction measures, expenses to the bare minimum and prioritize projects even more ”. The goal of this strict budgetary discipline is to “secure pastoral care in the parishes, jobs, and facilities. We also have an eye on the future, we will shape it and assume our responsibility in society. “