September 13, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The Catholic Church in Germany has seen some ups and downs in numbers since Joseph Ratzinger became pontiff.
This September, Benedict XVI will make his third trip to his home country of Germany as pope. His first was in 2005 for World Youth Day in Cologne. The second was in 2006 when he went to Munich and Regensburg.
Now five years later, the pope returns to Germany to visit Berlin, Erfurt, and Freiburg over four days.
Germany has a population around 82 million people. In 2005 there were 27 and a half million German Catholics, making up 31% of the population. The number of total Catholics has decreased to 24 and a half million, but as a percentage of the population has risen to 33%. Likewise, the number of parishes has dropped by more than a 1000, leaving just over 11,000.
The number of German bishops has bumped up to 113 from 105. While the number of priests has gone down by over 1000, making just over 17,000 priests currently serving.
There has however been a large spike in the number of students attending Catholic schools and universities. In 2005 there were around 17,000. Today there is over 25 and a half thousand students in Catholic schools.
There has also been an increase of over 200 Catholic nursing homes bringing the total to just over 2,800. While Catholic hospitals have dropped by almost 100, leaving 444 working hospitals.