The Danish Catholic Church is trying a desperate measure to attempt to win back disaffected youth.

A rebate on the Church tax

At present, as SIR reports, Danish Catholics pay a Church tax of about 1% on their income.

But that’s about to change for young people in the Danish Catholic Church aged between 18-30, who are about to be able to enjoy a rebate on the levy until their 30th birthday.

“It may not be pleasant for young people to start paying this fixed tax”, acknowledged Copenhagen Vicar General Niels Engelbrecht.

“In cooperation with the Danish Catholic youth, we have developed a targeted campaign” aimed at young people “that should help this generation take on responsibility for their own Church”, the prelate explained.

Fixed sum of 6 euros per month

The winning-back-young-Danish-Catholics project, developed in coordination with the Danish Young Catholics Association (DUK), is soon to be advertised in the only full Danish diocese – that of Copenhagen – as well as in the two territorial prelatures in the country, in Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Under the new scheme, young workers in the Danish Catholic Church under 25 years of age will pay a fixed sum of 50 crowns (about 6 euros) a month.

Over the following five years, that amount in Church tax will increase by 25 crowns.

Church to pay “more attention” to young people’s “visions for a vibrant Church”

“We are pleased that young people are willing to do something so specific for the Church”, said Engelbrecht, who added that, over the next few months and in exchange for the Church tax deal, the Church will “pay even more attention to young people and their visions for a vibrant and strong Church”.

For her part, DUK member Lea Noval also welcomed the new arrangement.

“As a member of the DUK Council, I hope that young people will take on responsibility and that there will be a surprising increase in the number of new young taxpayers”.

The Church tax, a boon of some 14 million euros annually for the Church

The Catholic Church in Denmark is made up of just 46,000 registered members, out of a total population of just over 5.6 million.

With those kinds of numbers, the Catholic Church tax doesn’t amount to much, or at least not compared to the income from the levy received by the Church of Denmark with its 3.41 million financial contributors, to the amount in 2017 of 6.6 billion crowns (883 million euros).

But still, as the Church itself explains, the Catholic Church tax money goes to the maintenance of our churches and buildings, the salaries of clergy and other staff, expenses for joint inter-parish activities, evangelisation and mission.

For every 1,000 crowns in Church tax, Danish Church authorities say 600 goes to one’s parish, 250 to priests’ salaries and 150 to the diocese or prelature’s common activities.

The average Church tax payment for Danish Catholics in 2013 was 2,275 crowns, for an approximate total of 104.6 million crowns (14 million euros).

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.