The Germans don't have to subscribe to any church - but if they do register themselves as a member they have to pay the tax. The priests I knew (and I knew a lot) all lived in some comfort and were able to drink and smoke. I would certainly not allow myself to be dictated to by any cleric and if I wanted to go on conversing in a dining room I would certainly do so. I wonder how he would like it if I got up and gave a speech espousing atheism?
There is no way I would want to be forced to subscribe to a Church. It sounds like the old method of 'tithing' which is OK I suppose if you are an ardent church goer.
On the other hand priests and the like are - or they used to be - quite poorly paid and live in draughty houses and the money went to help them as well as the church fabric I believe. Whether that continues in this country I have to say I've no idea.
The cost of maintaining a church must be phenomenal.
I was surprised by that too Greatnan . As I was the evening we were dining in the parador in Santiago de Compostela and a German RC priest got up, called everyone to attention and started a lengthy prayer. Leading a coach party of pilgrims.
I was surprised to learn that in Germany (and I think in Italy too) 8% of your income tax goes to whichever church you have declared yourself to be a member of, and if you don't pay up the Catholic church will deny you certain sacraments. I think it was agreed when the state confiscated some church lands. The church has lost large numbers of members because of the child sex abuse scandal so I suppose it is desperate to hold on to its 'subs'. It is hard to imagine the British accepting a governmental decree on how much they should contribute to their churches.