The Austrian Times website reports today that more Austrians than ever in history are expected to leave the Catholic Church this year.
Official figures from today (April 22, 2010) show that 30,004 people left the Catholic Church in the first three months of this year, up by 42 percent compared to the same time span of 2009 when more people than ever canceled their membership.
These developments mean that between 70,000 and 80,000 Austrians are expected to leave the Church throughout this year, after last year's record of 53,216 people leaving the Church.
The image of the Austrian Catholic Church has suffered, as hundreds of people have come forward revealing how they were beaten or verbally or sexually abused by clergy and staff at Catholic boarding schools and other clerical institutions. A survey earlier this year found that 69 percent of Austrians thought the Catholic Church was lacking in credibility in its dealing with the revelations.