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180,000 leave Catholic church over abuses

BERLIN -- About 180,000 Germans left the Catholic Church in 2010, a 40 percent jump over the previous year, as allegations that priests sexually abused children for decades shook the faith, a study said on Thursday.

The number of parishioners quitting the Church surpassed the total of those leaving main Protestant churches for the first time in postwar Germany, the study by the magazine Christ & Welt said. Departures from Protestant churches were stable.

"The rising number of people who left the Church in 2010 represents a lack of trust suffered by the Church because of abuse cases," Rev. Dominik Schwaderlapp, vicar general of the large Cologne archdiocese, told the magazine.

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