With its uncompromising attitude on issues such as celibacy, same-sex marriage and contraception, the Catholic Church often finds itself facing criticism and incomprehension. Even many practising Catholics feel that some church dogma no longer fits with the modern age. Is the Catholic Church in terminal decline?
It is not only outmoded values which have caused some people to turn away from the church. Sexual abuse scandals and the exploitation and intimidation of employees in institutions such as kindergartens or hospitals with links to the Catholic church have undermined the image of the church as a bulwark of morality. In Germany, one Catholic in six is reported to be contemplating leaving the church.
Does the church need to modernise if it is to survive in a constantly changing society? Or should Catholics cling to a canon of unchanging principles. Tell us what you think: Catholic Church: Not of this World Anymore?
Alexander Görlach- he holds two doctorate degrees in theology and linguistics. He is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of The European. Previously, Görlach worked for the German TV station ZDF, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", "Süddeutsche Zeitung", "Die Welt", and served as online editor of the political magazine "Cicero". He also gives lectures on digital change at Free University in Berlin.
Philip Gessler– He earned his doctorate in history with research on the 'culture of memory'. After training as a journalist he worked for various publications, starting with the magazine Focus. Later he worked for the Berlin daily taz, where he mainly covered religious affairs. In 2004 he published a book on new forms of anti-Semitism. He now covers religion and society for public radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur.
Siobhán Dowling –Has been reporting from Berlin as a freelance journalist for almost ten years on German politics and culture, as well as international affairs. Originally from Ireland, she was a staff editor and journalist at the English online edition of the German news magazine Der Spiegel. She also wrote for The Observer, CNBC Magazine, The Los Angeles Times among others. Currently, she is the Germany correspondent for GlobalPost, and also contributes regularly to The Guardian.