Catholic Church in Switzerland

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Stiftskirche St. Gallus und Otmar (St. Gallen)
The traditionally Catholic regions of Switzerland are shown in red[citation needed].

The Catholic Church in Switzerland (German: Römisch-katholische Landeskirche, French: Église catholique en Suisse, Italian: Chiesa cattolica in Svizzera) is organised into six dioceses and two territorial abbeys, comprising approximately 3 million Catholics, about 38.6%[1] of the Swiss population.

The six dioceses are:

The two territorial abbeys, which do not belong to any bishopric, are

In contrast to most Catholic dioceses, Swiss bishoprics are exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the jurisdiction of the Holy See, without any Metropolitan see. The bishops and the two territorial abbots are organised within the Swiss Bishops Conference whose chairman is the current bishop of Sion, Norbert Brunner.

In the last thirty years, mainly during the conflict over the appointment of Wolfgang Haas as Bishop of Chur, there have been discussions to make a major reform of the structure of the Catholic Church in Switzerland, which would probably also lead to the establishment of a metropolitan see (probably in Lucerne). However, discussions remain unresolved especially about the status of the Canton of Zürich as part of the Diocesis of Chur, the large but splinted extend of the Diocesis of Basel and the lack of a Metropolitan see stay unresolved.

The status of Catholicism in Switzerland is complicated further by the existence of Landeskirchen (Roman Catholic cantonal churches), imposed by anti-clerical cantonal governments in the 19th century and organised along democratic lines and control the application of funds collected through church taxes. Most cantonally delineated Catholic church bodies are members in their umbrella Roman Catholic Central Conference of Switzerland (RKZ, official names in German: Römisch-Katholische Zentralkonferenz der Schweiz, French: Conférence centrale catholique romaine de Suisse, Italian: Conferenza centrale cattolica romana della Svizzera, Romansh: Conferenza centrala catolica romana da la Svizra).

Currently, there are two living Cardinals from Switzerland: Henri Schwery and Kurt Koch; Cardinal Gilberto Agustoni died in 2017. Kurt Cardinal Koch participated in the 2013 Papal conclave.

Catholic lay organizations in Switzerland[edit]


  1. ^ Der Bund kurz erklärt 2013 Archived 30 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine. ( retrieved 29 April 2013.

See also[edit]