Cardinal Reinhard Marx, one of Germany’s leading Catholics, has offered his resignation to the Pope over the “catastrophe” of sexual abuse by clergymen and other members of the church.
Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising and a prominent liberal, said in a letter to Pope Francis that he wanted to share responsibility for the abuse that had taken place for decades and the failure of the Church to deal with it.
He said the church had reached a “dead end” and his resignation was a way to help signal the possibility of a new beginning.
“I have to share responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse by church officials over the past decades,” he wrote in the letter, which was sent on May 21 and posted on the archdiocese’s website the Friday after that Francisco give permission.
After years during which the Catholic Church was accused of cover-up and ignoring requests for help from people who claimed to have been victims of clergymen and other members of the church, a report commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference was finally published when Marx was your president. published in 2018. He said that between 1946 and 2014 almost 1,700 clergymen had sexually abused at least 3,677 minors, most of them male. The report says the actual number of victims is likely to have been much higher.
Outrage over the findings and anger among Catholics over the church’s apparent inaction has led to the departure of thousands of Germans from the faith, Germany’s largest religion with around 22.6 million members in 2019.
Last month, Francis sent two envoys, the bishops of Stockholm and Rotterdam, to the diocese of Cologne to investigate what were called “possible errors” in the church’s handling of the accusations.
The anger of those who have left the church, from all over Germany, although most of them are from the diocese of Cologne, has not been directed so much at Marx as at the Cardinal of Cologne, Rainer Maria Wölki, who was widely criticized this year for refusing. to publish the report. He said his reluctance to do so was based on what he called methodological shortcomings.
Coverage of the crisis has led to calls for widespread reform, as well as increased scrutiny of the way the church operates.
In his letter, Marx criticized the way previous investigations had been carried out and how the reports had been handled, saying they indicated that there had been “many personal failures and clerical errors”, as well as “institutional and systemic failures” in church. .
Calling his decision personal, he added: “I would like to make it clear that I am ready to take personal responsibility, not just for my own mistakes, but for the church as an institution that I have helped shape for decades. “
Marx had apologized to victims of sexual abuse in the past. In April it rejected the Federal Cross of Merit in recognition of the anger of victim groups for what they considered an inadequate response by the church to the claims.
In a press release, the archdiocese of Munich said Francis had allowed Marx to make the letter public and urged him to remain in office until he received a response.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism