The investigation into the sex abuse scandal in the German Catholic Church has prompted a new resignation. The Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has offered his resignation to the Pope in a letter, released this Friday, in which he admits his “co-responsibility” in the “catastrophe of sexual abuse” committed by members of the German clergy in The last decades.
Marx, 67, a pillar of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, acknowledges in the statement the “institutional failure” of his archdiocese in dealing with this scandal. “In essence, it is about sharing responsibility by members of the Church in recent decades,” Marx wrote to the Pope, in a letter that can be read in its entirety and in several languages on the Archbishop’s website. The prelate assures that there have been “many personal failures and administrative errors”, but “also institutional or systemic failures.”
Marx’s resignation comes a few days after Pope Francis ordered an investigation into how the diocese of Cologne, the largest and richest in Germany, has dealt with cases of sexual abuse of minors. The creation of the apostolic commission was known on May 28. The Pope appointed two commissioners, called apostolic visitors, who will assess “the possible commission of errors” by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki (Archbishop of Cologne since 2014) and other members of the Church.
The consequences of the investigation into the abuses in Germany extend. Following the revolt of the faithful and criticism of Cardinal Woelki’s refusal to reveal the results of a first report on the abuses that he himself commissioned, the Archbishop of Hamburg, Stefan Hesse, resigned in March.
Marx affirms in his letter to the Pontiff that “some in the Church do not want to recognize this element of co-responsibility and, therefore, also of complicity of the institution and, therefore, they are opposed to any reform and renewal of dialogue in relation to the crisis of abuse ”. The cardinal assures that the Catholic Church has reached a “stalemate” and that his resignation may serve as a signal for “a new awakening of the Church.” “I want to show that it is not the position that is in the foreground, but the mandate of the gospel,” he says.
The investigation in the archdiocese of Cologne confirmed the existence of at least 314 victims and identified 202 alleged perpetrators between 1975 and 2018. Woelki, who acknowledged that the cases were covered up within the organization, was exonerated. The archdiocese commissioned a Cologne law firm to analyze all available documentation and interview victims and alleged culprits. After the publication of the report, the cardinal recognized a “system of silence, secrecy and lack of control.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.