The Catholic Church is going through a turmoil in Germany. Cardinal Reinhard Marx offered Pope Francis his resignation, a week after a Vatican commission began an analysis of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse of minors, committed in the archdiocese of Cologne.
The cardinal and archbishop of Munich and Freising expressed his decision in a letter, accepting that he has “joint responsibility” in the “catastrophe of sexual abuse” by clergymen of the Catholic institution in recent decades.
#MORE German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who has offered his resignation, says the Catholic Church was “dead” at its center following claims of a “catastrophe of sexual abuse” by church officials https://t.co/ZKfLPASLP4
– dpa news agency (@dpa_intl) June 4, 2021
Marx, 67, archbishop of Munich and Freising, who led the German Bishops’ Conference from 2014 to 2020, published parts of his text on his resignation from the pope online. There he indicated that another reason why he wants to resign is that, in his opinion, the church had reached “a dead end”, and that the investigations into sexual abuse have shown “a lot of personal failure and administrative errors.”
He also argued that the resolution to leave office is intended to leave “a personal sign” for a “new beginning” to occur in the institution.
“I want to show that the position is not ahead, but the commission of the Gospel,” the cardinal wrote to Bergolio.
His offer has so far not been accepted by the pope. Marx said in a statement on his archdiocese website that the highest authority in Vatican City had instructed him to remain in office while he evaluates whether to accept the resignation.
Archdiocese under fire
At the end of May this year, the Apostolic Commission on Abuse Cases was created in the Archdiocese of Cologne, in southern Germany, under the authority of Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki. Woelki had confirmed in March that his archdiocese “covered up” these abuses of minors between 1946 and 2018.
The report found that senior leaders of the Catholic Church were aware of cases of sexual abuse of minors and did not report them or act appropriately. The Archbishop of Hamburg, a former Cologne church official who was criticized in that investigation, offered his resignation to Pope Francis and was granted a “time out” with no end date.
In 2018, a report by the church confirmed that more than 3,500 people were abused by clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014. More than half of the victims were under the age of 13, and almost a third of them were altar boys. according to the report.
With EFE, Reuters, AP