Prominent German Cardinal Offers to Resign Over Church Sexual Abuse



BERLIN — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a number one determine in Germany’s Roman Catholic Church, has provided his resignation to Pope Francis as an act of non-public accountability for sexual abuses by clergymen over the previous a long time, the archdiocese of Munich and Freising stated Friday.

In a letter despatched to the Vatican on Could 21, the cardinal stated he believed Catholics had been at a “useless finish” over the a long time of abuses which have come to mild in Germany since 2002 and that the present state of affairs might solely be overcome by members of the Church taking accountability for the abuses and efforts to cowl them up.

“I consider one chance to specific this willingness to take over accountability is my resignation. In doing so, I might be able to ship a private sign for a brand new starting, for a brand new awakening of the Church, not solely in Germany,” the cardinal wrote in his letter, which was launched by his archdiocese. “I wish to present that it’s not the establishment that stands within the foreground, however the mission of the Gospel.”

He added: “I subsequently strongly request you to just accept this resignation.”

Cardinal Marx’s archdiocese, which was as soon as led by Joseph Ratzinger, who turned Pope Benedict XVI, stated Francis had agreed to permit the cardinal to make the letter public however had requested that he proceed to hold out his duties till he reached a call. The Vatican had no additional touch upon Friday.

The cardinal’s provide to resign comes at a time when the pope is doubling down on his view that the sexual abuse disaster is primarily a consequence of imbalances in energy dynamics between clerics and different church leaders and people entrusted to their care, no matter their age.

On Tuesday, the Vatican introduced that Francis had made adjustments to the Vatican’s Code of Canon Legislation, the authorized framework for the world’s 1.three billion Catholics, after years of consultations


As head of the German Bishops Convention, a submit he held from 2014 to 2020, Cardinal Marx led a push for wider dialogue about reforms throughout the Church, together with reconsidering points like necessary celibacy for clergymen.

The cardinal pressured his view that sharing accountability for what he referred to as “the disaster of the sexual abuse by Church officers over previous a long time” additionally meant a willingness to debate “reforms and renewal within the context of the sexual abuse disaster.”

The cardinal is a very influential determine within the world church: He has served as a member of Francis’ small advisory council.

The sexual abuse disaster exploded in Germany in 2010, when former college students of a Berlin highschool, Canisius School, stated academics abused them within the 1970s and 1980s. The disaster deepened in 2016, after an investigator stated greater than 200 boys in a choir led by the brother of Benedict XVI had been abused over nearly 4 a long time.

Final week, the Vatican dispatched two senior bishops to the archdiocese of Cologne, Germany’s largest and one of the vital highly effective within the world church, to analyze the archbishop’s dealing with of allegations of sexual abuse of youngsters by the hands of clergymen going again to 1975.

Cologne’s archbishop, Rainer Maria Woelki, commissioned a lawyer to conduct an unbiased evaluation of how the Catholic Church dealt with stories of abuse, solely to shelve it over what he referred to as methodological shortcomings. A second report discovered a long time of “systematic cover-up” by the hands of church officers within the archdiocese, together with Stefan Hesse, who’s now the archbishop of Hamburg.

Archbishop Hesse provided his resignation to the pope in March and has since been on go away from his duties.


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