German Cardinal’s resignation offer sends shockwaves through the Catholic Church

Published on June 4, 2021 by

Germany’s most senior cleric has offered his resignation to Pope Francis. Munich’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx said that he wanted to share responsibility for what he called the “catastrophe of sexual abuse” by members of the Catholic church. Marx has long been a leading voice in the call for church reforms. Those calls have been growing louder as sex abuse investigations revealed a decades-long cover-up by the clergy.

Marx said investigations and reports of the past 10 years showed him there had not only been “a lot of personal failure and administrative errors,” but “also institutional and systemic failure” within the Catholic Church.

Recent discussions had shown “that some in the church do not want to acknowledge this element of co-responsibility and thus also complicity of the institution and are therefore opposed to any reform and renewal dialogue in connection with the abuse crisis,” he wrote in a letter to the pope dated May 21 and published on Friday by his archdiocese in Munich.

The archdiocese said in its press release on the issue that Pope Francis had since responded to Cardinal Marx, telling him that he could make the letter public, and to remain in his role until he received an answer.

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