Pope Francis said that he rejected the offer of resignation from the Archbishop of Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx in a letter published by the Vatican on Thursday.
Marx had told the pope he would step down amid the sexual abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church in recent years. Marx has not been accused of sexual abuse himself, but called it a “matter of sharing responsibility.” The Catholic Church in Germany has been shaken by a barrage of allegations that members of the clergy have carried out wide-ranging abuse against minors for years.
The pope said that it was up to every bishop, not just Marx, to take responsibility for the “catastrophe” of the abuse crisis. “Continue as you propose (in your pastoral work) but as Archbishop of Munich and Freising,” the pope wrote to Marx, referring to the position he was offering to vacate.
While the pope refused to accept Marx’s resignation, he agreed that it was necessary to introduce a reform “that doesn’t consist in words but attitudes that have the courage of putting oneself in crisis, of assuming reality regardless of the consequences.” “The entire Church is in crisis because of the abuse issue” and “the Church cannot proceed without tackling this crisis. The policy of burying the head in the sand leads nowhere,” Pope Francis wrote.