Sexual abuse in the Church: In Germany, Cardinal Reinhard Marx submits his resignation

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx has presented his resignation as head of his archdiocese to Pope Francis. He thus wishes to "take personal" responsibility, not only for his mistakes, but also for the Church as an institution, with regard to the management of sexual abuse. 

In letter sent on May 21, 2021 to Pope Francis, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising presented his resignation in the face of the "failure" of the Catholic Church in Germany with regard to management of sexual abuse.

In this letter, available on the website of his diocese since June 4, the archbishop, who affirms that this decision has been carefully considered, explains that it is important for him to "share the responsibility for the disaster of sexual abuse committed by leaders of the Church in recent decades ”.

The cardinal, priest for forty-two years and bishop for nearly twenty-five years, adds that it is not enough to react “only and exclusively” to “the failings of certain individuals” but that as a bishop he is a representative of "the institution of the Church as a whole". And as a representative of this institution, he means by his resignation bear responsibility for the shortcomings of the Catholic Church with regard to sexual abuse.

“As a bishop, I have 'institutional responsibility' for the actions of the Church as a whole as well as for its institutional problems and past failures. "

The Archbishop of Munich and Freising also points to his own faults in the press release accompanying this letter. “Have I not helped foster negative forms of clericalism through my own behavior and false concerns about the reputation of the Church? "Asks the religious who regrets that" the emphasis placed on victims of sexual abuse "has not always been" the central leitmotif "of the Church.

“I feel that by remaining silent, neglecting to act, and focusing too much on the reputation of the Church, I have made myself personally guilty and responsible. »Affirms the prelate who also wants to show by this strong gesture that it is« the mandate of the Gospel »which is« in the foreground ».

A difficult decision for Reinhard Marx who confides in loving “being a priest and bishop” and who hopes “to be able to continue working for the Church in the future”. By submitting his resignation and bearing his "share of responsibility for past events", he hopes "to support a new start which is necessary" and writes that "the impasse" with which the Catholic institution is confronted could become "a turning point ”.

"This is my paschal hope and I will continue to pray and work for this to happen" he concluded.

The Minister-President of Bavaria, Markus Söder thanked Cardinal Reinhard Marx for his services “on behalf of the Bavarian state government and personally” and said that the religious's decision, as well as his commitment “deserves respect”. The politician also recognizes that there is a great need for change in churches that "everyone is feeling". As a Christian, however, he claims to be convinced that "the faith and the Church are very much alive and that they could still have a lot to give in the future".

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: Creative Commons / Wikimedia

Article originally published in June 2021.

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