German Cardinal Reinhard Marx has offered Pope Francis his resignation from his position as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, saying the Catholic Church had reached a “dead point.” He said he hoped his resignation would help show that a new start was possible.
“In essence, for me it is about sharing responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse by church officials in the past few decades,” Marx wrote to the Pope, explaining his reasons for the decision.
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 have 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.
‘Ready to take personal responsibility’
For months, Marx said he had repeatedly thought about resigning from office.
“Events and discussions of the last few weeks only play a subordinate role,” he said, but stressed that his offer of resignation was a very personal decision.
“I would like to make it clear: I am ready to take personal responsibility, not only for my own mistakes, but for the church as an institution, which I have helped to shape for decades,” he said.
A press conference was scheduled for 2 p.m. local time on Friday.
This is a developing story, more to follow…