Top German Catholic Church official offers resignation over ‘catastrophe of sexual abuse’

“In essence, it is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx composed to Pope Francis in a letter sent out on May 21 that was released Friday.

“The investigations and reports of the last ten years have consistently shown that there have been many personal failures and administrative mistakes but also institutional or ‘systemic’ failure,” the letter continued.

Pope Francis has actually not yet accepted Marx’s resignation, and the Archbishop has actually been informed to stay in post till a choice is made, a declaration from the Archdiocese in Munich stated. It likewise kept in mind that Marx has “repeatedly considered resigning from office in recent months.” Marx informed reporters on Friday that “the Pope himself wanted to see my letter published.”

“It is painful for me to witness the severe damage to the bishops’ reputation in the ecclesiastical and secular perception which may even be at its lowest,” Marx composed in the letter. “I feel that through remaining silent, neglecting to act and over-focusing on the reputation of the Church I have made myself personally guilty and responsible.”

In 2018, a report from Germany’s Catholic Church confessed to “at least” 3,677 cases of kid sex abuse by the clergy in between 1946 and 2014, regional media reported at the time. The report, which took 4 years to put together, discovered the victims were mainly young boys, majority of whom were aged 13 or more youthful. Every 6th case included a rape and a minimum of 1,670 clergy were included.

Marx pointed out that report in his resignation letter, keeping in mind that after it was released, he openly mentioned that “we have failed.”

“But who is this ‘We’?” he composed. “I also belong to this circle. And this means that I must also draw personal consequences from this.”

“I believe one possibility to express this willingness to take over responsibility is my resignation,” he included, keeping in mind that he hoped his actions might be a “signal for a new beginning, for a new awakening” of the Church.

Survivor Matthias Katsch, who was abused by a priest in Berlin when he was 13, stated in a declaration to CNN on Friday that Marx’s resignation was an “impressive step” and a “testimony of leadership.”
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“We have always pointed out that the abuse crisis of the Catholic Church is not about a number of isolated cases, but that it is a systemic failure. As a leader in this system, Cardinal Marx has now personally decided to take responsibility. This is an exemplary act, as those affected have long called for,” Katsch, who is the representative for the survivor group Eckiger Tisch, stated in an published declaration.

Katsch included that he was enthusiastic that Marx’s relocation would bring survivor-supported efforts to the fore, consisting of the facility of a fact commission and payment for victims.

A ‘coverup’

Marx’s resignation comes amidst a growing outcry amongst German Catholics over the abuse and a constant decrease in church subscription.
Recently, the Pope sent out 2 senior foreign bishops to examine the Archdiocese of Perfume, Germany’s biggest, over its handling of abuse cases, Reuters reported.

“I will face possible mistakes and failure in individual cases to be investigated in detail which were committed during my terms of office and which will then have to be reviewed and evaluated pursuant to objective criteria,” Marx composed in his letter.

A report on abuse in the cardinal’s Munich diocese is due later on this year.

Previously today, the Pope provided the most comprehensive modification to Catholic Church law in 4 years, firmly insisting that bishops do something about it versus clerics who abuse minors and susceptible grownups, devote scams or effort to ordain females, Reuters reported.

At a Vatican top in February 2019, Marx confessed that files that might have consisted of evidence of clergy sexual assault in the Catholic Church were damaged or never ever prepared.

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“Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed or not even created,” Marx stated at the top.

“The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution offenses were deliberately not complied with … such standard practices will make it clear that it is not transparency which damages the church, but rather the acts of abuse committed, the lack of transparency, or the ensuing coverup.”

At a later interview throughout the top, Marx stated that the details about ruining files originated from a research study commissioned by German bishops in 2014. The research study was “scientific” and did not call the specific church leaders or dioceses in Germany that damaged the files.

In April of this year, Marx informed German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier that he would not be comfy accepting the “federal cross of merit” — the greatest state homage for specific services to the country — because survivors of abuse would have discovered it offending.

“It is my great request to you not to carry out the award,” he stated. “I am convinced that this is the right step with consideration for those who obviously offended by the award, and especially with consideration for those affected.”

Around 27% of Germany’s population is Catholic, according to 2019 federal government figures. Catholics nevertheless, have actually been leaving the church in stable droves over the last 60 years, with the percentage of the Catholic population dropping from 45.9% to 27.2% in between 1956 and 2019.

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Marx, born in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia area in 1953, ended up being a priest in 1979 and a bishop in 1996.

In 2007, he rose to Archbishop of Munich and Friesing by Pope Benedict XVI, who when likewise held that position. In 2013, he was designated to the Council of Cardinals, a group of 9 Cardinals who recommend the Pope.

He likewise acted as the head of the German Bishops’ Conference — the governing body of the nation’s Catholic Church — till in 2015, when he decreased to run for a 2nd term, stating “I think it should be the turn of the younger generation and perhaps it is good if this role changes hands more frequently in future.”

The 67-year-old cardinal has actually likewise been a driving force in efforts to update the Church in Germany, speaking on the function of females in the clergy, celibacy, sex and identity.
In 2011, he spoke up versus the Church’s rhetoric versus LGBTQ+ individuals, stating that the Church had “not always adopted the right tone.” In 2014, he recommended that Church teaching on household concerns was not totally formed.

On Friday, Marx stated that the Church should “learn from the crisis” of sex abuse, stating: “We are not yet at the end of the road.”

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.