Pope Francis has rejected the resignation of a German cardinal over the ‘mishandling’ of sex abuse allegations faced by the Catholic Church, saying that he should instead lead a process of ‘reform.’
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the Archbishop of Munich, offered his resignation last Friday, June 4, saying in a letter that the ‘catastrophe’ of sex abuse and the Church’s response to allegations had left the institution at a ‘dead end’.
Now, in a letter released by the Vatican today, June 10, Pope Francis has urged Cardinal Marx to continue in his position, saying that he and others within the church should instead take responsibility for the scandal and work towards a path of reform.
The Pope wrote that rather than resign, the Archbishop must choose a response ‘that doesn’t consist in words but attitudes that have the courage of putting oneself in crisis, of assuming reality regardless of the consequences’, per AP.
Cardinal Marx, 67, is a close confidant of the Pope. He has not been accused of wrongdoing himself, but said that it was important he took responsibility for the ‘personal failures and administrative mistakes but also institutional or ‘systemic’ failure’ to hold German clergy accountable for sexual abuse over the past decades.
It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades.
My impression is that we are at a ‘dead end’ which, and this is my paschal hope, also has the potential of becoming a ‘turning point’.
According to AP, at least 3,677 people were abused by clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014, more than half of whom were younger than 13. A subsequent report found that clergy discovered to have abused young boys were often allowed to keep their positions.
Pope Francis’s letter appeared to approve a reform process spearheaded by Cardinal Marx called the ‘Synodal Path’, which has been the subject of widespread criticism from conservative Catholics opposed to any sort of reform or debate on issues like celibacy, homosexuality, contraception and female bishops.
Following his resignation, Marx told reporters that systemic reform was the only way to restore the church’s credibility, both in Germany and abroad, saying, ‘I am convinced that there will be a new epoch of Christianity, but this can only happen if the church learns from this crisis.’
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
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