Cardinal Offers Resignation Over ‘Dead End’ In Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis In Germany

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Olivia Ingrassia Contributor
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Prominent German cardinal Reinhard Marx offered his resignation to Pope Francis on Friday, citing the Catholic Church’s handling of the clergy sexual abuse allegations.

Marx, who has been serving as the Archbishop of Munich and Freising since 2007, called the recent sex abuse crisis a “catastrophe” and maintained that they have brought the Church to a “dead end,” ABC News reported.

“It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” Cardinal Marx wrote to the Pope in a letter published online. Marx added that the Church’s response to the abuse crisis has been dealt with in a predominantly administrative manner and argued this has been insufficient, ABC News reported.

“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,” he continued. “I am convinced that there will be a new epoch of Christianity, there’s no question about it.” (RELATED: German Catholics Demand Break From Church’s Teaching On Sex)

“But this can only happen … if the church renews itself and learns from this crisis.”

Pope Francis recently issued a revision to the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law in response to the high-profile and widespread sexual abuse cases consuming the Church, broadening the definition of sexual abuse and increasing punishments for offenses. 

“In order to respond adequately to the needs of the Church throughout the world, it appeared evident that the penal discipline promulgated by St. John Paul II … needed to be revised,” the Pope explained in a Vatican press release. “It required modification in such a way as to allow Pastors to employ it as a more agile salvific and corrective tool, to be applied promptly and with pastoral charity to avoid more serious evils and to soothe the wounds caused by human weakness.”

Marx led the German Bishops’ Conference from 2014 to 2020 and has spearheaded the German bishops’ response to the abuse crisis, according to ABC News. The “Synodal Path” was established as a series of meetings to discuss various questions of reform within the Catholic Church, including priestly celibacy, the role of women in the Church and teachings on homosexuality.

Marx was elevated to the cardinalate in 2010 by then-Pope Benedict XVI. 

The Vatican did not release an immediate comment, nor mention Marx in the Friday edition of the daily bulletin in which information about resignations is typically announced. However, Marx noted that Pope Francis has told him to “keep performing my service as bishop until his decision is made,” according to ABC News.