With the sex scandal rocking the institution, the head of the German catholic church, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has offered his resignation to Pope Francis.
In his words “I have to share responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse by officials of the Church over past decades,”. In his letter which was published on the archdiocese’s website, he hoped that his resignation will create a new beginning for the church.
The Pope is yet to officially accept the resignation of Marx who is known to be a close associate and the archbishop has been told to remain in post until a decision is made, a statement from the Archdiocese in Munich said. The statement also noted that Marx has “repeatedly considered resigning from office in recent months”.
The pope had in the past week assigned two senior foreign bishops to investigate Germany’s largest and wealthiest diocese over its handling of abuse cases.
As reported by Reuters, Marx is a proponent of the “Synodal Path,” a movement that aims to give lay Catholics more influence over the running of the Church and in issues including sexual morality, priestly celibacy and women’s ordination. The movement also says lay people should have a say in the appointment of bishops, which is the pope’s purview.
Conservatives in Germany and elsewhere have attacked the concept, saying it could lead to a schism. Marx, 67, served as the head of the Catholic Church in Germany, president of the country’s conference of bishops, until last year when he declined to stand for a second term. He is well short of 75, the age at which bishops must offer their resignation.
He said in the letter that he still enjoys the priesthood and is ready to offer himself for service in any capacity the pope might deem fit.